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Ecological Genetics

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Head: Dr. Martina Peter

We study ecological processes in populations of plants, mycorrhizal fungi and animals with molecular-genetic methods and supplement them with experimental approaches. We mainly investigate species that are relevant for Switzerland owing to their function in ecosystems, their distributional focus or their conservation status. We describe how plants of the Alpine region evolve to adapt to changing environmental conditions (adaptation). As important symbiosis partners of our forest trees, we investigate mycorrhizal fungi, their adaptation to tree partners and local conditions, and their significance for the stability of forest ecosystems in a changing environment. We study what effects the characteristics and configuration of landscape elements impose on the dispersal and the connectivity of organisms and their populations or how land use affects rare species of plants and animals (conservation genetics).