1) Biology and ecology of metallicolous plants

The studies focus on plant adaptations to stress conditions at heavy metal contaminated sites. Recent projects involved plant population genetics, phylogeography, phenotypic approaches and evolution of heavy-metal tolerance in the pseudometallophyte species Arabidopsis halleri and Biscutella laevigata. Additionally, the metal microlocalisation at the tissue level in Biscutella laevigata is investigated using cytochemical or microanalytical methods. This work aims to improve our understanding of plant physiological responses to toxicity through defence/detoxification mechanisms.

2) Ecology of industrial areas

Current research concern heavy metal bioavailability and toxicity, the course and the rate of primary succession, self-formation of durable vegetation cover and acceleration of this process, feedbacks between plants and soil system under anthropogenic stress, and nutrient economy of pine trees in industrial wasteland. Studies are carried out in sites of contemporary and historical mining of zink-lead ores – areas with high heavy metal concentrations (Zn, Pb, Cd, Tl) in soil, and with deficiency of nutrients and water. In post-mining areas the survey of natural values is conducted. Particularly, it is focused on rare plant species and species typical for calaminarian grasslands.

3) Air pollution monitoring

Monitoring air quality in Poland is conducted as a part of the UNECE ICP Vegetation programm. It bases on bioindication methods. Heavy metal concentrations are determined in a common moss species (Pleurozium schreberi) and maps of air pollution are produced every 5 years (from 1990) for the whole country area.

4) Structure and dynamics of forest ecosystems

The forest studies focuses on a structure and dynamics of tree stands and role of a coarse woody debris in the Carpathian forests. The studies concentrate on the subalpine spruce forests of Babia Góra and Tatras. The aim of the study is a reconstruction of tree stand dynamics, finding a decomposition rate of coarse woody debris and finding a relationship between spruce regeneration and coarse woody debris and dynamics of tree stand gaps. The studies refers also to colonization strategy of tree stand gaps in the subalpine spruce forest by rowan Sorbus aucuparia. The aim of this study is to find spatio-temporal relationship between rowan regeneration and structure and dynamics of subalpine spruce forest.

5) Plant-animal interactions

Current research focus on two general issues: pre-dispersal seed predation and seed dispersal. In the first case, relationship between individual seed production pattern of rowans and the percentage of fruits infested byArgyresthia conjugella is examined. The study is conducted in the subalpine spruce forests of Babia Góra. In the second case, the role of carnivorous mammals (badger, fox and marten) in endozoochorous dispersal of fleshy-fruited plant species is determined. The study is conducted in the Kampinos forest.

Detailed information about our research profile can be found: http://info.botany.pl/ekologia/index_e.html