6) Ecosystem functions and services
Work of our research group covers various topics ranging from studies on pollinators and pollination ecology in agricultural landscapes and seminatural habitats to the mesocosm experiments studying the interacions of below and above-ground ecosystem functions and services. In addition to that our experiments on soil decomposition and pest control contribute to cooperation with other research topics helping cooperation between the various research groups. Involving the Futures Studies Department at Corvinus University of Budapest approaches and practices of social sciences are also employed in our horizon scan research on ecosystems.
In this topic, we examined the composition, diversity and ecosystem functions of aquatic invertebrates in streams. We compare natural and human-impacted communities in order to get a general picture on how natural communities are influenced by human disturbances.
The soda pans and lakes are worldwide unique ecosystems in the Carpathian Basin, because their extreme physical, chemical conditions, special biogeochemical cycling, trophic web and biotas. Beside their expanse and number dramatically had being decreased (>80%) during the last decade, and they have a high priority importance in the Natura 2000 network of the EU. According to these facts, the main goal of this research to get better knowledge of relationships among the land use, diversity and ecosystem functions of soda pans and their surrounding environment.
We measure the fine scale spatial patterns of ecosystem functional attributes (e.g. biomass and soil respiration) together with the patterns of diversity in natural grasslands. The spatial and temporal variability of these attributes refers to the reliability of the ecosystem. Low relative variability means high predictability, high consistency, i.e. high reliability. According to our hypothesis the highest reliability appears in community of high structural complexity which are not only rich in species but also well organized in space. In this way we are searching for early warning signals to managers about processes threatening ecosystem services in the future.
6.5 Spatio-temporal changes of the aquatic biota in riverine ecosystems in the context of climate change, land use and other pressures
Within this topic biomass and functional characteristics of riverine phytoplankton is studied, focusing on the effects of nutrients and solar radiation.