Research groups

Fundamental and applied research on aquatic macrophytes and biofilm developed on plant surfaces with special focus on
- distribution, abundance, phenetic and genetic diversity of macrophytes in various aquatic environments;
- reed die-back and colonization;
- plant adaptations to water supply in aquatic and terrestrial habitats;
- microbial composition of biofilm formed on aquatic macrophytes and the surrounding water body;
- environmental DNA-based analysis of aquatic ecosystems;

The department surveys the biodiversity in the different habitats of the Tisza River, the eleventh longest river in Europe, and in the connected wetlands of its catchment area, investigates the tolerance thresholds of the biota under extremely variable environmental conditions, and explores the role of the tributaries, connected ox-bows, canals, and the hyporheal in the regeneration of the fauna and flora especially following pollution events and flood waves.

Wetland Ecology Research Group conduct systematic ecological surveys on wetlands. We are basically interested in the process of community assembly in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats. We do fundamental researches that aim to explore species distribution, autecological characteristics and species interactions. We give high importance to implement the results of fundamental studies into practice. Therefore, we address questions having relevance in restoration ecology and socio-economy (e.g. Water Framework Directive).

The present work of the research group is organized into six subprojects:

1. Evolutionary ecology
2. Emerging pathogens and Darwinian medicine
3. Major evolutionary transitions
4. Communication and cooperation
5. Evolutionary economics
6. Astrobiology / The origin of life

The main research interest of the Evolutionary Ecology Research Group focuses on the proximal determination and function of various behavioural traits, their role in mediating the interactions among individuals and species as well as in how they mediate adaptations to different environments, and finally, the evolutionary and ecological consequences of these interactions.

We investigate how changing climate and land use affect vegetation in the sand region of Kiskunsag, Central Hungary. Research topics include the ecological effect of warming, drying, wildfires, and plant invasion, as well as succession following land abandonment and following the removal of alien tree plantations. Approaches range from descriptive local case studies and long-term monitoring, through lanscape and regional-scale surveys, to complex field experiments.

The Forest Ecological Research Group focuses on the investigation of species and functional composition, structure and dynamics of forests. The studies are mainly related to the deciduous forests of the Carpathian basin including managed and unmanaged stands. The investigations include stand structure, many organism groups (plants, animals, fungi), forest site (microclimate, soil conditions) and biological processes (decomposition, predation, regeneration, effect of large herbivores).

The Laboratory for Lichenology is revealing the biological and chemical diversity of lichen-forming and lichenicolous fungi. The occurrence, localisation and role of the unique lichen secondary metabolites are studied. Taxonomic revisions are carried out by the application of morphological, chemical and molecular genetic methods. The changing distribution of taxa and its background, ecophysiological and bioindication aspects are investigated.

The research group studies the vegetation patterns and processes at large (geographic) scales with special attention to effects of climate change, biological invasions and land-use changes.

The destruction of biodiversity causes considerable threat on ecosystem services for human well-being. The aim of our research is to discover the ecological background of some important ecosystem services, evaluation in European context, and to provide the development of a sustainable habitat and land use at both international and national level.