Department of Biology
Type of project
Research Programmes/Infrastructural Centres
Type of project
01.01.2017 - 31.12.2022
ARRS FTE value
Project manager at BFGaberščik Alenka
Programme group Plant Biology P1-0212 works at the Department of Biology, BF, UL. The head of the group is prof. dr. Alenka Gaberščik. Programme group comprises four subgroups of researchers from the field of botany, taxonomy, physiology, and ecology, deriving from laboratories with long-lasting research tradition. The researchers have a support of two infrastructural units (Botanical garden and Herbarium), well-equipped laboratories, and field equipment that enable high quality of research work.
The mission of the programme group is to establish the basis for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that includes species, processes, and ecosystems, and the basis for maintaining ecosystem services. The main objectives of the group are: (1) to identify the state of biodiversity and to develop methods that enable the use of natural resources in a sustainable way, (2) to identify and mitigate the harmful anthropogenic effects on ecosystems and climate change, and (3) to improve the quality of resources, including food. The research is carried out in four packages, namely biodiversity, growth and development, plant interactions with the environment, and ionomics and biofortification. The biodiversity package contributes to the knowledge on plant species distribution in Slovenia and improvement of the database on seed plants that serves to scientific, environmental, and nature conservation purposes. We also map invasive alien species and identify patterns of their spreading that allow preventive action. Within the second package, we investigate the processes associated with abscission. We study the potential antimicrobial and allelopathic effects of secondary substances of various indigenous and non-native species. We also explore the causes for the appearance of horticulturally interesting varieties of some species, to assure favorable environmental conditions for their culturing. Within the package Interaction of plants with the environment, we investigate the effects of various biotic and abiotic factors, including climatic factors, pollutants, UV-B radiation, and microbial communities, on selected species. The research results are the basis for mitigating the negative and exploiting the possibly positive effects. The Ionomics and biofortification research is aimed at improving the quality of plant nutrition. We study the significance of silicon (Si) for the vitality of cereals and the factors that influence Si uptake. We are interested in various ways of biofortification that can substitute the use of mineral supplements in the diet. Special attention is paid to Se, I, and Fe, which are the elements, important for human health. The localization and specification of the essential and toxic elements (Hg, Cd, Cu) in plants is studied using synchrotron-based techniques. We investigate the interactions of nanoparticles with secondary metabolites in agricultural plants. We study the effect of microbial communities on elemental composition of the vine and on the uptake of metals in different plant species, and we test their usefulness for phytoremediation. The result of the research are also numerous newly developed methods that improve insight into the depth of research areas, and are also widely applicable.
Among notable publications of the past three years are: (1) the biotransformation of copper oxide nanoparticles with pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea (Kovačec et al. 2017), (2) the effects of mycorrhizal fungi on Hg absorption and the presence of ligands in the soil (Kodre et al. 2017), (3) the effect of water level fluctuation as a driving force of primary productivity, decomposition, and fungal root colonization in common reed (Dolinar et al. 2016), (4) the distribution and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the vineyard on the Adriatic coast (Likar et al. 2017), (5) the phenolic responses to esca-associated fungi in grapevine woods from different trunk parts of ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ (Rusjan et al. 2017), (6) the effects of the different forms of TiO2 and CuO on the duckweed (Dolenc Koce 2017), (7) different researches on the localization of minerals in plant tissues (e.g. Mantouvalou et al. 2017, Lefevre et al. 2016, Fourati et al. 2016), (8) the diversity and structure of the tychoplankton diatom community in the limnocrene spring (Zelnik et al. 2018), (9) the effects of Se and UV radiation on the functional properties of the leaves and biomass production in wheat (Golob et al. 2018), (10) the effect of limestone dust on the leaf optical properties and other functional traits of Fagus sylvatica leaves (Zajec et al. 2017), (11) the role of ACC oxidase in the abscission of tomato flowers and leaves (Chersicola et al., 2017, 2018) and (12) the effects of microplastics on the floating freshwater plant duckweed Lemna minor (Kalčíková et al., 2017).