Department of Biology
Type of project
Type of project
01.01.2023 - 31.12.2028
Project manager at BFVogel Mikuš Katarina
The programme group consists of researchers dealing with complementary aspects of plant biology, namely: general botany, taxonomy, physiology, and ecology, with a potential impact on the mitigation of climate change, sustainable plant production, and development of new technologies for improved food quality and safety. The group for Biological education, together with the Botanical garden, aim to disseminate the obtained knowledge through all levels of education and numerous outreach activities.
Within WP1 Biodiversity, we aim to update the existing floristic databases with data on native, naturalized, and invasive alien plant species in Slovenia. Studies of the distribution of aquatic plants will help us evaluate the current status and the influence of ecological factors and human pressure on water ecosystems. Bryophytes are a neglected plant group in Slovenia; we thus aim to improve knowledge on their taxonomy, distribution, and biochemical composition. We will further complement data on higher plant genome size with morphological analyses of fresh and herbarium material to study the biology and distribution of selected taxa.
Within WP2 Plant interactions with abiotic environment, we aim to explore the consequences of plant stress. We will assess the role of silicon in plants under stress conditions. We aim to study the uptake of microplastic particles in plants and develop imaging techniques to trace microplastic distribution together with plant ionomic and metabolic responses at the tissue level. Research on wetlands through remote sensing will yield data on differences in plant vitality in connection with hydrological gradients and global climate change. Biotransformation, bioavailability, and toxicity of metals and engineered nanoparticles in relation to microbial communities in constructed wetlands will also be studied.
Within WP3 Plant interactions with biotic environment, we aim to explore the potential of plant mineral elements and biomolecules as biomarkers of plant interactions. We will therefore apply correlative biochemical imaging of the spatial distribution of mineral nutrients and metabolites at the plant-pathogen infection sites to understand better the response in tolerant and susceptible plants. The studies on the microbiome of metal hyperaccumulating plants and crop grains will help design the next-generation microbial inoculants for enhanced crop yields, grain quality, improved phytoremediation, and targeted disease suppression. Studies of reproduction biology of invasive alien plant species and the mechanisms of action of allelopathic substances will contribute to their better field management.
Within WP4 Innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture, we aim to improve the understanding of metal transport in seeds for the biofortification, study bioactive compounds for grain storage and optimize cold plasma treatment procedures for seed decontamination, improved germination and seedling vigour.