Understanding the accumulated impact of historical landscape processes on the structuring and levels of biodiversity has been limited by a lack of data on the past structure of the landscape.
To what extent are patterns of allelic differentiation and species occurrence, and levels of genetic and species diversity explained by properties of the present and past landscape?
The Jordtorp area on the Baltic island of Öland provides a spatiotemporal arena for investigating the determinants of present-day biodiversity in a local landscape. With the help of historical maps, aerial photographs and satellite scenes, we have produced land-cover maps ranging back to the early 1700s. This unique study arena now allows the analysis of species diversity and gene diversity, on different spatial scales, in terms of both present-day environmental variables and the structure and properties of the past and present landscape.
The Jordtorp project involves researchers from the Department of Biology and the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis at Lund University (Honor C. Prentice, Martin T. Sykes, Karin Hall, Oliver Purschke, Barbara Schmid, Thomas Möckel, Jonas Dalmayne), the University of Regensburg (Peter Poschlod) and Tallin University (Triin Reitalu).
Earlier PhD projects (Triin Reitalu, Lotten J. Johansson) explored changes in land-cover and relationships between species richness/diversity and past and present landscape and environmental variables within the study area. Current PhD projects have a focus on the relationships between dispersal traits in grassland communities and landscape and environmental variables (Oliver Purschke) and on successional changes in nutrient status, species diversity and species density (Barbara Schmid). The PhD projects of Thomas Möckel and Jonas Dalmayne focus on the use of remote-sensing as a tool for assessing and monitoring grassland habitat heterogeneity, species diversity and management intensity.
Prentice, H.C. et al. 2007 Acta Phytogeographica Suecica 88:83-94.
Hall, K. et al. Applied Vegetation Science (in press).
Reitalu, T. et al. Journal of Vegetation Science (in press).
Purschke, O. et al. Oecologia (in press).