Environmental conditions change constantly, and so does the distribution of species correspondingly. We are interested in the ecological mechanisms determining species range. Invasive plant species and endangered plants are of particular interest since their distributions alter these days rapidly. For a more complete understanding of species range, we adopt diverse approaches including field demography, plant physiology, and population genetics. In addition, we have been examining the role of microbes within plants (endophytes) in plant adaptation to environmental factors. We believe that our study will provide critical information to predict the future ecosystem under the rapid anthropogenic environmental changes.
Plant responses to climate change
Anthropogenic climate change is projected to alter species range and abundance. First, changing climate is expected to alter patterns of stage-specific survival and fecundity, which consequently changes population demography. On the other hand, plasticity and adaptive evolution of ecologically important traits to changing environments might ameliorate the effects of changing climate on the absolute fitness of populations. Therefore, for more accurate prediction of future species distribution, it is critical to synthesize ecological and evolutionary information.
We are investigating plastic and evolutionary responses of plant species and constraints on those responses. Ultimately, we are seeking to answer how such responses would influence population demography, and thereby species distribution and abundance in the future.
Role of seed endophytes on plant ecological traits
Endophytic bacteria give beneficial effects to their host plant through the microbial plant growth-promoting (PGP) abilities. Especially, seed endophytes have an evolutional potential due to their vertical transmission, which is transmitted from parents to their offspring.
• Changes of seed microbiome and its differentiation depending on environmental gradients or stresses
• Screening of PGP abilities which the isolated endophytic bacteria from various plant tissues have
• Changes in PGP responses by the endophytic community composition
• Plants’ responses by introduction of the endophytic bacteria into their tissues.
Comparative study between Introduced and native plant
The development of transportation and the increased interaction of humankind have been increased the intrusions of the introduced species. After the invasion, the introduced species spread broadly in a short time. As a results, the introduced species competed with the existing species and it threatened the ecosystems. To solve this problems, we need to figure out the spreading and the competition mechanisms of the introduced species.
• Compare the vegetative and reproductive traits between the introduced and native plant species
• Check the chromosome information to figure out the hybridity
• Figure out the quantitative competition ability using the limited resource
• Assess the important of intra- and inter- specific competition
Population dynamics research of Primula farinosa var. modesta using projection modeling
Efforts to understand the dynamics of populations using ecological modeling have been ongoing from the past. The matrix projection model (MPM) has been proposed to overcome the limitations of the species distribution model. MPM can use ecological information of plant populations. The ecological information includes the survival rate, growth rate, and reproductive rate, as well as the life stages obtained through population monitoring.
• Long-term monitoring for population research in the field
• Matrix projection based on life history
• Conservation ecology using population dynamics analysis
Natural variation in diaspore traits of Coreanomecon hylomeconoides
Myrmecophyte is a plant which interacts with ants. They have mutualism about protection, pollination, or seed dispersal. In the seed dispersal case, some seeds have a specific appendage called by ‘elaiosome' which is rich-lipid parts for ant attraction. Korean endemic species C. hylomeconoides also myrmecophyte and have diaspore, which is consist of seed and elaiosome. First of all, we should analyze the diaspore traits and find differences to find the relation between elaiosome and ants.
• Analyze the chemical components in elaiosome using LC-MS and GC-MS
• Compare the natural variation of morphological and chemical traits among populations
• Figure out some tendencies about differences or clusters in their traits
Effects of the β-Glucan- and Xanthan gum-Based Biopolymer on the Performance of Plants
Microbial-derived beta-glucan and xanthan gum-based biopolymers have attracted attention as a new environmentally friendly riverbank slope stabilizer that can promote the growth of plants. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the ecology of new biopolymer materials.
• Study of the influence of biopolymers on plant species
• Inter/intra-specific competition experiments on biopolymer