From Bakkestuen, V., Erikstad, L. and Halvorsen, R. 2008. Step-less models for regional environmental variation in Norway. - J. Biogeogr. 35: 1906-1922.
Vegetation ecology is the study of variation in distribution of plant species and their occurrence in nature, and the processes that cause this variation. Examples of processes are physiological tolerance to naturally varying environmental gradients or factors [e.g. calcium content or soil humidity or climatic variation, as well as human impact on nature, such as fertilization (input of nitrogen from air pollution), agricultural land-use intensity or abandonment (of land use)]; interspecific interactions; and demographic processes such as dispersal into new sites.
At NHM, research within this field deals with a considerable diversity of questions in different ecosystems, most of which use statistical modelling methods, multivariate as well as univariate, as tools. The studies cover considerable variation in space and time, and include everything from tagging of moss shoots in order to get detailed insight into how bryophytes on the forest ground respond to changing climatic conditions, to studies of how the changing climate may impact broad-scaled patterns of vegetation zonation in Norway. Extensions of research in this area include studies on marine soft-bottom communities and on variation in landscape element composition. Analysis of vegetation ecological data makes use of statistical tools and testing, and the development of methodology is also an important research issue.
Wollan, A. K., Bakkestuen, V., Kauserud, H., Gulden, G. and Halvorsen, R. 2008. Modelling and predicting fungal distribution patterns using herbarium data. - J. Biogeogr. 35: 2298-2310.
Distribution modelling implies analysing how specific geo-ecological targets (species, species richness nature types, geomorphological features, etc.) are distributed, as responses to different environmental explanatory variables (in the widest sense). Distribution modelling can be carried out for applied purposes (obtaining map representations of predicted geographical distributions), to explore the target's relationship with the environment, or for what-if analyses of changes under different environmental change scenarios.
Distribution modelling is based on geo-referenced occurrence data and maps of environmental variables for the study area. GEco focuses on the basic conceptual understanding of distribution modelling and distribution modelling methods, on development of modelling tools, on producing new environmental variables for use in distribution modelling, and on applications of distribution modelling methods to research questions in conservation biology and applied nature management.
The Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries Laboratory (LFI)
The Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries Laboratory (LFI), established in 1969, focuses on fisheries management and assessing the environmental effects of anthropogenic impacts on freshwater ecosystems, especially hydropower development, organic pollutants, eutrophication, acidification and liming and radionuclides. LFI has wide experience in project management and has extensive consultancies from state, county and private organisations.