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Projects - dr. EM (Elmar) Veenendaal

My research interests are broad. As a plant ecologist I am interested in plant adaptations to environmental stresses and in trophic interactions (plant-soil and plant- herbivore). I am also intrigued how ecosystems function as a whole and provide services such as carbon storage, greenhouse gas emissions and climate feed back effects.

Currently the focal point for my work is the Forest Savanna boundary. I am interested in both land atmosphere feedback as well as the plant ecological dynamics of the transition of forests to savannah and vice versa addressing research questions such as:
a)How does vegetation influence micro- and regional climate.
b) What environmental conditions induce tree establishment and savannah forest transition.
c) what is the contribution of C4 grasses in this process
I am collaborating in a number of international research efforts in this field. Implementing plant and soil ecological methods as well as micro-meteorological approaches .e.g. the NERC/UK funded .Tropical Biomes in transition project ( During the period 2011-2014 research work will be carried out particularly in Ghana in collaboration with the Forestry Research institute in Ghana and Oxford university in the UK under the new GEOCARBON initiative. I offer a wide range of MSc topics within the context of this theme.

Recently I have also co-initiated a study on Artificial night lighting and the Environment in the Netherlands. To date there is very little information on the impact of artificial, nocturnal light on our flora and fauna. For example, we know bats make use of moths that are attracted to streetlights. But, as a result of this, do other species of bat have less food? And how about animals that keep track of the length of day in order to accurately time yearly activities, such as great tits which need to breed exactly at the right time? If artificial light prevents them keeping track of day length, these birds will start breeding too late or too early to utilize the peak in caterpillars in spring.These questions are addressed in a WU/NIOO/Philips collaborative applied research project that is co-funded by STW I ( Philips and the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) . A central landscape experiment as well as two PhD studies (Birds and Moths- vegetation interactions) form the core of this project ( There are a wide range of MSc projects possible in within this project.