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Plant diversity and performance in relation to Climate and Land use on Mount Kilimanjaro: communities, species, populations and genetics.

Author Gemma RUTTEN
Director of thesis Markus Fischer
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

This project aims at the parallel assessment of plant biodiversity and plant performance (biomass, phenology, fitness) along altitudinal and land use gradients in natural and human-disturbed ecosystems at Mt. Kilimanjaro. We will consider plant diversity at genetic, population, and community levels, and their relationship to plant performance.

In close collaboration with two PhD students (Andreas Ensslin University of Bern and Nedu-votu Mollel from the Tropical Pesticide Research Institute in Arusha), we will broadly assess all three diversity levels.

I will focus on plant diversity and mechanisms underlying this diversity. I started assessing the community structure, vegetation structure and un-derlying population structures of all tree species on the southern slope of Mt. Kili-manjaro last year. Ultimately, I want to know how plant community structure responds to environmental and human induced changes. Furthermore I want to investigate possible underlying mechanisms by taking a closer look plant population structures over these gradients.

Administrative delay for the defence