Triin Reitalu

PhD, researcher

My research is focussing on estimating the importance of historical factors for plant diversity. I have investigated how the historical landscape structure and land-use influence present-day plant diversity and how long that influence lasts. In addition to the research in present-day communities, I have used palaeoecological methods, especially pollen analysis, to study changes in plant communities through the last 12000 years. In my palaeoecological research, the main research question has been the relative importance of climate and human impact in determining changes in plant community composition and different aspects of diversity through time.


  • Jeliazkov, A.; Mijatovic, D.; Chantepie, S.; Andrew, N.; Arlettaz, R.; Barbaro, L.; Barsoum, N.; Bartonova, A.; Belskaya, E.; Bonada, N.; Brind’Amour, A.; Carvalho, R.; Castro, H.; Chmura, D.; Choler, P.; Chong-Seng, K.; Cleary, D.; Cormont, A.; Cornwell, W.; de Campos, R. ... Reitalu, T., ... Chase, J. M. (2020). A global database for metacommunity ecology, integrating species, traits, environment and space. Scientific Data, 7 (1), 1−15. DOI: 10.1038/s41597-019-0344-7.
  • Blaus, A.; Reitalu, T.; Amon, L.; Vassiljev, J.; Alliksaar, T.; Veski, S. (2020). From bog to fen: palaeoecological reconstruction of the development of a calcareous spring fen on Saaremaa, Estonia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 29, 373−391. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-019-00748-z.
  • Amon, L.; Blaus, A.; Alliksaar, T.; Heinsalu, A.; Lapshina, E.; Liiv, M.; Reitalu, T.; Vassiljev, J.; Veski, S. (2020). Postglacial flooding and vegetation history on the Ob River terrace, central Western Siberia based on the palaeoecological record from Lake Svetlenkoye. The Holocene, 1−14. DOI: 10.1177/0959683619895582.
  • Blaus, A.; Reitalu, T.; Gerhold, P.; Hiiesalu, I.; Massante, J.C.; Veski, S. (2020). Modern pollen–plant diversity relationships inform palaeoecological reconstructions of functional and phylogenetic diversity in calcareous fens. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 8, 207. DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00207.


  • Liiv, M.; Alliksaar, T.; Amon, L.; Freiberg, R.; Heinsalu, A.; Reitalu, T.; Saarse, L.; Seppä, H.; Stivrins, N.; Tõnno, I.; Vassiljev, J.; Veski, S. (2019). Late glacial and early Holocene climate and environmental changes in the eastern Baltic area inferred from sediment C/N ratio. Journal of Paleolimnology, 61 (1), 1−16. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-018-0041-0.
  • Reitalu, T.; Bjune, A. E.; Blaus, A.; Giesecke, T.; Helm, A.; Matthias, I.; Peglar, S. S.; Salonen, S. J.; Seppä, H.; Väli, V.; Birks, H. J. B. (2019). Patterns of modern pollen and plant richness across northern Europe. Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13134.


  • Tyler, T.; Bengtsson, F.; Dahlberg, C. J.; Lönnell, N.; Hallingbäck, T.; Reitalu, T. (2018). Determinants of bryophyte species composition and diversity on the Great Alvar of Öland, Sweden. Journal of Bryology, 40 (1), 12−30. DOI: 10.1080/03736687.2017.1412387.
  • Kuosmanen, N.; Marquer, L.; Tallavaara, M.; Milinari, C.; Zhang, Y.; Alenius, T.; Edinborough, K.; Pesonen, P.; Reitalu, T.; Renssen, H.; Trondman, A.-K.; Seppä, H. (2018). The role of climate, forest fires and human population size in Holocene vegetation dynamics in Fennoscandia. Journal of Vegetation Science, 29 (3), 382−392. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12601.
  • Liiv, Merlin; Alliksaar, Tiiu; Freiberg, Rene; Heinsalu, Atko; Ott, Ingmar; Reitalu, Triin; Tõnno, Ilmar; Vassiljev, Jüri; Veski, Siim (2018). Drastic changes in lake ecosystem development as a consequence of flax retting: a multiproxy palaeolimnological study of Lake Kooraste Linajärv, Estonia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 27 (3), 437−451. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-017-0650-y.
  • Giesecke, T.; Kuneš, P.; Reitalu, T. (2018). Millennial to centennial vegetation change. Journal of Vegetation Science, 29 (3), 357−359. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12650.
  • Dengler, J.; Wagner, V.; Dembicz, I.; Garcia-Mijangos, I.; Naqinezhad, A.; Boch, S.; Chiarucci, A.; Conradi, T.; Filibeck, G.; Guarino, R.; Janisova, M.; Steinbauer, M. J.; Acic, S.; Acosta, A. T. R.; Akasaka, M.; Allers, M.-A.; Apostolova, I.; Axmanova, I.; Bakan, B.; Baranova, A. ... Reitalu, T., ... Biurrun,(2018). GrassPlot - a database of multi-scale plant diversity in Palaearctic grasslands. Phytocoenologia, 48 (3), 331−347. DOI: 10.1127/phyto/2018/0267.
  • Kisand, Veljo; Talas, Liisi; Kisand, Anu; Stivrins, Normunds; Reitalu, Triin; Alliksaar, Tiiu; Vassiljev, Jüri; Liiv, Merlin; Heinsalu, Atko; Seppä, Heikki; Veski, Siim (2018). From microbial eukaryotes to metazoan vertebrates: Wide spectrum paleo‐diversity in sedimentary ancient DNA over the last ~14,500 years. Geobiology, 16, 628−639. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12307.
  • Stivrins, N.; Liiv, M.; Ozola, I.; Reitalu, T. (2018). Long-term carbon accumulation rate in a raised bog in Latvia, NE Europe in relation to climate warming. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 67 (4), 247−258. DOI: 10.3176/earth.2018.20.


  • Ehapalu, K.; Tõnno, I.; Reitalu, T.; Alliksaar, T.; Liiv, M.; Freiberg, R.; Nõges, P. (2017). Sedimentary carbon forms in relation to climate and phytoplankton biomass in a large, shallow, hard-water boreal lake. Journal of Paleolimnology, 57 (1), 81−93. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-016-9931-1.
  • Stivrins, N.; Ozola, I.; Gałka, M.; Kuske, E.; Alliksaar, T.; Andersen, T. J.; Lamentowicz, M.; Wulf, S.; Reitalu, T. (2017). Drivers of peat accumulation rate in a raised bog: impact of drainage, climate, and local vegetation composition. Mires and Peat, 19 (8), 1−19. DOI: 10.19189/MaP.2016.OMB.262.
  • Grudzinska, I.; Vassiljev, J.; Saarse, L.; Reitalu, T.; Veski, S. (2017). Past environmental change and seawater intrusioninto coastal Lake Lilaste, Latvia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 57 (3), 257−271. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-017-9945-3.


  • Kuosmanen, N.; Seppä, H.; Alenius, T.; Bradshaw, R. H. W.; Clear, J. L.; Filimonova, L.; Heikkilä, M.; Renssen, H.; Tallavaara, M.; Reitalu, T. (2016). Importance of climate, forest fires and human population size in the Holocene boreal forest composition change in northern Europe. Boreas, 45, 688−702. DOI: 10.1111/bor.12183.
  • Stivrins, N.; Soininen, J.; Amon, L.; Fontana, S. L.; Gryguc, G.; Heikkilä, M.; Heiri, O.; Kisielienė, D.; Reitalu, T.; Stančikaitė, M.; Veski, S.; Seppä, H. (2016). Biotic turnover rates during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. Quaternary Science Reviews, 151, 100−110. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.09.008.
  • Kuosmanen, N.; Seppä, H.; Reitalu, T.; Alenius, T.; Bradshaw, R.H.W.; Clear, J.L.; Filimonova, L.; Kuznetsov, O.; Zaretskaya, N. (2016). Long-term forest composition and its drivers in taiga forest in NW Russia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 25, 221−236. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-015-0542-y.


  • Reitalu, T.; Gerhold, P.; Poska, A.; Pärtel, M.; Väli, V.; Veski, S. (2015). Novel insights into post-glacial vegetation change: functional and phylogenetic diversity in pollen records. Journal of Vegetation Science, 26, 911−922. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12300.
  • Stivrins, N.; Kołaczek, P.; Reitalu, T.; Seppä, H.; Veski, S. (2015). Phytoplankton response to the environmental and climatic variability in a temperate lake over the last 14,500 years in eastern Latvia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 54, 103−119. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-015-9840-8.
  • Veski, S.; Seppä, H.; Stančikaitė, M.; Zernitskaya, V.; Reitalu, T.; Gryguc,.G.; Heinsalu, A.; Stivrins, N.; Amon, L.; Vassiljev, J.; Heiri, O. (2015). Quantitative summer and winter temperature reconstructions from pollen and chironomid data between 15 and 8 ka BP in the Baltic–Belarus area. Quaternary International, 388, 4−11. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.10.059.
  • Riibak, K.; Reitalu, T.; Tamme, R.; Helm, A.; Gerhold, P.; Znamenskiy, S.;.Bengtsson, K.; Rosén, E.; Prentice, H.; Pärtel, M. (2015). Dark diversity in dry calcareous grasslands is determined by dispersal ability and stress-tolerance. Ecography, 38, 713−721. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.01312.
  • Stivrins, N., Brown, A., Reitalu, T., Veski, S., Heinsalu, A., Banerjea, R.Y., Elmi, K. (2015). Landscape change in central Latvia since the Iron Age: multi-proxy analysis of the vegetation impact of conflict, colonization and economic expansion during the last 2,000 years. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 24, 377−391. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-014-0502-y.


  • Janišova, Monica; Boch, Steffen; Ruprecht, Eszter; Reitalu, Triin; Becker, Thomas (2014). Continental dry grasslands from range margin to range centre – Editorial to the 9th Dry Grassland Special Feature. Tuexenia, 34, 347−353.
  • Rosengren, Frida; Cronberg, Nils; Reitalu, Triin; Prentice, Honor (2014). Sexual reproduction in the phyllodioicous bryophyte Homalothecium lutescens (Hedw.) H.Rob. in relation to habitat age, growth conditions and genetic variation. Journal of Bryology, 36, 200−208. DOI:10.1179/1743282014Y.0000000114.
  • Reitalu, T.; Kuneš, P.; Giesecke, T. (2014). Closing the gap between plant ecology and Quaternary palaeoecology. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25, 1188−1194. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12187.
  • Carboni, M.; de Bello, F.; Janeček, Š.; Doležal, J.; Hornik, J.; Lepš, J.; Reitalu, T.; Klimešova, J. (2014). Changes in trait divergence and convergence along a productivity gradient in wet meadows. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 182, 96−105. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2013.12.014.
  • Vandewalle, M.; Purschke, O.; de Bello, F.; Reitalu, T.; Prentice, H. C.; Lavorel, S.; Johansson, L. J.; Sykes, M. T. (2014). Functional responses of plant communities to management, landscape and historical factors in semi-natural grasslands. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25, 750−759. DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12126.
  • Reitalu, T.; Helm, A.; Pärtel, M.; Bengtsson, K.; Gerhold, P.; Rosén, E.; Takkis, K.; Znamenskiy, S.; Prentice, H. C. (2014). Determinants of fine-scale plant diversity in dry calcareous grasslands within the Baltic Sea region. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 182, 59−68. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2012.11.005.
  • Vacht, P.; Puusepp, L.; Koff, T. Reitalu, T. (2014). Variability of riparian soil diatom communities and their potential as indicators of anthropogenic disturbances. Estonian Journal of Ecology, 63, 3, 168−184.


  • de Bello, F.; Vandewalle, M.; Reitalu, T.; Lepš, J.; Prentice, H.C.; Lavorel, S.; Sykes, M.T. (2013). Evidence for scale- and disturbance-dependent trait assembly patterns in dry semi-natural grasslands. Journal of Ecology, 101, 1237−1244.
  • Becker, T.; Reitalu, T.; Ruprecht, E.; Dengler, J. (2013). Dry grassland of Europe: biodiversity, classification, conservation and management – Editorial to the 8th Dry Grassland Special Feature. Tuexenia, 33, 285−291.
  • Rosengren, F. K.; Cronberg, N.; Reitalu, T.; Prentice, H. C. (2013). Genetic variation in the moss Homalothecium lutescens in relation to habitat age and structure. Botany, 91, 431−441. DOI: 10.1139/cjb-2012-0258.
  • Reitalu, T.; Seppä, H.; Sugita, S.; Kangur, M.; Koff, T.; Avel, E.; Kihno, K.; Vassiljev, J.; Renssen, H.; Hammarlund, D.; Heikkilä, M.; Saarse, L.; Poska, A.; Veski, S. (2013). Long-term drivers of forest composition in a boreonemoral region: the relative importance of climate and human impact. Journal of Biogeography, 40, 1524−1534.
  • Meltsov, V.; Poska, A.; Reitalu, T.; Sammul, M.; Kull, T. (2013). The role of landscape structure in determining palynological and floristic richness. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 22, 39−49. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-012-0358-y.


  • Veski, S.; Amon, L.; Heinsalu, A.; Reitalu, T.; Saarse, L.; Stivriņš, N.; Vassiljev, J. (2012). Late-Glacial vegetation dynamics in the eastern Baltic region, a complete record since the Bølling (GI-1e). Quaternary Science Reviews, 40, 39−53. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.02.013.
  • Purschke, O.; Sykes, M. T.; Reitalu, T.; Poschlod, P.; Prentice, H. C. (2012). Linking landscape history and dispersal traits in grassland plant communities. Oecologia, 168, 773−783.
  • Reitalu, T.; Purschke, O.; Johansson, L. J; Hall, K.; Sykes, M. T.; Prentice, H. C. (2012). Responses of grassland species richness to local and landscape factors depend on spatial scale and habitat specialization. Journal of Vegetation Science, 23 (1), 41−51. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2011.01334.x.
  • Hall, K.; Reitalu, T.; Sykes, M. T.; Prentice, H. C. (2012). Spectral heterogeneity of QuickBird satellite data is related to fine-scale plant species spatial turnover in semi-natural grasslands. Applied Vegetation Science, 15 (1), 145−157. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2011.01143.x.


  • Reitalu, T.; Johansson, L. J.; Sykes, M. T.; Hall, K.; Prentice, H.C. (2010). History matters: village distances, grazing and grassland species diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 1216−1224. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01875.x.
  • Hall, K.; Johansson, L.J.; Sykes, M.T.; Reitalu, T.; Larsson, K.; Prentice, H.C. (2010). Inventorying management status and plant species richness in semi-natural grasslands using high spatial resolution imagery. Applied Vegetation Science, 13 (2), 221−233. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2009.01063.x.
  • Reitalu, T.; Sykes, M.T.; Johansson, L.J.; Lönn, M.; Hall, K.; Vandewalle, M.; Prentice, H.C. (2009). Small-scale plant species richness and evenness in semi-natural grasslands respond differently to habitat fragmentation. Biological Conservation, 142 (4), 899−908. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2008.12.020.


  • Johansson, L.J.; Hall, K.; Prentice, H.C.; Ihse, M.; Reitalu, T.; Sykes, M.T.; Kindström, M. (2008). Semi-natural grassland continuity, long-term land-use change and plant species richness in an agricultural landscape on Öland, Sweden. Landscape and Urban Planning, 84, 200−211.
  • Reitalu, T.; Prentice, H. C.; Sykes, M. T.; Lönn, M.; Johansson, L.J.; Hall, K. (2008). Plant species-segregation on different spatial scales in dry, semi-natural grasslands. Journal of Vegetation Science,19, 407−416.


  • Pärtel, M.; Helm, A.; Reitalu, T.; Liira, J.; Zobel, M. (2007). Grassland diversity related to the Late Iron Age human population density. Journal of Ecology, 95 (3), 574−582. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01230.x.


  • Reitalu, T.; Paal, J.; Martin, G. (2002). Phytobenthic microcoenoses along Estonian exposed seashores. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Biology. Ecology, 51 (4), 257−276.


  • Oulasvirta, P.; Leinikki, J.; Reitalu, T. (2001). Underwater biotopes in Väinameri and Kõpu ares, western Estonia. Helsinki: Ministry of the Environment.


  • Ruuskanen, A.; Back, S.; Reitalu, T. (1999). A comparison of two cartographic exposure methods using Fucus vesiculosus as an indicator. Marine Biology, 134 (1), 139−145.