Tsipe Aavik

Associate Professor, group leader

+372 516 1187

The focus of my research is on examining the impact of habitat fragmentation on gene- to species-level aspects of biodiversity and related ecosystem service. The major steps of my research patch can be divided as following.

Biodiversity and related ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. I examine the effects of land use intensity and landscape structure on different components of biodiversity and ecosystem services in fragmented natural and semi-natural habitats of agricultural landscapes. My corresponding studies carried out in collaboration with colleagues at Estonian and pan-European scale revealed that despite various European Union agri-environmental measures, land use intensity still imposes detrimental effects on the species diversity of various organism groups and related benefits to people, such as biocontrol potential. My work demonstrates that the environment in semi-natural habitats of agricultural landscapes can be substantially improved to offer habitats for grassland plants and other organism groups, and to enhance biodiversity-related benefits to people.

Restoration and management of genetic and species diversity of fragmented habitats. One third of European landscapes are exposed to high levels of fragmentation affecting not only species diversity of various organism groups, but having also negative consequences for gene-level diversity. Decreased genetic variability, in turn, reduces the survival probabilities of fragmented populations. My focus is on determining the factors, which enable to maintain and restore plant genetic diversity. To obtain a better understanding of processes governing the recovery of genetic diversity, I apply landscape genetic tools. I found that not only spatial isolation between fragmented populations, but also the characteristics and quality of different landscape elements between populations play a crucial role in supporting or hindering gene flow via dispersal of pollen and seeds. Another important finding with high conservational relevance has been the discovery that populations restored via using wildflower seed mixes may suffer from unexpectedly low genetic diversity compared to plant populations with local origin.

Adaptive genetic variation in fragmented plant populations. Recent advances in genomic tools have encouraged me to shift my research interest towards assessing the adaptive genomic variation of fragmented plant populations, i.e. variation, which is directly under natural selection and therefor affects the ability of species to respond to ongoing environmental change, such as climate change. Together with my colleagues, I examine whether the overgrowth of Estonian calcareous grasslands accompanied by reduced area and connectivity of these valuable habitats has brought along changes in the adaptive genetic variation of wild plant populations and what could be the conservation implications of this process.

  • Van Geel, M., Aavik, T., Ceulemans, T., Träger, S., Mergeay, J., Peeters, G., ... & Honnay, O. (2021). The role of genetic diversity and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity in population recovery of the semi-natural grassland plant species Succisa pratensis. BMC Ecology and Evolution, 21(1), 1-9.
  • Aavik, T., Träger, S., Zobel, M., Honnay, O., Van Geel, M., Bueno, C. G., & Koorem, K. (2021). The joint effect of host plant genetic diversity and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities on restoration success. Functional Ecology.
  • Reinula, I., Träger, S., Hernández-Agramonte, I. M., Helm, A., Aavik, T. (2021). Landscape genetic analysis suggests stronger effects of past than current landscape structure on genetic patterns of Primula veris. Diversity and Distributions, xx.
  • Fišer, Ž., Aronne, G., Aavik, T., Akin, M., Alizoti, P., Aravanopoulos, F., ... Helm, A., ... & Zippel, E. (2021). ConservePlants: An integrated approach to conservation of threatened plants for the 21st Century. Research Ideas and Outcomes, 7, e62810.
  • Aavik, T., Carmona, C.P., Träger, S., Kaldra, M., Reinula, I., Conti, E., Keller, B., Helm, A., Hiiesalu, I., Hool, K., Kaisel, M. et al. (2020). Landscape context and plant population size affect morph frequencies in heterostylous Primula veris‐results of a nationwide citizen‐science campaign. Journal of Ecology, 108(6): 2169-2183.
  • Carmona, C.P., Guerrero, I., Peco, B., Morales, M.B., Oñate, J.J., Pärt, T., Tscharntke, T., Liira, J., Aavik, T., Emmerson, M., Berendse, F., (2020). Agriculture intensification reduces plant taxonomic and functional diversity across European arable systems. Functional Ecology, 34(7): 1448-1460.
  • Aavik, T., Thetloff, M., Träger, S., Hernández-Agramonte, I. M., Reinula, I., & Pärtel, M. (2019). Delayed and immediate effects of habitat loss on the genetic diversity of the grassland plant Trifolium montanumBiodiversity and Conservation, 1-21.
  • Plue, J., Aavik, T., Cousins, S. A. O. (2019) Grazing networks promote plant functional connectivity among isolated grassland communities. Diversity and Distributions, 25: 102-115.
  • Aavik, T., Helm, A. (2018). Restoration of plant species and genetic diversity depends on landscape-scale dispersal. Restoration Ecology, 26:S92-S102.
  • Aavik, T., Talve, T., Thetloff, M., Uuemaa, E., Oja, T. (2017). Genetic consequences of landscape change for rare endemic plants – a case study of Rhinanthus osiliensis. Biological Conservation, 210: 125-135.
  • Kook, E., Pihu, S., Reier, Ü., Thetloff, M., Aavik, T., Helm, A. (2016). Do landscape dissimilarity and environmental factors affect genetic and phenotypic variability in Myosotis laxa s. lato (Boraginaceae)? Annales Botanici Fennici, 53:56−66.
  • Emmerson, M., Morales, M. B., Oñate, J. J., Batáry, P., Berendse, F., Liira, J., Aavik, T., Guerrero, I., Bommarco, R., Eggers, S., Pärt, T., Tscharntke, T., Weisser, W., Clement, L., Bengtsson, J. (2016). How agricultural intensification affects biodiversity and ecosystem services. Advances in Ecological Research, 55: 43−97.
  • Aavik, T., Holderegger, R., Bolliger, J. (2014). The structural and functional connectivity of the grassland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi. Heredity, 112: 471 - 478.
  • Aavik, T., Bosshard, D., Edwards, P.J., Holderegger, R., Billeter, R. (2014). Fitness in naturally occurring and restored populations of a grassland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi in a Swiss agricultural landscape. Restoration Ecology, 22: 98 - 10.
  • Aavik, T., Bosshard, D., Edwards, P., Holderegger, R., Billeter, R. (2014). Effets de mélanges de semences sur la diversité génétique et la performance. Recherche Agronomique Suisse, 5: 20 - 27.
  • Aavik, T., Bosshard, D., Edwards, P., Holderegger, R., Billeter, R. (2014). Genetische Vielfalt in Wildpflanzen-Samenmischungen. Agrarforschung Schweiz, 5: 20 - 27.
  • Aavik, T., Holderegger, R., Edwards, P.J., Billeter, R. (2013). Patterns of contemporary gene flow suggest low functional connectivity of grasslands in a fragmented agricultural landscape. Journal of Applied Ecology, 50: 395 - 403.
  • Guerrero, I., Morales, M.L.B., Oñate, J.J., Geiger, F., Berendse, F., Snoo, G. de, Eggers, S., Pärt, T., Bengtsson, J., Clement, L.W., Weisser, W.W., Olszewski, A., Ceryngier, P., Hawro, V., Liira, J., Aavik, T., Fischer, C., Thies, C., Tscharntke, T. (2012). Response of ground-nesting farmland birds to agricultural intensification across Europe: landscape and field level management factors. Biological Conservation, 152: 74 - 80.
  • Aavik, T., Edwards, J.P., Holderegger, R., Graf, R., Billeter, R. (2012). Genetic consequences of using seed mixtures in restoration: a case study of a wetland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi. Biological Conservation, 145: 195 - 204.
  • Guerrero, I., Morales, M., Onante, J.J., Aavik, T., Bengtsson, J., Berendse, F., Clement, L., Dennis, C., Eggers, S., Emmerson, M., Fischer, C., Flohre, A., Geiger, F., Hawro, V., Inchausti, P., Kalamees, A., Kinks, R., Liira, J., Melendez, L., Pärt, T., Thies, C., Tscharntke, T., Olszewski, A., Weisser, W. (2011). Taxonomic and functional diversity of farmland bird communities across Europe: effects of biogeography and agricultural intensification. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20: 3663 - 3681.
  • Flohre, A., Fischer, C., Aavik, T., Bengtsson, J., Berendse, F., Bommarco, R., Ceryngier, P., Clement, L.W., Dennis, C., Eggers, S., Emmerson, M., Geiger, F., Guerrero, I., Hawro, V., Inchausti, P., Liira, J., Morales, M.B., Oñate, J.J., Pärt, T., Weisser, W.W., Winqvist, C., Thies, C., Tscharntke, T. (2011). Agricultural intensification and biodiversity partitioning in European landscapes comparing plants, carabids, and birds. Ecological Applications, 21: 1772 - 1781.
  • Winqvist, C., Bengtsson, J., Aavik, T., Berendse, F., Clement, L. W., Eggers, S., Fischer, C., Flohre, A., Geiger, F., Liira, J., Pärt, T., Thies, C., Tscharntke, T., Weisser, W. W., Bommarco, R. (2011). Mixed effects of organic farming and landscape complexity on farmland biodiversity and biological control potential across Europe. Journal of Applied Ecology, 48: 570 - 579.
  • Geiger, F., Bengtsson, J., Berendse, F., Weisser, Wolfgang W., Emmerson, M., Morales, M.B., Ceryngier, P., Liira, J., Tscharntke, T. Winqvist, C., Eggers, S., Bommarco, R., Pärt, T., Bretagnolle, V., Plantegenest, M., Clement, L.W., Dennis, C., Palmer, C., Onate, J.J., Guerrero, I., Hawro, V., Aavik, T., Thies, C., Flohre, A., Hänke, S., Fischer, C., Goedhart, P.W., Inchausti, P. (2010). Persistent negative effects of pesticides on biodiversity and biological control potential on European farmland. Basic and Applied Ecology, 11: 97 - 105.
  • Aavik, T., Liira, J. (2010). Quantifying the effect of organic farming, field boundary type and landscape structure on the vegetation of field boundaries. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 135: 178 - 186.
  • Aavik, T., Püssa, K., Roosaluste, E., Moora, M. (2009). Vegetation change in boreonemoral forest during succession – trends in species composition, richness and differentiation diversity. Annales Botanici Fennici, 46: 326-335.
  • Aavik, T., Liira, J. (2009). Agrotolerant and high nature-value species - plant biodiversity indicator groups in agroecosystems. Ecological Indicators, 9: 892-901.
  • Liira, J., Schmidt, T., Aavik, T., Arens, P., Augenstein, I., Bailey, D., Billeter, R., Bukacek, R., Burel, F., De Blust, G., De Cock, R., Dirksen, J., Edwards, P. J., Hamersky, R., Herzog, F., Klotz, S., Kühn, I., Le Coeur, D., Miklova, P., Roubalova, M., Schweiger, O., Smulders, M. J. M., van Wingerden,W. K. R. E., Bugter, R., Zobel, M. (2008). Plant functional group composition and large-scale species richness in the agricultural landscapes of Europe. Journal of Vegetation Science, 19: 3-14.
  • Aavik, T., Augenstein, I., Bailey, D., Herzog, F., Zobel, M., Liira, J. (2008). What is the role of local landscape structure in the vegetation composition of field boundaries? Applied Vegetation Science, 11: 375-386.
  • Aavik, T., Jõgar, Ü., Liira, J., Tulva, I., Zobel, M. (2008). Plant diversity in a calcareous wooded meadow - The significance of management continuity. Journal of Vegetation Science, 19: 475-484.
  • Liira, J., Aavik, T., Parrest, O., Zobel, M. (2008). Agricultural sector, rural environment and biodiversity in the central and eastern European EU member states. Acta Geographica Debrecina Landscape and Environment Series, 2: 46-64.