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Researcher

Willem-Jan Emsens

  • Research interest:Willem-Jan Emsens is eco-hydrologist, vegetation scientist, restoration ecologist and biogeochemist. He studies the relationships between vegetation, biogeochemistry and microbial communities, and aims to gain a better understanding of the functioning of biodiverse ecosystems. Key to his research is to investigate if and how we can restore heavily degraded ecosystems, with a focus on grasslands and wetlands. His PhD thesis dealt with the restoration of small sedge and brown moss communities in iron-rich peatlands.His line of research is based on the idea that one cannot fully comprehend the functioning of an ecosystem based on one scientific discipline, or solely by the study of one group of taxa. Therefore, his research is usually interdisciplinary, with a combined use of techniques from different fields of science (e.g. hydrochemistry, biogeochemistry, vegetation science, botany, microbiology, zoology, etc.).He is currently involved in several projects, amongst others a study on microbial communities in pristine, drained and rewetted peatlands across Europe (as part of BiodivERsa and FWO). Here, he investigates interactions between micriobial community composition, plant functional traits, nitrogen deposition and the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4).
  • Keywords:ECOSYSTEM STUDY, NITROGEN, INCREASED ATMOSHPERIC CO2, MARSH VEGETATION, ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION, MARSHY MEADOWS, EXPERIMENTAL STUDY, Biology
  • Disciplines:Biogeochemistry, Community ecology, Global ecology, Soil ecology, Plant ecology, Carbon sequestration science, Land capability and soil degradation
  • Research techniques:Biogeochemistry (e.g. analysis of nutrient availability, base saturation, C-fluxes, etc. in/from soils)Hydrochemisty (analysis of water quality)Vegetation science/plant sciences (Botany, vegetation relevées, analysis of light availability,...)Data-analysis and statistics using R
  • Users of research expertise:ResearchersNature conservationists and conservation agenciesGovernmental organisationsPolicy makersVolunteers or people with interest in nature (conservation)