Interactions between plants and animals are universal, of fundamental economic and ecological importance. The Plant-Animal Interactions Working Group at the University of Alberta was established to facilitate, co-ordinate and develop teaching and research, across the University, in the multidisciplinary area of plant-animal interactions. PLAI's aim is to promote collaborative research and teaching in the area of plant-animal interactions, by facilitating discussion and interaction among plant molecular biologists, geneticists, plant and animal ecologists, entomologists and pest managers. Rapid technical advances are providing new research opportunities at many scales, from field to greenhouse to laboratory. 

This group is centered around active collaborative projects among the members, combining the strengths of new appointments with those of existing academic staff (5 of 11 hired in the last 5 years).  Unifying these researchers is an emphasis on experimental studies designed to understand the basic biology of plant-animal interactions.  Their expertise and interests are focused on integrating processes at all levels, ranging from gene expression to population and community ecology, landscape ecology, and ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling.  The research includes basic and applied science, with most members conducting studies at several places along this continuum. 

This breadth in research goals is reflected in the great diversity of experimental systems used by members of this working group.  Research is currently conducted in Grasslands, sub-arctic Alpine, Boreal Forest, Aspen Parkland, Semi-Arid Environments, Australian woodlands, Urban-Rural Gradients, Agricultural, Rangeland, and Forestry Systems, the University of Alberta Biotron, and with computer modeling. 

This group is further strengthened by collaborations with other plant-animal researchers on campus, and in governmental agencies located in Edmonton (ARC, CWS, CFS, Alberta Agriculture). 

Specific area of research within the group include the following five areas.

This page last updated 12/18/00