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Anja M Ödman, PhD

 

I am an ecologist with a specialisation in plants and plant-soil interactions, but with a broad interest which also includes environmental science and, more specifically, applied and cross-disciplinary research. My main research interests are in conservation and restoration ecology, and lately also in urban ecology.   

I have a MSc degree in Biology from Gothenburg University (2006) and I did my PhD studies in Environmental Science at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC) and the Department of Biology, Lund University, from which I graduated in 2012. During my PhD studies, I worked with the history and restoration of sandy grasslands with a special focus on xeric sand calcareous grassland in southern Sweden (Natura 2000 habitat 6120). The aim of the project was to improve the knowledge behind the restoration and conservation of these grasslands and the project was carried out in cooperation with conservation practitioners at the County administrative board in Skåne, Sweden.

I am currently employed as a research assistant at CEC, working on a synthesis in the subject of ”Land-sharing vs. land-sparing”.

Research topics

Disturbance regimes in dry sandy grasslands past, present and future

During my PhD, I worked with the history and restoration of sandy grasslands with a special focus on xeric sand calcareous grassland in southern Sweden (Natura 2000 habitat 6120). The aim of the project was to improve the restoration and conservation of these grasslands and the project was carried out in cooperation with conservation practitioners at the County administrative board in Skåne, Sweden.

A number of sandy grassland habitats of interest for biodiversity conservation can be found in Europe. One such habitat is the threatened xeric sand calcareous grassland, which is home to a large number of endangered species. It is characterized by a discontinuous vegetation cover (a lot of bare sand), mainly consisting of stress-tolerant species favoured by nutrient-poor and dry conditions, and a high pH in the topsoil. The xeric sand calcareous grassland habitat has declined during the last centuries due to intensification of farming, afforestation, abandonment, acidification and nutrient enrichment.

Understanding the land use history has proven crucial for the conservation of biodiversity in the agricultural landscape. As a part of my project, the land use at a number of xeric sand calcareous grassland areas was traced back to the 18th century, and land use history was compared with the amount of bare sand and the lime content in these areas today. Previous agricultural activity was found to have created these habitats in flat areas lacking natural disturbance. However, ploughing was probably not the factor retaining lime in the top soil. Instead, it seems very likely that it was the wind erosion, promoted by cultivation, which counteracted depletion by exposing the lime rich sand. It was also found that the largest changes in land use took place more than 100 years ago.

The second part of the project tested the possible use of soil disturbance as a way to restore xeric sand calcareous grassland, investigating the restoration potential of topsoil removal (0.3-0.5 m) and soil perturbation (1 m) in degenerated xeric sand calcareous grassland. Restoration actions performed in 2006 resulted in increased pH and reduced nitrogen availability. Early colonisation of the key species Koeleria glauca after both deep perturbation and topsoil removal was found. The proportion of target species in 2012 was 20% after topsoil removal and 7% after deep perturbation, compared to 30% in target vegetation, and less than 1% in controls. The increased pH after soil perturbation also resulted in increased species richness of bryophytes. Six red-listed beetle species associated with open, dry grasslands were found after soil perturbation, out of which four were found only in perturbated plots.

The availability of propagules is a key factor for the re-establishment of plant species in grasslands after restoration. The seed rain and the seed bank of xeric sand calcareous grassland were investigated with the aim to assess the potential contribution of soil seed bank and natural seed rain for the re-establishment of threatened plant species after habitat restoration. Most target species had a negligible persistent seed bank. Many target species were well-represented in the within-patch seed rain, but seed dispersal seemed to be very limited beyond the natal population.

Publications

Thesis

Ödman, A. M. (2012). Disturbance regimes in dry sandy grasslands – past, present and future. Doctoral thesis, Lund University.

Popular science writing (in swedish)

Ödman, A. M. (2013). Wikiscience 4 – Förlusten av biologisk mångfald. Editor: Dan Wilhelmsson, Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS). http://www.sseess.org/wikiscience/wikiscience-4-forlusten-av-biologisk-mangfald

Ödman, A. M. (2013). Sandstäppen i Skåne – dåtid, nutid och framtid. Invited manuscript, Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift, 107: 73-79.

Olsson, P. A., Mårtensson, L.-M., Schnoor, T. & Ödman, A. M. (2010). Med traktorgrävare i naturvårdens tjänst. Biodiverse, 15: 12-14.

Peer-review

Olsson, P. A. & Ödman, A. M. (2013). Natural Establishment of Specialist Plant Species after Topsoil Removal and Soil Perturbation in Degenerated Calcareous Sandy Grassland. Restoration ecology, doi: 10.1111/rec.12024.

Hydbom, S., Ödman, A.M., Olsson, P.A. & Cronberg, N. The relation between bryophytes and pH and disturbance in sandy calcareous grassland in southern Sweden. Nordic Journal of Botany 30: 446–452.

Ödman, A. M., Schnoor, T., Ripa, J. & Olsson, P. A. (2012). Soil disturbance as a restoration measure in xeric sand calcareous grasslands. Biodiversity and Conservation, 21:1921–1935.

Ödman, A. M., Mårtensson, L-.M., Sjöholm, C. & Olsson, P. A. (2011). Immediate responses in soil chemistry, vegetation and ground beetles to soil perturbation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 20:3039-3058.

Björk, R. G., Klemedtsson L., Harndorf, J., Ödman, A. M. & Giesler R. (2007). Linkages between N turnover and plant community structure in a tundra landscape. Plant Soil, 294: 247-261.


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Last modified 3 Mar 2014

Bild Anja Ödman
Contact

Dr. Anja M Ödman

Researcher

E-mail:

Anja.Ödman[at]biol.lu.se

Phone:

+46 (0)733 696456  (cell phone)

Address:

Sölvegatan 37, SE-22362 Lund, Sweden

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Stor Sandlilja
Stor Sandlilja
Lund University, Box 117, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden. Tel: +46 (0)46 222 00 00