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Plant Ecophysiology Laboratory

Ilona Mészáros associate professor
Viktor Oláh senior lecturer
Balázs Adorján assistant research fellow

Balázs Nyitrai PhD student
József Kis PhD student
Zita Demeter predoctor
Erzsébet Szőllősi predoctor
Péter Kanalas predoctor
Judit Kovács-Juhászné research assistant

Main fields of research, main activities

We focus on analysis of relationships between plant functional traits and environment, and study of plants responses to fluctuations and extremes of environmental factors and protective mechanisms at cell, individual and population levels

Research topics

Ecophysiological plasticity and stress tolerance of deciduous forest tree species. Effects of climate change and UVB radiation on physiology and vitality of main forest species, and its stand-level influences.
Screening the effects of environmental contaminants in ecotoxicological tests by means of growth, physiological and biochemical markers. Effects of stress factors on life cycle of aquatic plants and assessment of stress responses in different life stages.


Field meteorological station (temperature, precipitation, wind and sunlight monitoring) and high temporal resolution monitoring systems have been installed in field for assessing density of xylem sap flux, stem radial increment (dendrometers). Furthermore, a mobile ecophysiological laboratory have been developed for „campaign-like” measurements of physiological processes and traits (infrared gas analyzer, PAM fluorometers, porometer, leaf water potential measuring equipment). Protective processes and metabolites against stress (xantophyll cycle, accumulation of flavonoids, antocyanins) are analysed by HPLC and spectrophotometric methods. The infrastructure and methodology for laboratory assessment of aquatic plants is carried out according to the instructions of international standards (OECD and ISO guidelines for duckweed tests). Instrumentation and methodology for physiological investigations is shared with facilities of deciduous tree assessments (PAM fluorimeters, metabolite analyses).

Research projects

OTKA K101552 Effect of climate fluctuations on growth, carbon allocation and water relations of tree species in mixed forest stands (Principal investigator: Ilona Mészáros) 2012-2015
Life+ Environment Project LIFE08 ENV/IT/000339 EnvEurope. Environmental quality and pressures assessment across Europe: the LTER network as an integrated and shared system for ecosystem monitoring (UD Principal investigator: Ilona Mészáros) 2010-2014

International cooperations and actions

FPS COST Action FP1106 Studying Tree Responses to extreme Events: a SynthesiS (STReESS) 2013-2016 (MC member: Mészáros Ilona)
COST MixForest FPS COST Action FP1206 European mixed forests - Integrating Scientific Knowledge in Sustainable Forest Management. (EuMIXFOR) (2013-2017) (MC member: Ilona Mészáros)
LTER-Europe Network: Long Term Ecological Research Network, Europe

Selected publications

Demeter Z, Kanalas P, Máthé C, Cseke K, Szőllősi E, M-Hamvas M, Jámbrik K, Kiss Z, Mészáros I 2014: Osmotic stress responses of individual white oak (Quercus section, Quercus subgenus) genotypes cultured in vitro. JOURNAL OF PLANT PHYSIOLOGY 171: 16-24.

Mészáros I, Kanalas P, Fenyvesi A, Kis J, Nyitrai B, Szőllősi E, Oláh V, Demeter Z, Lakatos Á, Ander I 2011: Diurnal and seasonal changes in stem radius increment and sap flow density indicate different responses of two co-existing oak species to environmental stress. ACTA SILVATICA ET LIGNARIA HUNGARICA 7: pp. 97-108.

Oláh V, Lakatos Gy, Bertók Cs, Kanalas P, Szőllősi E, Kis J, Mészáros I 2010: Short-term chromium (VI) stress induces different photosynthetic responses in two duckweed species, Lemna gibba L. and Lemna minor L. PHOTOSYNTHETICA 48: 513-520.

Paillet Y, Bergès L, Hjältén J, Ódor P, Avon C, Bernhardt-Römermann M, Bijlsma R-J, De Bruyn L, Fuhr M, Grandin U, Kanka R, Lundin L, Luque S, Magura T, Matesanz S, Mészáros I, Sebastià M-T, Schmidt W, Standovár T, Tóthmérész B, Uotila A, Valladares F, Vellak K, Virtanen R 2010: Biodiversity differences between managed and unmanaged forests: Meta-analysis of species richness in Europe. CONSERVATION BIOLOGY 24: 101-112.

Láposi R, Veres S, Lakatos G, Oláh V, Fieldsend A, Mészáros I 2009: Responses of leaf traits of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) saplings to supplemental UV-B radiation and UV-B exclusion. AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY 149: 745-755.