Title: Ecological restoration of mine tailings using facilitation.
Mine tailings are witnesses of exploitation of ore bodies that took place several decades ago. These tailings are an important part of the 100 000 heavy-metal polluted sites that require urgent rehabilitation in Europe. They represent a sizeable source of contaminated material spreadable in the environment. Despite toxic substrates, rare heritage plant communities, metallicolous grasslands, established gradually over many years. Thus, this project aims to assess the role of plant-plant interactions in tailings, both as a key system to understand variation in plant-plant interactions along stress gradients and as a possible restoration tool. In high elevation sites these tailings are particularely stressful (high metal toxicity and cold stress) and thus, particularely adapted to test facilitation theory arguing that facilitation should increase with increasing stress. However, the application of this theory to metallic-stress gradients is scarce. During this project the candidate will set up the first experimentations with the following aims : (i) precising the functional strategies of plant species occurring on the sites, (ii) beginning the first plant transplantations along metallic-stress gradients in order to quantify nurse effects. The main objective is to test the effect of the main nurse species to assess the validity of the proposed methods. This master 2 subject is the first step before a PhD thesis funded by the ANR Six-P.
Funding of the project : ANR Six-P.