Prof. Dr.


Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Room 7F415
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels | Belgium


The research of Prof. Dr. Ludwig Triest focuses on the biodiversity and ecology of macrophytes (aquatic- and wetland plants, seagrasses, mangrove trees) in Europe, Africa and Asia. The topics on ‘Conservation Ecology’ we experience together with our bachelor-, master- and Ph.D. students on the field and in the lab, comprise several biological levels of organization and research methods. DNA markers allow insights in gene diversity, dispersal and evolution of plant species in lakes, rivers, lagoons and coastal areas. Field techniques and sensor measurements inform about the ecological status of aquatic habitats. Five topics actually deserve our upmost attention:

  • Conservation Genetics’ because gene diversity is important for the survival of populations. Inbreeding, drift, gene flow and hybridization are estimated on basis of DNA polymorphisms.
  • Population and Dispersal Ecology’ closely relates to these aspects with further analyses on seed dispersal and pollen exchange between populations. Short and long distance dispersal is examined in experimental field designs.
  • Biological Invasions’ are extreme situations of unstoppable dispersal. Aquarium and field experiments deliver new information on the degree of such impact on native biodiversity.
  • Pond restoration and management’ focuses on the relationship of submerged vegetation with phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish. Our research at pond level delivers new insights for appropriate management of Brussels ponds.
  • Freshwater Bio-indicators’ allow us to update ecological evaluation methods of rivers and lakes.

De Backer S, Van Onsem S, Triest L (2010). Influence of submerged vegetation and fish abundance on water clarity in peri-urban eutrophic ponds. Hydrobiologia 656: 255–276.

Stiers I, Crohain N, Josens G, Triest L (2011) Impact of three aquatic invasive species on native plants and macroinvertebrates in temperate ponds. Biological Invasion 13: 2715–2726.

Triest L, Sierens T (2011) Is the genetic structure of Mediterranean Ruppia shaped by bird-mediated dispersal or sea currents? Aquatic Botany 10.1016/j.aquabot.2011.09.009.