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Yuval Zelnik

Yuval Zelnik
I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Plant Ecology unit in the Crop Production Ecology department. My current focus is understanding the dynamics of managed boreal forests under climate change.


I am interested in using numerical and analytical tools to understand complex systems in ecology, in particular relating to their spatial structure and interactions between species and the environment.
In this project, working with Giulia Vico and Samuli Launiainen, I am looking at different mangment practices of boreal forests affects their response to climate change. In particular, we are interested in how more frequency disturbances such as fires and pest outbreak, together with stress due to water shortage, impact primary production in forests and reliability of forests yield.



After studying Physics for my Bachelors and Masters, I moved to the Institutes for Desert Research (BGU), where I did my PhD, studying regime shifts and specifically desertification in dryland ecosystems. For my second postdoc I joined the CNRS station in Moulis, France, where my research focused on ecosystem stability, in particular focusing on the how spatial structure of the ecosystem and of disturbances affects its response to these disturbances, and thus its stability properties.

I then joined SLU to work with Riccardo Bommarco, looking at the effect of nutrient subsidies on food webs. Our goals was to understand how the subsidies trickle up and down the food web, potentially leading to a shift in the system's behavior, and how it relates to various functions of this system, such as the biomass productivity of the primary producers.

Selected publications

Y. R. Zelnik, Y. Mau, M. Shachak, E. Meron, “High-integrity human intervention in ecosystems: Tracking self-organization modes”, PLOS Computational Biology, 17.9:e1009427 (2021).

Y. R. Zelnik, J-F. Arnoldi, M. Loreau, “The three regimes of spatial recovery”, Ecology, 100:2 (2019).

Y. R. Zelnik, J-F. Arnoldi, M. Loreau, “The impact of spatial and temporal dimensions of disturbances on ecosystem stability”, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 6:224 (2018).

Y. R. Zelnik, E. Meron, “Regime shifts by front dynamics”, Ecological Indicators, 94: 544-552 (2018).

Y. R. Zelnik, H. Uecker, U. Feudel, E. Meron,”Desertification by front propagation?“, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 418: 27-35 (2017).

Y. R. Zelnik, E. Meron, G. Bel, “Gradual Regime Shifts in Fairy Circles”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112.40:12327-12331 (2015).


Researcher at the Department of Crop Production Ecology; Plant Ecology
Telephone: +4618672409
Postal address:
Inst för växtproduktionsekologi, Box 7043
750 07 UPPSALA
Visiting address: Ulls väg 16, Uppsala