Institute of Evolution and Ecology (EvE)

Dr. Maria Májeková

Find me on: Research Gate and Google Scholar

My Research

My research focuses on
(1) the relationship between temporal stability, synchrony and plant strategies mediated via functional traits,
(2) plant water economics explicitly linking physiological and morphological traits to soil water conditions along gradients and under the scenarios of climate change, and
(3) plant behavior, decision-making and memory under competition.

 I combine fieldwork on semi-natural gradients with long-term field experiments and greenhouse experiments on individual, population and communtity level.

Current Projects

2023-2026 | DFG Priority Programme Biodiversity Exploratories
ExploreNiche: Belowground and temporal niche partitioning along land-use gradients in grasslands
PhD candidate: Sepideh Golshani
Master student: Undine Schoellkopf
Master student: Johanna Harrison

2021-2024 | DFG
Plant traits as determinants of population and community stability
PhD candidate: Johanne Gresse
Master student: Lukas Janke

2021-2023 | Seed grant for joint projects on Africa by the Universities of Hohenheim and Tübingen
Plant functional traits as determinants of species vulnerability to global change in the South African Cape Floristic Region
Co-Pi: Dr. Joern Pagel
Master student: Rosa Kramp

Professional Experience

07/2021 – present | Junior Group Leader (tenured)
University of Tübingen, Plant Ecology Group, Germany (Plant Ecology group)

12/2018 – 06/2021 | Assistant Professor
University of Tübingen, Plant Ecology Group, Germany (Plant Ecology group)

11/2016 – 11/2018 | Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Tübingen, Plant Ecology Group, Germany (with Katja Tielbörger)
‘Selection for leaf symmetry along stress gradients’
‘Decision-making in plants under competition’ & ‘Memory in plants’

09/2014 – 10/2016 | Junior Lecturer
Comenius University in Bratislava, Department of Soil Science, Slovakia (Prof. Elena Masarovičová)
‘Mechanisms of physiological drought tolerance in plants’

09/2014 – present | Visiting Scientist
University of South Bohemia, Plant Functional Ecology Group, Czech Republic (with Jan Lepš and Francesco de Bello)
‘Plant functional traits as determinants of population and community stability’


Academic Education

10/2014 | PhD
Comenius University in Bratislava, Department of Soil Science, Slovakia
Mentors: E. Masarovičová, I. Vykouková, F. de Bello, J. Lepš
‘Plant functional traits as determinants of population and community processes and patterns’

05/2009 | MSc
Comenius University in Bratislava, Department of Soil Science, Slovakia
Mentor: I. Vykouková
‘Evaluation of phytosociologic and ecologic conditions of floodplain forests in the SE part of Bratislava’


Majekova, M., Springer, B., Ferenc, V., Gruntman, M., & Tielbörger, K. 2024. Leaf fluctuating asymmetry is not a reliable indicator of stress. Functional Ecology

Weides S., Hájek T., Liancourt P., Herberich M.M., Kramp R.E., Tomiolo S., Pacheco-Riaño L.C, Tielbörger K., Májeková M. 2023. Belowground niche partitioning is maintained under extreme drought. Ecology e4198.

Conti L., Valencia E., Galland T., Götzenberger L., Lepš J., Vojtkó A. E., Carmona C. P., Májeková M., LOTVS concorcium, de Bello F. 2023. Functional traits trade-offs define plant population stability across biomes.  Proceedings Royal Society B 290(2001): 2023–0344.

Krehl A., Schoellkopf U., Májeková M., Tielbörger K., Tomiolo S. 2022. Effects of plastic fragments size and concentration on plant performance are mediated by soil properties and water availability. Scientific Reports 12: 17771.

Kramp R.E., Liancourt P., Herberich M.M., Weides S., Tielbörger K., Májeková M. 2022. Functional traits and their plasticity shift from tolerant to avoidant under extreme drought. Ecology 2022: 103:e3826.

Mudrák O., Hrabovský A., Dvorský M., Liancourt P., Albert A.J., Doležal J., Čierniková M., Hölzel H., Májeková M. 2022. Grasslands restoration on former arable land: fine scale grass accumulation and damaged soil conditions limit successful species establishment. Applied Vegetation Science 25:e12665.

Rauschkolb R., Li Z., Godefroid S., Dixon L., Durka W., Májeková M., Bossdorf O., Ensslin A., Scheepens J.F. 2022. Evolution of drought strategies and herbivore resistance after two decades of climate change in European plants. New Phytologist 235: 773–785.

Braun L., Kadmon R., Tomiolo S., Májeková M., Tielbörger K. 2022. Is more less? A comprehensive experimental test of soil depth effects on grassland diversity. Oikos 2022: 08535.

de Bello F., Lavorel S., Hallett L.M., Valencia E., Garnier E., Götzenberger L., Roscher C., Conti L., Galland T., Goberna M., Májeková M., Montesinos A., Pausas J., Verdú M., Vojtkó A. E., Lepš J. 2021. Functional trait effects on ecosystem stability: the jigsaw puzzle. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 36 (9): 822-836.

Májeková M., Hájek T., Albert A.J, de Bello F., Doležal J., Goetzenbetger L., Lepš J., Liancourt P., Mudrák O. 2021. Weak coordination between leaf drought tolerance and proxy traits in herbaceous plants. Functional Ecology 35 (6): 1299-1311.

Albert A.J., Götzenberger L., Jongepierová I., Konečná M., Lőkkösné-Kelbertf B., Májeková M., Mudrák O., Klimešová J. 2021. Restoration of ecosystem services: seed production in restored and ancient grasslands. Applied Vegetation Science 24 (3): e12597.

Brown J.J., Mennicken S., Capichoni Massante J., Dijoux S., Telea A., Benedek A.M., Goetzenberger L., Májeková M., Lepš J., Šmilauer P., Hrček J., de Bello F. 2019. A novel method to predict dark diversity using unconstrained ordination analysis. Journal of Vegetation Science 30: 610–619.

Májeková M., Martinková J., Hájek T.  2019. Grassland plants show no relationship between leaf drought tolerance and soil moisture affinity, but rapidly adjust to changes in soil moisture. Functional Ecology 33: 784-785.

Lepš J., Májeková M., Vítová A., Doležal J., de Bello F. 2018. Stabilizing effects in temporal fluctuations: management, traits and species richness in high-diversity communities. Ecology 99(2): 360-371.

Gruntman M., Groß D., Májeková M., Tielbörger K. 2017. Decision-making in plants under competition. Nature Communications 8(1).

Lewis R.J., de Bello F., Bennett J.A., Fibich P., Finerty G.E., Götzenberger L., Hiiesalu I., Kasari L., Lepš J., Májeková M., Mudrák O., Riibak K., Ronk A., Rychtecká T., Vitová A., Pärtel M. 2017. Dark diversity: Its potential application for nature conservation. Conservation Biology 31 (1): 40-47.

Májeková M.*, Paal T.*, Plowman N. S.*, Bryndová M., Kasari L., Norberg A., Weiss M., Bishop T. R., Luke S. H., Sam K., Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y., Lepš J., Götzenberger L., de Bello F. 2016. Evaluating functional diversity: missing trait data and the importance of species abundance structure and data transformation. PLoS ONE 11(2):e0149270, *equal contribution.

Májeková M., Janeček Š., Mudrák O., Horník J., Janečková P., Bartoš M., Fajmon K., Jiráská Š., Götzenberger L., Šmilauer P., Lepš J., de Bello F. 2016. Consistent functional response of meadow species and communities to land-use changes across productivity and soil moisture gradients. Applied Vegetation Science 19(2): 196-205.

Masarovičová E., Májeková M., Vykouková I. 2016. Functional traits and plasticity of plants. In: Pessarakli, M. (ed.): Handbook of photosynthesis. Third edition. CRC Press. pp. 487-501.

Májeková M., de Bello F., Doležal J., Lepš J. 2014. Plant functional traits as determinants of population stability. Ecology 95(9): 2369-2374.


Winter Semester
Pflanzenökologie I / Plant Ecology I (Bio-3068)
Advanced Biometry (Bio-4008) – Multivariate analyses
Projektmodul Vegetationsökologie (Bio-7002-VÖ)
M.Sc. Seminar Geoecology (not every year)

Summer Semester
Botanik (Bio104) Practicum
Ökologie und Biodiversität II (ÖB II) (Bio128) Practicum
Biotic Interactions: Plant-Animal Interactions (Bio-3132)
Plant Ecology II (Bio-4214)
Projektmodul Vegetationsökologie (Bio-7002)