Dr Irena Maček (team leader)

I have a joint appointment at University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, and University of Primorska, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies (FAMNIT) in Koper, Slovenia, where I am a lecturer in Plant Physiology and Environmental Microbiology. After graduation in Biology I continued with my Ph.D. at University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, researching the response of plant roots and soil microorganisms to high concentrations of geological CO2 and a consequent soil hypoxia in mofettes (natural COsprings). After the Ph.D. I worked for two years in private sector as a Project Manager in Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments. With a post-doctoral project, awarded in 2007 by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) , I have returned back to research.

Irena Macek

Since then I have been working as a principal investigator in three national (ARRS) and several international projects – a joint project in collaboration with the University of York, funded by the Royal Society, a Swiss Contribution project with the Swiss institute Agroscope and a running Swiss National Science Foundation funded project SCOPES (Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland), together with the Swiss and Serbian partners. The focus of my research is in plant-soil interactions, soil microbial biodiversity and community ecology, where – since the beginning of my research career – the main stress remains on my pet subject arbuscular mycorrhiza – the symbiosis between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi.

Dr Nataša Šibanc (post-doctoral researcher)

After finishing university degree in Agronomy, Nataša Šibanc finished her Ph.D. in the study of Biosciences at Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. In April 2014, she successfully defended her thesis titled ‘Biodiversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and selected groups of rhizosphere microorganisms from natural CO2 springs’. She works as a postdoctoral researcher in the frame of the ongoing projects within Irena Maček’s  group, mostly on biodiversity and ecology of soil microorganisms, with the main focus on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In addition, she is employed as a teaching assistant at University of Primorska, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies (FAMNIT) in Koper, Slovenia, where she teaches laboratory practicum in Environmental Microbiology, Plant Physiology, Bioinformatics Practice, Basic Population Genetics, and Advanced Topics in Conservation Biology.

For the Specific Project Teams and International Collaboration

See the Research section.



Kirsty J. Matthews Nicholass (visiting PhD student from University of Essex, UK)

Yasmin Piñuela Samaniego (international student, supported by the COST FA1103 Short Term Scientific Mission – STSM)

Is a visiting student from Spain, interested in mofette ecosystems and the impacts of high soil CO2 concentrations on plant root and arbuscular mycorrhiza development.

Janja Rudolf (post-graduate student at UL BF)

Is a post-graduate student with her research topic on the interaction of soil fungi and plant root parasitic nematodes.

Gregor Mlakar (graduate student at UP FAMNIT)

Is a graduate student with his topic on the impact of different fertilizers on AM fungi.

 Karina Soklič (student help)

Klavdija Strmšek (student help)

Ana Oreški (student help)

Boštjan Zupanc (student help)

Domen Kjuder (student help)


Ex Members of the Group

Patricija Ludvik (MSc in Agronomy)

Is a graduate student with her topic on arbuscular mycorrhiza in Allium sativum and Valerianella locusta.

Mag. Tine Palčič (has finished post-graduate study at UL BF)

His research topic was on ericoid mycorrhiza and biodiversity of endophytic fungi in blueberry roots.

Dominika Thiem (international PhD student, supported by the COST FP1305 Short Term Scientific Mission – STSM)

Dominika visited our lab in Oct/Nov 2015. She is a Ph.D. student at the Nicolaus Copernicous University (Toruń, Poland) under the supervision of Prof Katarzyna Hrynkiewicz. Dominika is interested in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in saline environments.

Peter Atanackov (BSc in Biodiversity)

Peter has graduated in September 2015 with his topic on elevated CO2 impacts on arbuscular mycorrhiza (FACE experinent). Congratulations Peter!

Mojca Hrovatič (BSc in Agronomy)

Mojca has graduated in May 2015 with her topic on arbuscular mycorrhiza and its application in sustainable agriculture. Congratulations Mojca!

Dr Martin Kavšček (MSc in Biology)

Borut Kosi (MSc in Agronomy)