Selected recent publications

Deák, B., Bede, Á., Rádai, Z., Tóthmérész, B., Török, P., Nagy D., D., Torma, A., Lőrinczi, G., Nagy, A., Mizser, S., Kelemen, A. & Valkó, O. (2021): Different extinction debts among plants and arthropods after loss of grassland amount and connectivity. Biological Conservation 264: 109372.

Deák, B., Kovács, B., Rádai, Z., Apostolova, I., Kelemen, A., Kiss, R., Lukács, K., Palpurina, S., Sopotlieva, D., Báthori, F. & Valkó, O. (2021): Linking environmental heterogeneity and plant diversity: the ecological role of small natural features in homogeneous landscapes. Science of the Total Environment 763: 144199.

Deák, B., Rádai, Z., Bátori, Z., Kelemen, A., Lukács, K., Kiss, R., Maák, I.E. & Valkó, O. (2021): Ancient burial mounds provide safe havens for grassland specialist plants in transformed landscapes - A trait-based analysis. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: 619812.

Deák, B., Báthori, F., Lőrinczi, G., Végvári, Z., Nagy D., D., Mizser, S., Torma, A., Valkó, O. & Tóthmérész, B. (2021): Functional composition of ant assemblages in habitat islands is driven by habitat factors and landscape composition. Scientific Reports 11: 20962.

Deák, B. (2020): Nature and Culture: The Role of Ancient Burial Mounds in the Conservation of Eurasian Steppe Vegetation. Centre for Ecological Research, Tihany, pp. 172.

Balázs Deák

DSc, Scientific Advisor


Research interests

Conservation role of habitat islands in agricultural landscapes

Due to the intensification of land use a vast amount of natural habitats had been lost during the past centuries. As a result, in lowland agricultural landscapes natural habitats such as dry grasslands become fragmented and present in habitat islands embedded in agricultural fields. In our studies we aim at exploring the conservation potential of island-like grassland habitats, and factors that might influence their biodiversity and species composition. We especially focus on the composition and configuration of present and past landscapes that can considerably influence meta-population dynamics in these habitats.

Environmental heterogeneity driven biodiversity

Environmental heterogeneity has an important role in the maintenance of small scale structural and species diversity of terrestrial communities. By ensuring the co-existence of microhabitats characterised by contrasting environmental conditions (such as micro-climate or soil properties) heterogeneous environments can highly support the co-existence of species with different habitat preferences. In our studies we aim to reveal how environmental heterogeneity can maintain high species richness in extensive and in island-like grassland habitats, and how can it accelerate spontaneous grassland recovery in semi-natural landscapes.

Linkage between cultural heritage protection and biodiversity conservation

Recent studies revealed that in certain cases sacred, cultural and historical sites situated in transformed landscapes can act as safe havens for several species typical to natural habitats. The reason for that the maintenance of traditional land use practices and the respect of the local communities avoid land use intensification on these sites. In our studies we aim to reveal the biodiversity potential of ancient (Bronze Age) burial mounds that are iconic and widespread landmarks of continental Eurasia. In a series of studies we explore the conservation values and ecosystem services confined to the mounds, the local and landscape-level factors that influence their species composition, factors that threaten their biota and their potential in increasing the effectiveness of agri-environmental schemes.