Kenny Helsen

Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Biology
+47 73596068
Høgskoleringen 5, Realfagbygget * DU2-130

Background and activities

My research, here at NTNU, explores the processes determining plant species invasion effects on ecosystem functioning. More specifically, I focus on the effects of the problematic invasive plant Impatiens glandulifera on nutrient pools and litter decomposition across a latitudinal gradient in Europe. By comparing the impact of this invasive species along different latitudes and within different plant communities, this study allows me to evaluate the influence of i) species richness of the native communites, ii) functional trait composition of the native communities, and iii) environmental variation, on the net invasive species effects on ecosystem functioning. To achieve these insights, I will combine data from an experimental greenhouse experiment with data from an extensive field campaign across Europe (ranging from Belgium to Norway), with the help of the international FLEUR network.

My main research background lies in plant community ecology and plant population genetics. More specifically my PhD research at the University of Leuven (Belgium) focused on the patterns and processes shaping community assembly outcome following calcareous grassland restoration. This research focussed on changes in both species composition and functional diversity patterns during assembly, diversity patterns of (neutral) genetic diversity (SSR markers) during population colonization and changes in the soil seed bank of communities under progressing aboveground assembly.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Helsen, Kenny; Hermy, Martin; Honnay, Olivier. (2013) Ecological restoration of semi-natural grasslands and their effects on plant species, functional traits and genetic diversity. 2013. ISBN 978-90-8649-657-0.