Projects

Provisioning and stability of multiple ecosystem services in agroecosystems

Funding: EU AgreenSkills + framework (2015-2018). Role: Principal Investigator.

Brief summary: The goal of the project is to develop a theory on the provisioning and stability of multiple ecosystem services (ES) and their synergies and trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes. In agricultural landscapes, several networks involving bee pollinators and habitats at local and landscape scales seem to co-exist independently of each other, e.g. semi-natural elements are important for wild bees’ but compete for land use with crops. However, these networks are related, through their dependency on shared limiting resources. Farmland systems are also characterised by strong temporal variation, possibly leading to unstable dynamics in biodiversity or trophic relationships within communities or metacommunities. Consequently, trade-offs between the magnitude and stability of these ES and the magnitude and/or stability of crop production may occur through competition for space and habitat conversion, and the use of pesticides and herbicides in crops that also kill beneficial pollinators and weeds. Our goal is to offer new perspectives on farmland landscape management that better take into account the spatiotemporal dynamics of multiple ES, with two main aims: develop a theoretical framework of stability of multiple ES in heterogeneous landscapes, and study the ecological consequences of landscape management policies that take into account the stability of ES in addition to the magnitude in their provision. Read more

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The Combined Effects of Climatic Warming and Habitat Fragmentation on Biodiversity, Community Dynamics and Ecosystem Functioning (FRAGCLIM)

Funding: European Research Council (H2020). 2017-2022. Role: Research colaborador.

Brief summary: The goal is to determine the individual and combined effects of climatic warming and habitat fragmentation on biodiversity, community dynamics, and ecosystem functioning in complex multitrophic communities. To achieve this, it uses an integrative approach that combines the development of new theory on metacommunities and temperature-dependent food web dynamics in close dialogue with a unique long-term aquatic mesocosm experiment. Read more

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Food Webs at the Landscape Level: Are We Missing the Wood for the Trees?

Funding: NERC Grant (NE/K006568/1). Role: Researcher co-Investigator.

Brief summary: Food webs have improved dramatically in quality over the last 20 years. From dots representing species joined by lines of interactions they have become fully quantified and with new theoretical foundations. Entire new network industries such as pollination networks and seed dispersal networks have become well established in the literature. However, the vast majority of terrestrial webs produced over the last 20 years are both guild-specific and habitat-specific, because ecologists (quite sensibly) delimit their networks in order to make the job of network construction tractable. In reality, all food webs host multiple guilds and transcend different habitats, and researchers are only just starting to link together multiple networks into networks of networks. Our aim is to determine how working at the wider scale of the landscape (defined as a mosaic of habitats) affects our understanding of the structure and functioning of ecological networks. Thus, are landscape webs simply the sum of their habitat webs, or do they have emergent properties that cannot be predicted from component webs? Read more

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Estimating recovery time of temperate forests after anthropogenic impacts along a complexity gradient

Funding: Spanish National Research Agency. 2016-2018. Role: Research collaborator

Brief summary: This empirical study studies the effect of mine abandonment on the recovery of ecological network complexity. Complexity is measured as the amount of links with different interaction strengths found in plant – mycorrhizal fungi – fungivorous insect networks. Using 14C and dendrochronology, we build a chronosequence of the last 300 years within one mining area in Navarre (Northern Spain) and construct the regional network. Species interactions strengths are estimated in laboratory and greenhouse experiments. We expect that as recovery progresses interaction networks become more structurally entangled but also more resilient to further disturbances. Read more

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Ecosystem recovery in ancient Norse settlements of Greenland

Funding: National Geographic (2018-). Role: Research collaborator.

Brief summary: Experimental studies on ecosystem recovery are short term, but the recovery process may take much longer, as shown by paleo-ecological studies. In this project, we apply space-for-time substitutions to build chrono-sequences of the restoration of several components of biodiversity and functioning of degraded ecosystems. We use this approach to Old Norse settlements of South-west Greenland abandoned in c. 1450 AD. This pilot study aims to investigate changes in the structure and stability of plant-mycorrhizal-fungi networks in response to perturbations, in this case hay cropping, and after such perturbations ceased.

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Does range expansion leave enemies behind? Butterfly pathogen and parasitoid communities in response to climate change

Funding: British Ecological Society (Large Research Grant 4970/6011). Role: Principal Investigator.

Brief summary: Global climate change is having widespread effects on species’ distributions, causing range shifts in many species to track suitable climatic conditions. These range shifts can alter community interactions in the expanded margins, such as the diversity of enemies that species encounter, which in turn will have further effects on species’ responses to climate change. To make predictions on biodiversity responses to global warming, it is thus important to take such community interactions into account. This project investigates how range shifts affect the enemy diversity (parasitoids and pathogens) of three UK butterflies that have expanded their range in the last decade in response to climate change. The interdisciplinary project, in collaboration with scientists and practitioners (Butterfly Conservation, Avon Wildlife Trust) brings together the fields of community ecology, climate change and metagenomics. The results from this study will increase our understanding of species and community responses to climate change, and can help inform nature conservation management and policy.

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BIOSTASES (BIOdiversity, STAbility and sustainability in Spatial Ecological and social-ecological Systems)

Funding: European Research Council (European Union’s Horizon 2020). Role: Research collaborator.

Brief summary: The overarching goal is to develop a coherent body of new theory on the stability of ecosystems and coupled social–ecological systems and its relationships with biodiversity at multiple spatial scales that can inform empirical ecology, landscape management, and sustainable development. My role as collaborator is to contribute to advance our knowledge on the stability and synchrony of multiple ecosystem services in heterogeneous landscapes to provide new perspectives on the stability of food webs and on synergies and trade-offs between multiple ecosystem services across space. Read more

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Viabilité et Adaptation des Ecosystèmes Productifs, Territoires et Ressources face aux Changements Globaux (AGROBIOSPHERE) 2013 (AGROBIOSE). 2014-2018

Funding: French National Research Agency. Role: Research collaborator.

Brief summary: The future of intensive farming systems in the context of global change is a considerable challenge: tomorrow’s agriculture will have to deliver innovative solutions that are acceptable to civil society and produce sufficient food, while integrating environmental objectives in a global context of increasing uncertainty. Read more

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Feedbacks between biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services during the recovery process of restored ecosystems after anthropogenic disturbance

Funding: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Centre (SESYNC) and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (i-Div). Role: Research collaborator.

Brief summaryAs human extraction of resources grows and land uses change, ecosystem restoration is becoming a critical tool to both stem biodiversity loss and ensure flows of key ecosystem services into the future. However, the science of ecological restoration is relatively young. It has yet to fully take advantage of the potential for cross‐scale studies of restoration efforts to inform our understanding of ecosystem recovery, resilience, and functioning and to hone restoration decisions. Rigorous tests of restoration trajectories of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and cross‐scale investigations of strategies to maximize restoration outcomes, remain scarce. This research will investigate the pattern and timing of recovery of both biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in ecosystems following large‐scale disturbances (agriculture, damming, eutrophication, hurricane/cyclones, invasive species, logging, oil spills, and overfishing). Read more

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Ecological Restoration in Model Communities (FP7-PEOPLE-IEF-2011 Marie Curie 301124)

Funding: European Commission (7th Framework Programme 2007-2012). Role: Principal Investigator.

Brief summary: The current, massive anthropogenic alteration of natural habitats is one of the main threats to global biodiversity. Ecological restoration is used to reverse this process, although the challenges involved in achieving this aim are widely recognised  While there has been some progress in gathering data appropriate to a firmer scientific footing, restoration ecology still lacks a general theory. Developing a general theory is fundamental as without an underlying theory ecological restoration will remain site and context specific, general rules will remain elusive and there will be no conceptual framework to extend as restoration practice develops. Moreover, restoration projects provide important insights into the way that ecological communities are assembled and function. Read more

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Models for ecosystem restoration

Funding: Spanish Ministry of Science & Education (EX2009-0037). 2010-2012. Role: Principal Investigator

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Regional patterns and local processes: models of the structure and dynamics of the Mediterranean forest in response to Global Change (subproject of the general project ‘Ecological Interactions and Global Change in Mediterranean Forests’ [INTERBOS])

Funding: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación [CGL2008-04503-C03-03/BOS]. 2009 – 2012. INIA, Cambridge University, Microsoft Research, UNED. Role: Research collaborator.

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Dinámica del bosque mediterráneo en un escenario de cambio global [DINAMED]

Funding: Spanish Ministry of Science [CGL2005-05830-C03]). 2006-2009. Role: Research collaborator.

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