Migratory Birds as Global Dispersal Vectors


After many years of work in the elusive process of long-distance dispersal by migratory birds, we feel ready to make the huge leap that separates the phenomenological description of an essentially unpredictable process, to modeling and forecasting a challenging but predictable one.

Can we suceed? This paper synthesizes our view of the state of the art and our proposal for future research. We believe in its importance, and will be happy to hear your opinion.

Viana, D., Santamaría, L., Figuerola, J. (2016) Migratory birds as global dispersal vectors. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31: 763-75.


EO tools for the management of Mediterranean wetlands

The outreach team of H2020 Project ECOPOTENTIAL has produced this handcrafted video, which explains the project through simple animations. The story involves Peter, a protected area manager, and Amy, an ECOPOTENTIAL scientist. The video will take you on a journey through the different ecosystems targeted by ECOPOTENTIAL, explain why and how Earth Observation is used to measure and monitor ecosystems and their services they provide, and how the project will ultimately benefit society.

The Spatial Ecology Group is one of the research groups of EBD participating in the project. Within the project, we will use participatory modelling to support the development of EO tools for the management of Mediterranean wetlands - applied, in particular, to the Doñana marshes.


Biotic resistance and environmental filters determine inmigrant success

A new paper by members and collaborators of the SEG is now in early view.

Using communities of aquatic plants and zooplankton assembled from natural propagule banks in mesocosms, we tested whether the diversity of the resident community (diversity resistance) and the timing of immigrants’ arrival (priority effects) determine community diversity.

Our results show that the interaction between diversity resistance and priority effects determines the diversity of aquatic plant communities. This effect is, however,  superseded by environmental filtering in zooplancton. The mechanisms underlying biotic resistance therefore vary among functional and taxonomic groups.

D.S. Viana, B. Cid, J. Figuerola, L. Santamaría (2016) Disentangling the roles of diversity resistance and priority effects in community assembly. Oecologia (early view).


Special issue on Networking Biodiversity Knowledge

Biodiversity and ConservationHow to effectively inform decision-making on biodiversity and ecosystem services?

This Special Issue of Biodiversity and Conservation brings together nine papers that analyse the possibility of creating a biodiversity-consultation mechanism at EU level that activates knowledge holders and brings them together for targeted knowledge synthesis activities: the so-called Network of Knowledge.

These papers showcase new ways of knowledge synthesis that have the potential to complement and strengthen existing ones across scales and sectors, thus supporting an improved management of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The SI includes three papers co-authored by members of the Spatial Ecology Group:

Neßhöver et al. 2016. The Network of Knowledge approach – improving the science and society dialogue on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe. Biodiversity & Conservation 25: 1215-1233. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1127-5

Schindler et al. 2016. The network BiodiversityKnowledge in practice: insights from three trial assessments. Biodiversity & Conservation 25: 1301-1318. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1128-4

Pullin et al. 2016. Selecting appropriate methods of knowledge synthesis to inform biodiversity policy. Biodiversity & Conservation 25: 1285-1300. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-016-1131-9


Herbivory under water

At the end of the past century, aquatic plants were considered as virtually free of control by herbivores. In the last two decades, however, empirical evidence showed that herbivory is  actually 5 to 10 times greater than in terrestrial ecosystems.

This review, discussing the effects of herbivores on aquatic plant abundance and composition, ecosystem functioning and services, and future responses to climate change is therefore a highly timely one.

The review, led by researchers with many years of experience in the study of aquatic systems, provides a unified treatment of freshwater and marine systems that we have been missing for all too long.

Bakker L, Wood K, Pages JF, Veen C, Christianen M, Santamaria L, Nolet BA, Hilt S. 2016. Herbivory on freshwater and marine macrophytes: a review and perspective. Aquatic Botany 135: 18-36.