Research

The Spatial Ecology Group focuses its research on the evolutionary ecology of species interactions across natural and anthropogenic landscapes - with an emphasis on plant-animal interactions (seed dispersal, pollination, herbivory). We also have a research line focused on the science-policy interface.

Research lines

1. The role of animal movement on plant-animal interactions (pollination and seed dispersal)



Plants establish mutualisms with animals to do one of the few things that they are not able to do on their own: move. While movement lays at the very heart of two key plant reproductive processes, pollination and seed dispersal, it has rarely been incorporated into the analysis of its ecology and evolution. In the Laboratory of Spatial ecology, we pay particular attention to the role of animal movement and foraging decisions in shaping the outcome of these two mutualistic interactions:





- Pollinator behavior and the evolution of floral barriers...read more


- Incorporating animal movement to the study of seed dispersal...read more





2. Ecology and management of isolated ecosystems and fragmented landscapes (islands, wetlands and forest fragments)
Populations inhabiting naturally isolated ecosystems, such as islands and wetlands, are particularly sensitive to demographic and genetic effects – and, for that reasons, dependent on colonization events that rely on long-distance dispersal... read more


3. Mechanisms regulating the spread and impact of biological invasions 
Invasive species pose a paradox for ecologists and evolutionary biologists. The fact that certain species evolved in a foreign ecosystem, which therefore lacked the chance to adapt to the environment and biota encountered in its alien ranges, can develop expansive population dynamics up to the point of displacing native species and modifying ecosystem properties, seems to contradict the basic tenets of evolutionary theory...read more


4. Adaptive management
Traditional management of nature reserves and natural resources is based on unique-target, control-based strategies, consolidated by means of rigid institutional arrangements and organizational structures. Such management approaches tend to result in policy making cycles that repetitively aim at “domesticating” nature, characterized by their inability to learn from and adapt to the environmental crisis generated by their own functioning... read more













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