Research Team / Research Group Name (if any)
Global Change Ecology and Restoration
Brief description of the Research Team / Research Group / Department
The Global Change Ecology and Restoration group is a multidisciplinary team with a broad interest in plant ecology and ecosystem response to global change. We focus on the application of ecological theory to environmental management and conservation, with a special emphasis on ecological restoration and on Mediterranean ecosystems. We work on different ecological disciplines, from ecophysiology to evolutionary biology; at different spatial scales, from populations to landscape; and with a wide variety of ecosystems, from grasslands to forests. We complemented our research with teaching activities in the BSc in Biology, MSc in Ecosystem Restoration, MSc in Conservation Biology, and the PhD program in Ecology at the Complutense University of Madrid.<br /><br />Our main research lines are:<br />- Biological invasions<br />- Ecological restoration<br />- Ecology of agricultural landscape<br />- Ecosystem response to contamination<br />- Forest management and restoration under global change<br />- Plant evolutionary ecology<br />- Urban ecology
Research lines / projects proposed
Global change is globally altering forest ecosystems with negative effects on forest productivity, mortality and regeneration. These impacts ultimately compromise the provision of critical ecosystem services to human well-being. Expected negative effects of global change on forest functioning are especially noticeable in drought-prone areas. The coupling of higher temperature and lower precipitation has been coined as hotter droughts, which implies more intense drought stress in plants. Hotter droughts are, in fact, behind recent forest decline and dieback episodes, and failure in seedling establishment. All these processes can trigger the deterioration of forest ecosystems services, and more importantly, can change the community structure of vulnerable forest ecosystems. In addition, management legacies and the subsequent abandonment of traditional forest use have resulted in very dense and structurally and functionally homogeneous stands, which aggravates climate change impacts. Thus, there is an urgent need to improve knowledge and technical capacity with forest management strategies that improve water balance in plants, to ultimately increase the forests" resilience to shifts in climate.<br /><br />The project will aim at evaluating forest management and restoration strategies to mitigate global change impacts on forest ecosystems, with a special emphasis on decreasing risks, promoting short-term resistance, and enhancing long-term resilience in drought-prone forests.