Biweekly researcher forum, which offer an opportunity for researchers in ecology to present and discuss their work
CREAF runs an annual programme of seminars that showcase the global research work in the field of ecological science both within and beyond our centre. Each seminar normally lasts 30-40 minutes with plenty of time afterwards for questions and discussion. Seminars are usually on Wednesday at 3 pm.
Our free seminar programme is open to everyone. For more information, please email CREAF Talks coordinator email@example.com
Globalization and climate change are bringing together host and pathogen that lack a co-evolutionary past. Amongst those, pathogens of the genus Phytophthora are responsible of some of the most dramatic outbreaks worldwide. We tested whether functional traits could be used to predict which Phytophthora species would establish in a cold environment such as Sweden. Also, we studied whether naïve host populations will adapt or not to a new pathogen. For that, we focussed on Alnus glutinosa stands invaded by P. alni. Resistant structures was a key functional trait to predict establishment in Sweden. Once established, we saw that invasive Phytophthora species distributed in Sweden following a climatic gradient. Temperature was the main driver for aquatic Phytophthora species, while precipitation was the main driver for terrestrial species. We saw signs of natural selection in invaded alder stands. Our work encourages the use of functional traits for predicting establishment and impact of invasive pathogens. It highlights the importance of considering the physical environment (water or soil) where pathogens complete their life cycle when predicting their response to climate. Concerning adaptation, it seems that the amount of initial genetic resistance in naïve hosts could be used to predict natural selection.
Jonàs Oliva is a “Ramón y Cajal” researcher at the University of Lleida mainly focusing on forest pathology and microbial ecology. He is interested in invasive forest pathogens and the use of functional traits to predict community assembly. He is currently working on the role of microbes in structuring plant communities through plant-soil feedbacks. Other projects include the study of pathogens in drought-induced tree mortality and in maternal effects, as well as understanding the drivers of pathogen emergence in connection with global change. In his lab, they use high-throughput molecular methods such as metabarcoding or RNAseq to study microbial communities as well as the interaction with tree hosts. Their research combines the use of large scale studies involving the use of spore traps or water filters, and experimental setups such as home-away experiments or pathogen-specific infection systems.
Biological invasions occur when species are introduced by humans beyond their natural dispersal ranges, establishing and spreading in a the region. Indeed, many introduced species are more competitive than native species, they might escape from natural enemies, and modify the environment. Some introduced species cause ecological impacts and can affect socioeconomic sectors such as forestry, agriculture or public health. I will present some synthesis work on the impacts of invasive plant species. From the management and policy perspective it is important to identify which invasive species are causing, or have the potential to cause, major impacts. I will present some risk assessment protocols we have developed, and discuss their applications.
My research focuses on the ecology of biological invasions, especially in Mediterranean ecosystems including islands. In collaboration with a large international network of ecologists we conduct field experiments, extensive field surveys and the analysis of large datasets to improve our understanding on the ecology of non-native species, to develop risk analysis of invasions, and to mitigate their impacts.Main areas of study include landscape and environmental factors associated to invasions, biotic factors controlling non-native plant establishment and ecological and economic impacts of biological invasions. Our work contributes to quantify the ecological impacts of biological invasions on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We are committed to identify the most impacted habitats and the traits of non-native species conferring major changes in ecosystem services. With this information we develop Impact Risk Assessments for major invaders in Europe.
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