CREAF Talk with Alicia Montesinos Navarro - "Nitrogen transfer between plant species in natural and agro-ecosystems"

Jueves, Diciembre 14, 2023 - from 12 to 1 pm

TITLE: "Nitrogen transfer between plant species in natural and agro-ecosystems"

DATE: Thursday, 14 December 2023.

TIME & FORMAT: form 12 to 1pm CET - In-person and online.

Seminars will combine in-person and online formats (CREAF, Sala Graus II, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) but in all cases, talks will be always streamed (not recorded), so they can be followed online.

HOW TO CONNECT: direct link to Alicia Montesinos Navarro's conference.


This talk explores the often-overlooked phenomenon of nitrogen transfer within plant communities aiming to uncover the underlying patterns and driving forces that have the potential to influence both natural ecosystems and agro-ecosystems. While phenological segregation has traditionally been seen as a coexistence strategy, I propose an alternative mechanism: the transfer of nitrogen from low nitrogen-demand plants to high nitrogen-demand plants, resulting in reciprocal benefits over time instead of competition avoidance. This process can reduce water dependency and prevent nitrogen loss through leaching, influencing plant communities and ecosystem functioning. Concurrently, I use broad ecological knowledge of plant-plant interactions in natural semi-arid plant communities to address sustainability challenges in horticulture, designing optimal intercropping systems to reduce water and nitrogen-based fertilizer use in agro-ecosystems.


Alicia Montesinos Navarro works at the Desertification Research Centre of the Spanish National Research Council. She developed her doctoral thesis between the Doñana Biological Station and the University of Pittsburgh (USA), and made several postdoctoral stays in Mexico and England. Her main research lines focuses on the ecological and evolutionary implications of biotic interactions in plant communities. She has been mainly interested in facilitation interactions between plants and how symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi affect these interactions, combining theoretical and mechanistic approaches. Her current research focuses on an ecological process that may have been overlooked in the study of natural plant communities, the transfer of nutrients between plants. In this framework, she studies its potential for structuring natural plant communities and its applicability to develop a more sustainable agriculture by combining crops that maximise the reciprocal benefits between them.