Sala de Graus II. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès Barcelona
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CREAF Talk with Ana M. C. Santos - "Shit happens! Dung beetle diversity and ecosystem functions in a changing world"

Tuesday, March 12, 2024From 12 to 1 pm CET

TITLE: "Shit happens! Dung beetle diversity and ecosystem functions in a changing world"

DATE: Thursday, 12th March 2024.

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 Ana M C Santos' conference.


The effects of land use and climate changes on the diversity and functioning of ecological communities and their associated services are still not fully understood. Many ecosystem services are delivered by insects, among which those performed by dung beetles stand out. They feed and breed in and under the excrement, and when burying it they contribute to soil mineralization, aeration, fertilization, secondary seed dispersal, etc.

Here I present past and ongoing research focusing on the effects of different drivers of global change on dung beetle diversity and their consequences on the provision of dung removal, a key ecological function associated with several ecosystem services. This research has been done using different approaches, from innovative field experiments conducted at different spatial scales, to laboratory experiments using acclimatized chambers. In general, land-use changes and land-use intensification have a negative effect on species richness and functional diversity. However, the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationship is sustained even at highly intensified sites. These results provide information for the development of land management and conservation policies that maximize diversity, functioning and sustainability of agro-forestry systems.


Ana M. C. Santos has a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Lisbon (Portugal, 2003), and a PhD from Imperial College London (U.K., 2010). She worked as a research technician at the University of the Azores, and she held different postdoctoral positions, in Brazil, Portugal and Spain, with funding from highly competitive funding schemes like Marie Sklodowska-Curie or Juan de la Cierva (Incorporación). In 2019 she joined Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Dep. Ecology) as an associate professor, and in 2022 she started working as a Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at this same institution, where she leads BioNCCE, a research group focused on studying Biogeography, Nature Conservation and Community Ecology.

Ana has broad interests in island biogeography, community ecology, functional ecology, and entomology. She studies the processes that cause community assembly on different regions, evaluating how community structure changes across scales. She is also interested on the impact of global change on ecosystem functioning, and has a secondary research line on gender biases in science.