RESEARCH AREAS

Ecology of communities and ecosystems

This area of research encompasses projects that seek to understand patterns of community organization in space and time, associated with environmental or anthropogenic gradients, as well as ecosystem processes. In these projects, different facets of biodiversity are addressed, such as species diversity, functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity, which are quantified at different scales (alpha, beta, and gamma). Observational and experimental research investigates conditioning factors and mechanisms associated with patterns of biodiversity in space and time. Different spatial scales (local, regional, continental, and global) and different biological groups (animals, plants, aquatic, terrestrial) are used as study descriptors. We also highlight the studies directed to the structure and organization of interaction networks in different ecosystems and, finally, the studies associated with the development of methods of analysis in the ecology of communities and ecosystems.

Poopulation ecology

This area of research encompasses projects associated with the knowledge of the spatial distribution and temporal dynamics of biological populations, including populations of vectors of human diseases, both in natural and anthropogenic environments. Capture and recapture data from individuals of animal species, as well as data from monitoring plant species in permanent plots, allow changes in patterns of occupation and abundance to be associated with environmental changes under different contexts and with the characteristics of species life histories and environment use by man. 

Applied ecology (conservation, management of natural resources, restoration, human ecology, ecotoxicology, biomonitoring) 

This area of research covers different projects associated with Applied Ecology. Research on the conservation and management of wildlife and natural resources in terrestrial and aquatic, forest and countryside systems, has been widely developed, and provides support both for the creation and implantation of protected areas and for the assessment and management of human impacts on ecological systems. Monitoring and impact assessment projects in areas highly impacted by man have been developed using bioindicator organisms (areas of ecotoxicology and biomonitoring). Projects evaluating protocols for the recovery of degraded areas have been developed in the context of Restoration Ecology, both in rural and forest systems. Evaluation and modeling of the impacts generated by road and rail networks have been increasingly addressed in Road Ecology projects, which is one of the research topics currently most sought by students. Studies addressing the interrelationship between traditional human activities, such as fishing, and different measures of biodiversity are addressed in Human Ecology and Ethnobiology projects. We should also mention studies on the management and control of exotic species in natural environments. Eco-evolutionary processes associated with the diversification of different biological groups, which explain in different degrees the distribution of phenotypic characteristics of the current species. In addition, research on the relationship between biogeographic factors and patterns of biodiversity distribution at different scales of ecological organization (communities, metacommunities, biomes, continents, and global) is also developed in this area.

Evolutionary Ecology

This is the most recent line of research created at the Ecology PPG, which was introduced in 2017. The creation of this line of research originated from the consolidation of projects in Evolutionary Ecology by the professors of the Ecology PPG, which has resulted in a growing interest on part of the students interested in the subject, and an increasing demand for qualified training in the scope of Master's and Doctorate courses. Topics associated with morphological evolution, historical biogeography, evolutionary macroecology, and niche evolution are covered in this line of research. In general, developed projects investigate eco-evolutionary processes associated with the diversification of different biological groups, which explain in different degrees the distribution of phenotypic characteristics of current species. In addition, in this line, research is also carried out on the relationships between biogeographic factors and patterns of biodiversity distribution at different scales of ecological organization (communities, metacommunities, biomes, continents, and global).