Conservation Ecology - CE

Ecology of Tropical and Mediterranean Bats and Birds

Our research interests cover a wide range of ecological topics that help unveiling natural and anthropogenic determinants of the conservation status and use of space by animal species, in natural and managed ecosystems. In collaboration with colleagues from other cE3c groups and research institutions, we are presently working on several projects in temperate and tropical regions, mostly using birds and bats as study models.

In Africa and South America we are researching how large scale changes in rainforest vegetation, particularly forest degradation and fragmentation, are influencing biodiversity. In Europe, we have been studying how anthropogenic activities, such as raising livestock, road construction and energy transport lines, influence the use of space by birds. We are also interested in the roles that animal species play in the dynamics of ecosystems, mainly through seed dispersal, herbivory and insect predation.

The Mediterranean is expected to suffer an accentuated change in climate, and we are studying how this change will affect the geographic range of birds, as well as exploring the mechanisms potentially driving those range changes, such as heat stress, migratory behaviour and climatic constraints to foraging activity. To do this, we have been developing new techniques for studying animal movements and behaviour, using combinations of accelerometers, GPS and GSM technologies.

Finally, we believe that it is important to improve the transfer of knowledge from researchers to society, as well as to stakeholders involved in the management of ecosystems; one researcher in our team is focused on this task.