Ecology of Environmental Change - eChanges

Ecology of Environmental Change - eChanges

In eChanges we study ecological and social-ecological patterns of environmental change in a diverse range of (eco)systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Land-use change, pollution, climate change, desertification and land-degradation are increasingly affecting ecosystems and human well-being. We work in semi-natural and urban ecosystems. We aim to monitor and model those ecosystems and their associated processes and responses to pressures. We use methods and tools based on the structure, diversity, and functioning of ecological, geological and socio-economic systems. Our ultimate goal is to develop and provide strategies to mitigate and adapt to ongoing global environmental change and move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Some of our research topics are:

  • Use biodiversity (focusing on lichens, plants, bryophytes, insects, vertebrates) diversity as tools for the interpretation of the effects of environmental change, including air pollution, climate and ecosystem management. 
  • Reduce the negative effects of urbanization (fragmentation, air pollution, urban heat-island effect) by improving multifunctionality in green areas while promoting human well-being and cities sustainability and resilience.
  • Develop, test and model early warning ecological indicators of desertification and land degradation in drylands.
  • Adapt ecosystems management to global change scenarios in drylands, focusing on natural regeneration, reforestation and on the role of micro and macroclimate.
  • Monitor and evaluate the impact of mining and other industrial pollution, as well as of farming activities (nitrogen pollution), and to contribute to its mitigation (e.g. phyto-remediation).
  • Develop new understandings of how creative-collaborative, art-&-science approaches can contribute to empowered, reflexive and engaged citizens and societies in the face of global change.
  • Model the impact of climate and socio-economic change in the water-food-energy-environment nexus, from global to national scales.
  • Use plant genetic diversity as a tool for the interpretation of environmental change, including climate change, and predicting ecosystem resilience.
  • Develop and test climate adaptation and decarbonisation strategies for key national and European sectors of activity (e.g. water resource management, land use, energy and tourism) using System Dynamic modelling approaches.​