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BC3 Seminar: “Key plant aboveground and belowground mutualisms and ecosystem dynamics.”

May 3, 2018 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

BC3 Seminars
Key plant aboveground and belowground mutualisms and ecosystem dynamics

Researcher Susana Rodríguez

Centre for Functional Ecology – University of Coimbra (Portugal)


Seed dispersal and mycorrhizal associations are key mutualisms for the functioning and regeneration of plant communities; however, these processes have seldom been explored together. One of the main advantages of seed dispersal comes from allowing the next generation to escape the high mortality rates near the mother plant due to fraternal competition and high densities of specific natural enemies. However, long distance dispersal of seeds could also diminish the probability of finding compatible mycorrhizal fungal partners. Thus, there could be a trade-off between mycorrhizal status and investment in seed dispersal structures. We checked this assumption compiling a database with information for 1960 plant species and found an opposite pattern to what we expected. The results reveal that lack of compatible mutualists does not constrain investment in long distance seed dispersal structures in the European Flora.

Lecturer´s Personal Webpage


About the Lecturer

I am interested on the mechanisms that govern plant community dynamics and ecosystem functioning, with a special focus on soil microbiota-driven effects and positive interactions such as mutualisms and facilitation. Studying the diversity of soil mutualists, their effectiveness and the consequences for vegetation and ecosystem dynamics is central to my research. I have done pioneer work on this topic within the topic of invasion ecology, and later, by examining soil mutualists in unexplored sites. I have worked in coastal sand dunes, Mediterranean and semiarid shrublands, dry tropical ecosystems, and, lately, in alpine areas. I am also interested on the effect of global change on biotic interactions and plant communities. I would like to connect ecological research, traditional rural practices and sustainable tourism and ecosystem uses.

I graduated in Biology in 1996 in the Universidad de Extremadura (Spain), and completed my PhD degree in the Universidad de Salamanca (Spain) in 2002. I moved to Portugal appointed as a Marie Curie RTN postdoctoral fellow in July 2002 and I have been based there since, although I am a regular visiting scientist at EEZA in Almeria and IFAPA in Granada. I am the editor in chief of Ecosistemas (www.revistaecosistemas.net), a scientific journal of Ecology in Spanish.

Sede Building (Room Aketxe), Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country, May 3 (2018), 11:30-13:30

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May 3, 2018
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
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BC3-Basque Centre for Climate Change
Sede Building 1, 1st floor, Scientific Park of the University of the Basque Country
+34 944 014 690
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