I am interested in understanding the assembly rules structuring natural communities and their implications in ecosystem functioning. I have explored the role of multi-guild biotic interactions (above & below ground) in structuring plant communities combining different approaches. I have used molecular techniques & traced stable isotopes in field experiments and applied analytical tools such as structural equation models, ecological network analyses and community phylogenetic structure metrics to approach my research questions.
During my PhD, I approached the effect of abiotic factors on the distribution of ecologically relevant plant traits using the model species Arabidopsis thaliana to study the process of life-cycle divergence of winter and spring annuals along a climatic gradient. My project yielded new information on the distribution of natural genetic variation across environments along a climatic gradient and allowed the linking of specific trait-associated molecular changes with the environments in which the changes occurred. In my first postdoctoral position I shifted to study the role of biotic interactions in plant community assembly rules. I used complex network theory to test the similarity in network characteristics of plant-fungal mutualistic interactions to other mutualistic networks.
My Second postdoc focuses on exploring the effects of climate change on plant community dynamics in the Iberian Peninsula. I will use plant co-occurrence data and Bayesian network inference to elucidate positive and negative plant-plant interactions across a climatic gradient at regional scales.