In this project we aim to provide the basis for a conceptual unification of the bodies of theory of community ecology and biogeography through the development of a multi-scale modeling framework that allows formulating and evaluating complex hypotheses acting at multiple levels of organization, from the local to the continental scale. To do this, we will adapt existing models on the long-term dynamics of geographic ranges and develop new models for metacommunity dynamics within heterogeneous landscapes and individual-based local community dynamics, including the phenotypic traits and environmental adaptations of species and individuals. All these models will be process-based, build up from ecological and biogeographical theory, and will be developed in a stochastic simulation model environment. In a second step, we will interconnect these models through the characteristics of the species, their dispersal from local communities to other patches within the landscape or different landscapes, and the long term dynamics of climate and topography. This requires identifying objects and/or processes whose outcome at a given scale informs the models at another scale. But also, it needs a common conceptualization of the two components of the species niche (scenopoetic and bionomic; i.e. environmental conditions and interactions with biotic resources), as well as standard definitions of spatial and temporal scale. The ability of these models to recover the actual patterns of diversity at different scales will be evaluated using empirical data on Amazonian tree plots and European mammals and dung beetles. This project is the first attempt to link the dynamics of local communities, metacommunities in a landscape and species distribution ranges together with niche evolution and phenotypic expression within a single mechanistic modeling framework. It will also provide the basis for a sound adaptive management of biodiversity resources under global change, for it explicitly includes functional components that account for the species’ role in ecosystem functioning.
Predicting diversity variations across scales through process-based models linking community ecology and biogeography [CNPq PVE 314523/2014-6] was a Visiting Professorship project co-led by Joaquín Hortal (Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC) and José Alexandre Diniz-Filho (Universidade Federal de Goiás), in collaboration with researchers from Universidade Federal de Alagoas, funded by the "Science without Borders" program of the Brazilian CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.
I am a biogeographer and community ecologist, working as scientific researcher at the Department of Biogeography and Global Change of the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC).
I am also scientific collaborator at the Postgraduate Course on Ecology and Evolution of the Universidade Federal de Goiás and the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c) of the Universidade de Lisboa, and member of eBryo – Research Group on Experimental Bryology.