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Biotic community attributes and ecosystem functioning: implications for predicting and mitigating global change impacts

Objective

Increases in nutrient availability and temperature, and changes in precipitation patterns and biodiversity are important components of global environmental change. Thus, it is imperative to understand their impacts on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Substantial research efforts are being currently devoted to predict how biodiversity will respond to global change. However, little is known on the relative importance of biodiversity against other attributes of biotic communities, such as species cover and spatial pattern, as a driver of ecosystem processes. Furthermore, the effects of global change on the relationships between these attributes and ecosystem functioning are virtually unknown. This project aims to evaluate the relationships between community attributes (species richness, composition, evenness, cover, and spatial pattern) and key processes related to ecosystem functioning under different global change scenarios. Its specific objectives are to: i) evaluate the relative importance of community attributes as drivers of ecosystem functioning, ii) assess how multiple global change drivers will affect key ecosystem processes, iii) test whether global change drivers modify observed community attributes-ecosystem functioning relationships, iv) develop models to forecast global change effects on ecosystem functioning, and v) set up protocols for the establishment of mitigation actions based on the results obtained. They will be achieved by integrating experimental and modeling approaches conducted with multiple biotic communities at different spatial scales. Such integrated framework has not been tackled before, and constitutes a ground breaking advance over current research efforts on global change. This proposal will also open the door to new research lines exploring the functional role of community attributes and their importance as modulators of ecosystem responses to global change.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/ecosystems

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSIDAD REY JUAN CARLOS
Address
Calle Tulipan
28933 Mostoles
Spain
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 463 374
Principal investigator
Fernando Tomás Maestre Gil (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Maria Antonia Rodríguez Tato (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSIDAD REY JUAN CARLOS
Spain
EU contribution
€ 1 463 374
Address
Calle Tulipan
28933 Mostoles
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Fernando Tomás Maestre Gil (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Maria Antonia Rodríguez Tato (Ms.)