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Species persistence in changing seasonal environments: A new holistic framework integrating demography and biotic interactions

Project description

How global environmental change alters biodiversity

From bumblebees to giraffes and insects to sharks, every species around the world is impacted by climate change. For instance, rising temperatures means spring flowers bloom earlier and leave less time for bees to pollinate. This is just one example of how changing seasonal patterns can adversely affect the demography of interacting species. The EU-funded SEASON project will study how global environmental change alters biodiversity. It will link demographic processes and biotic interactions under changes in the seasonality of environmental factors across time and space. An analytical tool will be developed to assess how demography-biotic-interaction feedbacks mediate multispecies population responses to seasonality change. Several species’ responses to seasonality will be assessed simultaneously.


Most species show seasonal variation in survival and reproduction, which determines and is affected by biotic (intra- and interspecific) interactions. Such demography-biotic-interaction feedbacks, in turn, mediate community responses to seasonal patterns in environmental factors. Changing these seasonal patterns and thereby adversely affecting the demography of interacting species, is one important way in which global environmental change alters biodiversity. However, as population and community responses to changes in seasonality are typically studied separately, we lack a mechanistic understanding of the processes that threaten the persistence of interacting species, posing a major challenge to biodiversity conservation. SEASON aims to bridge this fundamental knowledge gap by linking demographic processes and biotic interactions under changes in the seasonality of environmental factors across time and space. Integrating theoretical and empirical analyses, the two main objectives of this project are to (i) develop an analytical framework which assesses how demography-biotic-interaction feedbacks mediate multi-species population responses to seasonality change; and (ii) apply the framework on empirical systems to synthesize novel information on the importance of the feedbacks. By developing an integrative framework to assess simultaneous responses of several species to seasonality, a key but understudied aspect of environmental change, this research will substantially contribute to global-change ecology. It will also assist researchers and managers in developing new strategies beyond single target populations or annual demographic censuses to mitigate global threats. As SEASON aims to develop a flexible tool that can be expanded in the future and relies on collaboration between two research institutes and several conservation initiatives, the MSCA fellowship will be critical in building a long-lasting research line and a global network of collaborators.


Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 172 932,48