ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS AND FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY
Group description/Main objectives
The environmental changes related with climate, soil type and disturbance strongly affect vegetation patterns through a scale up of influences, from leaf to ecosystem levels. However, the strength of these effects must be directly related to ecosystem stability and resilience, which depend on its biodiversity. The objective of this group is to contribute to the understanding of key problems in functional biodiversity and plant ecological adaptation related with these environmental and anthropogenic factors in different type of ecosystems, particularly to (i) evaluate structural and functional changes in plant communities in response to changes or disturbance, with special attention being given to ecophysiological studies and the isotopic signals of C, N, O and H to investigate the relation between resource availability and to evaluate the fluxes within the ecosystem and relate them to the phenological and climatic changes as an approach to scale up from the plant to the community level, in different systems, and (ii) use the knowledge and the scientific principles of structure and functioning of ecosystems to develop ecological management processes and define a sustainable strategy for the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, as well as the use of biological organisms for monitoring the impact of pollution on environment and on ecosystem functioning.
This group is responsible for the SIIAF (Stable Isotopes and Instrumental Analysis Facility). For more information click SIIAF-Stable Isotopes
Head of group (2013): Cristina Máguas