Montserrat VilÓ. Plant ecologist interested in conservation biology
  • Basic and applied aspects of impacts of invasive plants
    Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
    Period: 2016-2018
    PI: Montserrat Vilà

    Habitat invasion by exotic plants constitutes a key component of global change widely recognized as having strong ecological and economic impacts. From a basic point-of-view, this project will focus on the impact of plant invasions on less studied attributes of biodiversity (i.e., diversity of functional traits, climatic niche diversity and phylogenetic diversity of invaded plant communities). To do that, we will take advantage of an exhaustive dataset already available along 381 km of the coastline in Southeast Andalusia in which we have surveyed more than 400 paired invaded and control plots and have identified more than 50 exotic plant species. This project will (1) identify which exotic plant species have the strongest impacts on invaded plant communities, (2) determine the vulnerability of native plant species to plant invasions in relation to their functional traits and climatic niche position. Therefore, it will (3) inform about changes in the co-evolutionary trajectories of plant species assemblages, and their vulnerability to climate change after invasion. Finally, (4) it will investigate if there is a relationship between the above-mentioned biodiversity indexes and impacts on ecosystem functioning.
    From an applied point-of-view, the project will compare the robustness of the most widely used methods in Europe for assessing the ecological and socioeconomic risk of biotic invasions. In relation to the current European Regulation for Invasive Exotic Species (Regulation 1143/2014), the project will also evaluate the potential risk of invasion of exotic plant species in Spain. In addition, it will assess the impact of invasive exotic tree-like plants on ecosystem services in Europe using both literature surveys and expert knowledge. The basic and applied perspective of the current project are in line with the scientific and management challenges that human society demands for overcoming the impact of biological invasions on biodiversity and on all those ecosystem services which human well-being depends on.

  • Managing stability of biodiversity-based eCOsystem services in crops through enhanced DEnsity of green infrastructure in Agricultural Landscapes
    Period: 2015-2017
    Coordinator: Yann Clough. PI in Spain: Montserrat Vilà

    Ecological intensification relies on ecosystem services to substitute external inputs in agriculture and has been proposed as a way to achieve high yielding, stable and sustainable crop production, while allowing us to reach other self-set targets such as nature conservation. Pollination and natural pest control are key ecosystem services that can lower pesticide use and increase crop yield quantity and quality. Organisms delivering these services depend to a large extent on non-crop habitats, or "green infrastructure" in the landscape, as crops are not well suited as a habitat all year round.  How much green infrastructure do we need to maintain stable communities of ecosystem-providers, and a high flow and stability of the services to the crop? Can  enhanced green infrastructure contribute to increased yield stability over time? Since establishing non-crop habitat comes at a cost, which densities of green infrastructure will enhance crop yield and populations of conservation relevant species while providing net increases in crop productivity as well as net economic benefits to the farmer? ECODEAL is a European research project addressing these questions.
    ECODEAL will (1) quantify pollination and natural pest control-mediated increases in crop productivity under different densities of agricultural non-crop habitats at different scales, as an essential step towards assessing costs and benefits of enhancing the density of green infrastructure (2) disentangle the linkages between density of green infrastructure and the structure and stability of the interaction networks linking the crop and the non-crop habitats  communities over multiple years, and (3) quantify the trade-offs between enhancing green infrastructure for ecological intensification of agriculture as opposed to supporting conservation-relevant species. 
  • 50 Aniversario Doñana: Jornadas Investigación en la conservación en Doñana
    FECYT (FCT-13-7335)
    Period: 2014
    PI: M. Vilà
  • Pollinator responses to global change and its implications for ecosystem functioning (BeeFun)
    FP7-People 2013CIG, Marie-Curie Actions
    Period: 2014-2017
    PI: M. Vilà (holder I. Bartomeus)
    As of the year 2000, 40% of Earth’s ice-free land area is being directly used by humans, and an additional 37% is surrounded by human-modified areas. Land-use change, along with other human-induced global change drivers, are accelerating the rates of extinction of most taxa. Researchers are beginning to experimentally investigate how these changes in biodiversity affect ecosystem services, such as water purification, climate regulation, and food production, but do not yet understand the effects of species loss in real ecosystems. Pollination is a critical ecosystem service and relies upon multiple species of pollinators. My proposal aims to understand the threats to the pollinator species that provide this critical ecosystem function and assess the consequences of their decline in real ecosystems. Research about the functional consequences of biodiversity is dominated by small-scale experimental studies. These experiments have manipulated diversity by assembling random subsets of species drawn from a common pool of taxa. This approach is useful for understanding the theoretical consequences of diversity loss but is unrealistic in the sense that it assumes species can go extinct in any sequence over time. Extinction, however, is generally a nonrandom process with risk determined by life-history traits such as rarity, body size, and sensitivity to environmental stressors. The importance of biodiversity loss on the production and stability of ecosystem services will depend, then, on which bee species are lost, and which species are well-adapted to anthropogenic habitats. I will investigate this relationship by developing a framework that goes beyond aggregate biodiversity measures and takes into account trait functional diversity, species specific responses, and community structure. I will use new synthetic analysis of existing datasets form Europe and US, and long-term monitoring of experimentally manipulated natural communities in southern Spain.
  • SUstainable Pollination in Europe: joint Research on Bees and other pollinators
    EU (COST Action FA1307)
    Period: 2014-2018
    PI: Koos Beismeijer (M. Vilà Managing Committee in Spain)
  • European Information System for Alien Species
    EU (COST Action)
    Period: 2013-2017
    PI: Helen Roy (M. Vilà Managing Committee in Spain)
  • Influence of mass flowering crops on pollinator biodiversity
    Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
    Period: 2012-2015
    PI: Montserrat Vilà
  • Global Invasions Network (NSF RCN DEB-0541673)
    National Science Foundation (USA).
    Period: 2006-2013
    PI: Ruth Hufbauer
  • Riesgo de Invasión de los hábitats por plantas Exóticas: análisis a nivel de paisaje y escenarios FUTUROS (RIXFUTUR)
    Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
    Period: 2010-2012
    PI: Montserrat Vilà
  • Análisis del riesgo de invasión por plantas exóticas a escala continental, regional y de paisaje.
    Junta de Andalucía.
    Period: 2009-2012
    PI: Montserrat Vilà
  • Spanish woodlands and global change: threats and opportunities (MONTES)
    Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación-Proyecto CONSOLIDER
    Period: 2008-2013
    PI: Javier Retana
  • Estructura de redes mutualistas en ecosistemas insulares: variación a diferentes escalas y mecanismos determinantes (REDESIN)
    Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología
    Period: 2007-2010
    PI: Anna Traveset
  • Delivering alien invasive species inventories for Europe (DAISIE)
    European Union project of the FP6.
    Period: 2005-2008
    PI: David Roy
  • Assessing large-scale environmental risks with tested methods (ALARM)
    European Union Integrated project of the FP6 (Contract: GOCE-CT-2003-506675).
    Period: 2004-2009
    PI: Josef Settele
Estaciˇn Biolˇgica de Do˝ana
Montserrat Vilà Tel: 954 466700 ext. 1450
Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) Fax: 954 621125
Avda. Américo Vespucio s/n. Isla de la Cartuja
41092 Sevilla. España