Who am I?

I am a biologist interested in how evolutionary processes and phylogenetic relationships among species affects community structure patterns. I have special interest in investigating the role of evolutionary processes influencing commonness and rarity of species.

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I have a background in community ecology, specially with structure of plants assemblages, and mostly fern assemblages. I experienced working at herbarium, field and lab, i.e. with: systematic biologists, botanics, ecologists and statisticians. Learning from these different fields made me ask integrated questions about how species traits affects community structure patterns and how both are determined by community phylogeny. Nowadays, my main goal is to work integrating ecological patterns and evolutionary processes for understanding species abundance patterns.


Research project

Common and rare species have something in common? Effects of species traits and phylogeny on fern abundances


The pattern of occurrence of many rare species and few abundant in communities is so general that stimulated the development of a large number of hypotheses about processes that generate it. Neutral theories have explained this pattern consistently, but there are alternative hypotheses, such as the action of processes of environmental filter and niche partitioning. These processes are linked to the evolutionary history of species that make up the community, in a way that the combination of information of phylogenetic community structure is advisable for explaning such pattern, which is the main topic of this project. Based on the premise that species abundance distribution curve can be partitioned into abundant and rare species, the project aims to investigate whether these groups of species (i.e. abundant and rare) share traits related to their state of abundance in fern communities. The ferns were chosen because they presented a recent resolved phylogeny at the family level and by presenting characters potentially related to its local establishment. We will analyze whether changes in the states of the species traits in the phylogeny are related to the species abundance state in the community. The central hypothesis to be tested is that species do not present ecological equivalence and that the differences in their ecological success are associated with traits that can be mapped onto their phylogeny. We selected traits related to dispersal, reproduction and life forms of fern species. We will discuss the sharing of traits between abundant and rare species and if the changes in trait states onto the phylogeny are associated with the rank abundance of a species. The identification of these traits and their changes along the phylogeny aim to put in an evolutionary context the niche differences that promote species coexistence in communities.

Current state

Chapter 1 in prep: “Tailoring species abundances distributions with trait-environment correlations”


Discussion section with the supervisor (restricted access).


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mortara/start.txt · Última modificação: 2014/04/29 18:49 por mortara
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