Projects

Paula ArribasUnveiling the hidden diversity of soil arthropod communities: Next Generation Sequencing to study biodiversity structure in European soils.

Arthropod communities of the soils are thought to be highly diverse, but their study with standard taxonomic techniques is difficult. This leaves large gaps in our knowledge about total species richness and global patterns of distribution and structure of soil biota. Recent sequencing technologies provide new opportunities for studying these complex ecosystems. Collaborating with Carmelo Andújar, Brent Emerson and Alfried Vogler, in this project we are applying these new techniques to study the communities of soil beetles, springtails and mites across a latitudinal gradient in Europe, from a southern glacial refuge (southern Spain) to northern regions (Belgium). Using the information obtained from mitochondrial metagenomics and metabarcoding approaches we are to perform an estimation and characterization of soil arthropod communities from a phylogenetic perspective, and to disentangle if global patterns and underlying processes reported on above-ground organisms, such as Quaternary glaciations or dispersal limitations, are similar or clearly divergent from those on below-ground communities.

Paula ArribasEvolutionary ecology, biogeography and conservation of water beetles in Mediterranean saline ecosystems.

My PhD was focussed on water beetles inhabiting inland saline waters across the western Palaearctic region. Under the supervision of Andrés Millán, Pepa Velasco and Pedro Abellán, in my PhD we applied multiple disciplines (e.g. phylogenetic and phylogeographical analyses, ecological modelling or thermal tolerance experiments) to disentangle the main evolutionary processes behind the diversification and distribution of these aquatic insects in the stressful saline waters. Further to the ecological and evolutionary discussion of the results, the PhD was conducted with a view towards conservation, and offered general guides for biodiversity conservation such as species vulnerability estimations and integrated predictions of climate change impact on these species. Despite most of the content of my PhD is already published, we are still working in the publication of the last results produced. In addition, I am collaborating with Susana Pallarés which PhD Thesis is on this same research line, going deep in the physiological mechanisms driving the diversification of some saline water beetle lineages.

In parallel I am collaborating on additional projects with other researchers, some of them are: