|Posted on January 26, 2018 at 3:50 AM||comments (1)|
Everyone would agree that Ecology Across Borders (#EAB2017), the joint annual meeting of the BES, Gfö, NECOV and EEF, was a great success. As usual, the quality of talks and the ecological concepts and findings developed during the conference was outstanding. However, what struck me the most was the increasing number of workshops and events dedicated to the working lives of ecologists (topics that apply to all scientists).
The meeting was an eye-opener on the high amount of diversity in our community; and as all of you know, diversity is a main driver of the functioning and stability of any community. We are all different, yet deserve to be equal. I believe that acknowledging our differences and our complementarities is the key for our community of ecologists to make novel discoveries, be heard, and protect our planet.
Below we give you a sample of the different events and workshops that were held during the conference. I attended the ‘Stress Awareness and Mental Wellbeing at Work’ workshop, Melanie Jane Edgar initiated the Accessibility Network, Senior Editor Amy Austin and winner of the 2018 L’Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science award gave a talk at ‘Early Career Development Day’, and Associate Editor Iain Stott was at the the LGBT+ mixer.
The BES has an Equality and Diversity Working Group (EDWG) that was created 2 years ago to develop and oversee the delivery of the Society’s equality and diversity work. The group, led by Hazel Norman (BES Executive Director), is composed of a dedicated team, including among others Karen Devine (BES External Affairs Manager) who organized many of the workshops at #EAB2017, Associate Editor Iain Stott, Senior Editor Richard Bardgett and myself.
Continue reading here: http://bit.ly/2neJvSy
|Posted on December 28, 2017 at 10:55 PM||comments (0)|
Check out our new paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution entitled: 'Plant-Soil Feedback: Bridging Natural and Agricultural Sciences'. This manuscript is the result of an organized session at the EcoSummit conference in Montpellier, France (from 29 August 2016 to 1 September 2016), sponsored by the Special Interest Group ‘Plant, Soils, Ecosystems’ from the British Ecological Society.
|Posted on June 21, 2017 at 4:40 AM||comments (0)|
My paper published in the last issue of Journal of Ecology has been selected as Editor's Choice! It is a great reward for all the work done during my postdoctoral research at The University of Sydney. Of course nothing could have been done without my two amazing colleagues, friends and co-authors Prof. Feike Dijkstra and Dr. Alberto Canarini.
|Posted on December 24, 2016 at 3:00 AM||comments (0)|
Apparently my paper entitled 'Subordinate plant species impact on soil microbial communities and ecosystem functioning in grasslands: Findings from a removal experiment' and published in 2013 in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics is one of the 5 most cited papers till June 2016.
Thank you Editors for sending this award just in time for Christmas. And thanks to my co-auhtors who helped making this article interesting to you readers.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
|Posted on September 16, 2016 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
After travelling a lot during the past few months, I finally settled down in my new lab in Switzerland (ECOS lab), although I should say my past lab since it is where I did my PhD few years ago (2008-2012). I already had good times with my old and new colleagues here, as for proof this picture below of our team building this summer. I will be here in Lausanne (EPFL) for at least 2 years, except if I find a more permanent position in the meantime.
You are obviously welcomed to visit and enjoy all the nice places in Switzerland, from the lake to the mountains, summer hiking and winter skying!
|Posted on March 25, 2016 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
My postdoc in Australia comes to an end and it is time to say goodbye. Working at The University of Sydney on Camden Campus (CCWF) was amazing. So much work and experiments done in the Dijkstra lab, thanks to a great boss and colleagues. I also met some awesome scientists at the University of Western Sydney and really enjoyed collaborating. Outside work, colleagues became friends with such good times playing Beach Volley and Ultimate Frisbee. Only good memories of this postdoc down under!
I will miss you.
|Posted on January 22, 2016 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on January 15, 2016 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
Happy New Year 2016!
This new year starts for me with two papers just published in Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolutions and Systematics and Rangeland Ecology & Management. The first paper, which highlights the spatial segregation of subordinate species with traits comparison with the dominant species, results from a great collaboration with my Brazilian colleagues (and friends) working on the role of subordinate plant species in tropical ecosystems. I really enjoyed working with them and would love to visit them in Brazil (maybe this year?). The second paper was co-led by two amazing student researchers (Julie and Jared) from UC Berkeley during my postdoctoral research in California. For this experiment we collected cow dungs in the field and tested seed dispersal of invasive and introduced plant species by cattle.
Thanks to all the collaborators for these two great papers!
|Posted on November 20, 2015 at 12:00 AM||comments (1)|
New greenhouse experiment:
Phosphorus uptake by plants under drought along a soil phosphorus gradient including four native australian plant species (C3/C4).
Today: 32P labelling in the greenhouse when it is 41 degrees outside - Australian heat wave made it sweaty.
|Posted on October 31, 2015 at 11:05 PM||comments (0)|
I am gonna work with Executive Editor David Gibson and Assistant and Managing Editors Lauren Sandhu and Andrea Baier to manage the Journal of Ecology Blog, commission and write blog posts and organise interviews. I believe that communicating science is an important part of being a ecologist and I will do my best to provide interesting content through the Blog and create a plateform of exchange between researchers.
My first contributions to the blog is an "Ecological Inspiration" post dedicated to one of the first papers that I read when I started my PhD and which considerably inspired my research - Benefits of plant diversity to ecosystems: immediate, filter and founder effects by JP Grime, 1998, Journal of Ecology.
Follow the news in the Journal of Ecology Blog!
|Posted on October 22, 2015 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
New blog post in Journal of Applied Ecology: Here!
Associate Editor Paul Kardol discusses a paper recently accepted about the role of subordinate species in sustaining the complexity and stability of soil food webs in natural bamboo forest ecosystems by Shao et al.
In this nice blog post, Paul is citing my research on subordinate species with the "subordinate insurance hypothesis" (Mariotte 2014) and highlight the importance of better studying the interactions between subordinate species and soil microbial communities, which are expected to maintain soil ecosystem functions, especially under climate change perturbations (Mariotte et al. 2015). I am happy to see that other researchers become more and more interested in studying the effects of these low abundant species which might have disproportionate effects on ecosystem functioning.
|Posted on October 21, 2015 at 1:20 AM||comments (0)|
Last week I have been invited by the French Embassy in Australia to give a conference at The International French School of Sydney (https://www.facebook.com/Lycee.Condorcet).
My talk was entitled "Climate Change: Ecology in the service of Agriculture". I spoke about current agricultural practices and the massive use of chemical products (fertiliser, insecticides, fungicide etc.). Then I discussed the alernative methods, such as organic farming and direct seeding practices without soil tillage, which both focus on maintaining a living soil. Emphasizing the 2015 International year of soils, I explained to the students the diversity of organisms within soil food webs and their importance in agriculture. I presented some of my work on mycorrhizas and subordinate plant species, which can have some important implications for improving agricultural practices under climate change. We finished by a discussion and a lot of questions, and I was happy to see that students were really interested in scientific research and the different issues in agriculture in a changing world. This conference was a great experience and it made me very hopeful for the future, seing that the new generation has an increasing interest in changing and improving our way to produce food, eat and live in this world.
|Posted on August 13, 2015 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|
An incredible story of this whale in Sydney Harbour, repeatedly getting boaters' attention until they remove a life-threatening plastic bag from its face. The plastic ban is being debated in Australian Parlament *today* and I believe that this video is a direct message from whales asking us to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans... Watch the video: au.news.yahoo.com/a/29245783
Each year, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean. This plastic pollution considerably impacts marine ecosystems and kills millions of animals every year. But it affects also humans; the costs associated to beaches' cleaning are excessive and toxic chemicals released by plastics and accumulating in the food chains are a real threat for human health.
However cleaning the entire oceans is not impossible as proved by The Ocean Cleanup initiative. Founded by 21 years old Boyan Slat, this initiative aims a cleaning half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years' time. I encourage everyone to support this amazing idea, explained in the following videos!
|Posted on August 4, 2015 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
For those who have not seen this Ted talk, I recommend you to watch it now. Paul Stamets is an American mycologist who received multiple awards for his ideas and research on mushrooms. In this Ted Talk, Paul gives an overview of the importance of fungi and proposes 6 ways mushrooms can save the world, by cleaning pollutated areas, making insecticides, treating viruses and more. This is a very inspiring talk, which gives hope to make changes in the world. This also highlights the fact that mutlipe tools are already available to move towards a more eco-friendly society, but remains unused or not sufficiently used.
|Posted on June 22, 2015 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
I am currently in Maastricht, participating to the conference "Rhizosphere 4", where I gave the talk "Role of mycorrhizas in plant NP stoichiometry under drought in Australian grasslands". I learned a lot about rhizosphere and the importance of microbes and roots for agricultural practices and ecosystem services. This makes me believe that we already have all the knowledge to stop and survive climate change and to feed the entire world with a sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture. What we need now is more action !
|Posted on May 3, 2015 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Another paper from my PhD research, entilted "Subordinate plants mitigate drought effects on soil ecosystem processes by stimulating fungi", has just been accepted in Functional Ecology! Many thanks to my co-auhors and people who helped me in the field during 4 years.
|Posted on March 30, 2015 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
(Presented by Cat Adams / BBC Campus)
While some fungi produce their own wind, other fungi produce the stuff of nightmares.
In tropical forests around the world, species of the fungal genus Ophiocordyceps infect carpenter ants, landing on the ant and then burrowing into its brain.
But this is no simple brain-siege. In Thailand, for example, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis first causes the ant to walk erratically, eventually plummeting from its normal home in the canopy to the forest floor below. The fungus then directs the ant to traverse up trees a precise number of centimetres, just less than a metre above the ground, where the temperature and humidity are ideal for fungi to thrive.
The fungus can control not only the height the ant travels to, but also the direction the ant faces, which is usually north-northwest. An uninfected ant would normally not bite a leaf, but infected ants do, clamping down on the underside of a leaf, almost always in the very middle of the leaf, where it is strongest. Like something from an science fiction story, the zombie ant bites down at precisely solar noon.
The ant then dies in this unusual position, stiff with postmortem lockjaw due to muscle atrophy from the fungi rapidly growing in its head. For up to two weeks, the ant corpse remains locked to the leaf while the fungus reproduces, eventually raining spores on unsuspecting healthy ants walking below, carrying food to their nests in the canopy.
And the zombification cycle repeats.
The zombie ant fungus Ophiocordyceps has perfected zombification to a science that has inspired both movies and video games, and was recently the topic of a science crowdfunding campaign to determine which genes are important for the fungus to control its host.
Everybody loves a good zombie story, perhaps the zombie-makers most of all.
|Posted on March 24, 2015 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Plant-soil interactions are an incredibly interesting topic, which surprises and amazes me every day. Here are an example from the BBC, with plants interacting with the very dense and complex fungal web:
|Posted on January 18, 2015 at 6:35 PM||comments (0)|
Listen this interesting podcast from BBC Inside Science:
Adam Rutherford interviews Prof. Richard Bardgett from the University of Manchester, and other researchers, about the importance of soils for the future, related to agriculture and climate change.
Here also the flyer of the FAO.