GRADUATE STUDENT


BENDER, Irene M.A.
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

Interactions between consumer and resource species are organized in complex ecological networks. In my research, I aspire to disentangle the largely unknown mechanisms leading to the formation of interaction networks, and improve the understanding of the ecology of mutualistic interactions between species. In my current project, I am testing various factors that influence consumer selection of resources, specifically between frugivores and fleshy fruited plants. I aim to determine the relative importance of the abundance of fruits, nutritional values of fruits, and morphological traits relevant for seed dispersal for the formation of interactions. In addition, I aim to discern to what extend frugivorous species are able to realize their feeding preference in a natural environment.

 

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CASAGRANDA, Elvira
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

My postdoctoral research is focused on comprehending and describing the spatiotemporal dynamics of larval attacks by the moth Ormiscodes amphimone in lenga forests (Nothofagus pumilio) located in Southern Patagonia (Argentina), occurring over the past four decades. Given that climate change is one of the potential drivers behind the increased frequency of defoliation events worldwide, this investigation aims to unravel the connection between attack dynamics and climatic variables over time, as well as to explore alterations in the frequency, intensity, and scale of these events under different climate change scenarios.

 

 

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FERNANDEZ, Romina Daiana
(Post-doctoral fellow at FONCyT)

My research focuses on the ecology of biological invasions, mainly in plants. I am a member of the team of experts in the IPBES global assessment of invasive alien species and their control; specifically, I participate in the global synthesis on the environmental, economic and social impacts (negative and positive) of these species. In my new postdoctoral project I will evaluate the underlying patterns of livestock de-intensification and its link with the invasion of exotic plants in northwestern Argentina.

 

 

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GANDOY, Facundo Ariel
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

As a birdwatcher, I am interested in all aspects of the natural history of birds. However, my research line focuses on the processes of colonization of new environments. This is an area of growing interest due to the increasing change in distribution caused by introductions and climate change. During my postdoctoral period at the IER I will be specifically studying the colonization of Barn Swallow in Argentina, trying to understand the causes of population growth and the possible presence of micro-evolutionary changes due to the interaction with a new environment.

 

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GARCÍA DIAZ, Pablo
(Post-doctoral fellow at FONCyT)

I am an applied ecologist with extensive experience and varied interests in ecology and conservation, ranging from the use of models to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of vertebrate and plant communities, to the management and ecology of invasions, the effect of disturbances on forest community dynamics, and wildlife trade. Additionally, I am an Associate Editor for Conservation Science and Practice.

Within  the PICT project "Changes in climate and land use as drivers of changes in mountain ecosystems in the Lules River Basin, Tucumán: consequences for vegetation and ecosystem services, including vector-borne diseases," my work focuses on producing a theoretical and conceptual framework to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of mountain ecosystems. Complementarily, I will develop the necessary tools to implement this theoretical-conceptual framework using empirical data from the Lules River Basin. The ultimate objective of the project is to identify and prioritise areas of  importance for the provision of ecosystem services and to mitigate ecosystem disservices such as vector-borne diseases.

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JIMÉNEZ, Yohana Gisell
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

My research focus is centered on the dynamics of the Anthropocene and how the interaction between society and nature influences the emergence of novel ecosystems. Currently, I am analyzing the role that crop diversity plays in productive resilience. Furthermore, I study ecosystem services and disservices at the local level in an urbanization of the Tucuman foothills with the aim of contributing to informed decision-making in the area.

 

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MANGINI, Giselle
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

Nature is not only composed of isolated individuals or species but rather by a cluster of interactions occurring at the same time. Based on this premise I became interested in understanding how different bird species interact between them in associations known as mixed flocks of birds. I decided that understanding how different bird species interact between them to obtain benefits was the first step in achieving the utopia of humanity relating positively to other species. Thus, after my doctorate I continued to investigate mixed flocks of birds to understand how the effects of habitat loss influence the delicate relationships between bird species that inhabit the Yungas forest environment in Argentina.

 

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RAMIREZ MEJIA, Andrés Felipe
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

I am interested in combining different modeling approaches and field experiments to understand how spatial patterns affect biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Currently, I’m mainly involved in two projects : (i) developing a control system for pollination service management in blueberry crops, and (ii) assessing how low opportunity cost areas in large-scale monoculture of citrus can boost diversity of pollinators, and their contribution to the crop productivity.

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tobias250ROJAS, Tobías Nicolás
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

I am interested in ecology and evolution of mechanisms that promote interactions between plants and animals. At the time, I am working on plant-seed disperser interactions, specifically trying to answer which fruit traits are more important for shaping fruit consumption by frugivores.

 

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VALOY, Mariana
(Post-doctoral fellow at CONICET)

My interest encompasses biotic interactions, specifically the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape the interactions between organism in different scenarios. My current project is centered on exploring potential benefits and applications of “Multilevel Selection” in a regional agricultural system focused on quinoa cultivation. This is being investigated as a possible strategy for sustainable management within agroecosystems.

 

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DOCTORAL FELLOWS

ANDRADA, Franco D.
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

I am interested in the study of interaction ecology, particularly in the study of plant-animal interactions, and how different environmental variables can modify these interactions. The objective of my thesis is focused on plant-pollinator interactions in the ecosystem “Monte” of northwestern Argentina, on an altitudinal gradient, where I will try to clarify how environmental variables which are expected to change with climate change might affect the dynamics and structure of interactions.

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CASTILLO, Silvio Eugenio
(PhD fellow at  FONCYT)

I am interested in the ecology of plant-animal interactions and their adaptation to different and changing local contexts. My efforts will be put in studying the contribution of pollinators in soybean agroecosystems in the semi-arid Chaco. I will evaluate the diversity and activity of insects on crop production, in relation to landscape variables. I am also interested in exploring the automation of interaction sampling as an alternative method to traditional ones.

 

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DIP YORDANOFF, Ana Lucía
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

The way in which societies and the environment influence each other has always interested me. For a long time it has been observed that activities such as extensive cattle ranching are decreasing in different regions in northwestern Argentina. This is why, during my doctorate, I set out to study what are the causes that drive these changes in land use, evaluating their costs and associated benefits, as well as the consequence of these changes on the creation of protected areas.

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ESCALANTE, Karen
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

I work in monitoring the health and genetics of honey bees. I focus on various natural mating sites of the species, which present particular characteristics at the landscape level. By comparing drones sampled from these sites, with worker bees sampled from an experimental apiary, we can analyze different pathogens, such as viruses, mites and microsporidia. In addition, we can determine the genetic haplotypes present in different ecoregions of the province of Tucumán, as well as in three provinces of Argentina with an important beekeeping activity (Entre Ríos, Bs. As., Tucumán). This allows us to monitor the health and genetics of honey bees in these places. This is important because the species has a fundamental primary role as a pollinator of many plant species, and the production of their derivatives (i.e., honey, propolis, wax, royal jelly and pollen) are important activities for the region.

 

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FERRO FRANCO SOSA, Agostina
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

Environmental problems cannot be analyzed or understood without considering their social context. In this framework, my doctoral study focuses on identifying and quantifying the socio-ecological drivers, both local and remote, of both the use and regime of fire in South America. Subsequently, I will focus on the Argentine Dry Chaco and make an integration of the fire’s regime into management reports.

 

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GONZALEZ, Virginia
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

I believe that cities are very complex and fascinating systems: they include processes with so many social actors, that it seems a challenge to me to try and explain them. Since I was a student, I am interested to get involved in projects that address this system and I hope to continue this line of research in my doctorate. Cities are centers of socioeconomic and political power that have an impact on the global ecosystem. During my doctorate, I will study the eastern slope of the tropical Andes in order to understand the urbanization process of intermediate cities, their driving factors (socioeconomic and biophysical), as well as determining the socioenvironmental impacts and conflicts that arise. In this region cities were founded during a gradual and late process, and their locations were based on distant centers of power near the sea. This gradual foundation allows me to study these cities as a chrono sequence of development and determine where the urbanization process is headed, constituting an ideal model to study the anthropic impact on one of the least known and most threatened systems in the tropics.

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PlazaBehr_250PLAZA BEHR, Maia
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

My studies aim to contribute to the creation of carbon balance models in forest plantations, in order to analyze the impact of possible future scenarios of land uses. In particular, I will investigate the regional, spatial and temporal dynamics of carbon in the biomass and soil of Eucalyptus spp. plantations in the Uruguay River basin.
I am also interested in the study of changes in ecological processes of Celtis tala forests, associated with both the invasion of exotic tree species and the rehabilitation activities.

 

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MATIAS, Emiliano
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

In general terms, my main question is how demographic and ecological processes interact. In this context, my Phd study focuses on evaluating the recovery of biodiversity in areas where extensive livestock practices are declining, in northwestern Argentina. This project aims to provide relevant information for land use and planning initiatives in productively marginal areas with a significant relevance for conservation.

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JMAGRO-250MAGRO, Julieta
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

My main research interest is focused on birds, mainly hummingbirds and their mutualistic interactions with plants.

 

 

 

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RUIZ BARRIONUEVO, Juliana María
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

Plastic pollution is a problem that mobilizes nations and scientists around the world in search of alternatives and mitigation strategies. In recent years, it has been discovered that certain insects are capable of consuming plastic and biodegrading it with the help of their gut microbiota. Although this process does not represent a magical solution to plastic pollution, from a biotechnological point of view it has a lot of potential. I am currently studying wax moth larvae (Galleria mellonella L. and Achroia grisella F.) that can consume and biodegrade plastics. During my Ph.D., I seek to deepen the understanding of this phenomenon: which plastics can biodegrade, how the gut microbiota varies according to diet, and the biological consequences of plastic consumption in the following generations of larvae.

 

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SARAVIA, Alejandro Nicolás
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

The natural environment and society are two intimately related systems, and their different components interact to produce different outcomes. My specific interest lies in how societies use the land, the motivations for such use, and their ecological consequences. In this context, my doctoral research aims to analyze the social, economic, and environmental causes of land use in Northwestern Argentina, in order to model future land use scenarios and spatialize them.

 

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TASQUER, Macarena
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

My interest is to observe how climate variability and environmental shocks influence different livestock systems in the Argentine dry Chaco. I will study the strategies of livestock producers to overcome extreme climatic events in different socio-ecological conditions in the region, developing a resilience analysis against droughts and floods.

 

 

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THOMANN, María Luz
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

Since I was student I have been interested in topics related to the ecology of seed dispersal and frugivory by birds. In my final thesis I got the chance to research plant-bird interactions in natural and planted forests in the north of the province Corrientes. Later, I was able to continue my studies in a Master's degree, this time studying gulls species of the genus Larus in the Balearic Islands. Currently, my PhD is focused on the evolutionary ecology of seed dispersal mutualisms, specifically taking into account natural selection on seed size in fleshy fruited plants dispersed by animals in central and northern Argentina.

 

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Lic. ZELAYA, María Josefina.
(PhD fellow at CONICET)

Biology is extremely broad, and researching any branch of it is surprising. Still, ornithology is my area of ​​interest. Studying birds, their diet, behavior, and general ecology is truly exciting. It seems that frugivorous birds seek to achieve a nutritional optimum by mixing complementary foods. However, this can be limited by environmental degradation which affects directly birds diet, and indirectly the nutritional balance obtained by birds after eating. That is why, in my doctorate, I intend to evaluate the impact of environmental degradation on frugivorous birds through changes in the nutritional balance of the diet and indicators of their health.

 

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