Fernando T Maestre

Fernando T Maestre
University of Alicante | UA · Multidisciplinary Institute for Environmental Studies "Ramon Margalef" (IMEM)

Ph.D. in Biology

About

422
Publications
223,228
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
30,250
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in understanding how dryland ecosystems function, and how they will respond to ongoing global environmental change. I use a wide variety of tools (field observations and experiments, laboratory work and modeling) and biotic communities (vascular plants, biological soil crusts and soil microorganisms) for my research, which is carried out at multiple spatial scales, from microcosm and single-site studies to global field projects with study sites located all over the world.
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
Universidad Rey Juan Carlo
Position
  • Biotic community attributes and ecosystem functioning: implications for predicting and mitigating global change impacts
Description
  • For more information on the project visit http://www.escet.urjc.es/biodiversos/espa/investigacion/biocom/
October 2005 - present
King Juan Carlos University
October 2005 - present
Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnologia
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
January 1999 - July 2002
University of Alicante
Field of study
  • Ecology
October 1994 - July 1998
University of Alicante
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (422)
Article
Determining the influence of climate in driving the global distribution of soil microbial communities is fundamental to help predict potential shifts in soil food webs and ecosystem functioning under global change scenarios. Herein, we used a global survey including 80 dryland ecosystems from six continents, and found that the relative abundance of...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing the extent and environmental drivers of forests is key to successfully restore degraded ecosystems, and to mitigate climate change and desertification impacts using tree planting. Water availability is the main limiting factor for the development of forests in drylands, yet the importance of groundwater resources and palaeoclimate as driver...
Article
Drylands are important reservoirs of soil phosphorus (P) at the global scale, although large uncertainties remain regarding how climate change will affect P cycling in these ecosystems. Biocrust‐forming lichens are important regulators of abiotic and biotic processes occurring in the soil surface, including nutrient availability and redistribution,...
Preprint
Background: Little is known about the global distribution and environmental drivers of key microbial functional traits such as antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Soils are one of Earth largest reservoirs of ARGs, which are integral for soil microbial competition, and have potential implications for plant and human health. Yet, their diversity and...
Article
Full-text available
Phosphorus (P) acquisition is key for plant growth. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) help plants acquire P from soil. Understanding which factors drive AMF-supported nutrient uptake is essential to develop more sustainable agroecosystems. Here we collected soils from 150 cereal fields and 60 non-cropped grassland sites across a 3,000 km trans-Eur...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Biocrusts are major contributors to dryland nutrient cycling by regulating C, N and P inputs and fluxes. However, our understanding about how the decomposition of biocrust constituents contributes to soil nutrient cycling in drylands is virtually unknown. Methods We conducted a microcosm experiment to: i) evaluate the litter de...
Article
Full-text available
The interest in understanding the role of biocrusts as ecosystem engineers in drylands has substantially increased during the last two decades. Mosses are a major biocrust component that dominate its late successional stages. In general, their impacts on most ecosystem functions are greater than those of early-stage biocrust constituents. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of biological soil crusts (biocrusts) have proliferated over the last few decades. The biocrust literature has broadened, with more studies assessing and describing the function of a variety of biocrust communities in a broad range of biomes and habitats and across a large spectrum of disciplines, and also by the incorporation of biocrusts...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing global warming and alterations in rainfall patterns driven by climate change are known to have large impacts on biogeochemical cycles, particularly on drylands. In addition, the global increase of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition can destabilize primary productivity in terrestrial ecosystems, and phosphorus (P) may become the most limiti...
Article
Full-text available
Hyper-arid, arid, semi-arid and dry-sub-humid climate zones (all of them considered drylands) occupy over 40 % of the Earth’s land surface and are home to more than 2 billion people. Contrary to the popular image of this important set of biomes, drylands are home to 36 % of carbon stores, 30 % of forested areas, 50 % of the world’s livestock, and 4...
Article
Full-text available
Drylands occupy approximately 40 % of the Earth's surface. Their peculiar hydrological regime, with water as the main limiting factor, together with other characteristics, such as the variability of rainfall and their ecological heterogeneity, turn these regions into one of the main and most relevant sets of biomes on the planet. Beyond their stere...
Preprint
Full-text available
Fungi play pivotal roles in ecosystem functioning, but little is known about their global patterns of diversity, endemicity, vulnerability to global change drivers and conservation priority areas. We applied the high-resolution PacBio sequencing technique to identify fungi based on a long DNA marker that revealed a high proportion of hitherto unkno...
Article
Full-text available
The latest world atlas of desertification represents a turning point in the diagnosis of desertification. While it forgoes desertification mapping due to the intrinsic complexity of the phenomenon and the impossibility of measuring it using a single indicator, it introduces the convergence of evidence paradigm, which identifies socioeconomic and bi...
Article
Photoautotrophic soil cyanobacteria play essential ecological roles and are known to experience large changes in their diversity and abundance throughout early succession. However, much less is known about how and why soil cyanobacterial communities change as soil develops from centuries to millennia, and the effects of vegetation on them. We combi...
Article
Full-text available
Drylands cover ~41% of the terrestrial surface. In these water-limited ecosystems, soil moisture contributes to multiple hydrological processes and is a crucial determinant of the activity and performance of above-and belowground organisms and of the ecosystem processes that rely on them. thus, an accurate characterisation of the temporal dynamics...
Preprint
Full-text available
The latest World Atlas of Desertification represents a turning point in the diagnosis of desertification. While it forgoes desertification mapping due to the intrinsic complexity of the phenomenon and the impossibility of measuring it using a single indicator, it introduces the Convergence of Evidence paradigm, which identifies socioeconomic and bi...
Article
Full-text available
Soil carbon losses to the atmosphere, via soil heterotrophic respiration, are expected to increase in response to global warming, resulting in a positive carbon-climate feedback. Despite the well-known suite of abiotic and biotic factors controlling soil respiration, much less is known about how the magnitude of soil respiration responses to temper...
Article
Full-text available
Desertification is a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon. There have been many attempts to map it. However, none of the approaches used over the years has been consolidated, and the criteria and methodologies have changed over the years. This lack of robustness makes the interpretation of these maps confusing and not very operational. In this pape...
Article
Soil microbial communities largely determine the ability of soils to provide multiple functions simultaneously (i.e. soil multifunctionality; multifunctionality hereafter). However, a major research challenge is understanding how soil microbial communities and associated multifunctionality resist and recover from extreme climate events such as drou...
Article
Full-text available
Temporal variations on NDVI predict temporal changes in vegetation cover across Patagonian drylands (Argentina). In drylands, natural vegetation is an important source of livelihood as they provide food, fuel and forage for livestock. In addition to the provision of goods and services, dryland vegetation also plays an important role in many ecologi...
Article
Full-text available
Las tierras secas, que engloban todas aquellas con un índice de aridez (relación entre precipitación y evapotranspiración potencial) inferior a 0.65, constituyen el principal bioma terrestre, ocupando entre el 37.2% (Cherlet et al. 2018) y el 46.2% (Mirzabaev et. al 2019) de su superficie. En ellas vive el 40% de la población mundial (van der Esch...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeal communities in arable soils are dominated by Nitrososphaeria, a class within Thaumarchaeota comprising all known ammonia‐oxidizing archaea (AOA). AOA are key players in the nitrogen cycle and defining their niche specialization can help predicting effects of environmental change on these communities. However, hierarchical effects of enviro...
Article
With ongoing climate change, the probability of crossing environmental thresholds promoting abrupt changes in ecosystem structure and functioning is higher than ever. In drylands (areas where it rains less than 65% of what could be potentially evaporated), recent research has shown how the crossing of three aridity thresholds (at aridity [1‐Aridity...
Article
Full-text available
Emerging evidence suggests that ecosystem responses to increases in atmospheric aridity, a hallmark of climate change, exhibit multiple thresholds across global drylands. However, it is not clear whether aridity thresholds exist in the relationships between ecosystem functions and remotely sensed indicators (RSIs). Assessing this is important becau...
Preprint
Full-text available
Soil cyanobacteria play essential ecological roles and are known to experience large changes in their diversity and abundance throughout early succession. However, much less is known about how and why soil cyanobacterial communities change as soil develops from centuries to millennia, and the effects of aboveground vegetation on these communities....
Article
Full-text available
Despite the high relevance of communities dominated by lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria living on the soil surface (biocrusts) for ecosystem functioning in drylands, no study to date has investigated the decomposition of biocrust-forming lichen litter in situ. Thus, we do not know whether the drivers of its decomposition are similar to those for p...
Article
Full-text available
Litter decomposition is a key process for carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and is mainly controlled by environmental conditions, substrate quantity, and quality as well as microbial community abundance and composition. In particular, the effects of climate and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on litter decomposition and its...
Article
Full-text available
Despite their extent and socio‐ecological importance, a comprehensive biogeographical synthesis of drylands is lacking. Here we synthesize the biogeography of key organisms (vascular and non‐vascular vegetation and soil microorganisms), attributes (functional traits, spatial patterns, plant‐plant and plant‐soil interactions) and processes (producti...
Preprint
With ongoing climate change, the probability of crossing environmental thresholds promoting abrupt changes in ecosystem structure and functioning is higher than ever. In drylands (sites where it rains less than 60% of what is evaporated), recent research has shown how the crossing of three particular aridity thresholds (defining three consecutive p...
Article
The functional traits of organisms within multispecies assemblages regulate biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning. Yet how traits should assemble to boost multiple ecosystem functions simultaneously (multifunctionality) remains poorly explored. In a multibiome litter experiment covering most of the global variation in leaf trait spectra, we...
Article
Global vegetation photosynthesis and productivity have increased substantially since the 1980s, but this trend is heterogeneous in both time and space. Here, we categorize the secular trend in global vegetation greenness into sustained greening, sustained browning and greening-to-browning. We found that by 2016, increased global vegetation greennes...
Article
Full-text available
The stabling of livestock farming implies changes in both local ecosystems (regeneration of forest stands via reduced grazing) and those located thousands of kilometers away (deforestation to produce grain for feeding livestock). Despite their importance, these externalities are poorly known. Here we evaluated how the intensification and confinemen...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Soil microbes are essential for maintenance of life‐supporting ecosystem services, but projections of how these microbes will be affected by global change scenarios are lacking. Therefore, our aim was to provide projections of future soil microbial distribution using several scenarios of global change. Location Global. Time period 1950–2090....
Article
Full-text available
In natural ecosystems, positive effects of plant diversity on ecosystem functioning have been widely observed, yet whether this is true in cropping systems remains unclear. Here we assessed the impact of crop diversification on soil microbial diversity, soil multifunctionality (SMF) and crop yields in 155 cereal fields across a 3,000 km north–south...
Article
Biocrusts are key drivers of ecosystem functioning in drylands, yet our understanding of how climate change will affect the chemistry of biocrust-forming species and their impacts on carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling is still very limited. Using a manipulative experiment conducted with common biocrust-forming lichens with distinct morphology and...
Article
Full-text available
Manipulative experiments typically show a decrease in dryland biocrust cover and altered species composition under climate change. Biocrust-forming lichens, such as the globally distributed Diploschistes diacapsis, are particularly affected and show a decrease in cover with simulated climate change. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the role of biocrusts in regulating the responses of N2O and CH4 fluxes to climate change in drylands. Here, we aim to help filling this knowledge gap by using an 8-year field experiment in central Spain where temperature and rainfall are being manipulated (~ 1.9°C warming, 33% rainfall reduction and their combination) in area...
Article
Food systems are driven by incentives that often lead to food being discarded before entering the market and to the degradation of natural resources. Vegetable production in the water-scarce province of Almería, Spain, illustrates this and highlights the need for policies ensuring ethical and environmental sustainability standards.
Preprint
Full-text available
Soil carbon losses to the atmosphere, via soil heterotrophic respiration, are expected to increase in response to global warming, resulting in a positive carbon-climate feedback. Despite the well-known suite of abiotic and biotic factors controlling soil respiration, much less is known about how the magnitude of soil respiration responses to temper...
Article
Full-text available
We present the MaRaS (Environmental Monitoring of arid and Semiarid Regions) dataset, which stores vegetation and soil data of 426 rangeland monitoring plots installed throughout Patagonia, a 624.500 km 2 area of southern argentina and Chile. Data for each monitoring plot includes basic climatic and landscape features, photographs, 500 point interc...
Article
Cyanobacteria have shaped the history of life on Earth and continue to play important roles as carbon and nitrogen fixers in terrestrial ecosystems. However, their global distribution and ecological preferences remain poorly understood, particularly for two recently discovered non-photosynthetic cyanobacterial classes (Sericytochromatia and Melaina...
Article
Full-text available
1. In recent years there has been an upsurge of studies on ecosystem multifunction-ality (EMF), or the ability of ecosystems to simultaneously provide multiple functions and/or services. The concept of EMF itself, the analytical approaches used to calculate it, and its implications depending on the spatial scale and field of study have been discuss...
Article
Full-text available
From its origins, the concept of desertification has been controversial. The prevailing confusion between two desertification visions, one that considers it as the expansion of deserts and another that emphasizes its anthropogenic component, has been transferred to society. Here we illustrate misunderstandings about desertification using a very ill...
Article
Full-text available
Soils harbor a substantial fraction of the world’s biodiversity, contributing to many crucial ecosystem functions. It is thus essential to identify general macroecological patterns related to the distribution and functioning of soil organisms to support their conservation and consideration by governance. These macroecological analyses need to repre...
Article
Full-text available
The capture and use of water are critically important in drylands, which collectively constitute Earth's largest biome. Drylands will likely experience lower and more unreliable rainfall as climatic conditions change over the next century. Dryland soils support a rich community of microphytic organisms (biocrusts), which are critically important be...
Article
Full-text available
The availability of metallic nutrients in dryland soils, many of which are essential for the metabolism of soil organisms and vascular plants, may be altered due to climate change-driven increases in aridity. Biocrusts, soil surface communities dominated by lichens, bryophytes and cyanobacteria, are ecosystem engineers known to exert critical funct...
Article
The current definition of desertification excludes hyper-arid zones given their lack of economic activity. However, the 101 million people living there, ongoing land degradation associated with the use of groundwater for intensive agriculture and climate-change-induced aridity call for a revision of this definition. A free to read version of the a...
Article
Full-text available
Aims Biodiversity is often positively related to the capacity of an ecosystem to provide multiple functions simultaneously (i.e., multifunctionality). However, there is some controversy over whether biodiversity-multifunctionality relationships depend on the number of functions considered. Particularly, investigators have documented contrasting fin...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Manipulative experiments show a decrease in dryland biological soil crust cover and altered species composition under climate change. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood, and long-term interacting effects of different drivers are largely unknown due to the short-term nature of the studies conducted so far. 2. We addressed...
Article
Full-text available
Increased human‐derived nitrogen (N) deposition to terrestrial ecosystems has resulted in widespread phosphorus (P) limitation of net primary productivity. However, it remains unclear if and how N‐induced P limitation varies over time. Soil extracellular phosphatases catalyze the hydrolysis of P from soil organic matter, an important adaptive mecha...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding whether soil microbial respiration adapts to the ambient thermal climate with an enhanced or compensatory response, hence potentially stimulating or slowing down soil carbon losses with warming, is key to accurately forecast and model climate change impacts on the global carbon cycle. Despite the interest in this topic and the plethor...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the present and future distribution of soil-borne plant pathogens is critical to supporting food and fibre production in a warmer world. Using data from a global field survey and a nine-year field experiment, we show that warmer temperatures increase the relative abundance of soil-borne potential fungal plant pathogens. Moreover, we p...
Article
The importance of soil phosphorus (P) is likely to increase in coming decades due to the growing atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition originated by industrial and agricultural activities. We currently lack a proper understanding of the main drivers of soil P pools in coastal dunes, which rank among the most valued priority conservation areas worldwi...
Article
Soil carbon losses to the atmosphere through soil respiration are expected to rise with ongoing temperature increases, but available evidence from mesic biomes suggests that such response disappears after a few years of experimental warming. However, there is lack of empirical basis for these temporal dynamics in soil respiration responses, and for...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite the high relevance of communities dominated by lichens, mosses and cyanobacteria living on the soil surface (biocrusts) for ecosystem functioning in drylands worldwide, no study to date has investigated the decomposition of biocrust-forming lichen litter in situ. Thus, we do not know whether the drivers of its decomposition are similar to t...
Article
Aridity, which is increasing worldwide because of climate change, affects the structure and functioning of dryland ecosystems. Whether aridification leads to gradual (versus abrupt) and systemic (versus specific) ecosystem changes is largely unknown. We investigated how 20 structural and functional ecosystem attributes respond to aridity in global...
Article
Full-text available
What is the potential for synthetic biology as a way of engineering, on a large scale, complex ecosystems? Can it be used to change endangered ecological communities and rescue them to prevent their collapse? What are the best strategies for such ecological engineering paths to succeed? Is it possible to create stable, diverse synthetic ecosystems...