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Miriam Muñoz-Rojas

Miriam Muñoz-Rojas
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES)

PhD

About

135
Publications
37,673
Reads
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2,677
Citations
Citations since 2017
68 Research Items
2251 Citations
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Introduction
My research is focused on the ecology, conservation, and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. I am particularly interested in understanding plant-soil-microbe interactions and harnessing novel methodologies, including geo-tools, genomics, metabolomics, and eco-engineering, to promote ecosystem restoration and ensure the provision of key ecosystem services.
Additional affiliations
November 2018 - present
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • Fellow
November 2013 - present
University of Western Australia
Position
  • Research Assistant
July 2013 - November 2013
Curtin University
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • - Animal and Plant Physiology - Climate Change and Adaptations
Education
May 2010 - December 2012
Universidad de Sevilla
Field of study
  • Soil Sciences
September 2000 - March 2002
Wageningen University & Research
Field of study
  • Environmental Sciences

Publications

Publications (135)
Article
Seed‐based ecosystem restoration has huge potential to restore degraded drylands. However, fewer than 10% of directly sown seeds transition to established seedlings. One of the potential factors restricting plant establishment in degraded soils is the low abundance and diversity of native soil micro‐organisms. In this study, we investigated whether...
Article
Full-text available
Soil cryptogamic biocrusts provide many ecological functions in arid zone ecosystems, though their natural reestablishment in disturbed areas is slow. Accelerating reestablishment of biocrusts may facilitate the establishment of vascular plant communities within the timeframes of restoration targets (typically 5–15 years). One technique is to inocu...
Article
Full-text available
Context: Vegetation patterns in hummock grasslands of Australia's arid interior can be very complex. Additionally, the grasslands are interspersed with variable amounts of trees and shrubs. Objectives: To better understand the spatial arrangement of this vegetation structure, and in particular the unvegetated bare-soil gaps, we analyzed the scale-...
Article
Full-text available
Spanish black pine ( Pinus nigra Arn ssp . salzmannii ) is the most widely distributed pine species in mountain areas of the Mediterranean Basin and is commonly used for afforestation in endangered and degraded areas. Despite its importance, little is known regarding the factors driving seedling survival for this species, which may hamper afforesta...
Article
Full-text available
Land degradation is one of our foremost challenges, and there is a pressing need for further research into causes, management, and solutions to restore ecosystems. The studies within this issue provide key insights into the different causes of land degradation, from overgrazing, limited water availability, or mining operations. Furthermore, these s...
Article
Biocrust cyanobacteria are ubiquitous organisms in dryland environments that can enhance soil stability and improve nutrient conditions in reconstructed or disturbed soils. Despite the demonstrated benefits of cyanobacterial inoculation for promoting soil fertility, there is limited knowledge about the impacts of introducing cultured cyanobacteria...
Article
La biodiversidad y el carbono orgánico del suelo, así como la interacción entre ambos, juegan papeles esenciales en el mantenimiento y regulación de los servicios ecosistémicos de las zonas secas, desde la fertilidad del suelo a la producción de alimentos. El cambio climático y los impactos antrópicos pueden provocar pérdidas en la biodiversidad y...
Chapter
Full-text available
This study shows that drylands have a high potential to sequester SOC as long as the most appropriate management practices are carried out and precise and exhaustive monitoring and evaluation to achieve this objective.
Article
Soil carbon contents and biodiversity play critical roles for the maintenance and regulation of ecosystem services in drylands. Increases in aridity are predicted to have a large impact on the soil carbon contents and microbial communities. These impacts can have serious implications at global scales which are still largely unknown. To increase car...
Chapter
Full-text available
Description, carbon and other benefits, drawbacks and barriers of grassland-related practices. Chapters: 30. Conservation of permanent grassland 31. Grassland diversification 32. Restoration of degraded grassland 33. Conversion of cropland to grassland 34. Improved pasture management 35. Grazing exclusion and rotational grazing 36. Pastoralism Book...
Article
Rehabilitation of mine sites in semi-arid landscapes is hindered by poor quality mine waste substrates, a byproduct of mining used as alternative growth media. Inorganic soil amendments, such as gypsum and urea, are sometimes used to improve the chemical and physical quality of mine waste substrates and increase native plant establishment. However,...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in climate are expected to alter fire regimes, with critical implications in soils and ecosystems. Biological soil crusts or biocrusts are communities of photosynthetic organisms (cyanobacteria, bryophytes, lichens and/or microalgae), and associated bacteria, archaea, and fungi, that have important ecological and biological roles. Recent re...
Article
Full-text available
Biological soil crusts or biocrusts have critical ecological roles in dryland ecosystems including soil stabilization, erosion control and nutrient cycling. Global environmental changes are expected to impact terrestrial ecosystems, including biocrust communities. Thus, a growing number of studies have focused on investigating the diversity of bioc...
Article
Full-text available
Current methods of mine rehabilitation in the arid zone have a high failure rate at seedling emergence largely due to limited availability of topsoil and low water-holding capacity of alternative growth substrates such as mining overburden and tailings. Further, seedlings have consistently failed to emerge from seeds sown on the soil surface using...
Article
Full-text available
Post-fire environmental conditions can heavily influence the natural regeneration of pine species in Mediterranean forests. Therefore, enhancing post-fire recovery of pine species is fundamental for effective ecological restoration of Mediterranean forests. In this study, the effects of a post-fire restoration treatment on the seedling emergence an...
Article
1. Forest are highly vulnerable to global change drivers, such as an increase in wildfire events. Learning more about how and why different postfire management strategies regulate the ability of forest ecosystem properties (e.g., plant diversity and function) to simultaneously recover after wildfire and provide multiple ecosystem functions is of cr...
Article
Full-text available
Aims This research investigated the effects of woody plant identity and season on soil physicochemical properties and microbiological function in the semi-arid Zagros forest, one of the old-growth semi-arid oak forests in the world. Methods Soil sampling was conducted beneath the canopy of six woody (tree and shrub) species in spring and winter. M...
Article
The role of cyanobacteria from soil biocrusts in restoring degraded land is gaining interest in recent years because of their critical role in enhancing soil fertility and preventing erosion. However, soil restoration through cyanobacterial inoculation remains a challenge for large-scale restoration efforts and new methodologies for effective cyano...
Article
Full-text available
Soil salinization poses an important threat to terrestrial ecosystems and is expected to increase as a consequence of climate change and anthropogenic pressures. Conventional methods such as salt-leaching or application of soil amendments, or nature-based solutions (NBSs) such as phytoremediation, have been widely adopted with contrasting results....
Article
Full-text available
1. So‐called fairy circles (FCs) comprise a spatially periodic gap pattern in arid grasslands of Namibia and north‐west Western Australia. This pattern has been explained with scale‐dependent ecohydrological feedbacks and the reaction‐diffusion, or Turing mechanism, used in process‐based models that are rooted in physics and pattern‐formation theor...
Article
Full-text available
Soil contamination by potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) such as Cadmium (Cd), is a major environmental concern because of its potential implications to human health. Cacao-based products have been identified as food sources with relatively high Cd contents. Here, we assessed Cd concentrations of cacao-growing soils in four major agricultural...
Article
Climate change impacts are a serious threat to food provisioning, security and the economy. Thus, assessing agricultural suitability and yield reduction under climate change is crucial for sustainable agricultural production. In this study, we used two sub-models of the agro-ecological decision support system MicroLEIS (Terraza and Cervatana) to ev...
Article
Full-text available
Saltmarshes provide many valuable ecosystem services including storage of a large amount of ‘blue carbon’ within their soils. To date, up to 50% of the world’s saltmarshes have been lost or severely degraded primarily due to a variety of anthropogenic pressures. Previous efforts have aimed to restore saltmarshes and their ecosystem functions, but t...
Article
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria that form a fundamental part of soil biocrusts, enhance soil function and structure, and can promote plant growth. We assessed the potential of cyanobacteria as a seed bio‐primer for mine‐site restoration in an arid region in Western Australia, examining its effects on native plant growth and the characteri...
Conference Paper
Mine rehabilitation is not just earthworks. Mine rehabilitation is a complex, integrated process that involves multiple stakeholders, long-term commitment, and a comprehensive understanding of site-specific conditions. When it comes to the re-introduction of vegetation, increasing the likelihood of successful plant establishment requires the proper...
Article
Full-text available
Mining of mineral resources substantially alters both the above and below-ground soil ecosystem, which then requires rehabilitation back to a pre-mining state. For belowground rehabilitation, recovery of the soil microbiome to a state which can support key biogeochemical cycles, and effective plant colonization is usually required. One solution pro...
Article
In a time when global climate variability threatens the sustainability and productivity of arid ecosystems, the development of effective strategies to recover and protect soil resources and biota is crucial for the survival of these landscapes. With 20% of arid systems degraded and estimates of up to 10 Mha of land degrading each year, this issue i...
Chapter
Full-text available
Understanding management-induced C sequestration potential in soils under agriculture, forestry, and other land use systems and their quantification to offset increasing greenhouse gases are of global concern. This chapter reviews management-induced changes in C storage in soils of grazing grassland systems, their impacts on ecosystem functions, an...
Article
Full-text available
The dramatic growth of the world's population is increasing the pressure on natural resources, particularly on soil systems. At the same time, inappropriate agricultural practices are causing widespread soil degradation. Improved management of soil resources and identification of the potential agricultural capability of soils is therefore needed to...
Chapter
Full-text available
Understanding management-induced C sequestration potential in soils under agriculture, forestry, and other land use systems and their quantification to offset increasing greenhouse gases are of global concern. This chapter reviews management-induced changes in C storage in soils of grazing grassland systems, their impacts on ecosystem functions, an...
Article
Full-text available
Fairy circles (FCs) are extremely ordered round patches of bare soil within arid grasslands of southwestern Africa and northwestern Australia. Their origin is disputed because biotic factors such as insects or abiotic factors such as edaphic and eco‐hydrological feedback mechanisms have been suggested to be causal. In this research, we used a multi...
Article
Dryland areas are being seriously affected by degradation processes. The use of organic amendments in ecosystem restoration is an effective technique for accelerating soil regeneration processes in degraded drylands. This recovery is a result of the rapid increment of organic matter and clay contents in the soil in the short term. In the long-term,...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Cyanobacteria from biocrusts can enhance soil function and structure, a critical objective when restoring degraded dryland ecosystems. Large-scale restoration of biodiversity requires direct seeding of native plant species, and bio-priming seeds with cyanobacteria is a potential method of initiating enhanced soil functioning. Th...
Poster
Full-text available
Cyanobacteria are a phylum of photosynthetic bacteria distributed globally in a wide range of habitats. In drylands, they form critical components of biocrusts – topsoil assemblages of microorganisms, mosses and lichens – that stabilise the surface and enrich the soil profile. Ecologically significant and well adapted to extreme arid conditions, bi...
Article
Despite significant efforts to restore dryland ecosystems worldwide, the rate of success of restoration is extremely low in these areas. The role of cyanobacteria from soil biocrusts in reestablishing soil functions of degraded land has been highlighted in recent years. These organisms are capable of improving soil structure and promoting soil N an...
Article
Soils provide and regulate a large number of ecosystem services (ES) and play an important role in sustaining humanity. The benefits we receive from soils are directly or indirectly linked to clean air and water and food production, among others, and are key to poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation. These are some of the most important...
Poster
Full-text available
Currently 20% of dryland regions are degraded and will continue to degrade at a rate of 12 million ha per year (Kildisheva et al. 2016). A critical challenge faced is the limitation of available topsoil. In the absence, alternative substrates are adopted (i.e., overburden and blended soil types (topsoil: overburden), however these soil types often...
Article
The use of native plant seeds is fundamental to large-scale rehabilitation and the re-establishment of selfsustaining ecosystems after high-impact mining activity has ceased. However, many of the biological attributes of seeds are often overlooked in large-scale rehabilitation programs. Multi-disciplinary, long-term research collaborations are requ...
Article
One of the most critical challenges faced in restoration of disturbed arid lands is the limited availability of topsoil. In post-mining restoration, alternative soil substrates such as mine waste could be an adequate growth media to alleviate the topsoil deficit, but these materials often lack appropriate soil characteristics to support the develop...
Chapter
Basic soil management goes back to the earliest days of agricultural practices, approximately 9,000 BCE. Through time humans developed soil management techniques of ever increasing complexity, including plows, contour tillage, terracing, and irrigation. Spatial soil patterns were being recognized as early as 3,000 BCE, but the first soil maps didn’...
Chapter
In the context of growing population and global change, increasing demands for food production are an enormous challenge that we face in the modern world. At the same time, the need to prevent land degradation, restore lands that are already degraded, and maintain soil quality and health is critical to a sustainable use of land resources. Accurate...
Chapter
Soil maps and models are indispensable tools in sustainable land management. The sustainable land use of our territory is fundamental to providing long-term socio-economic and environmental benefits. The risk of land degradation and corresponding declines in ecosystem services depends on the type of land use. Soil restoration can be extremely expen...
Book
Soil Mapping and Process Modeling for Sustainable Land Use Management is the first reference to address the use of soil mapping and modeling for sustainability from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The use of more powerful statistical techniques are increasing the accuracy of maps and reducing error estimation, and this text provides t...
Chapter
Full-text available
Agricultural land suitability evaluation is a good way to distinguish soil suitability in order to improve the soils by addressing major limitations. This study investigated the influence of soil factors variability on the suitability of 12 Mediterranean crops in southern Spain. To represent the variability in elevation, lithology, and soil, two la...
Article
Although water repellency of sandy soils from dune areas and their consequences (irregular wetting front, preferential flow pathways) are well studied, there is not much information about the effect of fire on hydrophobicity and its consequences in these areas. In this paper we study the in-depth variation of water repellency of burnt sandy soils fro...
Article
Full-text available
In general, one of the major threats after a forest fire is the increased erosion. This can occur due to the erosive impact of rainfall after a drastic reduction of vegetation cover or to changes in soil surface properties that contribute to enhanced runoff flow. There is a consensus among researchers that one of the best ways to reduce this risk is...
Article
In this work we have studied the runoff and rate of erosion in severely burnt Mediterranean shrublands of southern Spain by simulating high intensity rainfall over a period of 5 years. We have also observed temporal changes in soil surface properties (0-10 mm) of two scrub areas in different years. In both cases, surface runoff increasedappreciably...
Article
Full-text available
In general, one of the major threats after a forest fire is the increased erosion. This can occur due to the erosive impact of rainfall after a drastic reduction of vegetation cover or to changes in soil surface properties that contribute to enhanced runoff flow. There is a consensus among researchers that one of the best ways to reduce this risk is...
Article
Full-text available
In this work we have studied the runoff and rate of erosion in severely burnt Mediterranean shrublands of southern Spain by simulating high intensity rainfall over a period of 5 years. We have also observed temporal changes in soil surface properties (0-10 mm) of two scrub areas in different years. In both cases, surface runoff increasedappreciably...
Article
Full-text available
Although water repellency of sandy soils from dune areas and their consequences (irregular wetting front, preferential flow pathways) are well studied, there is not much information about the effect of fire on hydrophobicity and its consequences in these areas. In this paper we study the in-depth variation of water repellency of burnt sandy soils fro...
Article
We assess the impacts of a wildfire on soil respiration in a semi-arid ecosystem • Larger rates of CO 2 efflux were found in the burnt areas compared to the un-burnt • Rs was higher under Eucalyptus trees and Acacia shrubs versus grasses or bare soil • CO 2 fluxes were triggered with higher temperatures and water availability • Q10 was significantl...
Article
Restoration of degraded arid and semi-arid land faces the challenge of reinstating vegetation communities exposed to limited and variable rainfall events that in combination with a deficit of original topsoil may exceed thresholds for seedling development. In a series of glasshouse experiments, we evaluated variation in drought responses of (i) 21...
Article
A thorough knowledge of the effects of climate and land use changes on the soil carbon pool is critical to planning effective strategies for adaptation and mitigation in future scenarios of global climate and land use change. In this study, we used CarboSOIL model to predict changes in soil organic carbon stocks in a semi-natural area of Southern S...
Article
Full-text available
Restoration of degraded arid and semi-arid land faces the challenge of reinstating vegetation communities exposed to limited and variable rainfall events that in combination with a deficit of original topsoil may exceed thresholds for seedling development. In a series of glasshouse experiments, we evaluated variation in drought responses of (i) 21...
Article
Mediterranean agricultural areas are characterised by low soil organic C (SOC) contents and as a consequence they are often degraded and highly vulnerable to environmental changes. Climate change is expected to have a large impact upon these areas but they may be key for mitigation of its effects given their potential for soil C sequestration. Seve...