Santiago Soliveres

Santiago Soliveres
University of Alicante | UA · Ecology

PhD

About

114
Publications
92,030
Reads
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7,269
Citations
Introduction
I have a range of interests in community ecology from diversity-ecosystem functioning relationships, the effect of grazing pressure, climate or land use on plant diversity, shrub encroachment, restoration of roadsides and mine sites, or the ecology of biological soil crusts. However, most of my research so far has focused on plant-plant interactions, their biotic and abiotic drivers, and their consequences for plant community assembly.
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
University of Alicante
Position
  • Fellow
January 2014 - July 2016
Universität Bern
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2014 - December 2017
Universität Bern
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
December 2006 - December 2010
King Juan Carlos University
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 2005 - December 2006
University of Alicante
Field of study
  • Ecology
September 2000 - September 2004
University of Alicante
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (114)
Article
Questions Woody‐shrub encroachment affects community structure and composition. However, most studies focus on their effects on understorey plant communities, and the relative importance of shrubs in affecting plants vs soil biota communities is poorly known. Location Inner Mongolian Steppe, China. Methods We examined the effect of shrubs on mult...
Article
Post-fire regeneration in Pinus halepensis' forests, one of the most abundant vegetation types in the Mediterranean basin, often generates overstocked and vulnerable stands. They accumulate a high fuel load, increasing the risk of further fires, and present high levels of vulnerability due to their reduced seed production. In addition, these dense...
Article
Full-text available
Wildfires shape the composition and functioning of Mediterranean ecosystems, but we do not know how these ecosystems respond to both the higher fire recurrence and shorter recovery times expected for future climatic scenarios. We sampled 29 plots with different fire recurrences (from 0 to 4 fires over the past decades) and time since the last fire...
Article
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Abstract Aim Plant–plant interactions are an important factor in structuring plant biodiversity. However, most studies on the impacts of plant–plant interactions on biodiversity focus on species richness and to a lesser extent on other facets of diversity. When other facets of biodiversity are considered, studies often include a limited set of envi...
Article
Monospecific pine forests are widespread due to extensive afforestation efforts and natural colonization of abandoned croplands in the Mediterranean Basin. It was originally thought that pines would facilitate the natural colonization of native late-successional resprouter species (e.g., hardwoods), but these species can be compromised if competiti...
Article
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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...
Article
Semi-arid environments are strongly limited by water and nutrients, which hinders their recovery after anthropogenic disturbances. Application of compost and irrigation can improve soil fertility and enhance vegetation growth during the restoration of these environments. However, these restoration techniques may also favor the establishment of oppo...
Article
Semi-arid environments are strongly limited by water and nutrients, which hinders their recovery after anthropogenic disturbances. Application of compost and irrigation can improve soil fertility and enhance vegetation growth during the restoration of these environments. However, these restoration techniques may also favor the establishment of oppo...
Article
Full-text available
Land-use intensification can increase provisioning ecosystem services, such as food and timber production, but it also drives changes in ecosystem functioning and biodiversity loss, which may ultimately compromise human wellbeing. To understand how changes in land-use intensity affect the relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and...
Preprint
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The ability of an ecosystem to deliver multiple functions at high levels (multifunctionality) typically increases with biodiversity but there is substantial variation in the strength and direction of biodiversity effects, suggesting context-dependency. However, the drivers of this context dependency have not been identified and understood in compar...
Article
Nitrogen (N) enrichment has direct effects on ecosystem functioning by altering soil abiotic conditions and indirect effects by reducing plant diversity and shifting plant functional composition from dominance by slow to fast growing species. Litter decomposition is a key ecosystem function and is affected by N enrichment either by a change in litt...
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
Biocrusts are critical components of drylands where they regulate a wide range of ecosystem functions, however, their response to the worldwide phenomenon of shrub encroachment and to livestock grazing, the most extensive land use in drylands, are not well studied. Grazing by livestock and increases in shrub cover could influence biocrust communiti...
Article
Full-text available
Models of natural processes necessarily sacrifice some realism for the sake of tractability. Detailed, parameter‐rich models often provide accurate estimates of system behaviour but can be data‐hungry and difficult to operationalise. Moreover, complexity increases the danger of “over‐fitting”, which leads to poor performance when models are applied...
Article
Full-text available
1. The inference of pairwise competitive outcomes (PCO) and multispecies competitive ranks and intransitivity from empirical data is essential to evaluate how competition shapes plant communities. Three categories of methods, differing in theoretical background and data requirements, have been used: (a) theoretically sound coexistence theory-based...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nitrogen (N) enrichment has direct effects on ecosystem functioning by altering soil abiotic conditions and indirect effects by reducing plant diversity and shifting plant functional composition from dominance by slow to fast growing species. Litter decomposition is a key ecosystem function and is affected by N enrichment either by a change in litt...
Article
Biodiversity encompasses multiple attributes such as the richness and abundance of species (taxonomic diversity), the presence of different evolutionary lineages (phylogenetic diversity), and the variety of growth forms and resource use strategies (functional diversity). These biodiversity attributes do not necessarily relate to each other and may...
Article
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Past vegetation and climatic conditions are known to influence current biodiversity patterns. However, whether their legacy effects affect the provision of multiple ecosystem functions, i.e. multifunctionality, remains largely unknown. Here we analyzed soil nutrient stocks and their transformation rates in 236 drylands from six continents to evalua...
Article
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While forest management strongly influences biodiversity, it remains unclear how the structural and compositional changes caused by management affect different community dimensions (e.g. richness, specialisation, abundance or completeness) and how this differs between taxa. We assessed the effects of nine forest features (representing stand structu...
Article
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Trade-offs and synergies in the supply of forest ecosystem services are common but the drivers of these relationships are poorly understood. To guide management that seeks to promote multiple services, we investigated the relationships between 12 stand-level forest attributes, including structure, composition, heterogeneity and plant diversity, plu...
Article
Full-text available
Trade-offs and synergies in the supply of forest ecosystem services are common but the drivers of these relationships are poorly understood. To guide management that seeks to promote multiple services, we investigated the relationships between 12 stand-level forest attributes, including structure, composition, heterogeneity and plant diversity, plu...
Article
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In the version of this Perspective originally published, in the figure in Box 3 the middle panel of the top row was incorrectly labelled '50% threshold-plus'; it should have read '50% threshold'. This has now been corrected.
Article
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The spatial configuration of vascular vegetation has been linked to variations in land degradation and ecosystem functioning in drylands. However, most studies on spatial patterns conducted to date have focused on a single or a few study sites within a particular region, specific vegetation types, or in landscapes characterized by a certain type of...
Article
1.Disentangling the interplay between species‐specific environmental preferences and micro‐ and macro‐scale determinants of species abundance within plant communities remains challenging. Most existing studies addressing this issue either lack empirical data regarding species interactions and local abundances or cover a narrow range of environmenta...
Article
Over 40 years after the introduction of the concept into ecology, intransitive (i.e. non‐hierarchical) competition remains overlooked by ecological theory, despite theoretical work showing it could be a major driver of species coexistence. This special feature presents six studies, including models, reviews, experimental studies and large‐scale obs...
Article
1. Competition can be fully hierarchical or intransitive, and this degree of hierarchy is driven by multiple factors, including environmental conditions, the functional traits of the species involved or the topology of competition networks. Studies simultaneously analysing these drivers of competition hierarchy are rare. Additionally, organisms com...
Article
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In the version of this Article originally published, the values of two of the functions used to calculate the multifunctionality index were incorrect, which affected Figs 3,4 of the main article and Supplementary Figs 3,4,5,6,9. Please see the correction notice for full details.
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have seen a surge of interest in ecosystem multifunctionality, a concept that has developed in the largely separate fields of biodiversity–ecosystem function and land management research. Here we discuss the merit of the multifunctionality concept, the advances it has delivered, the challenges it faces and solutions to these challenges...
Article
Identifying the degree of adaptation to particular environmental constraints at small geographical scales (e.g., intra-population variability) is particularly valuable to select plant reproductive material in restoration projects. We analyzed possible differences among progeny characteristics of Quercus coccifera L. a species of interest in forest...
Article
Full-text available
1. Dryland vegetation is characterized by discrete plant patches that accumulate and capture soil resources under their canopies. These "fertile islands" are major drivers of dryland ecosystem structure and functioning, yet we lack an integrated understanding of the factors controlling their magnitude and variability at the global scale. 2. We cond...
Preprint
Full-text available
The size distribution of discrete plant patches (PSD), a common descriptor of the spatial patterns of vascular vegetation, has been linked to variations in land degradation and ecosystem functioning in drylands. However, most studies on PSDs conducted to date have focused on a single or a few study sites within a particular region. Therefore, littl...
Article
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Grazing by domestic livestock is one of the most widespread land uses world-wide, particularly in rangelands, where it co-occurs with grazing by wild herbivores. Grazing effects on plant diversity are likely to depend on intensity of grazing, herbivore type, co-evolution with plants and prevailing environmental conditions. We collected data on clim...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite being a core ecological question, disentangling individual and interacting effects of plant-plant interactions, abiotic factors and species-specific adaptations as drivers of community assembly is challenging. Studies addressing this issue are growing rapidly, but they generally lack empirical data regarding species interactions and local a...
Article
Full-text available
The response of drylands to environmental gradients can be abrupt rather than gradual. These shifts largely occur unannounced and are difficult to reverse once they happen; their prompt detection is of crucial importance. The distribution of vegetation patch sizes may indicate the proximity to these shifts, but the use of this metric is hampered by...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how drylands respond to ongoing environmental change is extremely important for global sustainability. In this review, we discuss how biotic attributes, climate, grazing pressure, land cover change, and nitrogen deposition affect the functioning of drylands at multiple spatial scales. Our synthesis highlights the importance of biotic...
Article
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Many experiments have shown that loss of biodiversity reduces the capacity of ecosystems to provide the multiple services on which humans depend. However, experiments necessarily simplify the complexity of natural ecosystems and will normally control for other important drivers of ecosystem functioning, such as the environment or land use. In addit...
Article
Shrub encroachment, a global phenomenon with management implications, is examined in two papers in the current issue of Applied Vegetation Science. Barbosa da Silva et al. show that encroachment simplifies the herbaceous community, and Pittarello et al. illustrate how pastoral practices can restore encroached grasslands. While detrimental effects o...
Article
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Species diversity promotes the delivery of multiple ecosystem functions (multifunctionality). However, the relative functional importance of rare and common species in driving the biodiversity-multifunctionality relationship remains unknown. We studied the relationship between the diversity of rare and common species (according to their local abund...
Article
Full-text available
Many experiments have shown that local biodiversity loss impairs the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple ecosystem functions at high levels (multifunctionality). In contrast, the role of biodiversity in driving ecosystem multifunctionality at landscape scales remains unresolved. We used a comprehensive pan-European dataset, including 16 ecos...
Article
Many experiments have shown that local biodiversity loss impairs the ability of ecosystems to maintain multiple ecosystem functions at high levels (multifunctionality). In contrast, the role of biodiversity in driving ecosystem multifunctionality at landscape scales remains unresolved. We used a comprehensive pan-European dataset, including 16 ecos...
Article
Full-text available
Reports of positive or neutral effects of grazing on plant species richness have prompted calls for livestock grazing to be used as a tool for managing land for conservation. Grazing effects, however, are likely to vary among different response variables, types, and intensity of grazing, and across abiotic conditions. We aimed to examine how grazin...
Article
Full-text available
Climate and human impacts are changing the nitrogen (N) inputs and losses in terrestrial ecosystems. However, it is largely unknown how these two major drivers of global change will simultaneously influence the N cycle in drylands, the largest terrestrial biome on the planet. We conducted a global observational study to evaluate how aridity and hum...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Herbivore effects on species richness and community successional trends are well-understood in plants but much less in other important organisms, such as cryptogams (lichens, fungi, algae and bryophytes). Cryptogams occur in essentially all habitats and are an important food resource of various animals. Based on the results from plant studies, we w...
Article
Theory on plant succession predicts a temporal increase in the complexity of spatial community structure and of competitive interactions: initially random occurrences of early colonising species shift towards spatially and competitively structured plant associations in late successional stages. Here we use long-term data on early plant succession i...
Article
1. Positive interactions among plants can increase species richness by relaxing environmental filters and providing more heterogeneous environments. However, it is not known if facilitation could affect coexistence through other mechanisms. Most studies on plant coexistence focus on negative frequency-dependent mechanisms (decreasing the abundance...
Article
QuestionsUnderstanding how trees affect their understorey plants and soils is crucial to understand savanna ecosystems. Most studies focus on the differences between canopy and open microsites, but how do different positions within large tree canopies influence soils and plants? Are these potential differences likely to change depending on environm...
Article
Intransitive competition networks, those in which there is no single best competitor, may ensure species coexistence. However, their frequency and importance in maintaining diversity in real-world ecosystems remain unclear. We used two large data sets from drylands and agricultural grasslands to assess: (1) the generality of intransitive competitio...
Article
Full-text available
Facilitation is a major force shaping the structure and diversity of plant communities in terrestrial ecosystems. Detecting positive plant-plant interactions relies on the combination of field experimentation and the demonstration of spatial association between neighboring plants. This has often restricted the study of facilitation to particular si...
Article
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Most existing studies addressing theeffects of invasive species on biodiversity focus on species richness ignoring better indicators of biodiversity and better predictors of ecosystem functioningsuch as the diversity of evolutionary histories (phylodiversity). Moreover, no previous study has separated the direct effect of alien plants on multiple e...
Article
Full-text available
Since European settlement, there has been a dramatic increase in the density, cover and distribution of woody plants in former grassland and open woodland. There is a widespread belief that shrub encroachment is synonymous with declines in ecosystem functions, and often it is associated with landscape degradation or desertification. Indeed, this de...
Article
The global spread of woody plants into grasslands is predicted to increase over the coming century. While there is general agreement regarding the anthropogenic causes of this phenomenon, its ecological consequences are less certain. We analyzed how woody vegetation of differing cover affects plant diversity (richness and evenness) and multiple eco...