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Susana Pallarés

Susana Pallarés
Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales Madrid · Biogeografía y Cambio Global

PhD

About

45
Publications
11,540
Reads
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497
Citations
Citations since 2017
32 Research Items
462 Citations
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Introduction
Susana Pallarés currently works at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (Madrid, Spain). She mainly works with aquatic insects, but also with other arthropods and different environments, like subterranean habitats. Her main areas of research are stress ecophysiology (e.g. salinity tolerance, thermal physiology, desiccation resistance), evolutionary biology, biogeography and insect conservation.
Additional affiliations
June 2017 - present
University of Castilla-La Mancha
Position
  • Laboratory Assistant
January 2012 - May 2017
University of Murcia
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Full-text available
One of the main current environmental problems is the high rate of species extinctions associated with human activities. In a context of limited resources for biodiversity conservation, setting conservation priorities is therefore necessary. Hence, this study aims at prioritising the most interesting species and areas for the conservation of water...
Preprint
Full-text available
The conservation of biodiversity is a central imperative of the 21st century. Subterranean ecosystems deliver critical nature's contributions to people and harbour a broad diversity of poorly-understood specialized organisms that are of interest from both a conservation and evolutionary perspective. However, the subterranean biome is still systemat...
Article
Full-text available
The immune response represents a suite of evolved traits that can involve energetic and evolutionary trade‐offs with other energy‐demanding and fitness‐related processes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that aquatic beetles living in inland hypersaline habitats have lower immune capacity than freshwater congeners. Phenoloxidase activity, encapsulati...
Article
Full-text available
Subterranean ecosystems are among the most widespread environments on Earth, yet we still have poor knowledge of their biodiversity. To raise awareness of subterranean ecosystems, the essential services they provide, and their unique conservation challenges, 2021 and 2022 were designated International Years of Caves and Karst. As these ecosystems h...
Article
The climatic variability hypothesis predicts the evolution of species with wide thermal tolerance ranges in environments with variable temperatures, and the evolution of thermal specialists in thermally stable environments. In caves, the extent of spatial and temporal thermal variability experienced by taxa decreases with their degree of specializa...
Article
Full-text available
Coping with aridity is a physiological challenge for all organisms, including freshwater ones. Aridity shapes distributions of aquatic species at fine and large geographical scales. Specifically, for aquatic beetles, the desiccation resistance of the adults is a potential constraint for the colonisation of arid regions. We assessed the congruence b...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater ecosystems are exposed to an increasing number of stressors, challenging their biomonitoring and management. Despite recent advances in multiple-stressor research, regional-scale assessments in areas with high freshwater biodiversity and increasing anthropogenic pressure are urgently needed. We reviewed 61 studies focused on freshwater i...
Article
Thermal history can plastically alter the response of ectotherms to temperature, and thermal performance curves (TPCs) are powerful tools for exploring how organismal-level performance varies with temperature. Plasticity in TPCs may be favoured in thermally variable habitats, where it can result in fitness benefits. However, thermal physiology rema...
Article
Full-text available
1. Scientists are renewing their efforts to predict the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Subterranean environments represent ideal systems to study the effect of global change in species with poor dispersal capabilities. 2. We assess the vulnerability to climate change of the subterranean pseudoscorpion Neobisium (Blothrus) vasconicum vasc...
Article
Full-text available
• Human activities are an increasing threat to Neotropical freshwater ecosystems, with the potential extinction of thousands of aquatic species. Despite this, knowledge about the effectiveness of protected area networks in protecting aquatic insects in this biogeographical region is very limited. • Cuba supports the highest diversity of aquatic ins...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of aridification in Mediterranean regions, desiccation resistance and physiological plasticity will be key traits for the persistence of aquatic insects exposed to increasing desiccation stress. Control of cuticular transpiration through changes in the quantity and composition of epicuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) is one of the main me...
Article
Physiological traits are key in determining the vulnerability of narrow range, highly specialized animals to climate change. It is generally predicted that species from more stable environments possess lower thermal tolerance breadths and thermal plasticity than those from more variable habitats-the so-called 'climatic variability hypothesis'. Howe...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate assessments of species vulnerability to climate change need to consider the physiological capacity of organisms to deal with temperature changes and identify early signs of thermally induced stress. Oxidative stress biomarkers and acetylcholinesterase activity are useful proxies of stress at the cellular and nervous system level. Such resp...
Article
Full-text available
In memoriam to Ignacio Ribera (1963-2020)L
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Cave‐dwelling ectotherms, which have evolved for millions of years under stable thermal conditions, could be expected to have adjusted their physiological limits to the narrow range of temperatures they experience and to be highly vulnerable to global warming. However, most of the few existing studies on thermal tolerance in subterranean i...
Article
Accurate assessments of species' vulnerability to climate change require integrated measurements of its different drivers, including extrinsic (the magnitude and rate of climate change) and intrinsic factors (organisms' sensitivity and adaptive capacity). According to these factors, aquatic insects restricted to alpine ponds may be especially threa...
Article
Salinity tolerance has enabled the colonization of inland saline waters and promoted species diversification in some lineages of aquatic insects. However, the mechanisms behind this tolerance, particularly the role of cuticle hydrocarbons (CHCs), are not well-known. We characterized the CHC profile of eight species of two water beetle genera (Nebri...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cave-dwelling ectotherms, which have evolved for millions of years under stable thermal conditions, could be expected to have adjusted their physiological limits to the narrow range of temperatures they experience and be highly vulnerable to global warming. However, the few existing studies on thermal physiology in subterranean invertebrates point...
Article
Under global change, the ion concentration of aquatic ecosystems is changing worldwide. Many freshwater ecosystems are being salinized by anthropogenic salt inputs, whereas many naturally saline ones are being diluted by agricultural drainages. This occurs concomitantly with changes in other stressors, which can result in additive, antagonistic or...
Article
Considering how organisms adapt to stress is essential if we are to anticipate biological responses to global change in ecosystems. Communities in stressful environments can potentially be assembled by specialists (i.e. species that only occur in a limited range of environmental conditions) and/or generalist species with wider environmental toleran...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the main challenges in disciplines such as ecology, biogeography, conservation and evolutionary biology is to understand and predict how species will respond to environmental changes, especially within a climate change context. We focus on the deep subterranean environment to minimize uncertainties in predictions, because it is one of the fe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Thermal tolerance is a key vulnerability factor for species that cannot cope with changing conditions by behavioural adjustments or dispersal, such as subterranean species. Previous studies of thermal tolerance in cave beetles suggest that these species may have lost some of the thermoregulatory mechanisms common in temperate insects, and appear to...
Article
Full-text available
RESUMEN: Este artículo presenta el proyecto de investigación CAVEheAT (cambio climático, nicho térmico y conservación de la biodiversidad subterránea). El objetivo del proyecto es estudiar el nicho térmico (rango de tolerancia térmica y capacidad de aclimatación) de especies (principalmente coleópteros) con diferentes grados de especialización al m...
Article
Full-text available
One of the main challenges in ecology, biogeography and evolution is to understand and predict how species may respond to environmental changes. Here we focus on the deep subterranean environment, a system that minimizes most of the typical uncertainties of studies on epigean (surface) environments. Caves are relatively homogeneous habitats with ne...
Article
Transitions from fresh to saline habitats are restricted to a handful of insect lineages, since the colonization of saline waters requires specialized mechanisms to deal with osmotic stress. Previous studies have suggested that tolerance to salinity and desiccation could be mechanistically and evolutionarily linked, but the temporal sequence of the...
Article
Full-text available
Hydrocarbons are the principal component of insect cuticle and play an important role in maintaining water balance. Cuticular impermeability could be an adaptative response to salinity and desiccation in aquatic insects; however, cuticular hydrocarbons have been poorly explored in this group and there are no previous data on saline species. We char...
Data
Total, absolute (ng/specimen) and relative abundance (%) of the cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) identified by GC/MS in the two studied species, for each life stage KI, Kovat index; n, number of larvae, males and females of the total analyzed where the compound is present.
Article
Exposing organims to a particular stressor may enhance tolerance to a subsequent stress, when protective mechanisms against both stressors are shared. Such cross-tolerance is a common adaptive response in dynamic multivariate environments and often indicates potential co-evolution of stress traits. Many aquatic insects in inland saline waters from...
Article
Full-text available
Background Desiccation resistance shapes the distribution of terrestrial insects at multiple spatial scales. However, responses to drying stress have been poorly studied in aquatic groups, despite their potential role in constraining their distribution and diversification, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Methods We examined desiccation...
Data
Summary of variation in desiccation resistance traits in control and treatment groups of Enochrus species
Data
Experimental procedure and variables measured in desiccation experiments
Data
Raw data obtained in desiccation experiments and variables used for statistical analyses
Article
Full-text available
Information on the physiological tolerance of species is essential when forecasting their responses to climatic change, especially for those with restricted distributions, as well as those inhabiting extreme environments, such as inland saline waters. Temperature and salinity are expected to increase in these ecosystems under climate change, and bo...
Article
Full-text available
Background. Desiccation resistance shapes the distribution of terrestrial insects at multiple spatial scales. However, responses to desiccation stress have been poorly studied in aquatic groups, despite their potential role in constraining their distribution and diversification, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Methods. We examined desic...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. Desiccation resistance shapes the distribution of terrestrial insects at multiple spatial scales. However, responses to desiccation stress have been poorly studied in aquatic groups, despite their potential role in constraining their distribution and diversification, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Methods. We examined desic...
Article
Full-text available
A better knowledge of the physiological basis of salinity tolerance is essential to understanding the ecology and evolutionary history of organisms that have colonized inland saline waters. Coleoptera are amongst the most diverse macroinvertebrates in inland waters, including saline habitats; however, the osmoregulatory strategies they employ to de...
Article
Full-text available
Water salinity and ionic composition are among the main environmental variables that constrain the fundamental niches of aquatic species, and accordingly, physiological tolerance to these factors constitutes a crucial part of the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of these organisms. The present study experimentally estimated the fundamental sali...
Data
1. As species' physiological breadth determines their potential to deal with environmental changes, and influences individuals' survival and the persistence of populations, information about lethal and sublethal responses could be fundamental for conservation purposes. 2. We used a standard experimental approach to explore mortality and behavioural...
Article
1. As species’ physiological breadth determines their potential to deal with environmental changes, and influences individuals’ survival and the persistence of populations, information about lethal and sublethal responses could be fundamental for conservation purposes. 2. We used a standard experimental approach to explore mortality and behavioural...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Facing the threat of global warming requires accurate predictions of how species will respond to future environmental changes. Despite the fact that high-altitude systems will experience some of the fastest rates of warming on the planet, projections of the impacts of climate change on alpine freshwater biota are still scarce, especially for Mediterranean mountain ranges. Sierra Nevada mountains (south Spain) harbour a unique representation of the Iberian mountain freshwater ecosystems, including alpine lagoons and ponds. The project AlpineDiving (Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in freshwater endemics of Sierra Nevada), aims to study the vulnerability to ongoing global warming of high-mountain aquatic insects by integrating physiological-based metrics of sensitivity with future climatic exposure. Notably, it focuses on two threatened water beetles (Agabus nevadensis and Hydroporus sabaudus sierranevadensis; family Dytiscidae) endemic to alpine lagoons of Sierra Nevada national park in order to: (1) update the information about the distribution of these taxa and assess the status of their populations; (2) estimate their thermal tolerance and their acclimation capability by laboratory experiments; (3) estimate projected losses in climatically suitable habitat; and (4) assess their vulnerability to climate change and provide management strategies. Overall, we expect to make a substantial advance in the knowledge of the drivers of vulnerability to projected climate change in high-mountain freshwater taxa, including the design of specific conservation strategies. https://mountainbeetles.wixsite.com/main/alpinediving
Project
Metacommunity ecology is a recently emerged subdiscipline of ecology, where dispersal among sites is considered a key to understand local biological communities, besides of biological interactions and environmental conditions. Metacommunity, a set of local communities that are linked by dispersal of multiple potentially interacting species, has been studied intensively in temporary freshwater rockpools systems by its special characteristics: patchy distribution, small size and simple structure and communities. In these ecological systems species-sorting and dispersal processes are the principal mechanisms structuring metacommunities of organisms with passive dispersal. However, little is kwon about the spatial patterns of distribution, abundance and interaction of organisms at local, as well as, regional scales of macroinvertebrate communities, especially insects, in the highly dynamic and multistressing marine supralittoral rockpools, and the relative importance of underlying processes. In these habitats, local abiotic conditions (salinity, temperature, desiccation, wind and wave disturbance) can impose important filters affecting the community (species sorting process), although other processes as niche differentiation or priority effects (i.e., competitive dominance given by early colonization) can also be relevant in the on species cooccurrence. In this project, we will especially focus on Ochthebius quadricollis and O. subinteger (F. Hydraenidae) two coexisting water beetles living in Mediterranean coastal rockpools. Both species have flight dispersal ability, but presumably low dispersal ability to large distances and, consequently, a high genetic variability among populations. Thus, this case study offers an ideal framework for integrating population genetic, ecophysiology and metacommunity ecology to explore spatial structure of beetle populations and understanding how local and regional factors interact to drive patterns of species coexistence and macroinvertebrate diversity. We will address four specific aims: O1. To determine geographical range and spatial patterns in the genetic diversity of populations of the two focal species of Ochthebius and the importance of spatial and environmental variables explaining these patterns. O2. To compare multi-stress tolerance of focal species. O3. To identify mechanisms of coexistence of both Ochthebius species (habitat filtering, niche differentiation, founder effects) through field co-ocurrence patterns, competition experiments and the characterization of their ecological niche. O4. To study spatial patterns and processes driving metacommunity structure of macroinvertebrates at local and regional scales (alpha, beta and gamma diversity).
Project
One of the main challenges in disciplines such as ecology, biogeography, conservation and evolutionary biology is to understand and predict how species will respond to environmental changes, specially within a climate change context. Thus, in order to make informed decisions, policymakers need accurate predictions of species responses. To minimize uncertainties in predictions, we focus on deep subterranean environment because i) it is one of the few ecosystems in nature whose environmental conditions are as homogeneous as could be obtained in a laboratory, ii) their species cannot accommodate to changing conditions by behavioural plasticity, dispersal or microhabitat use, and the only possibility to cope with climate change for these species is to persist in situ. Other than to exemplify general principles, subterranean fauna is certainly of interest and value on its own, as they represent an often neglected but substantial portion of Iberian biodiversity. On the other hand, physiological approaches are being increasingly recognized as essential tools to predict vulnerability to climate change, being specially relevant for poor dispersal species. The hypotheses established for this proposal are based on the exciting results obtained in some of our previous studies. In these studies, we did not find differences between thermal tolerances of different subterranean beetles living under different environmental conditions, suggesting a lack of evolutionary adjustment to ambient temperature for these species. This could be due to these species have lost some of the physiological mechanisms related to thermal tolerance due to their likely metabolic cost in a stable environment but with severe resource restrictions. However, the question remains is to what extent this surprising narrow and homogeneous thermal niche is common for the whole subterranean biodiversity, and how this issue could determine the fate of subterranean biodiversity to climate change. Besides, other exciting evolutionary and ecological related questions could be also resolved once physiological data for a greater number of subterranean species becomes available. In this proposal, we aim to test for the generality of these exciting previous findings by studying the thermal niche (species acclimation abilities and thermal tolerances) of different lineages of cave beetles with different degrees of specialization to subterranean environments and from different geographical areas (Pyrenees and Cantabrian Mountains). For this, we will use both long and short term physiological experiments. Finally, we aim to assess the capability to face climate change of different species and populations using the physiological information gathered for the previous objectives. The results of this project could provide important insights to improve our ability i) to understand changes in thermal niche during the process of colonization of deep subterranean environments and ii) to predict changes in biological communities that are exposed to global warming effects. Thus, contrary to the general theory that high altitude species will be at high extinction risk under future climatic conditions, we could demonstrate that subterranean species living in warmer areas will be the most vulnerable to an increase of temperature. The lack of adjustment also could mean that for those species already close to the upper limit of their fundamental niches, the possibilities of survival are severely limited.