Congratulations to Miguel Matias who just started a Marie Curie Fellowship at Miguel Araújo lab. Miguel is an ecologist trying to understand the mechanisms underlying species’ responses to changes in their natural habitats. His research integrates empirical, experimental and theoretical approaches ranging from bacterial microcosms to macro-ecological models (see his publications here). In 2011, Miguel received his PhD from the University of Sydney (Australia) and followed that with postdoctoral fellowship at the Evolutionary Community Ecology group at the CNRS (University of Montpellier). In Montpellier, Miguel’s work focused on testing ecological theory using bacterial microcosms. Since January 2013 has been splitting his time between the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC, Spain) and the Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources (CIBIO-UE, Évora, Portugal). Miguel’s main project during this period was to set-up a unique mesocosm facility in the Iberian Peninsula (see IberianPonds project), with funding from a large European research programme led by Miguel Araújo.
Miguel’s Marie Curie project – FORECOMM – Forecasting community-level responses to global change – arises from the need to develop a greater understanding of the role of biotic interaction in mediating responses to climate change. Most predictive models do not incorporate biotic interactions and often unable to make accurate ecological predictions of how natural communities will respond to climatic change. This has been considered problematic because biotic interactions (e.g. predation, competition, resource-consumer interactions, host-parasite interactions, mutualism and facilitation) have been shown to affect large-scale distribution patterns of species and thus mediate their ability to cope with climatic change. This project will address this gap by implementing a new modelling framework to integrate existing data about climatic change, species distributions, community composition and biotic interactions to synthesize new understanding about how communities will respond to a changing world. Miguel goal is to integrate the conceptual/theoretical approaches of the FORECOMM project with the empirical/experimental approaches of the IberianPonds project to develop an independent research programme leading to future senior positions.