Biodiversity conservation and global change

Habitat degradation and climate changes are both known to be altering the distributions and abundances of animals and plants throughout the world. In current global changes, we should not only identify species range shifts or measure the decrease in species numbers and population sizes but also anticipate: which species will be in trouble (or not), why, when and where?. My goal in this theme seeks to integrate functional ecology, evolutionary ecology and biogeography to improve our understanding of the synergistic effects of climate, land-use change and different anthropogenic threats on biodiversity and to build reliable future predictions of where species are likely to occur.

Therefore, an important tool for my research is the use of species distribution models (‘SDM’), and their use as a decision-support tool in conservation. I develop these SDMs by combining species distributions, environmental data, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as well as different modelling approaches and across different spatial scales. Much of my research aims to identify the climate and anthropogenic factors that are responsible for observed variations in species distributions and abundances. For example, I have used ring-recovery data and statistical modelling methods to understand better the seasonal drivers of migratory bird distribution (Fandos and Tellería et al. 2017; Fandos and Tellería 2020), and the effect of climate change on the distribution of different birds species (Tellería et al. 2016, Tellería et al. 2020b). Besides, integrating genetic data with these distribution models allowed me to investigate the evolutionary and ecological processes that shape birds ecological niches across multiple species (Friis et al. 2018). In general, together with other colleagues, I am trying to promote the right use of existing modelling tools by proposing a standard protocol for reporting SDMs (Zurell et al. 2020).

Urbanisation is spreading rapidly at a global scale, and assessing patterns of biodiversity change due to anthropogenic threats is therefore crucial for conserving biodiversity. In that sense, my research attempts to fill this gap. I investigated the incursions of domestic carnivores from urban areas to the surrounding habitats (Fandos et al. 2012), and I have been involved in investigating the role of urban parks in the bat community (Tena et al. 2020). Moreover, in previous work (Tellería et al. 2020a), we showed how transboundary differences in relation to hunting pressure and agricultural intensification, can explain species population decline in Spain. More recently, I am using dynamic occupancy models that account for detectability and can provide a better assessment of population dynamics, and even investigate mechanistic hypotheses beyond species distribution patterns (Briscoe et al. 2021; Fandos et al. 2021).

Guillermo Fandos
Guillermo Fandos
Postdoctoral Research Associate

I combine empirical data, fieldwork, and quantitative methods to improve our understanding of how natural and anthropogenic changes influence biodiversity dynamics.