María Laura Moreno |May 9, 2014 | 15h20 | CIBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




South American tropical and subtropical dry forests are, at present, under an unprecedented process of land-use change, with 80 % deforestation recorded in the last decade mostly driven by agricultural expansion. As a consequence of the deforestation and fragmentation of forests, species are lost, microclimate is changed and biotic interactions are altered. Leaf-litter decomposition is a fundamental process on the recycling of carbon and nutrients in terrestrial ecosystem. Climate (e.g. temperature and humidity), plant litter quality (e.g. chemical composition) and soil organisms are the main factors regulating this ecosystem process. Up to now, the relationship between habitat fragmentation and decomposition has been scarcely explored and the results reported have been inconclusive. On 12 remnants of Chaco Serrano forest in Central Argentina, we examined if soil environment, leaf-litter quality and soil invertebrate varied with fragment size and between forest edge and interior location. Also we examined how these changes could affect leaf litter decomposition.



María Laura Moreno has a degree in biologist by University of Córdoba, Argentina, and she is now finishing her PhD in the same University, under the supervision of Graciela Valladares (CIEC/IMBIV/CONICET) and Natalia Pérez-Harguindeguy (IMBIV/CONICET). Until June, María Laura is a guest student at PRECOL – Predictive Ecology group, under the supervision of João Honrado (Erasmus Mundus scholarship-Arcoiris project).



Image credits: María Laura Moreno