Xavier Santos (CIBIO-InBIO/UP) | March 28, 2014 | 14h30 | CIBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão


Fire is a common disturbance in many regions of the world, and a fundamental element to understand ecosystem functioning and structure. Over the short term, fire may act as an environmental filter that selects species better adapted to the restrictive postfire conditions. Early postfire succession increases open areas and favours a shift in dominant species, often leading to different animal assemblages on burnt and unburnt sites. Knowledge on how species respond to fire is challenging, since responses vary greatly depending on particular life-history traits of each species. The combined study of taxonomic and functional responses is an excellent approach for understanding how animal communities respond to fire. During the last seven years, I focused my research on analyzing these responses on snail, arthropod and vertebrate assemblages, to tackle the following questions: How species recolonize burned areas? Which functional traits are selected by fire? How ecological specialization affects responses to fire? Are plant-animal interactions relevant to understand responses to fire? Do communities follow the habitat-accommodation model of postfire succession? My final objective is to translate my results to stakeholders and conservationists to design adequate guidelines to protect species from fire, especially under a future scenario of increasing fire frequency and extension.



Xavier Santos finished his PhD at the University of Barcelona in 2000, with postdoctoral stages at the Granada University (Spain), CEFE-CNRS (France), and since September 2011 at CIBIO-InBIO. He has authored more than 100 scientific contributions including 50 papers in SCI journals.



[Group Leader: José Carlos Brito, Biodiversity of Deserts and Arid Regions]


Image: Xavier Santos