WELCOME FRANÇOIS MUNOZ - NEW SESubmitted by editor on 13 February 2020.
A journal needs experts in many fields. Join me in welcoming François Munoz to Oikos! He is currently a Professor at Université Grenoble Alpes. His research concerns Ecology, Biogeography and Evolutionary Biology! Get to know him and his work better in the interview below.
1. What's your main research focus at the moment?
My main research interest is to understand how environmental variations influence survival and coexistence of species in ecological assemblages, using theoretical and empirical approaches. At a short time scale, I am working on how niche-based and neutral dynamics shape the taxonomic and functional composition of communities. We develop a package in R language (ecolottery) to help testing and inferring the influence of these processes on observed community composition. We apply the approach to a variety of ecosystems: tropical forests, temperate grasslands, peatlands. At a longer time scale, we develop an eco-evolutionary model integrating the influence of environmental changes on diversification and migration events. It is a multi-species extension of phylogeographic approaches. We apply the framework to study the biogeography of rainforests in South America, Africa and South Asia.
2. Can you describe your research career? Where, what, when?
First, my PhD was about assessing metapopulation dynamics of plants in fragmented ecosystems of South France. Then during my postdoc, I worked on neutral theory and how it can explain high diversity of tropical forests in South India. From 2008 to 2014 I was associate professor at Montpellier University, and I am now professor at Grenoble University, France. Between 2014 and 2017, I was head of Ecology Department of the French Institute of Pondicherry in India. During this period, I developed projects on the biogeography and functional ecology of tropical forests in India.
The kind of grassland ecosystem we study in French Alps.
3. How come that you became a scientist in ecology?
I have always been interested by nature, and especially botany, so that I was curious to learn more on the functioning of natural ecosystems. Natural history and biogeography has interested me for a long time.
4. What do you do when you're not working?
I like hiking and contemplating plants in various ecosystems. My love of plants is as ancient as I can remember. But I am more broadly a naturalist enjoying all facets of biodiversity. I also really like sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with students and other people.
A tropical forest ecosystem in India with numerous monocarpic palm trees (Corypha umbraculifera)