Welcome Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos - new SE

Submitted by editor on 26 May 2019.

We are very happy to welcome Ignacio Manuel Pérez-Ramos, Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology (IRNAS); Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), Seville, Spain, to our editorial board. Get to know him a bit better in the interview below, and do visit his webpage: https://ignaciomperezramos.wixsite.com/perez-ramos

What's your main research focus at the moment?

My main research interests are focused in understanding and forecasting the responses of plant communities to projected changes of environmental conditions. To address this issue, I basically combine observational and experimental studies from a demographic and functional perspective. On the one hand, I have specialized in recruitment dynamics and characterization of regeneration niches in Mediterranean woody plant species, with special emphasis in the processes of seed production (“masting” phenomenon) and seed dispersal. On the other hand, I have acquired a solid background in functional ecology of Mediterranean plants with the aim of: (i) understanding the functional mechanisms exhibited by co-occurring species to persist under certain environmental conditions; and (ii) inferring several key ecosystem properties (such as net primary productivity, litter decomposition, nutrient mineralization rates, etc) under different scenarios of climate change.  My main focus is on plant-plant and plant-animal interactions but I have recently moved towards understanding the role of soil microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, pathogens) in plant community assemblages and ecosystem functioning using a trait-based approach.

Can you describe your research career?

My research experience in the field of plant ecology started as an undergraduate student in the department of Plant Biology and Ecology (University of Seville). After finishing the degree in Biology, I obtained a FPU-fellowship for carrying out a doctoral thesis in the Superior Council of Scientific Research (IRNAS-CSIC), under the supervision of T. Marañón. As a PhD student, I specialized in recruitment dynamics and characterization of regeneration niches in Mediterranean woody plant species. After completing my PhD, I continued my research training at the “Centre d´Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive” (CEFE, CNRS) in Montpellier (France), working into the research group led by Eric Garnier and Catherine Roumet. During my postdoctoral period, I focused my research on plant functional adaptations to soil resource limitations and aboveground-belowground relationships. In addition, I could actively collaborate with other plant ecologists both at CEFE and at different centers of the “Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique” (INRA) in Montpellier and Toulouse. For example, with Florence Volaire (INRA-Montpellier), I conducted a glasshouse experiment on characterization of functional strategies of drought survival and root dynamics in Mediterranean plant species. Finally, I conducted a parallel project within the research group of Serge Rambal, focused on effects of climate change on recruitment dynamics of Quercus ilex, using the installations of a previous rainfall-exclusion experiment that was established in 2003 as a part of an European project.

Alter finishing my postdoctoral position in France, I returned to Spain thanks to different contracts. At present, I am enjoying a five-year contract within the prestigious and competitive "Ramón & Cajal" call at the IRNAS-CSIC. During these last years, I have led some projects focused in understanding and forecasting the responses of plants and soil microorganisms to different global-change drivers (e.g. climate change, changes in soil uses, invasion of exotic pathogens) using a multi-functional approach.

How come that you became a scientist in ecology?

I was always passionate about natural history. When I was a child, I remember myself spending a lot of time observing insects outdoors or transplanting plants from one pot to another in the terrace of my grandparents, whereas my friends were playing football or making mischiefs. So, it was always clear to me that I have to study Biology. After finishing the degree in Biology, I contacted different researchers in my homeland (Seville, Spain) and finally I had the opportunity to develop a PhD in the Superior Council of Scientific Research (IRNAS-CSIC).

What do you do when you’re not working?

When I am not working, most of the time I am looking after my kids and playing with them. I also enjoy travelling and trekking. My special interests also include photography, fishkeeping, bird breeding and bonsai collection. Since I consider myself a sociable animal, I love to spend my free time with my family and friends.