Welcome Marcos Fernández Martínez - New SE

Submitted by editor on 3 February 2022.

Marcos Fernández Martínez joins oikos' editorial board as a SUBJECT EDITOR! Welcome!

Dr. Marcos Fernández-Martínez is a postdoctoral researcher at the Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre (CREAF) and collaborator of the Global Ecology Unit and the Section of Ecology of the University of Barcelona. Get to know him better in the interview below!


Keywords: ecological stoichiometry, functional traits, ecosystem functioning, carbon balance, bryophyte ecology, plant reproduction

Webpage: https://elemdiv.netlify.app/

TWITTER: @Burriach

1. What's your main research focus at the moment?
My research is now focused on investigating how the elemental composition of organisms is related to how they and their ecosystem function. To try to answer this question I am working with big datasets of ecosystem functioning and the elemental composition of their organisms at the global scale, as well as with intensive local field campaigns surveying bryophytes and analysing their elemental composition. In summary, my main research line lies now between the fields of ecological stoichiometry and biodiversity-ecosystem functioning, using both macroecological and local perspectives.

2. Can you describe your research career? Where, what, when?
I did my PhD at CREAF (Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre, Barcelona) investigating the role of climate, nutrients and anthropogenic impacts on forest productivity and fecundity (2012-2015). During my first postdoc at CREAF (2016-2017) I moved into ecological stoichiometry and phylogenetic comparative methods, and investigated how the elemental composition of plants is related to their emission of volatile organic compounds. I also did a short stay at the University of Nebraska, where I used remote sensing techniques to study different features of ecosystem productivity. Soon after that, I joined the University of Antwerp (2017 – 2021) where I kept on investigating the role of ecological stoichiometry on plant functional traits (e.g., mast seeding behaviour). However, my main research line in Antwerp was related to the role of biodiversity and nutrient availability on ecosystem carbon balance at regional and global scales. I also did a short stay at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA, Laxenburg, 2018) to start investigating non-linear dynamics in the carbon balance of terrestrial ecosystems. In October 2021 I came back to CREAF as an independent postdoc, focusing my research on the interface between ecological stoichiometry, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

3. How come that you became a scientist in ecology?
Since I was a child, I have always been very curious about the natural world, thanks to the frequent walks I use to make with my parents, mainly around Montseny and Burriac mountains. At a young age, I started noticing news relating to the threat that human activities entailed to the natural world, and I could see myself how natural landscapes near where I lived were progressively becoming more and more degraded and surrounded by motorways, factories, and even empty and never-finished houses. An urge to try to do something to stop this degradation rooted very deep inside me, and that feeling has never abandoned me so far. This is why I decided to study environmental sciences during my bachelor’s, and decided to try to do a PhD if I had the chance. I did a masters in terrestrial ecology with Dr. Espelta, and soon after I finished it, I join Prof. Peñuelas’ team to start my PhD. And that’s where my career as a scientist started. I hope it will be a long one, and full of interesting contributions that help us take better care of our environment.

4. What do you do when you're not working?
I keep the family tradition of coming back to the mountains. I do walks as long as I can when I’m temporally free of family obligations, and show my little daughter as many plants and rocks as she can endure. Running, trekking and swimming are my main hobbies. The Springs Project (Projecte Fonts: http://www.dslc-ichn.cat/recerca/projecte-fonts/) occupies part of my spare time as well, as it started as a hobby with the natural history group of my hometown (Mataró). Surveying old springs and their bryophytes while trekking through the mountains, together with a good lunch in some rural restaurant and excellent company, is a marvellous way to enjoy my free time.