Cristina Garcia Perez:
From Biodiversity Crisis to Pandemics: How does Dispersal Ability Shift our World

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Dispersal is a fundamental but challenging demographic stage for sessile organisms such as plants. They require to disperse their pollen grains and propagules (seeds) to suitable, and sometimes distant, places to germinate and establish. Most plants rely on pollinators or frugivores to disperse their pollen and seeds in exchange of food resources, but anthropic activities such as defaunation, forest fragmentation, and climate change impair these mutualistic interactions which threaten the persistence of plant populations and communities. Here I will review my research on plant-animal mutualistic interactions and their importance for plants from the population to the meta-community level and I will illustrate some key results draw from my recent projects.

Cristina García joined the University of Liverpool as a Tenure Track researcher at the end of 2018. She works at the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (DEEB) where she investigates applies fieldwork, molecular markers and advance statistics to evaluate the importance of pollen and seed dispersal in shaping plant communities and the consequences global changing in impacting the dispersal ability of plants. She completed her PhD degree in Estación Biológica de Doñana (Spain) supervised by Prof. Pedro Jordano and then she received a Fulbright fellowship study the impact of forest fragmentation for gene flow supervised by Victoria Sork (UCLA) and J Hamrick (U Georgia). She got an associated research position at CIBIO where she investigated different tools to assess very rare but disproportionately important events: long distance events that underlie the expansion of invasive species or the emergence of viruses worldwide (pandemics).