Dr Cristina Garcia Perez PhD

Tenure Track Fellow Evolution, Ecology & Behaviour


Personal Statement

I am a Plant Ecologist interested in investigating the chances of remnant forest patches to persist, and eventually expand across managed landscapes, in a changing world where climate extremes are expected to increase in frequency and magnitude. The ability of these fragments to cope with anthropogenic and climate-driven changes depend on their genetic diversity and on the ecological services provided by frugivores and pollinators that transport their seeds and pollen grains (and the genes they encapsulate) across the landscape. Plant population genetics and dispersal mutualisms are, therefore, my main research topics.

I combine genetic and genomic tools (NGS), long term field studies entailing a thorough environmental monitoring, ecological network tools, and novel modelization approaches (such as statistics of extremes) to: (1) Investigate how the loss of plant dispersal ability that accompanies defaunation and fragmentation might shift plant distribution ranges; (2) Characterize lagged demographic and genetic population trends in response to land-use changes; and (3) Elucidate the functional relationship between population genetic diversity and their ability to cope with increasingly frequent climate extremes. Overall, my research ultimately provides scientific based guidelines to manage biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and services.

My main research interests revolve around plant-animal dispersal mutualisms, plant population genetics, landscape genetics, and plant functional responses to global change. I am interested assessing and forecasting the outcomes of different drivers of global change, from forest loss and fragmentation to defaunation.

I gained my PhD at the University of Sevilla with a work developed at Doñana Biological Station (CSIC). I was granted with a 2-years Fulbright Fellow to work at Plant Biology Department at UGA (USA) and then I joined CIBIO-Porto University (Portugal) as Associate Researcher until 2018 when I have joined the EEB at the University of Liverpool.

I studied Biological Science at the Complutense University (Madrid, Spain) and I gained my MSc and PhD at the University of Sevilla with a work developed at Doñana Biological Station (CSIC).