Current staff

Dr. Luz Boyero
Position:Ikerbasque Research Professor
Phone: +34 946018031
Fax: +34 946013500

Research interests

My main research interest is to understand how stream ecosystems function and how they respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Streams are fundamental to all life on earth and they provide multiple services to humans, including water supply for drinking, domestic use and industry; waste removal; fisheries; and recreational services. Still, they are among the most mistreated and neglected of our natural resources.

Biodiversity gradients, including latitudinal gradients, have always intrigued ecologists. Most research on streams has been conducted in temperate regions, but the increasing number of tropical studies is revealing interesting differences in the structure and functioning of streams from different latitudes. I am currently investigating the variation in leaf litter decomposition (used as an indicator of ecosystem functioning) and biodiversity of detritivores across latitudinal gradients at a global scale (with field sites in all continents except Antarctica).

Detritivores are key components of stream food webs and part of my research is dedicated to exploring their ecological role as leaf litter decomposers, and their interactions among them and with predators (behavioural responses to predator chemical cues and trophic cascades).

Streams are currently subjected to multiple stressors including climate change and other phenomena such as invasive species or eutrophication. The joint effect of these factors will probably have consequences that are difficult to predict based on their single effects. I am currently investigating how raised temperatures and increased nutrient loadings expected from climate change will affect the structure and functioning of stream ecosystems.