Cunillera-Montcusí, David, Doctor in Aquatic Ecology

Scientific associate
Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow


Related link(s):

Personal website

Main profile in keywords:

Aquatic Ecology – Metacommunity theory – Network connectivity – Landscape Structure

Trying to understand the main drivers of diversity and community assembly of aquatic communities. Starting my travel with Mediterranean temporary ponds from northwestern Iberian Peninsula on my PhD, later with alpine lakes in Austria and finally flowing through rivers and intermittent streams between Barcelona and Uruguay.

Through this professional water cycle, I have focused my work on trying to disentangle how landscape structure and organisms’ dispersal interact and define metacommunity dynamics. I have developed and worked with different approximations using network and neutral theories to capture the relevance of connectivity, centrality, and habitat distribution in defining diversity patterns.

But instead of clear answers, I have seen that more needs to be done to effectively move forward from more descriptive approaches to predictive tools that will improve our understanding and foster conservation of aquatic ecosystems. From the highest mountain to the deepest abyss, human intervention is fragmenting and altering the landscape that bounds habitats and sustains their communities. Although their intrinsic differences, these systems are linked by similar overarching processes (i.e. dispersal, abiotic, biotic), which can be distilled and reproduced to simulate scenarios of change in landscape properties and help to design new conservation interventions or assess impacts consequences.

My current aims rely on pushing forward all these thoughts with new projects on the horizon (MSCA Meta-Heroes project), new collaborations to make, new tools to learn and new systems and approximations to discover.

Selected publications

Cunillera-Montcusí, David; Beklioğlu, Meryem; Cañedo-Argüelles, Miguel; Jeppesen, Erik; Ptacnik, Robert; Amorim, Cihelio A.; Arnott, Shelley E.; Berger, Stella A.; Brucet, Sandra; Dugan, Hilary A.; Gerhard, Miriam; Horváth, Zsófia; Langenheder, Silke; Nejstgaard, Jens C.; Reinikainen, Marko; Striebel, Maren; Urrutia-Cordero, Pablo; Vad, Csaba F.; Zadereev, Egor; Matias, Miguel. Freshwater salinisation: a research agenda for a saltier world TRENDS IN ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION. 37: 440-453