Recently, Belén, Ana and Nydia have successfully defended their doctoral theses. Congratulations to the trio!
Belén Maldonado studied the ecological functions of dung beetles in an aridity gradient in the Monte desert. With a series of observational and experimental studies, she investigated how these beetles can influence the seed dispersal of a key tree species in the Monte, the algarrobo dulce Prosopis flexuosa. She also studied the role dung beetles in nutrient cycling. She is now starting a post-doctoral fellowship to study eco-phisiological aspects of dung beetles, in collaboration with researchers in Mendoza and Lund, Sweden.
Ana Mazzolari’s doctoral thesis is a study of the ecological factors that contribute to the invasion of two rose species in Mendoza, Rosa canina and R. rubiginosa. Ana studied the reproductive strategies of these roses and how they may contribute to the invasion process (see our paper in Biological Invasions), the functional traits of the roses and how they compare to those of native species, and the habitat suitability for invasion of these species in the study region. The information generated in Ana’s thesis may be extremely useful for the management of these two invasive plant species. Ana is now starting a post-doc to work in conservation biology in collaboration with Gustavo Zuleta’s group in Buenos Aires.
Finally, Nydia Vitale studied the ecology of several species of wood-nesting solitary bees and their potential response to climate change. Nydia’s thesis is a great example of how a lot of detailed natural history information on a group of species (see for example our recent paper in Apidologie) can lead to important insights on the functioning of ecological interactions and on the species’ potential to cope with a changing climate. Nydia is now continuing with a post-doc under the combined supervision of Víctor González (University of Kansas, USA) and myself to pursue further studies on the response of bees to climate change.
Best wishes to the three in this new stage in their careers!