Congratulations to Nuria Galiana who was awarded a Marie Marie Skłodowska-Currie research fellowship to work with us on issues related to the biogeography of food webs. While we are all  waiting for the paper work to be finished, we made a few questions so that we can get to know her better. Below her answers.

– Tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I studied environmental sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where I also obtained my master’s degree in Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Management. I then moved to France to obtain my PhD in Ecology at the Center for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling in the French Pyrenees. In my PhD thesis I focused on the integration of spatial and biogeographical processes into species interaction network research. Aside from the integration between biogeography, spatial processes and species interaction networks, I have been interested in the effects of different types of perturbations driven by global change on community structure and its stability, topics that I have been developing during my postdoc experiences. I am currently a postdoc researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology in Barcelona. My research approach combines theory development and analyses of large empirical datasets to answer ecological questions.

– What is your Marie Curie project about?

The major goal of my Marie Curie project is to establish a general understanding of the relationship between species diet breadth (i.e., the set of interacting partners a species has) and its range size (i.e. the extent of its spatial distribution). I aim at determining the role of spatial and biogeographical processes in this relationship, which is key to predict the response of the spatial distribution of species on earth to global environmental change. So far, a major obstacle to obtain a general understanding of the relationship between diet breadth and range size has been the lack of big datasets, containing information on biotic interactions of multiple taxonomic groups and across large biogeographical gradients. This project will draw on novel datasets, combined with the development of new theoretical tools, to propose an integrative approach capable of generating and testing novel hypotheses.

– Is there a “big” long-term question that you are pursuing?

I am interested in disentangling the relative effects of species interactions and environmental factors on the spatial distribution of species. I believe that this is a fundamental challenge in order to better predict the consequences of global change on the distribution of species and provide solutions to minimise the impacts.

– What do you like to do when you are not working? Is this something your new life in Madrid will help achieve?

Besides science, I like hiking and rock climbing. I am eager to discover the mountains around Madrid and new climbing spots. For the past 6 years, I have been living in a remote area of the French Pyrenees, so I am also very excited to be able to enjoy all the cultural activities a big city like Madrid can offer.