DISTEC - DISturbance ECology in a changing World


This theme encompasses the study of disturbances, their ecological impacts, and the complex interactions between natural and anthropogenic drivers of change. It aims to understand how ecosystems respond, adapt, and recover from disturbances, and how to manage and conserve them in the face of ongoing global change.

"With the accumulating evidence of changing disturbance regimes becoming increasingly obvious, there is potential for disturbance ecology to become the most valuable lens through which climate-related disturbance events are interpreted" (Newman 2019). The world biodiversity is currently exposed to unprecedented changes in disturbance regimes. Human activities have not only changed the frequency and intensity of disturbances but also changed the environmental conditions in which biodiversity have to face these disturbances. Furthermore, biodiversity is increasingly facing multiples, potentially interacting, disturbances and stresses that can cause cascading effects and dramatic changes in the structure and composition of the vegetation. These novel climate and disturbance regimes are both heavily modified by human activities and affecting natural ecosystems and human societies. Living in a changing world calls for addressing several challenging questions such as: how to identify disturbance-prone versus -averse vegetation types and biodiversity? How do organisms and ecosystems cope with regular vs. exceptional disturbances? How to restore ecosystems after heavy disturbances? How to reconcile human activities and historical disturbance regimes? How is climate change shifting the rules?

Our study sites are mainly in the North-West of the Mediterranean rim (Catalonia, France, Italy), South America (Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina) and Central America (Mexico), Africa (South Africa, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ghana), New Caledonia and the South-West Pacific area. We use of pre-existing data, perform field works and use online databases.

Acronym Title Duration
Project PI: Immaculada OLIVERAS MENOR 
2023 - 2026
FLORAPYR 3DCoopérer pour surveiller et conserver la flore pyrénéenne
Project PI: Yann HELARY (CBNPMP)  
2024 - 2027
LWILife Without Ice
Project PI: Olivier DANGLES (IRD, UR 072)  / Sophie CAUVY-FRAUNIE (INRAE)  
2020 - 2026
MELANOBSTowards a Melanesian observatory of forest response to global change
Project PI: Thomas IBANEZ 
2023 - 2025

BIVAUD Lucie 2023 - 2026. Le réchauffement climatique souffle-t-il le chaud ou le froid sur les plantes de haute montagne ? Réduction du couvert neigeux, plantes nurses, et adaptations au froid en latitudes tempérées et tropicales. Ecole doctorale : GAIA / Université de Montpellier. Dir : ANTHELME Fabien

LOFT Andrew-Ty 2024 - 2026. Revealing the Political Drivers of Ecosystem Degradation in the Miombo Woodlands. Ecole doctorale : Université d'Oxford / Université d'Oxford. Dir : OLIVERAS MENOR Immaculada

SPADONI Gian Luca 2024 - 2026. Large scale forest dynamics triggered by natural disturbances and human activitiesand their alterations in the context of global changes. Ecole doctorale : University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia / University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia. Dir : OLIVERAS MENOR Immaculada

  • South Africa : University of Cape Town; Witwatersrand University
  • Germany: Bayreuth University; Idiv – Leipzig.
  • Argentina : CONICET
  • Australia: UniSA
  • Bolivia: Herbario Nacional de Bolivia, Universidad Mayor San Andres
  • Brazil: Universidade Estadual Paulista; UNEMAT; Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro; INPE; CEMADEN
  • Cameroon: Université de Yaoundé
  • China: Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Colombia: Universidad de Los Andes ; Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Spain: Fundacion Pau Costa; Universitat de Lleida ; University of Girona
  • France: IMBE, univ. Aix-Marseille; CEFE – Montpellier; iEES Paris; ISEM – Montpellier, IGE - Grenoble.
  • Netherlands : Utrecht University
  • Italy: UniTo
  • Kenya: Karatina University
  • New-Zealand : Landcare Research
  • Peru: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Universidad Nacional de Áncash Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo, Instituto de la Montaña, INAIGEM
  • Poland: Mammal Reseach Institute, Bialowieza
  • United-Kingdom : Kew Botanical Garden; Oxford University; University of Lancaster
  • Sweden: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • USA: Yale University