Dr Borja Jiménez-Alfaro

German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany; borja.jimenez-alfaro@botanik.uni-halle.de http://jimenezalfaro.weebly.com/

Title: Towards the understanding of the seed ecological spectrum

Abstract:  An increasing number of studies aim to define protocols and store plant trait information, resulting in a new generation of analytical tools for understanding biodiversity patterns and related processes. However, functional ecology still relies on easy-to-measure traits that only tell us a part of the story, and seed traits – arguably encompassing the most critical stage of a plant’s life cycle – are for the most part poorly defined, or even absent in databases. Identifying, defining, and quantifying seed functional traits will answer key questions related to the regenerative ecology of plants. To this end, we still need a research agenda that incorporates seed traits at species and community level. In parallel to the economical spectra of leaves and roots to reflect adult plant performance and metabolic functions, seeds mostly depend on environmental factors to promote germination and establishment. The seed ecological spectrum consists of all the potential variation in ecological responses that influence seeds of plants. The complexity of this spectrum makes it necessary to understand the significance of trade-offs between morphological, physiological, and biochemical seed traits. This also will allow defining species’ regeneration niches for predictive ecology of plant populations and communities.

Biography: Borja Jiménez-Alfaro is senior researcher at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDIV) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, where he coordinates the global vegetation database (sPlot) to develop empirical research in global plant trait-environmental relationships. His research focuses on community ecology and biogeography to understand vegetation patterns through the perspective of taxonomical and functional diversity, using biodiversity databases, field observations and experimental research in seed ecology. His academic career has been conducted in universities of Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Germany. He is currently an associate editor of Applied Vegetation Science and Folia Geobotanica.