Juan Lorite Moreno, Francisco Perfectti Álvarez, Adela González Megías and Mohamed Abdelaziz Mohamed, University of Granada; Rubén Torices Blanco, Arid Zone Experimental Station (EEZA-CSIC); Luis Navarro Echeverría, University of Vigo.
This project will assess the consequences stemming from the spread of the plant ‘Moricandia arvensis’, associated with humanized environments, on endemic species of the same genus in Iberian deserts. The goal is to better understand diversity loss in arid ecosystems.
The Mediterranean basin is a hotbed of biodiversity. Between 15,000 and 25,000 plant species live there, of which 60% are endemic. Within the Mediterranean basin, the arid ecosystems are especially interesting because they are home to many endemic species. However, since the rise of agriculture over 10,000 years ago, its terrestrial ecosystems have been greatly changed by mankind.
This project explores the effect had by certain species associated with mankind on the conservation of endemic species in Iberian deserts. To do so, a focus will be placed on the spread of ‘M. arvensis’ and the effect of its spread on endemic species of the same genus in Iberian deserts will be studied; in other words, those inherent to non-humanized environments.
Four partial objectives have been set: firstly, to determine whether and to what extent the environmental niches of ‘M. arvensis’ overlap with the other Iberian species of Moricandia in order to see whether competition exists; secondly, to assess whether M. arvensis hijacks pollinators from other similar species; thirdly, to determine the possibility of herbivore transfer from ‘M. arvensis’ to the other species; and, finally, to determine the hybridization possibilities between the endemic species and ‘M. arvensis’.