I have been a Senior Lecturer at the UAM Ecology Department since 1982 and a Full Professor of Ecology since 1996. Since 1992, I have headed the Department’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Ecology and Conservation Group (TEG), internationally renowned for its work on the impact of various types of agricultural practices and land uses on the conservation of extensive Mediterranean systems. I am responsible for the grass and shrubland ecology research line, which has been the focus of my research over the last 30 years. At the community scale, I am interested in the mechanisms that drive vegetation dynamics, primarily seed availability and seedling survival (seed banks, granivory, dispersal and germination). Recently, we have been studying changes in structural and functional diversity caused by to farm abandonment. At the landscape level, we have begun projects concerned with the effects on biodiversity of changes of use in rural landscapes, particularly the issue of agriculture and livestock farming abandonment, using a multidisciplinary approach involving biological and socio-economic aspects. We have also analysed the effects of agri-environmental policies implemented to alleviate the problems of farming intensification and abandonment. During the last few years, we have also been involved in road slope restoration projects, an applied and socially demanded facet of our work on grassland and shrubland dynamics.
My lecturing work includes the undergraduate Biology degree at the UAM and the Official Master degree in Ecology (run jointly by the UAM & UCM). I encourage my students to develop their critical skills and scientific rigour through the material that I teach related to Experimental Design, Statistical Analysis and Modelling applied to Ecology.
Recent scientific publications
Moles, A. T.; Peco, B.; Wallis, I. R.; et al. (2013). Correlations between physical and chemical defences in plants: tradeoffs, syndromes, or just many different ways to skin a herbivorous cat? New Phytologist 198(1): 252-263.
Carmona,C.P.; Azcárate,F.M.; Oteros-Rozas,E.; González,J.A. & Peco,B. (2013) Assessing the effects of seasonal grazing on holm oak regeneration: implications for the conservation of Mediterranean dehesas. Biological Conservation, 159: 240-247
Carmona,C.P.; Röder,A.; Azcárate,F.M. & Peco,B. (2013) Grazing management or physiography? Factors controlling vegetation recovery in Mediterranean grasslands. Ecological Modeling, 251: 73-84.
Dobarro,I.; Pérez-Carmona,C. & Peco,B. (2013) Dissecting the effects of simulated cattle activity on floristic composition and functional traits in Mediterranean grasslands. Plos One, 8: e79822.
Jauregui,B.M.; Rivera,D. & Peco,B. (2013) Does topsoil accelerate the decomposition of Litter on roadslopes? Ecological Engineering, 52: 88-95.
Carmona,C.P.; Azcárate,F.M.; de Bello,F.; Ollero,H.S.; Leps,J. & Peco,B. (2012) Taxonomical and functional diversity turnover in Mediterranean grasslands: interactions between grazing, habitat type and rainfall. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49: (5) 1084-1093.
Peco,B.; Carmona,C.P.; de Pablos,I. & Azcárate,F.M. (2012) Effects of grazing abandonment on functional and taxonomic diversity of Mediterranean grassland. Agriculture,Ecosystems and Environment, 152: 27-32.
Rivera,D.; Jáuregui,B.M. & Peco,B. (2012) The fate of herbaceous seeds during topsoil stockpiling: Restoration potential of seed banks. Ecological Engineering, 44: 94-101.
Arellano, G.& Peco, B.(2012). Testing the role of seed size in annual legumes: seedling performance under experimental autumn moisture conditions. Journal of Vegetation Science, 23:690-697.
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Personal web page: http://www.uam.es/personal_pdi/ciencias/peco/