Sandra M. Diaz

Universidad Nacional de Cordoba


Election Year: 2009
Primary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

I am interested in how plant functional traits are affected by environmental drivers and affect ecosystem properties and their derived societal benefits. I have a long-standing interest in broad-scale comparative ecology, including the testing for recurrent patterns of plant trait specialization across floras and ecosystems. In the 1990s I began studying the effects of global change drivers, in particular elevated dioxide and land use change, on terrestrial ecosystems. Using an experimental synthetic-community approach, I provided early empirical evidence that complex interactions and feedbacks involving plants, soil organisms and herbivores with different functional traits can influence the effects of global change on ecosystems. Subsequently, I became interested in how biological communities affect ecosystem properties and their derived benefits. I have investigated this using field removal experiments, and also ecosystems shaped by different land use regimes. I have recently contributed to the theory of functional biodiversity and its application to the study and management of real ecosystems in the field. Together with colleagues from different areas of knowledge, I am now working on the development of ecological and social tools to analyze the origin and maintenance of functional diversity, and the links between its components and various ecosystem benefits provided to societies.

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