Dr. Andros T. Gianuca


Dr. Andros T. Gianuca
Postdoctoral Researcher - Ecology

Department of Community Ecology
Helmholtz Centrefor Environmental Research - UFZ
Theodor-Lieser-Str. 04, 06120 Halle, Germany

Tel: 0345 558 5315

Doris Wolst

Lebenslauf / Akademische Ausbildung od. CV / Scientific Career

2005 - 2009

Bachelor in Ecology - UCPEL, Brazil

Title: Spatial distribution of birds along a structural gradient of grassland vegetation

2010 - 2012

Master in Ecology - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil.

Title: Analysis of ecological gradients: community assembly rules and the spatial distribution of avian species along the coast of southern Brazil.

2013 - 2017

PhD in Biology (with emphasis in Ecology)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Title: Integrating trait and phylogenetic distances in metacommunity analysis and ecosystem functioning research

Berufliche Tätigkeiten / Occupational activities


Postdoctoral researcher

Working with trait-based community and macro-ecology of butterflies in Europe (sECURE project)

Forschungsschwerpunkte / Research interests

I have special interests in understanding the link between scale-dependent community assembly processes (e.g., niche-based, dispersal, stochastic processes) and multidimensional biodiversity patterns (i.e., taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic) and how such patterns scale-up to influence ecosystem functioning and stability. Currently, my main research focus is community and macroecology of butterflies in Europe (see also the sECURE project below). I also have interest in quantitative ecology and I have experience working with different organism groups both in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (birds; butterflies; zooplankton). I am also interested in biodiversity synthesis and analysis of functional trait / phylogenetic diversity of communities across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Kooperationen / Projekte | Co-operations / Projects

sECURE - Separating Environmental Changes and their effects on commUnity tRaits in European butterflies

Summary: The overarching goal of sECURE is:

To identify analytical pathways allowing the best use of species traits, ecological characteristics and phylogenetic information to predict the impacts of drivers of global change on species co-occurrence, community assembly and biodiversity.
To achieve this goal we will use European butterflies as a model study system and compile a comprehensive data set on their large-scale distribution. Further we will integrate eight national long-term monitoring schemes, several sources of functional traits and ecological characteristics, as well as phylogenetic information for 435 butterfly species and relevant environmental variables of the major drivers of global change such as land-cover, agricultural intensity and climate at the European scale. We use butterflies as a focal taxon because they are one of the best model systems in biodiversity research (Settele et al., 2009). They are herbivorous insects which represent the majority of terrestrial life on earth and which play an important role in the functioning of ecosystems. Further, and largely thanks to the enthusiastic work of citizen scientists, our knowledge on their systematics, phylogeny, biology, and ecology is higher than in any other insect group of comparable species richness, especially in Europe.
Within sECURE we will bring together both data holders and world-leading experts with longterm experience in analysing monitoring, abundance and species distribution data. These researchers cover a wide range of expertise in butterfly ecology, population-, metapopulation-, community- and macro-ecology, the niche concept, trait analyses, evolution and phylogenetic analyses and butterfly conservation from 17 European countries. The broad geographic and thematic coverage will enable us to discuss and develop approaches centred around the topics of 1) trait-mediated environmental filtering, 2) trait and phylogenetic clustering and overdispersion, 3) species co-occurrence and species assembly rules. We will apply these concepts to “real world” data and assess the impact of drivers of global change at varying spatial and temporal scales.
With our approach, we are directly addressing all four key questions of iDiv. (1) With our analysis of observed distribution and monitoring data we will contribute to question one: “How can we reliably quantify and understand the state and change of biodiversity across space and time in response to natural and anthropogenic drivers?”. (2) Since our analyses are based on functional traits and phylogenetic information, we will also contribute to question two: “What are the evolutionary and ecological processes generating and maintaining biodiversity?”. (3) Our analyses of spatial and temporal mismatches among diversity aspects will contribute to question three: “What is the role of biodiversity in regulating ecosystem functioning and provisioning of services to humanity?”. (4) The retained information on the impact of drivers of global change will finally also address question four: “How can biodiversity be integrated in the management of our planet’s resources and how can we safeguard biodiversity?”.

Scientific objectives

(1) Analyse species traits, their phylogenetic signal, and their evolution As a precondition to understanding the impact of environmental change on biodiversity by using a trait-based approach, it is important to identify potential relationships among the traits and their states (Öckinger et al., 2010). In addition, it is important to assess which of these correlations are determined by phylogeny and which are not (Pearman et al., 2010). Based on the ecological and theoretical knowledge within sECURE we will identify relevant species traits and niche characteristics and analyse their correlation structure and phylogenetic signal to identify the level of niche and trait conservatism. We will further assess niche and trait evolution among European butterflies using phylogenetic comparative methods, and by this explore to what degree specific traits or niche characteristic have affected speed and mode of speciation and diversification (speciation minus extinction), which eventually have shaped the current patterns of diversity we observe.
(2) Identify the impact of global change drivers on spatial and temporal patterns of species richness, functional and phylogenetic diversity and their mismatches To assess the impact of different drivers of global change on species assembly and reassembly processes we will use both large-scale European distribution data and fine-scale long-term monitoring abundance data to calculate taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity and patterns of functional and phylogenetic clustering or overdispersion. In combination with single trait and niche characteristics analyses and their correlation structure we will make inferences about species co-occurrence mechanisms and trait-based assembly rules. Combining largescale distribution data with fine-scale monitoring data has the great advantage that we can analyse similarities or dissimilarities in the impact of different drivers on assemblages based on species identities and their abundances and across spatial or temporal scales. We further can analyse the variability of biodiversity trends along large-scale environmental gradients. This approach will allow us to assess the reliability of predictions of novel community structures and their functioning under global change.
(3) Analyse scale-dependencies of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity Since assembly processes can vary as a function of spatial scale (Eskildsen et al., 2015), the use of multifaceted diversity-area relationships, covering taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity, can be used to get additional insights into the ecological and evolutionary processes generating species assemblages (Mazel et al., 2014). Further, these diversity-area relationships can be expected to vary both across geographic regions and in time, depending on differences in environmental pressures, climate and history. We will use our data sets from the butterfly monitoring schemes in combination with European distribution data to analyse such spatial and temporal variation and relate these variations to land cover, agricultural intensity and climate and their temporal changes. This will allow us to identify the spatial scale at which biotic interactions, environmental filtering or neutral processes dominate, and which environmental drivers or evolutionary processes are responsible.

Publikationen / Publications

Andros T. Gianuca, Jessie Engelen, Kristien I. Brans, Fabio Toshiro T. Hanashiro, MAtthias Vanhamel, Edwin M. van den Berg, Caroline Souffreau, Luc De Meester (2017): Taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic metacommunity ecology of cladoceran zooplankton along urbanization gradients - Ecography  doi:10.1111/ecog.02926

Andros T. Gianuca, Steven A.J. Declerck, Pieter Lemmens, Luc De Meester (2017): Effects of dispersal and environmental heterogeneity on the replacement and nestedness components of beta-diversity - Ecology doi:10.1002/ecy.1666