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Evolutionary Ecology Department


Department Head: José Javier Cuervo Osés





   The Department created in 1990 is composed of a dynamic and expert staff who work together with quite large number of graduate students to understand the patterns and processes that structure ecological systems and drive evolutionary change. The pressing challenges facing society today, such as combating habitat loss, climate change, saving endangered species, managing exploited resources, or slowing the spread of infectious disease, have their root in ecological and evolutionary forces.


Lagartija  We are a group of researchers united by the same fascination, the study of animal ecology. Our overall aim is to study the diversity of morphological, demographic and behavioural characteristics of animals from functional and evolutionary perspectives. We combine an evolutionary ecology approach with the study of the mechanisms (physiological, behavioural, etc) that are at the base of the adaptations we study. This multidisciplinary perspective (behavioural ecology, ecophysiology and genetics) facilitates a more inclusive understanding of evolutionary processes, and also allows us to use several tools with which we can estimate the fitness of the organisms within their environment.

  Our ecological and evolutionary interests span several levels of organization encompassing genes, phenotypes, populations, species, communities and ecosystems. We study the degree of adaptation of organisms to the environment including their social context, and identify the selective pressures that influence, or have influenced, the evolution of the characteristics that are observed today. In this context, members of the Department use a wide variety of techniques to conduct laboratory and field experiments on a wide range of taxa including plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Our main study areas are in the Iberian Peninsula, but we also work in America and Antarctica, and in collaborative projects all over the world.


Estornino negro  In addition to this basic research activity, some of our researchers are also involved in various studies and projects in relation to Conservation Biology (endangered species, environmental impacts, etc.). The main aim of these studies is to provide the necessary scientific knowledge to collaborate in the management and preservation of biodiversity, mainly, but not exclusively, in Mediterranean ecosystems.


We encourage prospective postdocs and more senior researchers to contact us for possible collaborations.


Our key research areas are summarized in the following list:

Biology, Ecology and Animal Behaviour
Evolution of life histories, sexual selection and parental care
Reproductive strategies
Evolution of sperm competition (
Ecology of animals living in extreme environments
Ecology and Evolution of Parasitism
Animal Communication and Ecophysiology (
Conservation Biology (




Collaboration Network

The map graph below displays (up to) the top 500 geographic locations for our researcher's coauthors (A)

Collaboration Network

Sociedad de Etología y Ecología Evolutiva SEE  Sociedad Española de Biología Evolutva SESBE  Asociación Española de Ecología Terrestre  AEET





Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y UniversidadesConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

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