The Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC hereafter) was created in 1965 and is committed to carry out research on ecology and biological diversity, encompassing natural history, evolution, ecology, systematics, biogeography, genetics and conservation biology. Our major tasks are the understanding of the processes that threaten biodiversity in the face of Global Change, the development of tools for the analysis and prediction of social and environmental consequences and the assessment of feasible solutions for society. This requires an integrative approach combining multiple tools and theoretical frameworks. To cope with such a challenge, we need an increase in novel technical approaches such as massive modelling and genotyping that may improve our prediction capacity. This knowledge is applied to the management and conservation of biodiversity in all its forms.

Our EcoGenes Project is aimed at reinforcing our capacity in order to maintain our ability to serve the Society of Knowledge by creating a cooperation platform where all similar institutions of Europe, but particularly those of the Mediterranean region, could exchange experiences, share standards and data, and promote training of experts to deal with the threats posed by the impact of Global Change. We have selected analytical tools highly demanded by our stakeholders and managed by all our research lines: Genetics and Genomics, Ecological Modelling and Ecophysiology. These new approaches will be

1- introduced in our running projects by eight newly recruited researchers experienced in these areas
2- discussed in international meetings, conferences and congresses,
3- the drivers behind the secondments of researchers of our centre and those of 5 collaborative centres and
4- the subject of several training exchange activities.

Loss of biodiversity in the Mediterranean hotspot due to Global Change will be the common thread of all proposed actions. The international projection and collaborative approach of our researchers will guarantee the continuity of the actions proposed beyond the duration of the project.

Expected Scientific Advances

To lead Global Change studies in the realm of conservation biology, a research institution should be able to work at widely different levels, from molecules, to individuals and finally to biomes and ecosystems. We aim at strengthening our capabilities for analysis and interpretation at all these levels: at a molecular level (genetics/genomics), at physiological level (pathogenes, stable isotopes) and at and above population level (modelling of populations, food webs, and ecosystems).

1- Use genomic approaches to enhance the power and resolution of the analyses of the geographic patterns of variation
2- Expand genetic analyses beyond purely, or mostly, neutral variation through genomic information.
3- Gain understanding of the basis of current adaptations along with high-resolution estimates of gene flow.
4- Improve our analytical capacities of the large data sets

Ecological Modelling
1- Increase our understanding on the community-wide implications of Global Change through the simulation of realistic models.
2- Obtain a critical mass in the number of researchers specifically performing theoretical and modelling work.
3- Improve our computing facilities for simulation and theoretical modelling.

1-. Investigate the importance of physiological factors to explain the increasing fraction of non-reproductive individuals
2-. Determine the importance of physiology in explaining the capacity of some species to maintain viable populations in the southern limit of their distribution range.
3-. Improve our capacities for the study of animal metabolism, immune system and diagnosis of pathogens.
4-. Provide our own stable-isotope analysis.

Soon you will find here more information on the project, including the workpackages, events, milestones etc.
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