Montserrat Vilà and her colleagues are honoured with the George Mercer Award of the Ecological Society of America

This year's Mercer Award goes to the authors of "Disentangling the abundance–impact relationship for invasive species.", including Montserrat Vilà of the Biological Station of Doñana-CSIC.

This paper is the first meta-analysis to win the Mercer Award. Meta-analyses have become an important ecological research tool since their introduction into ecology in the early 1990s, and the work by Bethany A. Bradley and colleagues identified a novel general pattern that likely could not have been discovered or confirmed except via meta-analysis.

Their comprehensive global meta-analysis of 1258 studies addresses how the impacts of invasive species scale with their abundances. The analysis revealed striking general pattern across trophic levels: invasive species' impacts on lower trophic levels increase steeply but nonlinearly with their abundances, so that per-capita impact declines with increasing invader abundance, while invasive species' impacts within their own trophic level increase less steeply and linearly with their abundances. Their findings are valuable for managers, who need to decide whether it is worthwhile to attempt eradication of undesirable invasive species.

The Mercer Award is given for an outstanding ecological research paper published by a younger researcher (the lead author must be 40 years of age or younger at the time of publication). If the award is given for a paper with multiple authors, all authors will receive a plaque, and those 40 years of age or younger at the time of publication will share the monetary prize.

Bradley, B.A., Laginhas, B.B., Whitlock, R., Allen, J.M., Bates, A.E., Bernatchez, G., Diez, J.M., Early, R., Lenoir, J., Vilà, M. and Sorte, C.J. 2019. Disentangling the abundance–impact relationship for invasive species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(20): 9919-9924.

Source: Ecological Society of America


A new species of bat was hiding in our forests

A new species of bat was hiding in our forests

While it is believed that European biodiversity no longer brings surprises, an unusual discovery has just been made: in Western Europe a new species of bat has been described. More exactly, it is distributed along the northern mountain forests of Iberia, south of France and Italy. How did it go unnoticed so far? Bats are represented by more than 50 species in Europe (according to, but many of them look alike and it is mainly through molecular genetic comparisons that the identity is confirmed for these otherwise alike species. Indeed, the new species now described, called the cryptic myotis (Myotis crypticus), was until now confused in Iberia with the closely related species, the Escalera's bat (Myotis escalerai), from which it differs only by subtle external characters. The information of the DNA sequences, on the other hand, is indisputable: these two species do not mix despite sharing many areas in the mountain forests of the northern half of the Peninsula. This discovery has consequences for species conservation, since not only its identification in nature is very difficult, but its geographical distribution and the status of its populations are still largely unknown. As the new species lives in forested areas of Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain under increasing human pressure, it is urgent to study it in more detail to determine its protection status. In Northern Africa, where a second new species, the Zenati myotis (Myotis zenatius), is also described in the same publication, the conservation situation is even more critical. In fact, the species is extremely rare and vulnerable. Only a few caves are known to house it and human disturbances are frequent. Just after being discovered, it could therefore already be included in the too long list of endangered species. informacion[at] Juste et al (2019) Two new cryptic bat species within the Myotis nattereri species complex (Vespertilionidae, Chiroptera) from the Western Palaearctic. Acta Chiropterol