Group of Evolution and Conservation Biology (ECB)

Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution
Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas

The ECB group promotes research on the ecology and evolution of animals (including humans). Established in 2005, the group has grown taking advantage of the Spanish most prestigious recruitment programs (such as Ramón y Cajal), a strategy which has helped to attract many talented and independent researchers who broadened the scientific scope and collaboration networks of the group. Today, the group includes 13 tenured academics, two tenure-tracked researchers, two postdocs and 12 PhD students. The research lines developed by group members span the interests of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, bringing together biogeography, behavioural ecology, ecophysiology, evolutionary ecology, population genetics and conservation biology. An overarching goal of the group is fostering scientific culture in society through a strong commitment with high education, advanced training and interaction with different stakeholders. Thus, the group has former students, external members or close collaborators working at different scientific institutions (both in Spain and abroad), the Spanish administration (Ministry of the Environment, Regional Wildlife Services), different non-governmental organizations (SEO/BirdLife, SECEM, GREFA, etc.), or relevant companies (such as GENOMICA S.A.U. a leading company in human molecular diagnostics). This collaboration network of collaborations helps MSCA fellows to acquire a broad-scoped training through secondments.

The group has a fully equipped lab for molecular ecology and ecophysiology analyses (purification of nucleic acids, PCR, fragment analysis, ELISA, etc.), a microscopy laboratory (equipped with a Leica DM 2500/BF microscope with accessories for Differential Interference Contrast and camera), workstations for computationally demanding research or an animal behaviour laboratory for studies of animals temporarily kept in captivity (aviaries, terraria, incubators, etc.). The head of the UCM Museum of Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (MACV) is a member of the group. Besides, group members have full access to all facilities in the School of Biological Sciences (library, laboratories, etc.), and benefit from UCM infrastructures such as the Centre for Genomic and Proteomic Analysis or the facilities for high-throughput computation, among others. Fieldwork resources include different long-term population monitoring programs, some of which have been operated for over 25 years.

We seek candidates who wish to develop their own ideas taking advantage of the research capabilities of the group. We welcome talented researchers who aim to implement projects fitting in our disciplines (Zoology and Physical Anthropology) and complement our PIs’ research interests. Fellows will become full-right members of the group, being granted access to the laboratories and other facilities of the group on an equal opportunities basis. Ongoing research lines span from autoecological approaches to macroevolutionary and macroecological studies, using animal or human populations as model, and including the following descriptors: phenotypic variation across scales; behavioural ecology (e.g., animal migration, ecological networks, life-history evolution); disease ecology and evolution (e.g., host-pathogen relationships, evolution of tolerance and resistance to parasites); evolutionary genomics; molecular ecology and phylogenetics; or urban ecology. Our applied research includes conservation biology projects (population monitoring; analysis of the effects of human interventions such as habitat fragmentation, linear infrastructures or nature recreation facilities on wildlife; ecology and conservation of steppe birds in agroecosystems, etc.) and human biology research with social and health implications. Comprehensive descriptions of the research interests of the PIs can be found in their personal space at the group’s website. The contact person for this MSCA program will be happy to help finding a scientific supervisor, but prospective candidates may feel free to explore our website and contact group members directly based on their best judgement.