García González, María Begoña

García González, María Begoña



Tenured Scientist

Personal webpage:

I work in the dynamics and conservation of mountain plant diversity: population dynamics, plant-animal interactions, and life history evolution.

At the species and population level, I often use an integrative approach (the whole life cycle and population structured models) at large spatial and temporal scales. I focus on plant adaptations, explore plant performance under present conditions, and project viability in future scenarios. Different fitness components (germination, growth, survival, fecundity…) are combined to show their weighted importance and to get standardized comparative parameters.

I am also interested in testing to what the extent species at the limit of distribution show distinctive ecological or demographic traits compared to central populations, and small populations compared to large ones, particularly for the Pyrenean flora. In the later case, we are also exploring differences in the network of plant-animal interactions, and the important role of threatened plants to sustain local biodiversity. More than 50 expert taxonomist have helped with the identification of arthropods visiting threatened or vulnerable plant species. This project is behind “Bioconectad@s”, an initiative to foster people to pay attention and record plant-animal interactions around.

My highest effort at present focuses in the coordination of a monitoring network of plant population trends and habitat changes in the NE Spain. The network involves more than two hundred volunteers and rangers. An important part of such network was developed under a LIFE+ European project ( Annual population censuses, abundances, or individual monitoring are being carrying out for more 250 populations across NE Spain. Among the 180 plant species surveyed, there are 60 threatened, 65 alpine, and 70 indicators of climatic change. Demographic trends are now being associated to biological traits, populations sizes, land changes and microclimatic conditions, in order to better asses their future vulnerability.






  • Manuel Pizarro - Technician. Bioinformatic of the Ordesa National Park databases

  • Jose Luis Silva - Technician. Monitoring plant populations and communities

  • Laura Granados - Master Thesis student (JAE-Intro)

  • Raul Hoffrén - Master Thesis student (JAE-Intro)

  • Hector Miranda - FPI. VULBIMON project

Past students, technicians & visitors:  Javier Rodríguez (2003), Jesús Villellas (2006-2013), Stefania Pisanu (2006 / 2009), Angela Taboada (2007), Ariadna Pérez (2008), Emanuelle Farris (2009), María del Prado Romera (2009), Alicia Valdés (2009), Marc Talavera (2010), Mónica García (2011), Juan Luis Hidalgo (2011), Samuel Pironon (2011-2015), María P Pata (2012-2014), María Leo Montes (2013 / 2014), Guillaume Papuga (2014), Philip Hemborough (2015), Darío Domingo (2015), Iker Pardo (2009-2016), Mercedes Vidal (2016), Raul Domínguez (2016), Sissel M Pedersen (2016), Annika Schu (2016-2017), Sophie Leforestier (2016-2017), Lydia del Arco, Sergio Albacete, Fran Martín y Rebeca Solé (2016-2017), Iñigo Guitarte (2018), Maria Jarne (2016-2018), Pablo Tejero (2054-2018)

Active collaborators at other Institutions:  J Arroyo, J Bascompte, I Buckley, DF Doak, J. Dahlgren, J Ehrlén, A. Escudero, JM Iriondo, P Jordano, S Lavergne, A Mejías, E Ortega Casamayor, WF Morris, S Munné-Bosch, JM Olesen, C Roquet, J Villellas

Publicaciones desde 2010

(names of phD students or master students are underlined)

  • Bascompte*, J, MB García*, R Ortega, E Rezende, S Pironon. (in press). Mutualistic interactions reshuffle the effects of climate change on plants across the tree of life. Science Advances

  • Villellas J, MB García, WF Morris. 2019. Geographic location, local environment, and individual size mediate the effects of climate warming and neighbors on a benefactor plant. Oecologia 189: 243-253.

  • García MB, JL Silva, P Tejero, I Pardo, D Gómez.. 2019. Tracking the long-term dynamics of plant diversity in NE Spain with a network of volunteers and rangers. Regional Environmental Change 19: 391–401. 10.1007/s10113-018-1350-6

  • Villellas J. & M.B. García 2018. Life-history trade-offs vary with resource availability across the geographic range of a widespread plant. Plant Biology 20: 483-489. DOI: 10.1111/plb.12682

  • Pironon S., J. Villellas, W. Thuiller, V.M. Eckhart, M.A. Geber, D.A. Moeller & M.B. García 2018. The “Hutchinsonian niche” as an assemblage of demographic niches: implications for species geographic ranges. Ecography 41: 1103-1113. 10.1111/ecog.03414

  • Pironon S.*, G. Papuga *, J. Villellas, A. Angert, M.B. García & J. Thompson. 2017. Geographic variation in genetic and demographic performance: new insights from an old biogeographical paradigm. Biological Reviews 92: 1877–1909. 10.1111/brv.12313

  • Villellas J. & M.B. García 2017. Intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of recruitment across the distribution range of a seed dimorphic herb. Plant Ecology 218: 218: 529. doi:10.1007/s11258-017-0708-z

  • Pardo I., Roquet C., Lavergne J., Olesen J.M. & García M.B. 2017. Spatial congruence between taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional hotspots: true pattern or methodological artifact?. Diversity and Distributions 23: 2029-220. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12511

  • Ilves A., M. Metsare, A. Seliškar, M.B. García, L. Vassiliou, S. Pierce, I. Tatarenko, K. Tali & T. Kull. 2016. Genetic diversity of the orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis is maintained between the centre and edges of its distribution range. Plant Systematics and Evolution 302:1227

  • Munné-Bosch S., A. Cotado, M. Morales, E. Fleta-Soriano, J. Villellas, MB Garcia. 2016. Adaptation of the Long-Lived Monocarpic Perennial, Saxifraga longifolia to High Altitude. Plant Physiology 172:765-775

  • Villellas, J., Hidalgo, J.L. & M.B. García 2016. Contrasting population dynamics at the southern distribution limit of the boreoalpine Silene acaulis. Ann Bot Fenn 53: 193-204

  • Lehtilä, K., J. Dahlgren, M.B. García, R Leimu, K Syrjänen & J Ehrlén 2016. Forest succession and population viability of grassland plants: long repayment of extinction debt in Primula veris. Oecologia 181:125-35

  • Berjano R., J. Villellas, M.B. García & A. Terrab. 2015. Phylogeography reveals latitudinal population structure of the common herb Plantago coronopus L. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 618–634

  • Pardo I., D.F. Doak, R. García-González, D. Gómez, M.B. García. 2015. Long-term response of plant communities to herbivore exclusion at high elevation grasslands. Biodiversity and Conservation 24: 3033–3047

  • Villellas, J., D.F. Doak, M.B. García & W.F. Morris. 2015. Demographic compensation among populations: what is it, how does it arise, and what are its implications?. Ecology letters (Idea and Perspective) 18:1139-1152

  • Silva, J., J.A. Mejías & M.B. García. 2015. Demographic vulnerability in cliff-dwelling Sonchus species endemic to the western Mediterranean. Basic and Applied Ecology 16:316-324

  • Valiente-Banuet, A., M.A. Aizen, J.M. Alcántara, J. Arroyo, A. Cocucci, M. Galetti, M.B. García, D. García, J.M. Gómez, P. Jordano, R. Medel, L. Navarro, J.R. Obeso, R. Oviedo, N. Ramírez, P.J. Rey, A. Traveset, M. Verdú, R. Zamora. 2015. Beyond species loss: extinction of ecological interactions in a changing world. Functional Ecology 29, 299-307

  • Pironon, S., J. Villellas, W.F. Morris, D.F. Doak & M.B. García. 2015. Do geographic, climatic or historical ranges differentiate the performance of central versus peripheral populations?. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24:611-620

  • Villellas, J., R. Berjano, A. Terrab & M.B. García. 2014. Divergence between phenotypic and genetic variation within populations of a common herb across Europe. Ecosphere 5:art56.

  • Valdés, A., García, D., García, M.B. & J. Ehrlén. 2014. Contrasting effects of different landscape characteristics on population growth of a perennial forest herb. Ecography 37: 230- 240

  • Jones O.R., A. Scheuerlein, R. Salguero-Gómez, C.G. Camarda, R. Schaible, B.B. Casper, J.P. Dahlgren, J. Ehrlén, M.B. García, E. Menges, P.F. Quintana-Ascencio, H. Caswell, A. Baudisch, J.W. Vaupel. 2014. Varieties of ageing across the tree of life. Nature 505:169–173

  • Barrio, I, G. Bueno, L. Nagy, S. Palacio, O. Grau, I. Munilla, M.B. García, A.I. García-Cervigón, M. Gartzia, A. Gazol, C. Lara-Romero, A. Anadon-Rosell, J.M. Ninot, C. Chocarro, C.L. Alados, F. Fillat, R. Zamora. 2013. Alpine ecology in the Iberian Peninsula: what do we know and where should we go?. Mountain Research and Development 33: 437-442

  • Pardo I., Camarero JJ, Gutiérrez E, M.B. García. 2013. Uncoupled changes in tree cover and field layer vegetation at two Pyrenean treeline ecotones over 11 years. Plant Ecology and Diversity 6: 355-364

  • Hansen C.F., M.B. García & B.K. Ehlers. 2013. Water availability and population origin affect the expression of the tradeoff between reproduction and growth in Plantago coronopus. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26(5): 993-1002

  • Villellas J. & M.B. García. 2013. The role of the tolerance-fecundity trade-off in maintaining intraspecific seed trait variation in a widespread dimorphic herb. Plant Biology 15:899-909

  • Morales M., M. Oñate, M.B. García & S. Munné-Boch. 2013. Photo-oxidative stress markers reveal absence of physiological deterioration with ageing in Borderea pyrenaica, an extraordinarily long-lived herb. Peer reviewed invitation to special issue. Journal of Ecology 101:555-565

  • Villellas J., W.F. Morris & M.B. García. 2013. Variation in stochastic demography between and within central and peripheral regions in a widespread short-lived herb. Ecology 94:1378–1388

  • Villellas, J., J.M. Olesen, J. Ehrlén & M.B. García. 2013. Plant performance in central and northern peripheral populations of the widespread Plantago coronopus. Ecography 36:136-145

  • Pardo, I., M.P. Pata, D. Gómez & M.B. García. 2013. A Novel Method to Handle the Effect of Uneven Sampling Effort in Biodiversity Databases. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52786. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052786

  • García, M.B., X. Espadaler & J.M. Olesen. 2012. Extreme Reproduction and Survival of a True Cliffhanger: The Endangered Plant Borderea chouardii (Dioscoreaceae). PLoS ONE 7(9): e44657

  • Pisanu, E. Farris, E., R. Filigheddu & M.B. García. 2012. Demographic effects of large, introduced herbivores on a long-lived endemic plant. Plant Ecology 213:1543–1553

  • Oñate, M., M.B. García & S. Munné-Boch. 2012. Age- and sex-related differences in cytokinins, auxins and abscisic acid in a centenarian relict herbaceous perennial. Planta 235:349–358

  • García, M.B., J.P. Dahlgren & J. Ehrlén. 2011. No evidence of senescence in a 300 year old mountain herb. Journal of Ecology 99:1424-1430

  • Dahlgren, J.P., M.B. García & J. Ehrlén 2011. Nonlinear relationships between vital rates and state variables in demographic models. Ecology 92:1181-1187

  • Braza, R. & M.B. García 2011. Spanning recruitment to cope with environmental variability. Plant Ecology 212:283–292

  • Csergö A. - M., Molnár Edit & M.B. García 2011. Dynamics of isolated Saponaria bellidifolia Sm. populations at northern range periphery. Population Ecology 53:393

  • Braza, R., J. Arroyo & M.B. García 2010. Quantity and quality components of fecundity in a widespread plant with dimorphic seeds: life history, maternal effects, and environmental variability. Acta Oecologica 36:471-476

  • García, M.B., D. Goñi & D. Guzmán 2010. Living at the edge. The role of local vs positional factors in the long-term population dynamics of an endangered orchid. Conservation Biology 24:1219-1229. DOI: 24:1219-1229