Nicolas Gross

Nicolas Gross

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2014

Receiving laboratory: Semiarid Ecology and Global change Lab, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain

Country of origin : Spain




Mobility project

Assessing the efFEct of global change driVERs on multifunctionality in global drylands

The project aims to assess the impact of global change drivers (climate, land use) on multifunctionality (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to sustain multiple functions simultaneously) in global drylands. Dryland ecosystems are highly vulnerable to desertification and support 38% of the total human population. We will use a trait-based approach with a global database from 236 sites from all continents.  We will (i) quantify the effect of global change on plant and soil functional diversity; (ii) assess how changes in dryland functional diversity impact multifunctionality; (iii) develop process-oriented models to forecast the effect of global change in global drylands.

Biography & research interests

I’m an ecologist interested in the study of biodiversity working at the INRA. My main research area is the study of biotic interactions within and across trophic levels. One of my leading achievements today has been to produce important insights on how biotic interactions (plant-plant and plant-animal interactions) determine the structure of plant communities, species coexistence and feedback on ecosystem functioning. I’m using functional traits as a tool to upscale individual response to biotic interactions at the community and ecosystem levels. I use different approaches including descriptive data on community trait, models and experimentations.

I’m currently working in the AGRIPOP team (USC 1339, CNRS-INRA, CEBC). I’m focusing on how land use intensification at local and regional scale impact functional diversity within plant and animal communities and how these changes feedback on ecosystem functioning and agricultural systems. Other significant working experiences included: (i) a postdoctoral fellowship in New Zealand (supervisor Philip Hulme, Lincoln university, Canterbury) on biological invasion; (ii) a postdoctoral fellowship in Clermont-Ferrand (supervisor Jean-François Soussana, INRA, UREP) on the relationship between plant functional diversity and grassland functioning. I did my PhD at the LECA (University of Grenoble 1) on subalpine grasslands under the supervision of Sandra Lavorel.

Selected publications

Deraison H., Badenhausser I. Borger L., Gross N. (2015). Linking herbivore effect traits to their impact on plant community biomass: an experimental test using grasshoppers. Functional Ecology, 29, 650-661.

Gross N., Liancourt P., Butters R., Duncan R. Hulme P. (2015) Functional equivalence, competitive hierarchy and facilitation determine species coexistence in highly invaded grasslands. New Phytologist, 206, 175–186.

Valencia-Gomez E., Maestre T F., Le Bagousse Pinguet Y., Quero, J.L., Tamm R., Borger L., Garcia Gomez M., Gross N. (2015). Functional diversity enhanced resistance of ecosystem multifunctionality to aridity in Mediterranean drylands. New Phytologist, 206, 600-671.

Clough Y., Ekroos J., Báldi A., Batáry P., Bommarco R., Gross N., et al. (2014) Density of insect-pollinated grassland plants decreases with increasing surrounding land-use intensity. Ecology Letters, 2014, 17, 1168-1177.

Maire V.*, Gross N.*, Hill D., Wirth C., Wright I., Soussana JF. (2013). Disentangling coordination among functional traits using an individual-centred model: Impact on plant performance and trait variability. Plos One. *Equal contributions

Gross N., Borger L., Hulme P., Duncan R. (2013) Functional differences between alien and native species: do biotic interactions determine the functional structure of highly invaded grasslands. Functional Ecology 27, 1262–1272.

Gross N., Soriano M. S., Borger L., Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y., Quero J.L.,  Garcia M., Valencia-Gomez E., Maestre F.T. (2013) Uncovering the multiple-scale effect of aridty and biotic interactions on the functional structure of Mediterranean shrubland. Journal of Ecology,101, 637–649.

Maire V*, Gross N.*, Borger L., Proulx R., Wirtz C., Pontes L.,  Soussana J.F., Louault F. (in press) Habitat filtering and niche differentiation jointly determine species relative abundance in grassland communities along fertility and disturbance gradients. New Phytologist, 196, 497-509. * equal contribution

Gross N., Liancourt P., Choler P., Suding K.N., Lavorel S. (2010) Species-level strain and vegetation effect on limiting resource explain the outcomes of biotic interactions. PPEES, 12, 9-16.

Gross N., Kunstler G., Liancourt P., de Bello F., Suding K.N. Lavorel S. (2009). Linking individual response to biotic interactions with community structure: a trait based approach. Functional Ecology, 23, 1167-1178. Issue Cover.

Maire V., Gross N., Pontes da S. L., Picon-Cochard C., Soussana J.F. (2009). Functional traits linked with nitrogen strategies of 13 co-occurring grass species in productive grasslands. Functional Ecology, 23, 668-679.

Gross N., Robson., T.M., Lavorel S., Albert C., Le Bagousse-Pinguet Y., Guillemin, R. (2008). Plant response traits mediate the effects of subalpine grasslands on soil moisture. New Phytologist, 180: 652-662.

Gross N., Suding K.N., Roumet C., Lavorel S. (2007). Complementarity as a mechanism of coexistence between functional groups of grasses. Journal of Ecology, 95: 1296-1305

Gross N., Suding K.N., Lavorel S., (2007) Combinations of leaf and morphological traits can predict response to land-use change for dominant species in subalpine grasslands. Journal of Vegetation Science, 18: 289-300




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