Lorena Gómez Aparicio



Dra. Lorena Gómez Aparicio

Research Group on Mediterranean Forest Systems (SIFOmed)
Department of Biogeochemistry, Plant and Microbial Ecology
Avenida Reina Mercedes 10
c.p. 41080 – Sevilla (Spain)

Phone: +34 954 624 711 ext 139
Fax: +34 954 624 002

E-mail: lorenag<at>irnase.csic.es

  • 1995-1999   B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Granada (Spain)
  • 2000-2004   Ph.D. Ecology, University of Granada (Spain)
  • 2005-2007   Fulbright post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Ecosystem Studies (NY, USA)
  • 2007-2009   Juan de la Cierva Research Fellow, IRNAS-CSIC (Spain)
  • 2009-2010   Researcher, CIFOR-INIA (Spain)
  • Since 2010   Researcher, IRNAS-CSIC (Spain)
  • Global change impacts on Mediterranean forests
  • Regeneration dynamics in forest ecosystems
  • Forest decline
  • Plant-plant interactions
  • Plant-soil feedbacks
  • Linking community dynamics and ecosystem processes using neighborhood models

Recent Research Projects

Interactive effects of climate change and exotic pathogens on biotic communities of mixed Mediterranean forests (INTERCAPA) 2015-2018. MICINN. PI: Lorena Gómez-Aparicio.

The objective of this project is to advance in the understanding of the interactive effects of climate change and invasive species on biotic communities (woody plants and soil microorganisms) of forest systems. With this aim, we established of a rainfall exclusion infrastructure in mixed forests of southern Spain invaded by the exotic pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi and affected by severe problems of decline of its dominant tree species, Quercus suber. Specifically, we aim to:

1) Determine the interactive effects of climate change and exotic pathogens on woody plant communities. We will identify potential non-additive effects of rainfall exclusion and P. cinnamomi abundance on growth and survival of adults and seedlings of main tree species in the studied forests.

2) Determine the effects of climate change on soil microorganisms and ecosystem processes. We will determine the effects of rainfall exclusion on the abundance, diversity and composition of different groups of soil organisms (bacteria, fungi, oomycete, nematodes, acari, collembola) and their implications for ecosystem multifunctionality.

3) Analyse the mechanisms underlying the indirect effects of climate change on vegetation via exotic pathogens. We will conduct greenhouse experiments to explore three potential mechanisms by which rainfall reduction could indirectly affect vegetation through its interaction with P. cinnamomi: modification of the infective capacity of the pathogen, increase of host susceptibility, and the alteration of pathogen interactions with other soil microbes.



Resistance inducers to stop the destruction of ecosystems threatened by exotic pathogens: the study case of the centennial cork oak forest of Doñana (INREPAX) 2016-2018. BBVA Foundation. PI: Mª Esperanza Sánchez Hernández (University of Córdoba)

Biological invasions are a serious ecological threat often enhanced by climate change. This is the case of the exotic microorganism Phytophthora cinnamomi, pathogen on cork and holm oak, whose effects on native ecosystems in the south and west of the Iberian Peninsula become irreversible if no action is taken at the early stages. The general objective of the project is to demonstrate that the application of resistance inducers to the trees can prevent devastation of key ecosystems already invaded by the pathogen or at risk of invasion. This objective is embodied in the development of a methodology for individual tree treatments in the already infested centennial cork oak forest of Doñana. Preventive/curative effectiveness of such treatments is investigated to realize an effective methodology at reasonable cost that can be applied in areas with high risk of infection of sclerophyll Quercus species.



The role of plant soil feedbacks in the community dynamics of declining Quercus forests (RETROBOS) 2012-2014. MICINN. PI: Lorena Gómez Aparicio.

In this project we aimed to study plant-soil feedbacks in mixed Quercus forests affected by severe problems of decline of the dominant tree species, cork oak (Quercus suber). The decline and death of Quercus suber is treated here as a “natural experiment” that can be used to understand the consequences of the loss of dominant plant species for the dynamics of the plant and soil community, and for the functioning of the ecosystem. Specifically, we asked:

1) Which are the consequences for the soil community of the decline and death of Q. suber? We conducted a spatially explicit study of the diversity, structure and function of soil organisms, including both those that interact indirectly (i.e. decomposers) and directly (mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens) with plant roots. The level of coupling or interdependence among the plant and soil community was evaluated using neighborhood models.

2) Which are the consequences for the plant community of the decline and death of Q. suber? We used observational and experimental field studies to determine which functional groups (e.g. shrubs vs. trees) and species will have higher probability of occupying the gaps opened in the forest after the death of cork oak trees.

3) What is the role of plant-soil feedbacks in the successional dynamics of declining Q. suber forests? We conducted feedback experiments to determine the magnitude, sign and type (abiotic, biotic, pathogen-driven) of the feedback processes in the mixed forests of study.


ISI journals

49- Domínguez-Begines, J., G.B. de Deyn, L.V. García, N. Eisenhauer & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2018) Cascading spatial and trophic impacts of oak decline on the soil food web. Journal of Ecology, in press.

48- Ávila J.M., A. Gallardo & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2018) Pathogen-induced tree mortality interacts with predicted climate change to alter soil respiration and nutrient availability in Mediterranean systems. Biogeochemistry, in press.

47- Matías, L., M. Abdelaziz, O. Godoy & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2018) Disentangling the climatic and biotic factors driving changes in the dynamics of Quercus suber populations across the species’ latitudinal range. Diversity and Distributions, in press.

46- Jiménez-Chacón, A., P. Homet, L. Matías, L. Gómez-Aparicio & O. Godoy (2018) Fine scale determinants of soil litter fauna on a Mediterranean mixed oak forest invaded by the exotic soil-borne pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi. Forests 9: 218.

45- Matías, L., O. Godoy, L. Gómez-Aparicio & I.M. Pérez-Ramos (2018) An experimental extreme drought reduces the likelihood of species to coexist despite increasing intransitivity in competitive networks. Journal of Ecology 106: 826-837.

44- Rutten, G. & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2018) Plant-soil feedbacks and root responses of two Mediterranean oaks along a precipitation gradient. Plant and Soil 424: 221-231.

43- Braga, R.R., L. Gómez-Aparicio, T. Heger, J.R.S. Vitule & J.M. Jeschke (2018) Structuring evidence for invasional meltdown: broad support but with biases and gaps. Biological Invasions 20: 923-936.

42- Ávila, J.M. J.C. Linares, A. García-Nogales, M.E. Sánchez & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2017) Across-scale patterning of plant-soil-pathogen interactions in Quercus suber decline. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 677-688.

41- Pérez-Ramos, I.M., Y. García-De la Cruz & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2017) Contrasting responses of insects and vertebrates as seed consumers of two neotropical oak species: the interactive effects of individual crop size and seed mass. Forest Ecology and Management 401: 99-106.

40- Gómez-Aparicio, L., J. Domínguez-Begines, P. Kardol, J.M. Ávila, B. Ibáñez & L.V. García (2017) Plant-soil feedbacks in declining forests: implications for species coexistence. Ecology 98: 1908-1921.

39- Ibáñez, B., L. Gómez-Aparicio, J.M. Ávila, I.M. Pérez-Ramos & T. Marañón (2017) Effects of Quercus suber decline on woody plant regeneration: potential implications for successional dynamics in Mediterranean forests. Ecosystems 20: 630-644.

38- Ruíz-Benito, P., S. Ratcliffe, A. Jump, L. Gómez-Aparicio, J. Madrigal-González, C. Wirth, G. Kändler, A. Lehtonen, J. Dahlgren, J. Kattge & M.A. Zavala (2017) Functional diversity underlies demographic responses to environmental variation across European forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26: 128-141.

37- Ávila, J.M., A. Gallardo, B. Ibáñez & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2016) Quercus suber dieback alters soil respiration and nutrient availability in Mediterranean forests.  Journal of Ecology 104: 1441-1452.

36- Ibáñez, B., L. Gómez-Aparicio, J.M. Ávila, I.M. Pérez-Ramos, L.V. García & T. Marañón (2015) Impact of tree decline on spatial patterns of seedling-mycorrhiza interactions: implications for regeneration dynamics in Mediterranean forests. Forest Ecology and Management 353: 1-9.

35- Ibáñez, B., L. Gómez-Aparicio, P. Stoll, J.M. Ávila, I.M. Pérez-Ramos & T. Marañón (2015) A neighborhood analysis of the consequences of Quercus suber decline for regeneration dynamics in Mediterranean forests. PLOS One, e0117827.

34- Anthelme, F., L. Gomez-Aparicio & R. Montufar (2014) Nurse-based restoration of degraded tropical forests with tussock grasses: experimental support from the Andean cloud forest. Journal of Applied Ecology 51: 1534-1543.

33- Gómez-Aparicio, L. & C.J. Lortie. Advancing plant ecology through meta-analysis (2014) Journal of Ecology 102: 823-827.

32- Vizcaíno-Palomar, N., L. Gómez-Aparicio, J. Pavón-García, C. Bartolomé, J. Álvarez & M.A. Zavala (2014) Main biotic drivers of tree growth in a developing Juniperus thurifera stand in Central Spain. European Journal of Forest Research 133: 1109-1119.

31- Ibáñez, B., I. Ibáñez, L. Gómez-Aparicio, P. Ruíz-Benito, L.V. García & T. Marañón (2014) Contrasting effects of climate change along life stages of a dominant tree species: the unexpected role of  soils. Diversity & Distributions 20: 872-883.

30- Benito, B.M., J. Lorite, R. Pérez-Pérez, L. Gómez-Aparicio & J. Peñas (2014) Forecasting plant range collapse in a Mediterranean hotspot: when dispersal uncertainties matter. Diversity & Distributions 20: 72-83.

29- Ruíz-Benito, P., L. Gómez-Aparicio, A. Paquette, C. Messier, J. Kattge & M.A. Zavala (2014) Diversity increases carbon storage and tree productivity in Spanish forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20: 72-83.

28- Ruíz-Benito, P., E. Lines, L. Gómez-Aparicio, D. Coomes & M.A. Zavala (2013) Climatic effects on tree mortality are amplified by competition in Mediterranean forests. PLOS One, e56843.

27- Gómez-Aparicio L., B. Ibáñez, M.S. Serrano, P. De Vita, J.M. Ávila, I.M. Pérez-Ramos, L.V. García, M.E. Sánchez & T. Marañón (2012) Spatial patterns of soil pathogens in declining Mediterranean forests: implications for tree species regeneration. New Phytologist 194: 1014–1024.

26- Holmgren, M., L. Gómez-Aparicio, J.L. Quero & F. Valladares (2012) Non-linear effects of drought under shade: reconciling physiological and ecological models in plant communities. Oecologia 169: 293-305.

25- Jeschke, J.M., L. Gómez-Aparicio, S. Haider, T. Heger, C.J. Lortie, A. Petrusek, P. Pyšek & D.L. Strayer (2012) Taxonomic bias and lack of cross-taxonomic studies in invasion biology. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 10: 349-350.

24- Verdú, M., L. Gómez-Aparicio & A. Valiente-Banuet (2012) Phylogenetic relatedness as a tool in restoration ecology: A meta-analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 279: 1761-1767.

23- Ruíz-Benito, P., L. Gómez-Aparicio & M.A. Zavala (2012) Large scale assessment of regeneration and diversity in Mediterranean planted pine forests along ecological gradients. Diversity & Distributions 18: 1092-1106.

22- García, L.V., C. Ramo, C. Aponte, A. Moreno, M.T. Domínguez, L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. Redondo & T. Marañón (2011) Protected wading bird species threaten relict centennial cork oaks in a Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve: a conservation management conflict. Biological Conservation 144: 764-771.

21- Gómez-Aparicio, L., R. García-Valdés, P. Ruíz-Benito & M.A. Zavala (2011) Disentangling the relative importance of climate, size and competition on tree growth in Iberian forests: implications for forest management under global change. Global Change Biology 17: 2400-2414.

20- Matías, L., L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. Zamora & J. Castro (2011) Effects of resource availability on plant recruitment at the community level in a Mediterranean mountain ecosystem. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 13: 277-285.

19– Pérez-Ramos, I. M., L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. Villar, L.V. Garcia & T. Marañón (2010) Seedling growth and morphology of three oak species along field resource gradients and seed mass variation: a seedling-age dependent response. Journal of Vegetation Science 21: 419-437.

18– Gómez-Aparicio, L. (2009) The role of facilitative interactions in the restoration of degraded ecosystems: a meta-analysis across life-forms and ecosystems. Journal of Ecology 97: 1202-1214.

17- Gómez-Aparicio, L., M.A. Zavala, F. Bonet &  R. Zamora (2009) Are pine plantations valid tools for restoring Mediterranean forests? An assessment along gradients of climatic conditions, stand density and distance to seed sources. Ecological Applications 19: 2124-2141.

16- Mendoza, I., L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. Zamora & L. Matías (2009) Recruitment limitation of forest communities in a degraded Mediterranean landscape. Journal of Vegetation Science 20: 367-376.

15- Gómez-Aparicio, L. (2008) Spatial patterns of recruitment in a Mediterranean tree (Acer opalus subsp. granatense): linking the fate of seeds, seedlings, and saplings in heterogeneous landscapes at different scales. Journal of Ecology 96: 1128-1140.

14- Gómez-Aparicio, L., I.M. Pérez-Ramos, I. Mendoza, L. Matías, J.L. Quero, J. Castro, R. Zamora & T. Marañón (2008) Oak seedling survival and growth along resource gradients in Mediterranean forests: implications for regeneration in current and future environmental scenarios. Oikos 117: 1683-99.

13- Gómez-Aparicio, L., R. Zamora, J. Castro & J.A. Hódar (2008) Facilitation of tree saplings by nurse plants: microhabitat amelioration or protection against herbivores? Journal of Vegetation Science 19: 161-172.

12- Gómez-Aparicio, L. & C.D. Canham (2008) Neighborhood models of the effects of invasive tree species on ecosystem processes. Ecological Monographs 78: 69-86.

11- Gómez-Aparicio, L. & C.D. Canham (2008) Neighborhood analyses of the allelophatic effects of the invasive tree Ailanthus altissima in temperate forests. Journal of Ecology 96: 446-458.

10- Gómez-Aparicio, L., C.D. Canham & P.H. Martin (2008) Neighborhood models of the effects of the invasive Acer platanoides on tree seedling dynamics: linking impacts on communities and ecosystems. Journal of Ecology 96: 78-90.

9- Quero, J.L., L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. Zamora & F.T. Maestre (2008) Shifts in the regeneration niche of an endangered tree (Acer opalus subsp. granatense) during ontogeny. Basic and Applied Ecology 9: 635-644.

8- Gómez-Aparicio, L., J.M. Gómez & R. Zamora (2007) Spatio-temporal patterns of seed dispersal in a wind-dispersed Mediterranean tree (Acer opalus subsp. granatense): implications for regeneration. Ecography  30: 13-22.

7- Gómez-Aparicio, L., F. Valladares & R. Zamora (2006) Differential light responses of Mediterranean tree saplings: linking ecophysiology with regeneration niche in four co-occurring species. Tree Physiology 26: 947-958.

6- Gómez-Aparicio, L., J.M. Gómez & R. Zamora (2005) Microhabitats shift rank in suitability for seedling establishment depending on habitat type and climate. Journal of Ecology 93: 1194-1202.

5- Gómez-Aparicio, L., J.M. Gómez, R. Zamora & J.L. Bottinguer (2005) Canopy vs. soil effects of shrubs facilitating tree seedlings in Mediterranean montane ecosystems. Journal of Vegetation Science 16: 191-198.

4- Gómez-Aparicio, L., R. Zamora, & J.M. Gómez (2005) The regeneration status of the endangered Acer opalus subsp. granatense throughout its geographical distribution in the Iberian peninsula. Biological Conservation 21: 195-206.

3- Gómez-Aparicio, L.,  F. Valladares, R. Zamora & J.L. Quero (2005) Response of tree seedlings to the abiotic heterogeneity generated by nurse shrubs: an experimental approach at different scales. Ecography 28: 757-768.

2- Gómez-Aparicio, L., Zamora, R., Gómez, J.M., Hódar, J.A., Castro, J. & Baraza, E. (2004) Applying plant facilitation to forest restoration in Mediterranean ecosystems: a meta-analysis of the use of shrubs as nurse plants. Ecological Applications 14: 1128-1138.

1- Castro, J., R. Zamora, J.M. Gómez, J.A. Hódar, & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2004) Benefits of using shrubs as nurse plants for reforestation in Mediterranean mountains: a 4-year study. Restoration Ecology 12: 352-358.

Other non-ISI journals

13- Domínguez-Begines, J., Alcocer, L.V. García, A. Pozuelos, M.E. Sánchez & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2017) Soil-borne pathogens limit Quercus suber regeneration in Mediterranean forests. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 127: 110-114.

12- Domínguez-Begines, J., L.  Gómez-Aparicio, J.M. Ávila, A. Pozuelos, M.E. Sánchez & L.V. García (2014) Soil changes associated to the decline of Quercus suber trees generate negative effects on conspecific seedlings. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 101: 133-137.

11- Gutiérrez-Hernández, O., L.V. García, M. Pérez-Ramos, C. Ramo, J.S. Cara, E. Gutiérrez, I.F. Girón, A. Moreno, M.E. Sánchez & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2014) Waterbird detritus impair seedling root growth in a unique centenarian cork oak population: implications for forest regeneration. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 101: 47-50.

10- Gómez-Aparicio, L., J.M. Ávila & L. Cayuela (2013) Maximum likelihood methods and their application in neighbrohood models. Ecosistemas 22: 12-20 (In Spanish).

9– Jeschke, J.M., L. Gómez-Aparicio, S. Haider, T. Heger, C.J. Lortie, A. Petrusek, P. Pyšek & D.L. Strayer (2012) Support for hypotheses in invasion biology is uneven and declining. Neobiota 14: 1-20.

8- Ibáñez, B., J.M. Ávila, L. Gómez-Aparicio, A. Pozuelos, E. Gutiérrez, L.V. García & T. Marañón (2012) Neighborhood dynamics and forest regeneration. Almoraima 43: 87-110 (In Spanish)

7- Marañón, T., C. Aponte, I. Pérez-Ramos, B. Ibáñez, M.T. Domínguez, L.V. García & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2012) Tree-soil interactions and the functioning  of Mediterranean forests: a synthesis of the INTERBOS project. Cuadernos de la Sociedad Española de Ciencias Forestales 35: 81-89 (In Spanish).

6- Ibáñez, B., J.M. Avila, A. Pozuelos, L. Gómez-Aparicio, L.V. García & T. Marañón (2012) Tree species-specific effects on the spatial distribution of soil properties in mixed Mediterranean forests. Cuadernos de la Sociedad Española de Ciencias Forestales 35: 91-96 (In Spanish)

5- Serrano M.S., De Vita, L.V. García, C. Ramo, C. Aponte, L. Gómez-Aparicio, M.E. Sánchez (2011) Influence of bird-induced soil fertility gradients on oomycete distribution in a threatened Quercus suber population. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 71: 135-139.

4- De Vita, P., M.S. Serrano, L.V. García, C. Ramo, C. Aponte, L. Gómez-Aparicio & M.E. Sánchez-Hernández (2012) Influence of bird detritus on oomycete distribution in soils from a cork oak forest in the Doñana National Park. Cuadernos de la Sociedad Española de Ciencias Forestales 36: 113-117 (In Spanish).

3- Castro, J., R. Zamora, L. Gómez-Aparicio, J.M. Gómez, J.A. Hódar & E. Baraza (2004) Shrubs as nurse plants in Mediterranean systems: evaluation of a new reforestation technique. Cuadernos de la Sociedad Española de Ciencias Forestales 17:145-150 (In Spanish)

2- Gómez-Aparicio, L. (2004) The role of heterogeneity in the regeneration of Acer opalus subsp. granatense: implications for conservation and restoration. Ecosistemas, Year XIII Nº 3 (In Spanish)

1– Zamora, R., J. Castro, J.M. Gómez, D. García, J.A. Hódar, L. Gómez & E. Baraza (2001) The role of shrubs in forest regeneration. Quercus 187: 41-47. (In Spanish)

Book chapters

8- Ruiz-Benito, P., M. Benito-Garzón, L. Gómez-Aparicio, R. García-Valdés, C. Fernández-Aragón, J. Madrigal-González & M.A. Zavala (2015) Climate, forest structure and diversity as determinants of productivity in Iberian forests. Pp 31-43 in Blanco, J. (Ed.) Using forest biomass as a sustainable source of energy. UPNA (In Spanish).

7- Ruiz-Benito, P., L. Gómez-Aparicio, E.R. Lines, D.A. Coomes & M.A. Zavala (2015) Effects of climate and stand structure on tree mortality in Iberian forests. Pp 225-234 in Herrero, A. & M.A. Zavala (Eds) Forests and Biodiversity under Climate Change: impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in Spain. ISBN: 978-84-491-0038-3 (In Spanish).

6- Ruiz-Benito, P., M. Benito-Garzón, R. García-Valdés, L. Gómez-Aparicio & M.A. Zavala (2103) Application of ecological models to the analysis of the structure and dynamics of Mediterranean forests in response to Climate Change. Pp 77-108 in Blanco, J. (Ed.) Application of ecological models to the management of natural resources. Omnia Science (In Spanish).

5- Alía, R., F.J. Auñón-Garvía, M. Benito-Garzón, R. García-Valdés,  C. Fernández-Aragón, L. Gómez-Aparicio, E. Ojea, D. Purves, P. Ruiz-Benito & M.A. Zavala (2011) Forest Ecosystems. Pp 227-262 in Observatorio de la Sostenibilidad en España (Ed.) Biodiversity in Spain: bases for sustainability under Global Change (In Spanish).

4- Zamora, R., P. García-Fayos & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2008) Plant-plant interactions, plant-animal interactions and succession. Pp 373-396 in: Valladares, F. (Ed.) Ecología del Bosque Mediterráneo en un Mundo Cambiante (Second edition). Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, EGRAF, Madrid (In Spanish).

3- Perkins, S., S. Altizer, O. Bjornstad, J.J. Burdon, K. Clay, L. Gómez-Aparicio, J.M. Jeschke, P. Johnson, K.D. Lafferty, C.M. Malmstrom, P. Martin, A. Power, P.H. Thrall, D.L. Strayer & M. Uriarte (2008) Invasion biology and parasitic infection. Pp 179-204 in Ostfeld, R.S., F. Keesing, & V.T. Eviner (Eds) Ecology of infectious diseases: effects of disease on ecosystems and of ecosystems on disease. Princeton University Press.

2- Zamora, R., P. García-Fayos & L. Gómez-Aparicio (2004) Plant-plant interactions, plant-animal interactions and succession. Pp 371-396 in: Valladares, F. (Ed.) Ecología del Bosque Mediterráneo en un Mundo Cambiante. Editorial Parques Nacionales, Madrid (In Spanish).

1- Gómez L., R. Zamora, J.A. Hódar, J.M. Gómez & J. Castro (2001) Facilitation of tree seedlings by shrubs in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain): disentangling the mechanisms. Pp 395-400 in Radoglou, K. (Ed.) Forest Research: a Challenge for an Integrated European Approach. NAGREF. Forest Research Institute. Thessalonica, Greece.