Dr Maria Dornelas

Dr Maria Dornelas
MASTS Lecturer


My research interests fall under the disciplines of community ecology, macroecology and biogeography. I'm interested in quantifying biodiversity and in understanding the processes that shape it. I believe understanding how different ecological processes affect biodiversity patterns is fundamental for sustainable management and conservation. I usually study coral communities, but I have also worked with mangrove crabs, plants and tropical freshwater fish, for example. I am increasingly interested in synthesis work, combining data from multiple sources, and I am planning to extend my research into eco-informatics. I like to combine ecological theory, quantitative analysis and fieldwork in my research, and some of the questions I’m interested in are:

- Which ecological processes affect species coexistence?

- Are there general effects of disturbance on community structure?

- How does dispersal limitation affect biodiversity patterns?

- Quantifying intra- and inter-specific, morphological, demographic and/or functional diversity

Currently I am involved in projects in coral reefs in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), Vamizi (Mozambique) and freshwater fish in Trinidad (Caribbean).

If you are interested in the research that I do, and would like to explore potential PhD or master projects please send me an email.

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Santini, L, Belmaker, J, Costello, MJ, Pereira, HM, Rossberg, AG, Schipper, AM, Ceaușu, S, Dornelas, M, Hilbers, JP, Hortal, J, Huijbregts, MAJ, Navarro, LM, Schiffers, KH, Visconti, P & Rondinini, C 2017, 'Assessing the suitability of diversity metrics to detect biodiversity change' Biological Conservation, vol 213, no. Part B, pp. 341-350. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.08.024
Vellend, M, Dornelas, M, Baeten, L, Beauséjour, R, Brown, CD, De Frenne, P, Elmendorf, SC, Gotelli, NJ, Moyes, F, Myers-Smith, IH, Magurran, AE, McGill, BJ, Shimadzu, H & Sievers, C 2017, 'Estimates of local biodiversity change over time stand up to scrutiny' Ecology, vol 98, no. 2, pp. 583-590. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1660
Álvarez-Noriega, M, Baird, AH, Dornelas, M, Madin, JS, Cumbo, VR & Connolly, SR 2016, 'Fecundity and the demographic strategies of coral morphologies' Ecology, vol 97, no. 12, pp. 3485-3493. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1588
Schipper, AM, Belmaker, J, de Miranda, MD, Navarro, LM, Böhning-Gaese, K, Costello, MJ, Dornelas, M, Foppen, R, Hortal, J, Huijbregts, MAJ, Martín-López, B, Pettorelli, N, Queiroz, C, Rossberg, AG, Santini, L, Schiffers, K, Steinmann, ZJN, Visconti, P, Rondinini, C & Pereira, HM 2016, 'Contrasting changes in the abundance and diversity of North American bird assemblages from 1971 to 2010' Global Change Biology, vol 22, no. 12, pp. 3948-3959. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13292
Madin, JS, Baird, AH, Dornelas, M & Connolly, SR 2014, 'Mechanical vulnerability explains size-dependent mortality of reef corals' Ecology Letters, vol 17, no. 8, pp. 108-1015. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12306
Dornelas, M, Magurran, A, Buckland, ST, Chao, A, Chazdon, RL, Colwell, RK, Curtis, T, Gaston, KJ, Gotelli, NJ, Kosnik, MA, McGill, B, McCune, JL, Morlon, H, Mumby, PJ, Øvreås, L, Studeny, A & Vellend, M 2013, 'Quantifying temporal change in biodiversity: challenges and opportunities' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 280, no. 1750, 20121931. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1931
Graham, NAJ, Ainsworth, TD, Baird, AH, Ban, NC, Bay, LK, Cinner, JE, De Freitas, DM, Diaz-Pulido, G, Dornelas, M, Dunn, SR, Fidelman, PIJ, Foret, S, Good, TC, Kool, J, Mallela, J, Penin, L, Pratchett, MS & Williamson, DH 2011, From microbes to people: tractable benefits of no-take areas for coral reefs. in RN Gibson, RJA Atkinson & JDM Gordon (eds), Oceanography And Marine Biology: An Annual Review. vol. 49, CRC Press, BOCA RATON, pp. 105-135.
McGill, BJ, Etienne, RS, Gray, JS, Alonso, D, Anderson, MJ, Benecha, HK, Dornelas, M, Enquist, BJ, Green, J, He, F, Hurlbert, A, Magurran, AE, Marquet, PA, Maurer, BA, Ostling, A, Soykan, CU, Ugland, K & White, E 2007, 'Species Abundance Distributions: moving beyond single prediction theories to integration within an ecological framework.' Ecology Letters, vol 10, no. 10, pp. 995-1015. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01094.x
Dornelas, M, Connolly, SR & Hughes, TP 2006, 'Coral reef diversity refutes the neutral theory of biodiversity' Nature, vol 440, no. 7080, pp. 80-82. DOI: 10.1038/nature04534

Contact Details:

Dr Maria Dornelas
Dyers Brae
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9TH

tel: 01334 463324
fax: 01334 463443
room: 8



Fish Behaviour and Biodiversity
School of Biology
Centre for Biological Diversity
Scottish Oceans Institute
Biology Equality and Diversity Committee

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The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443