Scientific Lecture: Functional trait diversity and the societal benefits of ecosystem
Presentation: Functional trait diversity and the societal benefits of ecosystem (PDF, 2.67 MB)
Sandra Díaz is Professor of Community and Ecosystems Ecology at Córdoba National University (Argentina) and Senior Principal Researcher of the Argentine National Research Council. Since 2009 she was elected Foreign Associate Member of the USA National Academy of Sciences. She has won several prizes such as the Argentine Botanical Society Award (1998), the J. S. Guggenheim Fellowship (2002), the Cozzarelli Prize of the USA National Academy of Sciences (2008), the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America (2009), the Zayed International Prize for the Environment as a member of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), and the Peace Nobel Prize 2007 as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She obtained her PhD in 1989 at Córdoba National University. From 1991 to 1993 she worked as a postdoc at the Unit of Comparative Plant Ecology, University of Sheffield. Since her return to Argentina in 1993, she has combined research and teaching at her permanent location with active involvement in foreign universities and international research initiatives. She has been a senior research fellow at Stanford University and a visiting full professor at the University J. Fourier in Grenoble. She has lead international projects, workshops and research and synthesis initiatives involving several countries in the Americas, Europe, Oceania, Africa and Asia, including the organization of several large-scale plant trait databases and comparative efforts. She has participated in leading positions in IPCC and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in the areas of ecosystems and biodiversity. At present she is a member of the Science Committee of DIVERSTIAS and the IGBP Global Land Project. She is one of the Chief Editors of the Journal of Vegetation Science and Applied Vegetation Science.
Professor Díaz is known for her work on plant functional traits, their interactions with global environmental change drivers and their effects on ecosystem processes, reflected in more than 100 scientific publications. Recently she has had a strong influence in the development and practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity and how affects ecosystem properties and the benefits that people derive from them. From an initial focus on plant trait responses to climate and land use, her scientific interests have ramified into the causes of different components of functional diversity, their effects on ecosystem properties, and their implications for different sectors of society. As a consequence of this broadening focus, she has founded and leads the international initiative Núcleo DiverSus on Diversity and Sustainability Research.