ES-TAF comprises two research institutes belonging to Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest National Research Institution in Spain. These institutes are: Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (MNCN) and Real Jardín Botánico (RJB).
These two institutes house collections, staff and specialist equipment enabling advanced studies in a wide range of topics under biodiversity including systematics, phylogeny, biogeography, phylogeography, as well as palaeobiology, ecology and geology. New biological research areas are now available to Users (e.g. bioacoustics, analytical historical biogeography, ecological modelling). ES-TAF will provide direct access to the scientific facilities and services.
ES-TAF research highlights
The research community at ES TAF is highly productive. An annual average of 481 peer-reviewed papers, including 447 articles in SCI-listed journals, were generated in 2013/2014. ES TAF research highlights include:
- Pioneering breakthrough results on palaeogenetics (e.g. FOXP2 & MC1R genes) plus the use of cutting-edge virtual and morphometric technologies on Neandertals from El Sidrón (the best site for Neandertals in the Iberian Peninsula).
- Discovery of Cerro de los Batallones fossiliferous complex (South of Madrid) which has yielded a huge amount of Late Miocene vertebrates, mainly carnivore mammals (sabre-toothed cats, mustelids, ailurids, anficionids and hyaenids) allowing insights into the systematics, palaeoecology, phylogeny and functional anatomy of this group.
- Establishment of the main network in Europe for production and integration of phylogeographic works for lower vertebrates (e.g. amphibians and freshwater fishes), approaching objectives of sea and landscape genetics, with further developments in coastal sea phylogeography and the first large scale phylogenetic-phylogeographic surveys across North and South America.
- Development of a three level approach integrated facility, conducting studies on population genetics, barcoding and deep phylogeny of higher taxa, for a wide range of taxa, including vertebrates (mainly mammals, freshwater fishes, amphibians, birds), sea and freshwater molluscs, insects, corals, Turbellaria, Tardigrata, etc. The facility includes the establishment of a collaborative platform with American countries, in particular: Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, and North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco), Asia (Japan, Taiwan) and Australia.
- Physiological and geochemical modelling for biogenic mineral formation within cave environments with first evidences of direct Proteobacteria activity in moonmilk formation.
- First evidences of the important role of karstic systems in surface-atmosphere exchange of CO2-gas and carbon cycle by means of a combination of micrometeorological and subterranean data.
- Evidence of variation in life history traits of some bird species breeding in Europe in relation to environmental fluctuations over the last century at a temporal and spatial scales.
- New evidence on the role of the Andean uplift on generating the extraordinary diversification of Neotropical flower plants and animals.
- Discovery of radiations and outstanding diversification rates in Mediterranean flora and fauna.
- First large-scale phylogenetic study, combining paleogeographic and paleontological information, on the origin of the Amazonian diversity, one of Earth’s biodiversity hotspots.
- Assessment of the impacts of climatic change on the Iberian and global biodiversity based on species distribution modelling tools.
- Recognition of a variety of patterns left by hybridization in plant and fish groups both at the molecular and organism level.
- Identification of the fungal parasitic species that threaten sea turtle Caretta caretta and other species of reptiles, amphibians and other animals, and assessment of their risks.
- Development of new methodological tools for estimating ancestral geographic ranges and colonization-dispersal patterns at biotic scale.
- First inventory of the rich Protista/Mycetozoa diversity of southern South America.
- Inferrence of the strong role of winds in the current distribution of plants and microscopic animals.
- Detection of different species of algae in the same species of lichen depending on the habitat.
- Publication of 40 monographs of Fauna Ibérica, 5 of Flora Micológica Ibérica, 4 of Flora of Guinea Ecuatorial and 19 volumes of Flora Ibérica covering 80% of the vascular Iberian plants.