1. Across-kingdom mutualistic interactions of
Mediterranean endemic plants: are they ecologically distinctive?
Conveners: Conchita Alonso (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain, and Francisco Balao (University of Seville), Spain.
Main talk: "Quantity and quality aspects of pollen limitation in biodiversity hotspots", by Tia-Lynn Ashman (University of Pittsburgh), Pensilvania, Estados Unidos.
Endemic plant species largely contribute to the high plant species diversity characteristic of Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Mutualistic interactions with pollinators, seed dispersal agents, floral nectar yeasts, root mycorrhiza, endophytes… are essential for individual reproductive success and plant population dynamics and, thus, may largely contribute to phenotypic adaptation and species radiation. In this symposium we aim to discuss whether endemic plants, frequently characterized by smaller population sizes, reduced density and/or stronger habitat specificity than widespread species, exhibit distinctive mutualistic interactions with animals and/or fungi. By assembling information on different species and geographic locations we will deepen our current understanding regarding which are the plant traits, population and community features, environmental factors and ecological process that contribute most to shape these across-kingdom interactions and which might be the consequences (e.g., pollen limitation, inbreeding depression). Such information should be valuable also to improve conservation strategies of these geographically restricted species that largely characterize harsh environments including many Mediterranean-type ecosystems.
2. Filling current knowledge gaps: understanding the role of plant-soil interactions on the functioning and resilience of Mediterranean ecosystems in a changing world
Conveners: Jorge Curiel Yuste (National Museum of Natural History, MNCN-CSIC), Spain; Ana Rincón Herranz (Instituto de Ciencias Agrarias, ICA-CSIC), Spain; Iván Prieto Aguilar (Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura CEBAS-CSIC), Spain, and Susana Rodríguez-Echeverría (Centre for Functional Ecology - University of Coimbra), Portugal
Main talk: "Vegetation responses to climate change are driven by plant-soil feedbacks in a semiarid shrubland ecosystem", by José Ignacio Querejeta, (Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura, CEBAS-CSIC)
The plant-soil interface accounts for a major flux of energy and matter of terrestrial ecosystems, and the strength and direction of the interactions of plants with their soil environment, including both the physical-chemical matrix and the edaphic biota, define in a great extent the functioning of ecosystems and their resilience to environmental perturbations.
In this regard, the study of the plant-soil interface in Mediterranean systems has been historically under-studied with respect to other bioclimatic areas (e.g. Boreal or Temperate), despite being one of the "hotspots" of global biodiversity, and probably one of the most threatened ecosystems by global change. This is evidenced by the worrying effects on biodiversity loss, both in plants and soil biota, soil nutrient and C losses and signs of defoliation and die-off associated with climate change during the last decades that ultimately alter water, nutrient and C cycling in these ecosystems.
This symposium calls for communications on studies that may contribute to: (1) our understanding of the functioning of Mediterranean ecosystems, including their role in the cycling of water, carbon and nutrients; (2) improve our ability to predict the capacity of Mediterranean systems to adapt to a changing world; and (3) improve the effectiveness of restoration and bioremediation efforts.
3. Mediterranean Ecosystem Services
Convener: Ilse Geijzendorffer (IMBE-CNRS and the Tour du Valat), France, and, Emmanuelle Cohen-Shacham, (International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN), New York, United States, and (Tel-Aviv University), Israel.
At a global level the challenges and problems of the Mediterranean environmental zone do not receive the attention that literature clearly indicates are required to ensure human wellbeing and biodiversity for the future. For instance, in reports from IPBES and the CBD, biodiversity and ecosystem services data and knowledge on Mediterranean challenges are largely missing from scientific assessments and reports. The working group develops ways to create more visibility for Mediterranean challenges and trends in biodiversity and ecosystem services. We do this by organizing meetings bringing together scientists working on Mediterranean challenges and trends in biodiversity and ecosystem services in cross case studies and publications. Current topics of cross case studies assessments include: the quantification of trends in the supply of the same ecosystem service in different ecosystems; trade-offs resulting from human interventions; application of the same assessment tools in multiple case studies.
In this symposium, we discuss and plan new activities for the coming year and we invite people that are interested in joining the working group to submit abstracts on the application of ecosystem services assessments methods in Mediterranean ecosystems.
4. Eco-evolutionary dynamics in a changing world: integrating genes, traits and ecosystems
Conveners: Jordi Moya-Laraño (Experimental Station of arid zones, EEZA-CSIC), Almería, Spain; Marta Montserrat (IHSM La Mayora, CSIC), Málaga, Spain, and Sara Magalhães (Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes - University of Lisbon), Lisbon, Portugal.
Main Talk: "The Ecology and Evolution of Interdependent Networks: How do we solve that puzzle?", by Carlos Melián (EAWAG), Switzerland.
A thorough understanding of global changes requires knowledge that lies at the intersection between ecology and evolution. Major causes of these changes are human-induced ecosystem disturbances, which are becoming ubiquitous. Such disturbances can cause changes in both species abundances and functional traits, and rapid evolutionary responses in these traits caused by environmental disturbances have been widely documented. These evolutionary responses produce changes in gene frequencies that can in turn affect ecological dynamics in what we know as eco-evolutionary feedback loops. Explicitly establishing these loops in the research on global change can greatly improve our predictions on how anthropogenic actions will affect the resilience and functioning of Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems. To this end, we need a body of integrative research combining knowledge of genes, traits, ecological networks and ecosystem dynamics. In this symposium we aim at bringing together a very diverse array of researchers in ecology and evolution, covering modelling, experimental evolution, ecological networks as well as applied approaches, such as Food Web Engineering, an emerging eco-evolutionary tool aimed at reducing uncertainty in biological pest control practices under future scenarios of global change. Attendees will have the chance to learn the state of the art in eco-evolutionary dynamics as applied to global change.
5. Insights on the fourth dimension: the palaeoecological approach to modern ecological questions and vice versa
Conveners: Graciela Gil-Romera (Pyrinean Institute of Ecology, IPE-CSIC), Spain; Penélope González-Sampériz (Pyrinean Institute of Ecology, IPE-CSIC), Spain, and, Ana Rosa Gómez Cano (Complutense University of Madrid), Spain.
Main talk by Lourdes López-Merino, Brunel University, UK
Palaeoecology has been increasingly proven as a key discipline to addressecological questions implying longer time perspectives. Identifying baselinesfor ecological processes at multidecadal, centennial or millennial scales,including cultural periods with variable human pressure, might be crucial to identify current potential ecosystem resilience, post-disturbance ecosystem response, abiotic and biotic interactions and more complex mechanistic models including all possible drivers. Moreover, ecological studies have often provided key tools to describe and understand past environments and potential ecological niches of extinct species. This symposium intends to illustrate the benefits of integrating the two disciplines. Particularly, how palaeoecology can provide a more comprehensive knowledge for testing current ecological hypothesis linked to biodiversity patterns, species distribution shifts, community assembly and ecosystem functionality. This session will encourage new research helping to produce practical measures for conservation managers, and potential stakeholders involved in land use sustainability. The symposium welcomes contributions from all geographical settings focused on: i) Novel use of proxies aiming to identify and characterize past environmental changes and impacts, ii) Quantitative methods applied to long-term ecological questions, including data-model comparisons and iii) Studies addressing ecosystem response at different time scales.
6. Evolutionary and ecological mechanisms governing the generation and maintenance of plant assemblages in biodiversity hotspots
Conveners: Rafael Molina Venegas (University of Alcalá), Spain, and Marcial Escudero (University of Seville), Spain.
Main talk: "Ecological and evolutinary assembly of plant communities, analytical and genomic tools (big biodiversity data, full genome sequencing, shotgun)", by Sébastien Lavergne, (University of Grenoble Alpes-CNRS), France.
Traditionally, the evolutionary mechanisms that generate biodiversity (i.e. how new species emerge) and the ecological mechanisms that maintain biodiversity (i.e. habitat filtering, species interactions) have been studied separately. Recently it has been an extraordinary increase in studies that aim bridging gaps between these evolutionary and ecological processes. This effort has been enhanced by the rapid increase of available molecular data, published phylogenies and major advances in computational methods. Nevertheless, elucidating how evolutionary and ecological factors shape plant assemblages in biodiversity hotspots remains an important challenge. This broad-scale symposium aims to understand the historical and contemporary drivers that shaped biodiversity hotspots. This symposium includes different research topics such as functional and phylogenetic structure of plant communities, niche evolution and species diversification, macroecology, as well as the analytical (e.g. big biodiversity data) and genomic tools (e.g. full genome sequencing, shotgun) that may serve for this general purpose.
7. Contrasting worldwide functional trait trends in Mediterranean-type ecosystems
Conveners: Aurora Gaxiola (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile-IEB), Chile, and Francisco I. Pugnaire (Experimental Station of arid zones, EEZA-CSIC), Almería, Spain.
Main talk: "Traits as the basis of ecosystem function in Mediterranean ecosystems", by Eric Garnier (CNRS, CEFE), Montpellier, France.
Mediterranean-type ecosystems share particularities related to the dual climatic variability organisms have to face; mesic for most of the year but with a dry summer season as extreme as those observed in deserts. Therefore organisms from Mediterranean-type ecosystems have to deal with such contrasted environmental conditions and adjust traits and live histories to such variability. Although trait comparisons across Mediterranean regions have often been conducted, in this symposium we will contrast drivers of ecosystem functions from a trait-based perspective considering potential differences in resource availability, plant-soil interactions, disturbance regimes as well as the role of distinctive functional biogeography across regions. Our aim is to identify whether worldwide functional trends can be scaled up to the ecosystem level across Mediterranean regions, and discuss the ecological implications for the dynamics of these ecosystems.
8. Fire and Plant-Animal Interactions
Conveners: Fernando Ojeda (University of Cádiz), Spain and Susana Gómez-González (University of Cádiz), Spain, / (Centro de Ciencia del Clima y la Resiliencia), Chile.
Main talk: "Fire and plant-animal interactions", by Juli G. Pausas (Desertification Research Centre, CIDE-CSIC), Spain.
A vast amount of research has been devoted to analyze the role of fire in mediterranean-type ecosystems as a key natural process in the evolution of plant traits, plant biodiversity and plant community assemblages. Comparatively, the role of fire in driving ecological and biodiversity patterns in animals has received much less attention. Even more, the study of plant–animal–fire interactions remains little explored under an evolutionary framework. In this symposium, we will bring together new research and ideas on plant trait evolution by fire in interaction with different kinds of animal pressures (e.g. herbivory, pollination, granivory). Studies on fire as evolutionary force shaping animal trait evolution are also welcome.
9. Local adaptation in the Mediterranean
Convener: Xavier Picó (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain.
Main talk: "The effects of phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation on forecasts of species range shifts under climate change", by Marta Benito-Garzón (University of Bordeaux, INRA), France.
Local adaptation is a process by which genotypes from different locations exhibit higher fitness in their home environments owing to historical natural selection. This topic has long been attracting the attention of ecologists and evolutionary biologists as local adaptation eventually determines how organisms get ecologically and genetically structured across their distribution ranges. The extent of local adaptation can also greatly influence population fate in a scenario of global climate change, which seems to be particularly important in all Mediterranean regions. This symposium aims to bring together researchers and professionals concerned with the ecological and genetic causes, consequences and implications of local adaptation in the Mediterranean. This symposium attempts to provide valuable insights into the main conceptual and methodological advances, including also obstacles and challenges, to estimate and quantify local adaptation accurately. Contributions are also expected to focus on the challenges of taking local adaption into account when predicting the effects of global climate change on species’ distribution range and composition. Hypothesis-driven theoretical and empirical contributions dealing with local adaption from all Mediterranean regions are welcome with no bias with regard to taxon.
10. Resilience and criticality in Mediterranean ecosystems
Conveners: Enric Batllori (CREAF- Autonomous University of Barcelona, UAB), Spain / (CEMFOR—CTFC, InForest Joint Research Unit, CSIC-CTFC-CREAF), Spain; Francisco Lloret (CREAF- Autonomous University of Barcelona, UAB), Spain, Spain, and, LLuís Brotons (CREAF- Autonomous University of Barcelona, UAB), Spain / (CEMFOR—CTFC, InForest Joint Research Unit, CSIC-CTFC-CREAF), Spain.
There is growing evidence that gradual environmental changes, disturbance-driven alterations (e.g., fire, drought) or land-use intensification and landscape fragmentation can threaten ecosystems’ resilience. Many ecosystem processes may, in fact, show a critical threshold at which the properties of the system change to a dramatically different state. The occurrence of alternative stable states has profound implications for ecosystem management and conservation, and for the sustained production of ecosystem services. However, the theory of regime shifts in Mediterranean ecosystems has rarely been tested and evidence of tipping points at which feedbacks cause ecosystems to enter alternative states remains scarce. Mechanisms underlying shifts in ecosystems’ resilience such as the combined and synergistic effects of altered disturbance regimes, climatic extremes, and land-use changes in Mediterranean ecosystems need to be better understood to aid risk assessment perspectives and present opportunities for sustainable management. This symposium calls for communications on empirical and model-based approaches on ecosystems’ criticality vs. resilience in Mediterranean ecosystems, with the aim to contrast a suit of studies and provide a solid knowledge basis and associated implications for management and conservation scenarios.
11. Evolutionary responses to climate change. Evidence from Mediterranean plant populations
Conveners: Carlos Lara Romero (University of Rey Juan Carlos), Spain / (Technical Particular University of Loja), Ecuador, and Alfredo García Fernández (University of Rey Juan Carlos), Spain.
Main Talk: "Candidate genes, population genomics and climate", by Santiago González-Martínez (National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA), France.
A change in the environment of a species can impose new or intensified selection regimes on traits that may lead to genetically based evolutionary shifts. This adaptive evolution can greatly influence the patterns and rates of response to global warming and complement other responses, including plasticity or migration. Mediterranean environments are ideal focus of studies on the potential evolutionary responses of plant populations to future climate change. As a result, over the last decade important progress has been made towards understanding the evolutionary potential of Mediterranean plants. The purpose of this symposium is to present evidences of adaptive evolutionary process from Mediterranean plant populations and create a forum for discussion of potential for evolutionary responses of plants to rapid climate change.
12. Establishing linkages between species interactions and ecosystem functioning and services
Conveners: Oscar Godoy (Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville, IRNAS-CSIC), Spain; Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos (Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville, IRNAS-CSIC), Spain; Luis Matías (Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville, IRNAS-CSIC), Spain; Elena Baraza (University of Balearic Islands), Spain, and Lorena Gómez-Aparicio (Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville, IRNAS-CSIC), Spain.
Main Talk: "Biotic controls of ecosystem functioning in global drylands" by Fernando T. Maestre (University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid), Spain.
Current rates of biodiversity loss by global change drivers is worrying ample sector of the society due to the negative consequences that impoverished ecological communities have on producing multiple ecosystems functions and services critical to human welfare. To recover ecosystem multifunctionality there is a general consensus that biodiversity must be resorted, yet the insurance of biodiversity benefits lies on obtaining a deeper understanding on how the sign of these species interactions (negative versus positive) and the trophic level considered (within trophic level versus between trophic level) control many of these ecological services.
This symposium aims to bring recent work from different research areas in ecology to get a deeper understanding on how species interactions across trophic levels modulate a wide range of ecosystem functions including net primary productivity, food production, carbon sequestration and nutrient dynamics. Obtaining such understanding is important to obtain a more multidimensional picture of the linkages between species interactions and ecosystem functioning. We aim to draw the attention of ecologists working on different research areas that they do not normally speak to each other but have similar interests of research: How species interaction determines biodiversity and community composition, and how these community properties relate to ecosystem functioning and service provisioning.
13. Investigating ecological and evolutionary processes with NGS
Conveners: Miguel Gallach (Max F. Perutz Laboratories), Vienna, Austria.
Global change drivers create new environmental scenarios and selective pressures, affecting animal and plant species in various interacting ways. Understanding how the genome of an organism evolves and copes with environmental challenges is the main goal of Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics (EEG). EEG involves the integration of genomic data to the phenotype and ecosystem function of the organism. The development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand the genetic architecture of fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes such as migration, foraging behavior, energetics, and communication in natural populations as well as to identify the environmental factors that drive local adaptation. The aim of this symposium is to discuss the promise of NGS technologies in order to study ecological adaptation and bring together field biologists along the molecular to theoretical continuum to exchange ideas and perspectives.
14. Fire-driven evolution of MTE floras
Conveners: Tianhua He (Curtin University), Australia.
Main talk: "The role of fire in evolution of mediterranean floras" by Byron Lamont (Curtin University), Australia
Fire is one of the most significant abiotic factors that have controlled the direction of evolution in MTE’s flora. The negative socio-economic impact of wildfires has hindered our understanding of fire driven evolution, and only now are we starting to build up a body of knowledge supporting the evolutionary role of fire. Fire has driven the evolution of many traits in fire-prone environments, including whole-plant fire responses, serotiny, smoke-stimulated seed germination and fire-stimulated flowering. To demonstrate that a trait is shaped by natural selection driven by fire, it is necessary to show that the trait responds to selection and enhances fitness in a given fire regime, and further that trait variation has a genetic basis. This symposium will synthesise current research carried under the new paradigm of “fire as selective agent”, and what we know about adaptation and evolution in MTE’s fire-prone environment, so that we could better understand the role of fire in producing rich yet unique flora. The symposium is related to the broad theme of ‘Evolutionary and ecological drivers of MTEs as biodiversity hotspots ” of MEDECOS 2017, and will attract broad audience including researchers with interest on fire ecology and evolution, conservation and fire management practitioners.
15. Plant reproductive ecology and evolution in a changing Mediterranean climate
Conveners: John D. Thompson (Centre for Evolutionary and Functional Ecology, CEFE-CNRS), France, and Juan Arroyo (University of Seville), Spain.
Main Talk: "Chilean plant communities and their pollinators", by Rodrigo Medel (University of Chile), Chile.
Mediterranean type ecosystems (MTE) are dominated by plants with particular traits well fitted to their distinct current environment and history. Many of these traits are directly related with reproductive ecology of plants and account in great extent for their spread across MTEs. Reproductive traits and strategies of MTE plants in such far apart regions offer the opportunity to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses which are critical for understanding the building up of biodiversity hotspots that characterize all MTE regions. In doing that, both current ecological scenarios and past historical setting and processes should be taken into account. Whilst Thompson's "Plant Evolution in the Mediterranean" (2005, Oxford UP) was a first attempt of considering these factors focusing on the Mediterranean Basin, time is ripen for (i) an update in the light of the most recent tools applied to ecology and evolution and (ii) a broadening to other MTEs. In this symposium we aim to bring together specialists from different disciplines such as pollination biology, breeding system evolution, phylogenetics, comparative biology, conservation biology, or population genetics, and hope that their contributions will help to develop a comprehensive understanding of patterns and processes that lead to these high biological diversity cradles on Earth.
17. The role of ecological interactions in recovering self-regulating and diverse Mediterranean ecosystems: is rewilding an option?
Conveners: Gema Escribano-Avila (Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, IMEDEA-CSIC-UIB), Spain; Emilio Virgós Cantalapiedra (University of Rey Juan Carlos), Madrid, Spain, and Juan P. Gónzalez Varo (University of Cambridge), United Kingdom.
Main Talk: "A Quaternary perspective on ecosystems and rewilding in the Mediterranean region", by Jens-Christian Svening (Aarhus University), Denmark.
Rewilding is an ecological restoration strategy aiming to deliver self-regulating & biodiverse ecosystems by means of restoring species and trophic interactions trough active intervention, usually the introduction of large animals with key functional roles (trophic rewilding) or by allowing natural succession to proceed unaided in previously humanly-managed environments (passive rewilding). Despite promising, these are novel approaches still lacking a solid empirical body of evidence.
Mediterranean ecosystems provides a great opportunity to shade light in this regard owing to ongoing processes of land abandonment, medium-to-large carnivores’ natural expansions and active populations’ reinforcements. The aim of this symposium is to bring attention to Mediterranean ecologist on the theoretical framework of Trophic and Passive Rewilding, discuss about its adequacy and applicability, and put the focus on how ecological interactions may be both the driver and the target of rewilded, diverse and functioning ecosystems. Almost 50% (58 out of 131) research articles about rewilding have been published in the last two years. Thus being a novel and exciting topic for the scientific community, mostly overlooked in Mediterranean ecosystems. Thus, bringing the rewilding framework into the Mediterranean research agenda is novel, relevant and timely.
18. Origin of the Mediterranean Climate
Conveners: Jon E. Keeley (U.S. Geological Survey), USA, and, Philip W. Rundel (University of California), Los Angeles, USA.
Historically the mediterranean climate has thought to be of relatively recent origin dating no more than 5-3 Ma. Evidence from a variety of sources suggests the climate is significantly older than this and the question will be addressed for the five mediterranean-climate regions in this symposium.
19. Mediterranean High Mountain habitats: challenges for research and a global conservation concern
Conveners: Lohengrin Cavieres (University of Concepción), Chile and Adrián Escudero (University of Rey Juan Carlos), Spain.
Main Talk: "Interactions in alpine plant communities", by Christian Schöb (University of Zürich), Switzerland.
Mediterranean mountains are an exceptional evolutive playground. They are completely different of other mountains simply because together with the well described coldness stress experimented along altitude gradient; these mountains face also a second stress gradient: drought. Furthermore these gradients have opposite directions which impose a very limiting scenario for plant life. Surprising the diversity values are really high and the number of threatened plants is extraordinarily high with many narrow endemics. To know if these communities share patterns and mechanisms among very distant regions and the conservation problems these plants face seems a priority.
20. Seed dispersal and frugivory in changing Mediterranean landscapes
Conveners: Ramon Perea (Stanford University), California, USA / (Technical University of Madrid, UPM), Spain, and Jose Maria Fedriani (Centro de Ecologia Aplicada-University of Lisbon), Portugal / (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain.
Main Talk: "Demographic and evolutionary implications of seed dispersal disruptions", by Anna Traveset, (Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, IMEDEA-CSIC-UIB), Spain.
We are in a changing world where habitat loss, accelerated fragmentation, defaunation, climate change and biological invasions are increasingly becoming important ecological and evolutionary drivers that modify essential ecosystem processes and ecological interactions. Seed dispersal is a crucial process, usually involving astonishing species interactions, that allows plants to move and colonize new areas, with important implications for the demographic and genetic structure of plant populations. Seed dispersal has multiple consequences for the ecology and evolution of plants and it plays a major role in the origin and maintenance of species diversity. Here we aim to analyze the origin and effects of seed dispersal disruptions in a changing world, with a particular focus on plant-animal interactions under different human-driven scenarios.
21. Ecoinformatics: data science brings new avenues for ecology
Conveners: Sara Varela (Museum für Naturkunde), Berlín, Germany; Francisco Rodríguez-Sánchez (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain), Spain; Ignasi Bartomeus, (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain, Spain and Antonio J. Pérez-Luque (Instituto Interuniversitario Sistema Tierra, CEAMA-Universidad de Granada), Spain.
Main talk: "Low hanging fruits and future directions in comparative demography", by Roberto Salguero-Gómez, (University of Sheffield), United Kingdom.
Open access databases, open programming and advanced statistical methods are boosting the ability to solve complex long-standing questions in ecology. This symposium will join together data scientists, scientific programmers and theoretical ecologists in order to show their latest works and reserarch, and discuss current problems and future needs in the field of Ecoinformatics. Our main goal are: 1) promote open science (data, analysis and results), 2) learn about the experiences of other researches, 3) discuss oru current needs and the future avenues of this field. Attendees will benefit from cutting edge talks and open discussion.
22. Plant Invasions in Mediterranean-Type Ecosystems
Conveners: Ingrid M. Parker (University of California), Santa Cruz, USA. / (Doñana Biological Station, EBD-CSIC), Spain.
Plant invasions are a common feature of Mediterranean-type ecosystems around the world, and introduced plants have had major impacts on MTE plant communities. In this symposium, we will highlight emerging research on plant invasions in MTE’s, emphasizing similarities and contrasts among different continents by pairing speakers with similar themes (invasive grasses, invasions in riparian zones, invasions of nitrogen-fixing shrubs). Because the phenomenon of biological invasions is inherently biogeographical, this topic is a perfect fit for the MEDECOS conference. The invitation to be a part of a special symposium will help attract invasion ecologists of the highest-caliber to the conference. We expect the symposium to spark extended dialogues among the participants and attendees comparing their experiences studying plant invasions in MTE’s across the globe. By making it intentionally broad in scope, we envisage this symposium as a nexus of discussion and new cross-continental collaborations on plant invasions.