Nacho Villar

Ecological dynamics & Wildlife ecology in the Anthropocene


Ecological dynamics & Wildlife ecology in the Anthropocene

Human impacts on wildlife are turning ecosystems upside down, re-defining the structure of ecological communities and creating novel ecosystems. My research tries to understand how the Anthropocene affects the regulation of ecological dynamics at different levels of organization by messing around with large wildlife. With this work I try to contribute to the advancement of fundamental ecology and conservation science. I inspect ecological dynamics in the wild, focusing on ecological systems subjected to strong anthropogenic pressures, such as tropical forests & temperate grasslands.

I am currently working on three interconnected broad research lines:


Regulation of trophic interactions, community & ecosystem dynamics by large herbivores & frugivores


Coexistence, assembly and adaptation to the Anthropocene


Population regulation and demography under pressure



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Symposiums ATBC 2021 Conference accepted

April 2021

Our symposiums on tropical zoogeochemistry & experimental work on integrating defaunation with other key drivers of diversity in tropical forests ACCEPTED for the 2021 Association of Tropical Biol. Conference (July 21-23)

More details soon

Master defence by Yuri Souza

March 2021

Grande Yuri! Fantastic MRes defence by Yuri Souza on his/our research on the impact of large herbivore mammals on plant life-form diversity & coexistence. Paper under review…

More soon...

Our work on the FE Spotlight Editorial

February 2021

Our pioneering work on frugivore zoogeochemistry in tropical forests on the spotlight at Functional Ecology

BOOK CHAPTER: Causes and Consequences of Large-Scale Defaunation in the Atlantic Forest

January 2021

Our massive team effort to put together the anthropogenic causes and ecological consequences of defaunation in the Atlantic Forest (inc. 2 decades of exptal. work) just published by Springer.


The challenges of experimentally resolving the functional roles of large tropical forest herbivores

December 2020

Interested on the “backstage” of conducting long-term exclosure experiments on tropical forests? Read my contribution to Functional Ecologists Blog.

Frugivory underpins the nitrogen cycle

November 2020

Welcome to a new fruitful tropical forest ecology: our ground-breaking research on the impact of large frugivores on nutrient cycling & FRUITING LAWNS is out in Functional Ecology.


My PhD work featured at The Conversation

June 2020

After a few years lurking in the dark an article @The Conversation brings my PhD work back to live

Our new INSTANT CLASSIC is out!: Dominance hierarchy facilitates niche partitioning and coexistence

May 2020

Paula’s MRes work with camera traps & occupancy models in tropical forest published at Journal of Mammalogy

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May 2020

Our paper "The cryptic regulation of diversity by functionally complementary large tropical forest herbivores" was one of the most downloaded in Journal of Ecology in 2019-2020.

Paper on resource partitioning amongst neotropical frugivores accepted in Journal of Mammalogy

April 2020

Our paper "Dominance hierarchy on palm resource partitioning amongst neotropical frugivorous mammals" led by previous MRes student Paula Akkawi accepted in Journal of Mammalogy.

More soon

Symposium at FSD 2020
a success!

March 2020

The symposium "Two sides of the coin: defaunation and rewilding effects on frugivory and seed dispersal processes" at the world Frugivory and Seed dispersal Conference that I co-organised was a success!

Talk at Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2020

February 2020

On the 12th of February I will be giving a talk about the role of large frugivores in modulating the nitrogen cycle on tropical  forests. Come and talk to me if you're interested in the subject!


Book chapter on its way!

February 2020

Our new chapter on the consequences of defaunation for the Atlantic Forest has been accepted for the forecoming Springer book on “Atlantic Forest: biodiversity, threats and solutions of the megadiverse forest”. More in the coming months.

More soon

Our paper featured at EurekAlert!

November 2019

Our recent paper in Journal of Ecology featured at EurekAlert. Check it out!


Exciting symposium at the Brazilian Mastozoology Congress!

August 2019

I am organising the symposium “Diversity and functions of neotropical mammals in the Anthropocene” for the 10th Brazilian Mastozoology Congress, and presenting some of my work fresh from the oven. Don’t miss it!

The “Jungle Brothers” at the JoEcology Blog

August 2019

Check out “The Jungle Brothers”, our 2-part BLOG at Journal of Ecology where we expand on our recently published article.

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Press release of our recent paper

August 2019

Check out the press release of our recently published article at the Journal of Ecology

Just published fresh from the Jungle

August 2019

Our paper published at the Journal of Ecology! Our long-term large-scale experimental study shows that functionally complementary large herbivores regulate tropical forest diversity


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