Departamental II – DII. 217
Area of Biodiversity and Conservation
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
c/ Tulipán, s/n.
E-28933 Móstoles (Madrid)

Phone: +34 91 488 8288
Fax:     +34 91 664 7490
E-mail: javier.morente at

Short CV

2004 – 2010 – Degree in Biology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
2010 – 2011 – MsC in Techniques of Characterization and Conservation of Biological Diversity, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.

Research lines

Supervisor: José María Iriondo Alegría

Title: “Local adaptation in peripheral populations of high mountain plants: an integrative perspective”.

This PhD is framed in the project “AdAptA”.

Adaptation is one of the main responses of living beings in the face of new environmental conditions. It has been argued that populations at the edge of their range have a great adaptive value because they are under extreme environmental conditions for the species. However, this statement is controversial because it is foreseeable that these populations have a low genetic diversity on which natural selection can act.

My PhD thesis aims to evaluate the local adaptation processes existing in the populations located in suboptimal areas from the environmental point of view of Silene ciliata (Caryophyllaceae), a plant of the psychroxerophilous pastures of the Mediterranean high mountain, representative of one of the most vulnerable habitats to global change in Spain.

Through the combination of experimental field approaches (common gardens with reciprocal in situ plantings), ecogeographic characterization of localities based on field data and geographic information systems (Species Distribution Modeling), and molecular techniques, I intend to approach local adaptation under a multidisciplinary and integral view and thus be able to identify the relevance of this process when developing measures that minimize the impact of global change on biodiversity.

Previously and in parallel to my PhD thesis I have collaborated in other research projects. For example, the study of the domestication syndromes in plants with Dr. Rubén Milla within the «Ancestros» project, and the analysis of structural conformation and changes in pollination networks of high mountain communities affected by encroaching processes with Dr. José María Iriondo and Dr. Carlos Lara Romero within the «Limits» project.


Morente-López, J.; Lara-Romero, C.; García-Fernandez, A.; Rubio Teso, M. L.; Prieto-Benítez, S.; Iriondo, J. M. (2021). Gene flow effects on populations inhabiting marginal areas: origin matters. Journal of Ecology 109: 139–153.

Morente-López, J.; Scheepens, J. F.; Lara-Romero, C.; Ruiz-Checa, R.; Tabarés, P.; Iriondo, J. M. (2020). Past selection shaped phenological differentiation among populations at contrasting elevations in a Mediterranean alpine plant. Environmental and Experimental Botany 170: 103894.

Martín-Robles, N.; Morente-López, J.; Freschet, G. T.; Poorter, H.; Roumet, C.; Milla, R. (2019). Root traits of herbaceous crops: pre-adaptation to cultivation or evolution under domestication? Functional Ecology 33. 273-285.

Giménez-Benavides, L.; Escudero, A.; García-Camacho, R.; García-Fernández, A.; Iriondo, J. M.; Lara-Romero, C.; Morente, J. (2018). How does climate change affect regeneration of Mediterranean high-mountain plants? An integration and synthesis of current knowledge. Plant Biology 20: 50-62.

Morente-López, J.; Lara-Romero, C.; Ornosa, C.; Iriondo, J. M. (2018). Phenology drives species interactions and modularity in a plant-flower visitor network. Scientific Reports 8: 9386.

Morente-López, J.; García, C.; Lara-Romero, C.; Garcia-Fernández, A.; Draper, D.; Iriondo, J. M. (2018). Geography and environment shapes landscape genetics of Mediterranean alpine species Silene ciliata Poiret. (Caryophyllaceae). Frontiers in Plant Science 9: 1698.

Lara-Romero, C.; García, C.; Morente-López, J.; Iriondo, J. M. (2016). Direct and indirect effects of shrub encroachment on alpine grasslands mediated by plant-pollinator interactions. Functional Ecology 30: 1521-1530.

Lara-Romero, C.; García-Fernández, A.; Robledo-Arnuncio, J. J.; Roumet, M.; Morente-López, J.; López-Gil, A.; Iriondo, J. M. (2016). Individual spatial aggregation correlates with between-population variation in fine-scale genetic structure of Silene ciliata (Caryophyllaceae). Heredity 116: 417-423.

Milla R.; Morente-López, J. (2015). Limited evolutionary divergence of seedlings after the domestication of plant species. Plant Biology 17: 169-176.

Milla R.; Morente-López, J.; Alonso-Rodrigo, J. M.; Martín-Robles, N; Chapin, F. S. III (2014). Shifts and disruptions in resource-use trait syndromes during crop evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20141429.

Escudero, A.; García-Camacho, R.; García-Fernández, A.; Giménez-Benavides, L.; Iriondo, J. M.; Lara-Romero, C.; Morente, J.; Pescador, D. S. (2014). Vulnerabilidad al cambio climático de las plantas de alta montaña mediterránea. In: Herrero, A.; Zavala, M. A. (eds.) Los bosques y la biodiversidad frente al cambio climático: impactos, vulnerabilidad y adaptación en España: 107-113. MAGRAMA, Madrid.

Escudero, A.; García-Camacho, R.; García-Fernández, A.; Gavilán, R. G.; Giménez-Benavides, L.; Iriondo, J. M.; Lara-Romero, C.; Morente, J.; Pescador, D. S. (2012). Vulnerabilidad al cambio global en la alta montaña mediterránea. Ecosistemas 21 (3): 63-72.