About

I work at the Australian Tropical Herbarium in Cairns, as an academic from the College of Science and Engineering. I am broadly interested in the evolutionary ecology of plants.  My main focus of research is on the rapid evolution of locally adapted traits of invasive species across broad biogeographical scales, with a special focus on reproduction, reproductive systems, and seed ecology.

PhD and Postdoc opportunities. I am always open to expressions of interest for motivated students and researchers willing to take advantage of the ideal conditions offered by the ATH and JCU in the Australian tropics. Contact me to explore potential areas of mutual interest and feasible funding sources. JCU's PhD scholarships for domestic candidates are now open all year round. The Australian Research Council offers several opportunities for Postdoctoral research in Australia, including the DECRA for early-career, and Future Fellowships for mid-career researchers. I am also a suitable host for the European Marie Sklodowska-Curie global postdoctoral fellowships, and for other calls and organisations.

I am the Editor in Chief of Web Ecology (JIF=2.2) a Diamond Open Access journal (free to publish, free to read) by the European Ecological Federation.

Teaching
  • BZ3235: Biological Invasions (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5235: Biological Invasions (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Invasive plant ecology: Invasive plants are unique unplanned experiments that allow us to study in real time how local adaptation and evolution in allopatry develop, and how natural communities respond to them. My approach is based on three angles: biogeography, reproductive ecology, and seed ecology.
  • Biogeography: Biogeographic comparisons of closely related invasive and non-invasive species provide novel insights into invasive ecology. My work exemplifies how even non-invasive exotic species are adapting constantly to their non-native ranges, and that many of the trait-shifts detected between native and non-native ranges of invasive species are frequently found also for less successful non-invasive exotics. My studies indicate that local adaptation and reproductive isolation can occur at fastest rates than it was previously thought, and have broad biogeographic implications for the understanding of allopatry and speciation processes.
  • Reproductive ecology: I have pioneered the discovery of reproductive barriers arising between native and non-native populations of an invasive species. These incipient reproductive barriers can result from the accumulation of locally adaptive traits. Locally adapted traits themselves can be inherited in different ways, and the mode of inheritance contributes to determine the of evolutionary dynamics that will follow. My work has shown that some locally adapted invasive traits present intermediate inheritance; e.g., the offspring of a strong and a weak competitor presents intermediate competitive ability. In the presence of significant gene flow, this would be consistent with homogenising gene flow, in which population admixture leads to individuals with intermediate fitness. However, some other invasive species present dominant inheritance of at least some fitness traits, when admixture between strong and weak competitor genotypes results in an offspring of strong competitors.
  • Seed ecology: Seeds are crucial for the establishment and persistence of invasive weeds. Seed ecology and soil seed bank management is thus an essential component of plant invasions, and my research aims to understand weed seed dynamics and to take advantage of that knowledge to be able to effectively and efficiently manage plant invasions.
Experience
  • 2019 to present - Invited Associate Professor, University of Coimbra - Centre for Functional Ecology (Coimbra, Portugal)
  • 2019 to present - Senior Research Fellow, James Cook University - Australian Tropical Herbarium (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2013 to 2018 - Assistant Researcher, University of Coimbra - Centre for Functional Ecology (Coimbra, Portugal)
  • 2011 to 2013 - Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Coimbra - Centre for Functional Ecology (Coimbra, Portugal)
  • 2009 to 2011 - Post-doctoral Fellow, The University of Montana (Missoula, Montana , USA)
  • 2007 to 2009 - Natural Park Technician, Generalitat Valenciana - Vaersa (Ballestar, Castelló, Spain)
  • 2002 to 2007 - Ph.D. Student, CSIC (Albal, Valencia, Spain)
  • 1999 to 2001 - Research Technical Assistant, CSIC (Albal, Valencia, Spain)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Fellowships
  • 2012 to 2016 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship - Career Integration Grant, by the European Research Council (ERC)
  • 2011 to 2013 - Post-doctoral Fellowship, by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
  • 2009 to 2011 - Post-doctoral Fellowship, by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology.
  • 2002 to 2006 - Ph. D. scholarship, by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology.
Memberships
  • 2023 - Wet Tropics Management Authority's Scientific Advisory Committee
  • 2019 - Ecological Society of Australia - ESA
  • 2018 - Iberian Ecological Society - SIBECOL. Founding member.
  • 2017 - Sociedade Botânica Broteriana
  • 2014 - Portuguese Ecological Society - SPECO. Former Board member (2017-18).
  • 2003 - Spanish Terrestrial Ecology Society - AEET
Other
  • 2013 - Editor in Chief of Web Ecology, www.web-ecology.net
  • 2019 to 2021 - Coordinating Editor, Nordic Journal of Botany, www.nordicjbotany.org
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 24+ research outputs authored by Dr Daniel Montesinos Torres from 2015 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Skyrail Rainforest Foundation - Research Funding

Plant-animal interactions of passion flowers in the Australian Wet Tropics.

Indicative Funding
$4,984 over 3 years
Summary
My project will investigate the plant-animal interactions of native and invasive passion flowers in the Wet Tropics. Specifically, I aim to determine and compare the pollinators, herbivores and ant defenders of native and invasive Passiflora species. My research will have important implications for the conservation of native species, and for the control of invasive weeds that threaten native ecosystems. It may reveal native species at risk due to the spread of invasive weeds and/or a newly introduced butterfly species. The project will also provide new knowledge to inform the current biological control program for the weed, stinking passionflower.
Investigators
Christine Goosem, Lori Lach and Daniel Montesinos Torres (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Pollination; Ant-plant interactions; Plant defence; Passiflora; Invasive species; Congeneric species

Wheen Bee Foundation - Contract Research

Ecoregional planting guide: Powerful Pollinators (Atherton Tablelands region)

Indicative Funding
$3,000
Summary
It will develop an ecoregional planting guide for pollinators covering the Atherton Tablelands bioregions. The guide will include a list of common and native plants including forbs, shrubs and trees, that are available for purchase from local nurseries and that provide resources (nectarand/or pollen) for local pollinators. A list of local nurseries will also be provided. The Wheen Bee Foundation will use this, along with photos supplied by myself to develop a planting guide for the Atherton Tablelands.
Investigators
Laura Lopresti and Daniel Montesinos Torres (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Pollinator; Plant-animal mutualism; Science communication; Native biodiversity; Native flora

Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation - Seed Research Grant

Ant-plant-herbivore interactions across global tropical ecosystems

Indicative Funding
$1,494
Summary
My project aims to investigate the plant-insect interactions in a highly invasive tropical weed to assess the interactions that unfold during the spread of alien invasive species. Sicklepod (Fabaceae; Senna obtusifolia) is native to the neotropics but has become invasive in many tropical ecosystems including Australia?s tropics. My project aims to investigate to what extent the ant-plant interaction increases plant fitness for the invasive sicklepod, and whether sicklepod benefits from enemy release in Australia. I anticipate that the results from this study will form one chapter of my PhD thesis, a manuscript for publication and presentations at an international conference.
Investigators
Laura Lopresti and Daniel Montesinos Torres (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Tropical Herbarium)
Keywords
Ant-plant-herbivore interactions; Alien-invasive species; Mutualism; Invasion biology; Enemy-release hypothesis; Extra-floral nectary
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Plant-animal interactions of invasive and native tropical Senna species. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Email
Phone
Location
  • E2.204, Sir Robert Norman Building (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advanced Advisor
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