Ecological networks - Community assembly - Global change

Dr Miguel Lurgi Rivera

Senior Lecturer, Biosciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 602157

Research Links

Academic Office - SI_09_0_02_225 BA
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


I am a computational ecologist focusing on the development of ecological theory and the analysis of large datasets to gain a better understanding of community assembly and ecological patterns of species distributions and interactions in complex natural communities.

My main research focus is on the mechanisms behind the emergence of complexity in ecological networks and the development of theoretical models of community and network dynamics to better understand these mechanisms and the patterns they give rise to.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Ecological Networks
  • Community Ecology
  • Food Web Theory
  • Network Biogeography
  • Microbiome
  • Theoretical Ecology
  • Global change (invasions, habitat loss, warming)

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Teaching Ecological Thoery is one of my favourite activities. Especially focusing on networks of ecological interactions.

Check this out if you are interested in learning about different ecological concepts:

I have also put toghther this short tutorial on how to approach and analyse ecological networks:

I believe that the best way to learn is by doing and discussing passionately about science. So, please feel free to drop me a line or by my office with any interesting questions or topics about pretty much anything.

Current topics that interest me include: complex systems - philoshophy of science - observations of rare birds - the Hutchinsonian niche - geographical ecology...



 My main research focus is on understanding the of organisation of complex ecological communities and the mechanisms behind its emergence.

To do this I take a mixed empirical-theoretical approximation including the development of mathematical and computational models and the analysis of large datasets of species interaction networks.

I have applied these approaches on different systems from the microbiome associated to multicellular organisms to macroecological communities such as those found on the rocky shore marine intertidal, the network of ecological interactions between vertebrates in Europe, or the Australian semi-arid ecosystem including the dingo, rabbit, and native small marsupials and macropods.

Fundamental findings derived from my research include:

  1. How does climate change affect the structure of interaction networks
  2. How do biological invasions influence interactions networks and dynamics
  3. What are the effects of removing invasive species on the structure of native communities
  4. How do network properties and organisation change across geographical scales
  5. Disentagling the ecological and evolutionary drivers of the organisation of the microbiome in marine sponges
  6. How does habitat loss influences the organisation and stability of ecological communities including multiple interaction types
  7. What are the environmental drivers behind the organisation of marine intertidal communities
  8. What is the effect of evolutionary change on the structure of metacommmunities
  9. How does metapopulation structure mediates invasive species management
Award Highlights

Innovations in Sustainability Science Award (2017) Conferred by the Ecological Society of America in recognition of an outstanding paper: Navigating the complexity of ecological stability.


Warming increases invasions in food webs:

Warming impacts on species interactions:

Habitat loss and species interactions:

Invasive species management:

Metapopulation structure and the spread of COVID-19:



I collaborte with scientists working in many disciplines around the world based at institutions such as:

  • Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Research Station of the CNRS in France
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Coastal Marine Research Station, Pontifical Catholic Univesity of Chile
  • Duke University, USA
  • University of Aberdeen, Scotland
  • University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain