PI: Dr. Ana Elena de Villalobos
Adjunct Researcher, CONICET
Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy, UNS


Dra. Ana de Villalobos

The activities of this research group are oriented to the study of the state of the natural grassland system of the southwest of Buenos Aires province, Argentina, and the southeast of the Caldenal region (Central Argentina) by evaluating key structural and functional variables, such as specific composition, structure and functional diversity, complexity of biotic interactions, composition and dynamics of the seed bank and habitat offer for endemic species. Based on the results obtained, it is expected to prepare conceptual models to describe the functioning of the natural grassland ecosystem, whose implementation will allow monitoring management decisions and the probability of recovery, thus preventing the deterioration of grasslands where either the isolated or combined occurrence of disturbances, such as the presence of exotic woody species, fires and overgrazing can act as facilitators and/or controllers of the quality of the offer of ecosystem benefits.

Lines of Research

  • Impact of the disturbances on the functional groups and the functional attributes of the herbaceous components of natural grasslands.
  • Study of the biology, ecology and behavior of Grammostola vacchoni (endemic tarantula of mountain grasslands). Thermal ecology of the Grammostola vachoni tarantula.
  • Survey and study of endemic plants and their potential as indicators of the condition of mountain grasslands.
  • Evaluation of the ecosystem services of pollination and biological control in grassland ecosystems.
  • Evaluation of methodologies for the incorporation of native forage species from the semi-arid natural grasslands from the southwest of Buenos Aires province, Argentina.
  • Study of the response of native forage herbaceous species to grazing by domestic cattle.
  • Development of vegetation baselines and flora assessment for environmental impact studies.
  • Research on flora remediation plans in altered environments in the southwest of Buenos Aires province, Argentina.
  • Research on taxonomy and ecology of rare plant species in the austral mountains of Buenos Aires province, Argentina.

Recent Publications

  • Schwerd, L.V., de Villalobos, A.E. & Pérez Miles, F. (2019). Factors that affect the occupancy, activity and distribution patterns of Grammostola vachoni, an endemic tarantula from the austral mountains of Argentina. Journal of Insect Conservation 23, 967-975.
  • de Villalobos, A.E. & Schwerdt, L. (2018). Feral horses and alien plants: Effects on the structure and function of the Pampean Mountain Grasslands (Argentina). Ecoscience 25, 49-60.
  • Schwerdt, L., De Villalobos, A.E. & Pérez-Miles, F. (2018). Spiders as potential bioindicators of mountain grasslands health: the Argentine tarantula Grammostola vachoni (Araneae, Theraphosidae). Wildlife Research 45(1), 64-71.
  • Haedo, J., Stalldecker, P. & Marrero, H.J. (2017). Plantas nativas del sudoeste bonaerense potencialmente útiles para la conservación de los polinizadores en agroecosistemas. Bioscriba 8, 12-23.
  • Marrero, H.J., Torretta, J.P., Vázquez, D.P., Hodara, K. & Medan, D. (2017). Exotic plants promote pollination niche overlap in an agroecosystem. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 239, 304-309.
  • de Villalobos, A.E. (2016). Efecto de los caballos cimarrones sobre la composición y la estructura de los pastizales naturales en las Sierras Australes Bonaerenses. Ecología Austral 26, 264-274.
  • Ferretti, N., Schwerdt, L., Peralta, L., Farina, J. & Pompozzi, G. (2016). Nuevos datos de distribución de Grammostola burzaquensis Ibarra-Grasso, 1946 (Araneae, Theraphosidae) en el sistema serrano de Tandilia. Historial Natural: Fundación Félix de Azara 6, 75-82.
  • Marrero, H.J., Torretta, J.P., Vázquez, D.P., Hodara, K. & Medan, D. (2016). Exotic plants promote pollination niche overlap in an agroecosystem. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 239, 304-309.
  • Marrero, H.J., Medan, D., Zarlavsky, G.E. & Torretta, J.P. (2016). Agricultural land management negatively affects pollination service in Pampean agro-ecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 218, 28-32.
  • Mazzolari, A.C., Marrero, H.J. & Vázquez, D.P. (2016). Potential contribution to the invasion process of different reproductive strategies of two invasive roses. Biological Invasion 19, 615-623.
  • Perez, I., Gundel, P.E., Marrero, H.J., González Arzac, A. & Omacini, M. (2016). Symbiosis with systemic fungal endophyte promotes the escape of Lolium multiflorum from a vector-borne disease. Oecologia 184, 237-245.
  • Schwerdt, L., Copperi, S., Pompozzi, G. & Ferretti, N. (2016). Diversity and seasonal composition of the scorpion fauna from a mountainous system on pampean grassland in central Argentina. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 51(3), 169-175.
  • de Villalobos, A.E. & Peláez, D.V. (2015). Functional response of woody Prosopis caldenia seedlings to drought and livestock grazing in semiarid grasslands of Argentina.  Arid Land Research and Management Journal 29, 487-502.


  • Research Group Project (PGI-SGCyT UNS): Impacto de los disturbios sobre el funcionamiento ecosistémico de los pastizales naturales del grupo geológico Ventana, 2017-2020.
  • Scientific and Technological Research Fund (FONCYT, PICT (3336) to carry out the research project Manejo de los recursos florales y de nidificación de abejas nativas para favorecer la polinización de cultivos , 2017.

National and International Collaborations

  • IADIZA-CONICET, Mendoza, Argentina
  • Faculty of Agronomy, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Laboratory of Ecophysiology of Terrestrial Invertebrates, Department of Ecological Sciences, University of Chile, Chile
  • Entomology Section, Faculty of Sciences, University of the Republic, Uruguay
  • INTA Bordenave, Argentina
  • INTA H. Ascasubi, Argentina

Group Members

Dr. Leonela Schwerdt
Postdoctoral Fellow, CONICET

Joana P. Haedo
Degree in Biological Scs.
Doctoral Fellow, CONICET 

Hugo J. Marrero

Assistant Researcher, CONICET

Dr. María Andrea Long

Ph.D. in Biology
Teaching Assistant, Plant Diversity,
Department of Biology, Biochemistry and Pharmacy, UNS

Alejandro Ribet
Degree in Biological Scs.
Doctoral Fellow, Commission of Scientific Research of Buenos Aires Province (CIC)

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