Dr. Maria Almagro

Postdoctoral researcher

I am a soil ecologist and biogeochemist with leading experience in the field of soil carbon fluxes in terrestrial and semi-terrestrial ecosystems, with particular interest in soil respiration, plant litter decomposition, and soil water erosion and sediment dynamics. I combine observational and experimental studies with modelling to investigate the impacts of changes in climate, land use and land management on soil and water resources and their associated ecosystem services. I perform basic and applied research to propose improved soil management practices in agricultural systems that increase soil health and mitigate climate change. My ultimate goal is to understand the effects of ecosystem degradation on ecosystem functioning while finding ways to align economic development with soil conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation within human-dominated landscapes.


PhD in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry at the University of Murcia (Spain)
Degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Granada (Spain)
Graduation Project at the University of Bayreuth (Germany)

Former positions

Post doctoral researcher at the Basque Centre for Climate Change-BC3 (Juan de la Cierva-Incorporación Fellow) (2017-2019)

Post doctoral researcher at the Department of Soil and Water Conservation (CEBAS-Spanish Scientific Council) (2015-2017)

Post doctoral researcher at the Institute of Agronomy, Genetics and Field Crops, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Italy) (2014-2015)

Post doctoral researcher at the Department of Biogeography and Global Change, National Museum of Natural History, Spanish National Research Council (MNCN, CSIC) (2012-2014)

PhD researcher at the Department of Soil and Water Conservation (CEBAS-Spanish Scientific Council) (2005-2012)

Leonardo Da Vinci Fellow at the Department of Environmental and Land Management, University of Aveiro (Portugal) (2004-2005)

Research Assistant (Hiwi) at the Departments of Agricultural Ecology and Plant Phisiology, University of Bayreuth (Germany) (2002-2003)

Research interests

  • quantifying the contribution of sustainable agricultural practices to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and to the delivery of multiple ecosystem services
  • the prediction and understanding of carbon and nitrogen fluxes from plant residues to soil and the atmosphere, and their response and feedbacks to global environmental changes and disturbances, such as climate change, photodegradation, soil management and erosion
  • the prediction and understanding the major drivers of soil respiration in natural and agricultural ecosystems at both temporal and spatial scales
  • assessing the role of soil erosion in the carbon cycle from hillslopes to the catchment scale

Current projects

DIVERFARMING: Crop diversification and low-input farming across Europe: from practitioners’ engagement and ecosystem services to increased revenues and value chain organization (2017-2021)

INIA RTA 2015-58: Management of dairy farm manures in northern Spain. From farm to land: nutrient use efficiency, mitigation of greenhouse gases and reduction of carbon footprint (2017-2020)

RED NUEVA: Network for Updating Emission Values in Spanish Agriculture, AGL2017-90924-REDT (2019-2021)

Cost Action SMIRES: Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams (IRES) (2017-2022)

Member of the Working Group on SOC Management from the Global Soil Partnership of FAO

Member of the Focus Group Moving from source to sink in arable farming of the European Innovation Partnership Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability

Selected Publications

Arce, M.I., Mendoza-Lera, C., Almagro, M., Catalán, N., Romaní, A.M., Martí, E., Gómez, R., Bernal, S., Foulquier, A., Mutz, M., Marcé, R., Zoppini, A., Gionchetta, G., Weigelhofer, G., del Campo, R., Robinson, C.T., Gilmer, A., Rulik, M., Obrador, B., Shumilova, O., Zlatanović, S., Arnon, S., Baldrian, P., Singer, G., Datry, T., Skoulikidis, N., Tietjen, B., von Schiller, D., 2019. A conceptual framework for understanding the biogeochemistry of dry riverbeds through the lens of soil science. Earth-Science Reviews 188, 441–453.

Martínez-Mena, M., Almagro, M., García-Franco, N., de Vente, J., García, E., & Fayos, C. B., 2019. Fluvial sedimentary deposits as carbon sinks: organic carbon pools and stabilization mechanisms across a Mediterranean catchment. Biogeosciences 16: 1035-1051.

Sanz, M.J., de Vente, J., Chotte, J.-L., Bernoux, M., Kust, G., Ruiz, I., Almagro, M., Alloza, J.-A., Vallejo, R., Castillo, V., Hebel, A., Akhtar-Schuster., M., 2017. Sustainable Land Management contribution to successful land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation. A Report of the Science-Policy Interface. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Bonn, Germany.

Almagro, M., de Vente, J., Boix-Fayos, C., García-Franco, N., Melgares de Aguilar, J., González, D., Solé-Benet, A., Martínez-Mena, M., 2016. Sustainable land management practices as providers of several ecosystem services under rainfed Mediterranean agroecosystems. Mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change, 21:1029–1043.

Almagro, M., Garcia-Franco, N., Martínez-Mena. The potential of reducing tillage frequency and incorporating plant residues as a strategy for climate change mitigation in semiarid Mediterranean agroecosystems. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 246: 210-220.

Ferrarini, A., Serra, P., Almagro, M., Trevisan, M. and Amaducci, S., 2017. Multiple ecosystem services provision and biomass logistics management in bioenergy buffers: A state-of-the-art review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 73: 277-290.

Almagro M., Martínez-López J., Maestre F.T., Rey A., 2017. The Contribution of Photodegradation to Litter Decomposition in Semiarid Mediterranean Grasslands Depends on its Interaction with Local Humidity Conditions, Litter Quality and Position. Ecosystems, 20 (3): 527-542.

Almagro, M., Maestre, F.T, Martínez-López J., Valencia, E., Rey A., 2015. Climate change may reduce litter decomposition while enhancing the contribution of photodegradation in dry perennial Mediterranean grasslands. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 90: 214-223.

Almagro, M., López, J., Querejeta, J.I., Martínez-Mena, M., 2009. Temperature dependence of soil CO2 efflux is strongly modulated by seasonal patterns of moisture availability in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 41, 594-605.

Maria Almagro field