Dr. Iván Prieto Aguilar

Ivan Prieto

Ramón y Cajal, Universidad de Leon (2022-)

Associate editor: PlosOne and Frontiers in Plant Science
Research updates on Twitter: @iprietoaguilar

Background and former positions

  • Postdoctoral Researcher, CEBAS-CSIC Juan de la CIerva fellowship (2015-2017)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE-CNRS) and Institute Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) (2011-2014)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas (EEZA-CSIC) (2010-2011)
  • PhD in Biological Siences, University of Almería (2010)

Research interests

I am a plant ecologist interested in the ecology and ecophysiology of semiarid plant communities; the ecology of plant interactions; trait-based ecology applied to the belowground plant portion (roots) and stable isotope ecology. My previous work has focused mainly in the process of hydraulic redistribution within plant roots, its mechanisms and its effects on plant physiology and development in water-limited systems. Recently, I have gained interest in the study of functional traits to gain knowledge on the above- and belowground portion of plant communities and how these interact with soil processes (e.g. through decomposition of plant tissues). My recent research focuses on asessing the physiological and ecological responses of semiarid plant communities to global change and their effects on decomposition and soil processes.

Current projects

  • 01/2020-06/2022 Vulnerabilidad de las comunidades vegetales en ecosistemas Mediterráneos y su respuesta frente al cambio climático: estrategias de uso del agua y de los nutrientes, su regulación en función del clima y efectos en el ecosistema. PI: Iván Prieto.
  • 06/2020-06/2023 Functional diversity of plant water and nutrient use strategies in Mediterranean and other dryland ecosystems (Diversidad funcional de estrategias de uso de agua y nutrientes por las plantas en ecosistemas Mediterráneos y secos). Ref: PID2019-107382RB-I00. Funding body: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. Universidades, Others: Public Entity, Type of entity: Public Entity. PI: José I. Querejeta.
  • 2020-2023 Ecosystem functioning of sub-Mediterranean regions: the functional frontier among Mediterranean and Eurosiberian forest communities (ECOFUMER). Funding body: German Research Foundation. PI: Enrique de la Riva.


Querejeta JI, Prieto I, Armas C, Casanoves F, Diémé JS, Diouf M, Yossi H, Kaya B, Pugnaire FI, Rusch GM. 2022. Higher leaf nitrogen content is linked to tighter stomatal regulation of transpiration and more efficient water use across dryland trees. New Phytologist.

de la Riva EG, Querejeta JI, Villar R, Pérez-Ramos IM, Marañón T, Galán Díaz J, de Tomás Marín S, Prieto I. 2021. The Economics Spectrum Drives Root Trait Strategies in Mediterranean Vegetation. Frontiers in Plant Science 12.

Querejeta JI, Schlaeppi K, López‐García Á, Ondoño S, Prieto I, van der Heijden MGA, Mar Alguacil M. 2021. Lower relative abundance of ectomycorrhizal fungi under a warmer and drier climate is linked to enhanced soil organic matter decomposition. New Phytologist 232: 1399–1413.

Querejeta JI, Ren W, Prieto I. 2021. Vertical decoupling of soil nutrients and water under climate warming reduces plant cumulative nutrient uptake, water‐use efficiency and productivity. New Phytologist 230: 1378–1393.

Sánchez-Martín R, Querejeta JI, Voltas J, Ferrio JP, Prieto I, Verdú M, Montesinos-Navarro A. 2021. Plant’s gypsum affinity shapes responses to specific edaphic constraints without limiting responses to other general constraints. Plant and Soil 462: 297–309.

de la Riva EG, Prieto I, Marañón T, Pérez‐Ramos IM, Olmo M, Villar R. 2021. Root economics spectrum and construction costs in Mediterranean woody plants: The role of symbiotic associations and the environment (L Mommer, Ed.). Journal of Ecology 109: 1873–1885.

Freschet, G. T., Roumet, C., Comas, L. H., Weemstra, M., Bengough, A. G., Rewald, B., … Stokes, A. (2021). Root traits as drivers of plant and ecosystem functioning: current understanding, pitfalls and future research needs. New Phytologist 232, 1123–1158.

White, H. J., León‐Sánchez, L., Burton, V. J., Cameron, E. K., Caruso, T., Cunha, L., … Caplat, P. (2020). Methods and approaches to advance soil macroecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29(10), 1674–1690.

Delpiano, C. A., Prieto, I., Loayza, A. P., Carvajal, D. E., & Squeo, F. A. (2020). Different responses of leaf and root traits to changes in soil nutrient availability do not converge into a community-level plant economics spectrum. Plant and Soil, 450(1–2), 463–478.

Prieto, I., & Querejeta, J. I. (2020). Simulated climate change decreases nutrient resorption from senescing leaves. Global Change Biology, 26(3), 1795–1807.

León-Sánchez, L., Nicolás, E., Prieto, I., Nortes, P., Maestre, F. T., & Querejeta, J. I. (2020). Altered leaf elemental composition with climate change is linked to reductions in photosynthesis, growth and survival in a semi‐arid shrubland. Journal of Ecology, 108(1), 47–60.

Bayala, J., & Prieto, I. (2020). Water acquisition, sharing and redistribution by roots: applications to agroforestry systems. Plant and Soil, 453(1–2), 17–28.

Prieto, I., Almagro, M., Bastida, F., & Querejeta, J. I. (2019). Altered leaf litter quality exacerbates the negative impact of climate change on decomposition. Journal of Ecology, 107(5), 2364–2382.

de la Riva, E. G., Prieto, I., & Villar, R. (2019). The leaf economic spectrum drives leaf litter decomposition in Mediterranean forests. Plant and Soil, 435(1–2), 353–366.

Querejeta, J. I., Prieto, I., Torres, P., Campoy, M., Alguacil, M. M., & Roldán, A. (2018). Water-spender strategy is linked to higher leaf nutrient concentrations across plant species colonizing a dry and nutrient-poor epiphytic habitat. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 153(June), 302–310.

Bastida, F., Crowther, T. W., Prieto, I., Routh, D., García, C., & Jehmlich, N. (2018). Climate shapes the protein abundance of dominant soil bacteria. Science of The Total Environment, 640–641, 18–21.

Prieto, I., Querejeta, J. I., Segrestin, J., Volaire, F., & Roumet, C. (2018). Leaf carbon and oxygen isotopes are coordinated with the leaf economics spectrum in Mediterranean rangeland species. Functional Ecology, 32(3), 612–625.

León-Sánchez, L., Nicolás, E., Goberna, M., Prieto, I., Maestre, F. T., & Querejeta, J. I. (2018). Poor plant performance under simulated climate change is linked to mycorrhizal responses in a semi-arid shrubland. Journal of Ecology, 106(3), 960–976.

Le Bissonnais, Y., Prieto, I., Roumet, C., Nespoulous, J., Metayer, J., Huon, S., … Stokes, A. (2018). Soil aggregate stability in Mediterranean and tropical agro-ecosystems: effect of plant roots and soil characteristics. Plant and Soil, 424(1–2), 303–317.

Rossi, L. M. W., Rapidel, B., Roupsard, O., Villatoro-sánchez, M., Mao, Z., Nespoulous, J., … Stokes, A. (2017). Sensitivity of the landslide model LAPSUS_LS to vegetation and soil parameters. Ecological Engineering, 109(August), 249–255.

Prieto, I., Litrico, I., Violle, C., & Barre, P. (2017). Five species, many genotypes, broad phenotypic diversity: When agronomy meets functional ecology. American Journal of Botany, 104(1), 62–71.

Prieto, I., Birouste, M., Zamora-Ledezma, E., Gentit, A., Goldin, J., Volaire, F., & Roumet, C. (2017). Decomposition rates of fine roots from three herbaceous perennial species: combined effect of root mixture composition and living plant community. Plant and Soil, 415(1–2), 359–372.

Macek, P., Prieto, I., Macková, J., Pistón, N., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2016). Functional Plant Types Drive Plant Interactions in a Mediterranean Mountain Range. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7(April), 662.

Defrenet, E., Roupsard, O., Van den Meersche, K., Charbonnier, F., Pastor Pérez-Molina, J., Khac, E., … Jourdan, C. (2016). Root biomass, turnover and net primary productivity of a coffee agroforestry system in Costa Rica: effects of soil depth, shade trees, distance to row and coffee age. Annals of Botany, 118(4), 833–851.

Prieto, I., Roldán, A., Huygens, D., del Mar Alguacil, M., Navarro-Cano, J. A., & Querejeta, J. I. (2016). Species-specific roles of ectomycorrhizal fungi in facilitating interplant transfer of hydraulically redistributed water between Pinus halepensis saplings and seedlings. Plant and Soil, 406(1–2), 15–27.

Pistón, N., Schöb, C., Armas, C., Prieto, I., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2016). Contribution of co-occurring shrub species to community richness and phylogenetic diversity along an environmental gradient. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 19, 30–39.

García-Palacios, P., Prieto, I., Ourcival, J.-M., & Hättenschwiler, S. (2016). Disentangling the Litter Quality and Soil Microbial Contribution to Leaf and Fine Root Litter Decomposition Responses to Reduced Rainfall. Ecosystems, 19(3), 490–503.

Butterfield, B. J., Bradford, J. B., Armas, C., Prieto, I., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2016). Does the stress-gradient hypothesis hold water? Disentangling spatial and temporal variation in plant effects on soil moisture in dryland systems. Functional Ecology, 30(1), 10–19.

Germon, A., Cardinael, R., Prieto, I., Mao, Z., Kim, J., Stokes, A., … Jourdan, C. (2016). Unexpected phenology and lifespan of shallow and deep fine roots of walnut trees grown in a silvoarable Mediterranean agroforestry system. Plant and Soil, 401(1–2), 409–426.

Prieto, I., Stokes, A., & Roumet, C. (2016). Root functional parameters predict fine root decomposability at the community level. Journal of Ecology, 104(3), 725–733.

Prieto I, Violle C, Barre P, Durand JL, Ghesquière M. (2015) Complementary effects of species and genetic diversity on productivity and stability of sown grasslands. Nature Plants. 1, Article number:15033; doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.33. See commentary by Dr. Forest Isbell. Featured in: CNRS-INEE web page and Science et Avenir

Cardinael, R., Mao, Z., Prieto, I., Stokes, A., Dupraz, C., Kim, J. H., & Jourdan, C. (2015). Competition with winter crops induces deeper rooting of walnut trees in a Mediterranean alley cropping agroforestry system. Plant and Soil, 391(1–2), 219–235.

Prieto, I., Roumet, C., Cardinael, R., Dupraz, C., Jourdan, C., Kim, J. H., … Stokes, A. (2015). Root functional parameters along a land-use gradient: evidence of a community-level economics spectrum. Journal of Ecology, 103(2), 361–373.

Prieto, I., Pugnaire, F. I., & Ryel, R. J. (2014). Water uptake and redistribution during drought in a semiarid shrub species. Functional Plant Biology, 41(8), 812–819.

Schöb, C., Prieto, I., Armas, C., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2014). Consequences of facilitation: one plant’s benefit is another plant’s cost. Functional Ecology, 28(2), 500–508.

Prieto, I., & Ryel, R. J. (2014). Internal hydraulic redistribution prevents the loss of root conductivity during drought. Tree Physiology, 34, 39–48.

Schöb, C., Armas, C., Guler, M., Prieto, I., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2013). Variability in functional traits mediates plant interactions along stress gradients. Journal of Ecology, 101(3), 753–762.

Prieto, I., Armas, C., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2012). Hydraulic lift promotes selective root foraging in nutrient-rich soil patches. Functional Plant Biology, 39(9), 804–812.

Querejeta, J. I., Egerton-Warburton, L. M., Prieto, I., Vargas, R., & Allen, M. F. (2012). Changes in soil hyphal abundance and viability can alter the patterns of hydraulic redistribution by plant roots. Plant and Soil, 355(1–2), 63–73.

Prieto, I., Armas, C., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2012). Water release through plant roots: new insights into its consequences at the plant and ecosystem level. New Phytologist, 193(4), 830–841.

Prieto, I., Padilla, F. M., Armas, C., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2011). The role of hydraulic lift on seedling establishment under a nurse plant species in a semi-arid environment. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 13(3), 181–187.

Prieto, I., Martínez-Tillería, K., Martínez-Manchego, L., Montecinos, S., Squeo, F. A., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2010). Hydraulic lift through transpiration suppression in shrubs from two arid ecosystems: patterns and control mechanisms. Oecologia, 163, 855–865.

Prieto, I., Kikvidze, Z., & Pugnaire, F. I. (2010). Hydraulic lift: soil processes and transpiration in the Mediterranean leguminous shrub Retama sphaerocarpa (L.) Boiss. Plant and Soil, 329(1), 447–456.

Book chapters

O. Roupsard, K. Van den Meersche, C. Allinne, P. Vaast, B. Rapidel, J. Avelino, C. Jourdan, G. Le Maire, J.-M. Bonnefond, J-M. Harmand, J. Dauzat, A. Albrecht, T. Chevallier, B. Barthès, A. Clément-Vidal, F. Gómez-Delgado, F. Charbonnier, L. Benegas, K. Welsh, R. Kinoshita, Remi Vezy, J.P. Perez Molina, J. Kim, S. Taugourdeau, E. Defrenet, J. Nespoulous, F. Rançon, F. Guidat, A. Cambou, M. Soma, C. Mages, F. Schnabel, I. Prieto, D. Picart, M. Duthoit, A. Rocheteau, F. Do, E. de Melo Virginio Filho, R. Moussa, Y. Le Bissonnais, C. Valentin, R. Sánchez-Murillo, C. Roumet, A. Stokes, L. Vierling, J. Eitel, E. Dreyer, L. Saint-André, A. Malmer, D. Loustau, M. Isaac, A. Martin, A. Priemé, B. Elberling, M. Madsen, A. Robelo, D. Robelo, C. Borgonovo, P. Lehner, G. Ramirez, M. Jara, R. Acuna Vargas, A. Barquero, C. Fonseca, F. Gay (2019) Huit ans de suivi des services écosystémiques dans un observatoire de café agroforestier. Applications pratiques pour la filière café. Trade-offs in ecosystem services in agroforestry. Agroforestry Systems.

Armas C, Casanoves F, DeClerk F, Dieme JS, Diouf M, Prieto I, Pugnaire FI, Querejeta JI, Rocha L, Rusch GM, Sánchez D, Yossi H (2013) Coping with water shortage. In book: Cross-site analyses of agroforestry ecological functions in sub-humid and semi-arid regions. Edition: Technical Brief no. 7. Chapter: 1. Publisher: FUNCiTREE, editors: Graciela Rush, Francisco Pugnaire

Thesis and Master

Prieto I (2010) Hydraulic redistribution patterns and its importance in arid zones. PhD. University of Almeria

Prieto I (2007) Hydraulic lift: patterns and ecological implications for a Retama sphaerocarpa community and its associated species in Almeria province (Spain). Master thesis. University of Almeria

Non Indexed publications

Prieto I, Armas C, Pugnaire FI (2013) Redistribución del agua del suelo por las plantas: Un mecanismo natural de aprovechamiento de agua. Quercus 331.

Prieto I (2011) Patrones de redistribución hidráulica y su importancia en zonas áridas. Ecosistemas
Ivan Prieto