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University of Barcelona
Country: Spain
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421 Projects, page 1 of 85
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 306605
    Partners: UB
  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 749867
    Overall Budget: 158,122 EURFunder Contribution: 158,122 EUR
    Partners: UB

    Climate warming and other anthropogenic perturbations are affecting ecosystems worldwide, contributing to the sixth mass extinction. Documenting and explaining a vanishing biodiversity are major challenges in evolutionary and ecological research, but understanding biodiversity is an essential step towards halting its loss and the degradation of ecosystem services, a headline target of EU 2020 biodiversity strategy. Caves are isolated and extreme habitats that, like oceanic islands, offer unparalleled opportunities for biodiversity research. Subterranean ecosystems are simpler than surface ones. Their stable climatic conditions, scarcity of food and absence of light drive the evolution of highly adapted fauna. Because of the difficulty to access and explore caves and the rarity of cave dwelling organisms, the study of the subterranean realm has lagged behind the research conducted in other experimental ecosystems. Despite of their reputedly stable climatic conditions, recent studies show that global warming may impact subterranean habitats by rising temperatures and, consequently, threatening troglobionts, which have low tolerance to temperature variations, causing the reduction of optimal habitat and driving narrowly distributed species to extinction. HIDDENLIFE project aims to improve our understanding of one of the top biodiversity hotspots in Europe–the Dinarides, and its unique cave fauna, to ensure its conservation and future well-being. Through a multidisciplinary approach that combines state of the art molecular and statistical tools, I will investigate the systematics, phylogeography, and environmental preferences of three independent lineages of cave spiders. This will contribute to untangling the mechanisms that shaped their origin and present day diversity and distribution. By projecting potential distributions under predicted scenarios of global warming, I will predict future habitat suitability and assess vulnerability of this unique and fragile fauna.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 235863
    Partners: UB
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101062671
    Funder Contribution: 226,441 EUR
    Partners: UB

    More and more Europeans acquire a second language (L2) during adulthood. However, people greatly differ in their learning success across different learning settings, such as phone apps or in-class. Due to its key role in acquiring our first language during childhood, social interaction might also play an important and underappreciated role in L2 learning. Nevertheless, understanding the role and underlying processes of social interaction in L2 learning has been hindered so far by an enormous technical hurdle: natural social settings have to be translated into the controlled lab environment. With this project, we aim to use a novel approach, combining social cognition, neurolinguistics and ecological valid virtual reality (VR) to tackle this hurdle for the first time. We will design VR environments in which we can control the type of social interaction and the social agent with whom the participant interacts. This will allow us to determine all relevant factors of social interaction that benefit L2 learning success in a natural, yet controlled setting. Furthermore, we will overcome the challenge of combining the VR experience with simultaneous brain measures in the form of electroencephalography (EEG), as well as psychophysical (pupilometry and eye movements) and behavioral measures. This will enable us to measure the effects of social interaction on different cognitive levels and with different temporal resolutions. Our team associates renowned experts in neurolinguistics, L2 learning, social cognition and VR to ensure this project’s success. Furthermore, we will collaborate with a tech company to translate our results to a marketable product, targeted at immigrants who wish to acquire Catalan and Spanish. In sum, our project combines multiple disciplines and state-of-the-art techniques such as VR and EEG to finally gain insight into what is likely one of the most important drivers of language learning: social interaction.