Tomas Revilla


I use mathematical models and simulations to study the dynamics of ecological interactions. I am currently very interested in two main themes, phenology and mutualisms. More specifically, now I am working on :

The effects of phenological matches/mismatches between consumers and resources in simple ecosystems. Triggered by climate change, phenological shifts can make present interactions disappear and novel ones to appear. They can also change the strengths of existing interactions and consumer-resource feedbacks, with important consequences for the long-term dynamics.

The dynamics of the interplay between mutualism and competition. If predation can promote diversity by regulating dominance among competitors, mutualisms can intensify the strength of competition between species, becoming a destabilizing factor.

Changes in species interactions. In many systems mutualism occur only during very specific life-stages, such as the adult phase of an insect. Changes in the population structure of a mutualist, caused by climate change or pesticides for example, can alter the amount of benefits due to mutualism. If other life-stages are actually harmful, such as herbivorous larvae, changes in population structure can change the net sign of the interaction.

Mechanistic derivation of mutualistic models. The exchange of resources such as nectar or nutrients, or services such as pollination or defense, requires the existence of structures and behaviors (e.g. flowers and fruits, vigilance, gardening) that are usually short lived compared with individual life-times. This gives origin to limiting steps in the dynamics of species interactions that in turn cause diminishing returns and saturating responses in mutualistic benefits.

Recent publications

  • Arnoldi J.-F., Haegeman B., Revilla T. and Loreau M. (2016) — Particularity of "Universal resilience patterns in complex networks”, bioRxiv. Download
  • Encinas-Viso F., Revilla TA., van Velzen E., and Etienne R.S. (2014) Frugivores and cheap fruits make fruiting fruitful. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 27:313-324
  • Revilla TA., Encinas-Viso F. and Loreau M. (2013) (A bit) Earlier or later is always better: Phenological shifts in consumer-resource interactions. Theoretical Ecology. Online.
  • Encinas-Viso F., Revilla TA. and Etienne R.S. (2012) Phenology drives mutualistic network structure and diversity. Ecology Letters, 15:198-208.

In preparation


  • Revilla TA. — Numerical responses in resource-based mutualisms: a time scale approach.
  • Revilla TA., Encinas-Viso F. and Loreau M. Robustness of plant-pollinator networks under phenological change and habitat destruction.
  • Revilla TA. and Encinas-Viso F. Dynamical transitions in a pollination--herbivory interaction.


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