Daniel Montesinos

Senior Research Fellow

PhD, CSIC/University of Valencia, 2007

MSc, Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, CIBEB/University of Valencia, 2002

BSc, Biology, University of Valencia, 1999


E2.204, Sir Robert Norman Building (E2), James Cook University, PO Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870


+61 (0)7 4232 1584




I am broadly interested in the evolutionary ecology of plants. My main focus of research is on the rapid evolution of locally adapted traits of invasive species across large biogeographical regions, with a special focus on reproduction, reproductive systems, and seed ecology. I am the Editor-in-chief of Web Ecology. See my profiles at: ORCID; Publons; Google Scholar; Twitter

  • Invasive plant ecology: Invasive plants are unique "unplanned experiments" that allow us to study "in real time" how local adaptation and evolution in allopatry develop, and how natural communities respond to them. My approach is based on three angles: biogeography, reproductive ecology, and seed ecology.
  • Biogeography: Biogeographic comparisons of closely related invasive and non-invasive species provide novel insights into invasive ecology. My work exemplifies how even non-invasive exotic species are adapting constantly to their non-native ranges, and that many of the trait-shifts detected between native and non-native ranges of invasive species are frequently found also for less successful non-invasive exotics. My studies indicate that local adaptation and reproductive isolation can occur at faster rates than was previously thought, and have broad biogeographic implications for the understanding of allopatry and speciation processes.
  • Reproductive ecology: I have pioneered the discovery of reproductive barriers arising between native and non-native populations of an invasive species. These incipient reproductive barriers can result from the accumulation of locally adaptive traits. Locally adapted traits themselves can be inherited in different ways, and the mode of inheritance contributes to determine the of evolutionary dynamics that will follow. My work has shown that some locally adapted invasive traits present intermediate inheritance; e.g., the offspring of a strong and a weak competitor presents intermediate competitive ability. In the presence of significant gene flow, this would be consistent with homogenising gene flow, in which population admixture leads to individuals with intermediate fitness. However, some other invasive species present dominant inheritance of at least some fitness traits, when admixture between strong and weak competitor genotypes results in an offspring of strong competitors.
  • Seed ecology: Seeds are crucial for the establishment and persistence of invasive weeds. Seed ecology and soil seed bank management is thus an essential component of plant invasions, and my research aims to understand weed seed dynamics and to take advantage of that knowledge to be able to effectively and efficiently manage plant invasions.

PhD and Postdoc opportunities. I am always open for expressions of interest for motivated students and researchers willing to take advantage of the ideal conditions offered by the ATH and JCU in the Australian tropics. Contact me to explore potential areas of mutual interest and feasible funding sources.

JCU's PhD scholarships, for both domestic and international candidates, usually close in September, thus interested candidates need to make contact well in advance to assess suitability and to prepare a viable proposal. The Australian Research Council offers several opportunities for Postdoctoral research in Australia, including the DECRA for early-career, and Future Fellowships for mid-career researchers. I am also a suitable host for Marie Sklodowska-Curie global fellowships by the European Commission, and for other calls and organisations.

C1 Grants

  • Montesinos, D. et al. (2016-2019) Neo-allopatry. Invasive species as model systems for the study of the early stages of allopatric speciation. FCT national funding, Portugal(PTDC/BIA-PLA/0763/2014, AU$320,000/€ 199,440).
  • Montesinos, D. et al. (2013-2015) Rapid development of increased competitive ability and mechanisms of reproductive isolation of Centaurea species. FCT national funding, Portugal (PTDC/BIA-PLA/3389/2012; AU$92,000/€ 57,028).
  • Montesinos, D. (2012-2016) ReproWeed. Invasiveness and reproductive isolation between native and non-native ranges of Centaurea weeds. Marie Curie – Individual Fellowships - Career Integration Grant. European Commission (EU:FP7-PEOPLE-MC-IF-CIG-321909; AU$160,000/€ 100,000).


Montesinos, D. (2021) Fast invasives fastly become faster: invasive plants align largely with the fast side of the plant economics spectrum. Journal of Ecology Invited mini-review. IF=5.76 – Q1 – Top 10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13616

Irimia, R.E.; Hierro, J.L.; Branco, S.; Sotes, G.; Cavieres, L.A.; Eren, Ö; Lortie, C.J.; French, K.; Callaway, R.M.; Montesinos, D. (2021) Experimental admixture among geographically disjunct populations of an invasive plant yields a global mosaic of reproductive incompatibility and heterosis. Journal of Ecology. IF=5.76 – Q1 – Top 10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13628

Montesinos, D.; Callaway, R.M. (2020) Soil and seed origins determine the success of invasive and non-invasive congeneric Centaurea species. Ecology In press. IF=4.7 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3141

Ferreira da Cunha, B.; Montesinos, D.; Sales, F. (2020) Mucilage in Portuguese Lamiaceae. Botany Letters In press. IF=1.05 – Q3.. https://doi.org/10.1080/23818107.2020.1790035

Hierro, J.L.; Eren, Ö.; Montesinos, D.; Andonian, K.; Kethsuriani, L.; Diaconu, A.; Török, K.; Cavieres, L.; French, K. (2020) Increments in weed seed size track global range expansion and contribute to colonization in a non-native region. Biological Invasions 22: 969-982. IF=3.05 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02137-z

Irimia, R.E.; Lopes, S.M.M.; Sotes, G.; Cavieres, L.A.; Eren, Ö.; Lortie, C.J.; French, K.F.; Hierro, J.L.; Pinho e Melo, T.M.V.D.; Montesinos, D. (2019) Biogeographic differences in the allelopathy of leaf surface extracts of an invasive weed. Biological Invasions 21:3151-3168. IF=3.05 – Q1-Top 10% https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02038-1

Montesinos, D. (2019) Forest ecological intensification. Trends in Plant Science 24: 485-486. IF=12.15 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2019.03.009

Montesinos, D.; Graebner, R.C.; Callaway, R.M. (2019) Evidence for Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability for invasive Centaurea solstitialis, but not for non-invasive C. calcitrapa. Biological Invasions 21:99-110. IF=3.05 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1807-z

Montesinos, D.; Castro, S.; French, K.; Rodríguez-Echeverría, S. (2018) Diminishing importance of acacia seed elaiosomes for ant seed dispersal on their non-native regions. Evolutionary Ecology 32:601-621. IF=2.13 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10682-018-9959-y

Montesinos, D.; Callaway, R.M. (2018) Traits correlate with invasive success more than plasticity: a comparison of three Centaurea congeners. Ecology and Evolution 8: 7378-7385. IF=2.44 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4080

Becerra, P.I.; Catford, J.; Inderjit; Luce, M.; Andonian, K.; Aschehoug E.T.; Montesinos, D.; Callaway, R.M. (2018)  Inhibitory effects of Eucalyptus globulus on understory plant growth and species richness are greater in non-native regions. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27: 68-76. IF=6.05 – Q1-Top10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12676

Irimia, R.E.; Montesinos, D.; Eren, Ö.; French, K.; Cavieres, L.; Sotes, G.; Hierro, J.L.; Jorge, A.; and Loureiro, J. (2017) Extensive analysis of native and non-native Centaurea solstitialis L. populations across the world shows no traces of polyploidization. PeerJ 5: e3531. IF=2.18 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3531

Montesinos, D.; Callaway R.M. (2017) Inter-regional hybrids of native and invasive Centaurea solstitialis display intermediate competitive ability. Ecography 40: 801-802. IF=4.90 – Q1-Top10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.02653

Filipe, C.J.; Montesinos, D. (2016) Inter-regional hybrids of native and non-native Centaurea sulphurea inherit increased competitive ability from the non-natives. Plant Ecology and Diversity 149: 228-232. IF=1.81 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1080/17550874.2016.1261950

Correia, M.; Montesinos, D.; French, K.; Rodríguez-Echeverría, S. (2016) Evidence for enemy release and increased seed production and size for two invasive Australian acacias. Journal of Ecology 104: 1391-1399. IF=5.81 – Q1-Top10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12612

Montesinos, D.; Castro, S.; Rodríguez-Echeverría, S. (2016) Two invasive acacia species secure generalist pollinators in invaded communities. Acta Oecologica 74: 46-55. IF=1.65 – Q3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2016.06.002

Xiao, S.; Callaway, R.M.; Graebner, R.; Hierro, J.; Montesinos, D. (2016) Modeling the relative importance of ecological factors in exotic invasion: the origin of competitors matters but disturbance in the non-native range tips the balance. Ecological Modelling 335: 39-47. IF=2.36 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.05.005

Filipe, J.C.; Jorge, A; Eren, Ö.; Sotes, G; Hierro, J.; Montesinos, D. (2016) Invasive and non-invasive congeneric Centaurea show contrasting patterns of herbivory by snails. Plant Ecology and Evolution 149:228-232. IF=1.01 – Q3. https://doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2016.1231

Sotes, G.J; Cavieres, L.A; Montesinos, D.; Pereira Coutinho, A.X.; Peláez, W.J.; Lópes, S.M.M.; Pinho e Melo, T.M.V.D. (2015) Inter-regional variation on leaf surface defenses in native and non-native Centaurea solstitialis plants. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 62: 208-218. IF=0.93 – Q4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bse.2015.09.003

Montesinos, D.; Oliveira, P. (2015) Reproductive ecology of buzz pollinated Ouratea spectabilis trees (Ochnaceae) on Brazilian cerrados. Web Ecology 14 (1): 79-84. IF=0.94 – Q4. https://doi.org/10.5194/we-14-79-2014

Montesinos, D.; Fabado, J. (2015) Changes in land use and physiological transitions of a Juniperus thurifera forest: from decline to recovery. Canadian Journal of Forest Reseach 45: 746-769. IF=1.83 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2014-0468

Montesinos, D. (2015) Plant–plant interactions: from competition to facilitation. Web Ecology 15: 1-2. IF=0.94 – Q4. https://doi.org/10.5194/we-15-1-2015

Eriksen, R.L.; Hierro, J.L.; Eren, Ö.; Andonian K.; Török, K.; Becerra, P.I.; Montesinos D.; Khetsuriani, L.; Diaconu. A.; Kesseli, R. (2014) Dispersal pathways and genetic differentiation among worldwide populations of the invasive weed Centaurea solstitialis L. (Asteraceae). PLOS ONE 9 (12): e114786. IF=2.81 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114786

Callaway, R.M.; Montesinos, D.; Williams, K.; Maron, J.L. (2013) Native congeners provide biotic resistance to invasive Potentilla through soil biota. Ecology 94 (6): 1223-1229. IF=4.81 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1890/12-1875.1

García, Y., Callaway, R. M., Diaconu, A.; Montesinos, D. (2013). Invasive and non-invasive congeners show similar trait shifts between their same native and non-native ranges. PLOS ONE 8 (12): e82281. IF=2.81 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082281

Montesinos, D.; Santiago, G.; Callaway, R.M. (2012) Neo-allopatry and rapid reproductive isolation. The American Naturalist, 180 (4): 529-533. IF=4.17 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1086/667585 . Highlighted in Nature (2013) 502:7.

Montesinos, D. (2012) Type I error hinders recycling: a response to Rohr & Martin. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27 (6): 311-312. IF=15.27 – Q1-Top10%. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2012.03.003

He, W.M.; Montesinos, D.; Thelen, G.C.; Callaway, R.M. (2012) Growth and competitive effects of Centaurea stoebe populations in response to simulated nitrogen deposition. PLOS ONE 7, e36257. IF=2.81 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036257

Montesinos, D.; García-Fayos, P.; and Verdú, M. (2012) Masting uncoupling: mast seeding does not follow all mast flowering episodes in a dioecious juniper tree. Oikos 118, 529-538. IF=4.03 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.20399.x

Montesinos, D; Castro, S.; and Rodríguez-Echeverría, S. (2012) Invasive acacias experience higher ant seed removal rates at the invasion edges. Web Ecology 12, 33-37. IF=0.94 – Q4. https://doi.org/10.5194/we-12-33-2012

Graebner, R.; Callaway, R.M.; and Montesinos, D. (2012) Invasive species grows faster, competes better, and shows greater evolution toward increased seed size and growth than exotic non-invasive congeners. Plant Ecology 213 (4): 545-553. IF=1.83 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-012-0020-x

Montesinos, D.; Villar, P.; García-Fayos, P.; and Verdú, M. (2012) Genders in Juniperus thurifera have different functional responses to variations in nutrient availability. New Phytologist 193 (3): 705-712. IF=7.33 – Q1-Top10%. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03982.x

Montesinos, D.; García-Fayos, P.; and Verdú, M. (2010) Relictual distribution reaches the top: Elevation constrains fertility and leaf longevity in Juniperus thurifera. Acta Oecologica 36:120-125. IF=1.65 – Q3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2009.10.010

Hierro, J.L.; Eren, Ö.; Khetsuriani, L.; Diaconu, A.; Török, K.; Montesinos, D.; Andonian, K.; Kikodze, D.; Janoian, L.; Villareal, D.; Estanga-Mollica, M.E.; and Callaway, R.M. (2009) Germination responses of an invasive species in native and  non-native ranges. Oikos 118:529-538. IF=4.03 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.17283.x

Montesinos, D.; Verdú, M.; and García-Fayos, P. (2007) Moms are better nurses than dads: sex biased self-facilitation in a dioecious juniper tree. Journal of Vegetation Science 18 (2): 271-280. IF=2.92 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1654-1103.2007.tb02538.x

Montesinos, D.; De Luís, M.; Verdú, M.; Raventós, J.; and García-Fayos, P. (2006) When, how and how much: gender-specific resource use strategies in the dioecious tree Juniperus thurifera. Annals of Botany 98 (4): 885-889. IF=4.04 – Q1. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcl172

Montesinos, D.; García-Fayos, P.; and Mateu, I. (2006) Conflicting selective forces underlying seed dispersal in the endangered plant Silene diclinis. International Journal of Plant Sciences 167 (1): 103-110. IF=1.75 – Q2. https://doi.org/10.1086/497843