I was born in Huesca (Spain) in 1983. Since I was young I was attracted by exploration and natural history and I grew passionate about the flora and fauna of the Pyrenean mountains, deserts and Mediterranean areas near my hometown. During my childhood, my passion for nature grew enrolled in the Boy Scouts, working as a farmer, and inspired by the documentaries of National Geographic and great naturalists like Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente and David Attenborough.

In 2003 I moved to Madrid where I graduated in biology at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2008), focusing my studies on biodiversity (Botany and Zoology) and completing my studies with a year focused on island biology at Universidad de La Laguna (Canary Islands, Spain) and a Master Degree on Biological conservation (2009). However, my passion was mainly boosted outside of the Faculty, around field trips, botanical and ornithological excursions, volunteering in many National Parks, and influenced by great science popularizers (Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond, Lynn Margulis, Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey), great teachers (Margarita Costa, Aurelio Martín) and great biological friends at the university: Isaac Mallol, Miguel Brún, Yulán Úbeda, Ricardo Cano and Javier Gómez, among many others!

Later, I moved to the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid (2010-2015), where I performed my doctoral thesis entitled “Macroevolution and microevolution in island systems: the Rand Flora pattern in the genus Canarina”, supervised by Dr. Isabel Sanmartín and co-supervised by Dr. Juan J. Aldasoro and Marisa Alarcón.

Mario Mairal biography

During these years (2010-2015) I  conducted stays and had collaborations in several universities and research centers: University of Osnabrück (Germany), Jardín Botánico Canario Viera y Clavijo (Canary Islands, Spain), Institut Botànic de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain),  Lausanne University (Switzerland), Freiburg University (Switzerland).

Next year (2016) I was working as a conservation manager, heading my own research grant projects in plant conservation of endangered Canarian plants, in addition to a small adventure in the desert of the United Arab Emirates, working on the conservation of bustards (Reneco Wildlife).

In 2017 I performed a short postdoctoral research at Charles University (Prague) to investigate on consequences of autopolyploidy, hosted by Dr. Zuzana Münzbergová.

In 2018-2020 I performed a postdoctoral possition at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) working in the AFBA project (A Functional Biogeography of the Antarctic) hosted by Dr. Jaco Le roux (Macquarie University, Australia), Prof. Bettine Jansen van Vuuren (Johannesburgh University, South Africa), and Dr. Cang Hui (Stellenbosch University, South Africa).

Motivated by the study of evolution and conservation of biodiversity, in 2001 I began to carry out naturalistic expeditions through the Pyrenees and Iberian Peninsula, which later spread throughout the Canary Islands, North Africa and the Western Paleartic and now I am especially interested in island systems (e.g Macaronesia, Galápagos, Madagascar, sub-antarctic islands). A meeting of several Iberian naturalists catalyzed the formation of the CNAE in 2014, and the consequent naturalist expeditions.

When I am not deciphering biogeographic patterns or performing naturalist expeditions, you will find me climbing mountains, photographing fauna and flora, performing magic tricks, watching David Attenborough’s documentaries or reading Gould, Tamariz, Diamond…