I completed a BSc in Agricultural Engineering at the University of Almeria (Spain) and a MSc in Environmental Sciences and Geographical Information Systems at Wageningen University (Netherlands) followed by a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (2010-2012) at the University of Seville (Spain). In June 2013, I moved to Curtin University where I was appointed as Casual Lecturer and, in November 2013, I started a Postdoctoral position at the University of Western Australia. During 2013-2018 I lead the Soil Program within the Restoration Seedbank Initiative, a major industry-based research project that focused on developing science to drive landscape restoration of biodiverse degraded ecosystems.
Since November 2018 I am ARC DECRA Fellow at UNSW Sydney. My current research is focused on the ecology, conservation and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems. I am particularly interested in understanding plant-soil-microbe interactions and harnessing novel methodologies, including geo-tools, genomics, metabolomics, and eco-engineering, to enhance large-scale ecosystem restoration outcomes and ensure the provision of key ecosystem services. I coordinate SOIL DarkDivNet, an add-on study of the global network DarkDivNet. that investigates the links between plant traits and soil biogeochemical parameters and indices regulated by soil microbial metabolic processes, i.e. soil respiration, carbon fixation and mineralisation, at several spatial scales.
Current research projects
- 2018-2021. M Muñoz-Rojas*. Cyanobacterial bioencapsulation for restoring degraded drylands. Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award (DECRA)
- 2018-2021. M Muñoz-Rojas*, T Erickson, D Merritt. Novel approaches for harnessing native soil microbial communities to restore biodiverse degraded ecosystems in drylands. Hermon Slade Foundation & Australia and Pacific Science Foundation/Australia Pacific Science Hermon Slade Research Fund
- 2017-2020. T Erickson, D Merritt, M Muñoz-Rojas, A Guzzomi et al. Eco-engineering solutions to improve mine-site rehabilitation outcomes. Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Global Innovation Linkages Programme
- 2018. M Muñoz-Rojas*, David Eldridge, Wendy Williams, Yolanda canton, Albert Sole. Innovative nature-based strategies for drylands restoration: the potential of indigenous cyanobacteria. UWA Research Collaboration Award
- 2018. T Erickson, D Merritt, A Guzzomi, M Muñoz-Rojas. Catalysing the adoption of ‘restoration engineering’ in large-scale rehabilitation programs. University of Western Australia: Research Impact Grant (2018)
*CI (lead/chief investigator)
- 2014-long term. Assessing impacts of varying fire and weed management approaches on native species diversity, weed cover and fuel loads in urban Banksia woodland. Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Perth, Australia. CI: Ben Miller.
- 2015-2018. Restoration of degraded soils from arid zones by cyanobacterial inoculation. Ministry of Economy and competitiveness, Spanish Government. CI: Yolanda Canton.
- 2015-2018 Mine Site Rehabilitation through Novel Plant & Microbe Interactions. Australian Research Council. Industry partner: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority; Australian Mineral Fertilisers PTY TD. CI: Andrew Whiteley.
Editorial boards: Solid Earth (Topical Editor); Journal of Arid Environments (Consulting Editor) Land Degradation and Development; Journal of Environmental Management (Guest Editor)
Committees: Early Careeer, European Geosciences Union; Soil System Division; Subdivision Soil Pollution and Reclamation. Soil Science Australia.
Memberships: Society for Ecological Restoration (Washington, USA); Women in Soil Sciences (UK); Woman in Sciences Australia (Australia); Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (Colorado State University, USA); Fuegored (Spanish Fire Network Association); Conservation Australia Volunteers; MED_Soil Research Group (University of Seville, Spain), LANDCARE Erasmus + Programme.
Others: UNSW Women in Maths and Science Champions Program