" A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself "

- Laura Gilpin - 


GLoBE is an international network of freshwater ecologists, which main aim is to explore ecological patterns and processes in stream ecosystems at the global scale.

Originally designed to specifically study one key stream ecosystem process, leaf litter breakdown (hence its name, which stands for 'Global Lotic Breakdown Experiments'), it has now expanded in order to consider a wide variety of ecological issues that are globally relevant.




The Network

The network currently counts with collaborators from approximately 50 research teams from >30 countries across 6 continents, which are listed below.

You can find information about past and present projects here. If you are interested in joining the network for future studies, please send us a message explaining the reasons for your interest, your location, and characteristics of your research team/laboratory.


list of countries
Members of the network:

Costa Rica











New Zealand



Puerto Rico
South Africa

United Kingdom
United States

Projects and Outputs


  1. Landeira-Dabarca A, Pérez J, Graça MAS, Boyero L. 2019. Joint effects of temperature and litter quality on detritivore-mediated breakdown in streams. Aquatic Sciences, 81:1, 1-10.
  2. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Gessner MO, Barmuta L, Ferreira V, Graça MAS, Dudgeon D, Boulton AJ, Callisto M, Chauvet E, Helson JE, Bruder A, Albariño RJ, Yule CM, Arunachalam M, Davies JN, Figueroa R, Flecker AS, Ramírez A, Death RG, Iwata T, Mathooko JM, Mathuriau C, Gonçalves JF Jr, Moretti MS, Jinggut T, Lamothe S, M’Erimba C, Ratnarajah L, Schindler MH, Castela J, Buria LM, Cornejo A, Villanueva VD, West DC. 2011. A global experiment suggests climate warming will not accelerate decomposition in streams but might reduce carbon sequestration. Ecology Letters 14: 289-294.
  3. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Dudgeon D, Graça MAS, Gessner MO, Albariño RJ, Ferreira V, Yule CM, Boulton AJ, Arunachalam M, Callisto M, Chauvet E, Ramírez A, Chará J, Moretti MS, Gonçalves JF Jr., Helson JE, Chará-Serna AM, Encalada AC, Davies JN, Lamothe S, Cornejo A, Li AOY, Buria LM, Villanueva VD, Zúñiga MC, Pringle CM. 2011. Global distribution of a key trophic guild contrasts with common latitudinal diversity patterns. Ecology 92: 1839-1848.
  4. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Dugeon D, Ferreira V, Boulton AJ, Chauvet E, Yule CM, Albariño RJ, Ramírez A, Helson JE, Callisto M, Arunachalam M, Chará J, Rigueroa R, Mathooko JN, Gonçalves JF Jr, Moretti MS, Chará-Serna AM, Davies JN, Encalada AC, Lamothe S, Buria LM, Castela J, Cornejo A, Li AOY, M’Erimba C, Villanueva VD, Zúñiga MC, Swan CM, Barmuta L. 2012. Global patterns of stream detritivore species richness: implications for biodiversity loss in changing climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 134-141.
  5. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Gessner MO, Dudgeon D, Ramírez A, Yule CM, Callisto M, Pringle CM, Encalada AC, Arunachalam M, Mathooko J, Helson JE, Rincón J, Bruder A, Cornejo A, Flecker AS, Mathuriau C, M’Erimba C, Gonçalves JF Jr, Moretti M, Jinggut T. 2015. Leaf litter breakdown in tropical streams: is variability the norm? Freshwater Science 34: 759-769.
  6. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Swan CM, Hui C, Albariño RJ, Arunachalam M, Callisto M, Chará J, Chará-Serna AM, Chauvet E, Cornejo A, Dudgeon D, Encalada AE, Ferreira V, Gessner MO, Gonçalves JF Jr, Graça MAS, Helson JE, Mathooko JM, McKie BG, Moretti MS, Yule C. 2015. Latitudinal gradient of nestedness and its potential drivers in stream detritivores. Ecography 38: 949-955.
  7. Boyero L, Pearson RG, Hui C, Gessner MO, Pérez J, Alexandrou MA, Graça MAS, Cardinale BJ, Albariño RJ, Arunachalam M, Barmuta LA, Boulton AJ, Bruder A, Callisto M, Chauvet E, Death RG, Dudgeon D,Encalada AC, Ferreira V, Figueroa R, Flecker AS, Gonçalves J. 2016. Biotic and abiotic variables influencing plant litter breakdown in streams: a global study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20152664.
  8. Boyero L, Graça MAS, Tonin AM, Pérez J, Swafford A, Ferreira V, Landeira-Dabarca A, Alexandrou M, Gessner MO, McKie BG, Albariño RJ, Barmuta LA, Callisto M, Chará J, Chauvet E, Colón-Gaud C, Dudgeon D, Encalada AC, Figueroa R, Flecker AS, Fleituch T, Frainer A, Gonçalves JF Jr, Helson JE, Iwata T, Mathooko J, M’Erimba C, Pringle CM, Ramírez A, Swan CM, Yule CM, Pearson RG. 2017. Riparian plant litter quality increases with latitude. Scientific Reports 7: 10562.
  9. Boyero L, Pearson RG. 2017. Global-scale coordinated networks as a tool for exploring the functioning of stream ecosystems. Limnetica 36: 557-565.


  1. Biodiversity effects on ecosystem function. A test with a consumer guild across latitudes. Funding: National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration and crowdfunding. PI: Boyero L. 2006-2007.
  2. Global decomposition patterns in streams: the role of leaf litter quality. Funding: Doñana Biological Station-CSIC and MARE-University of Coimbra. PI: Boyero L. 2012-2013.
  3. Decomposition and diversity in streams: a global experiment (DecoDiv). Funding: crowdfunding. PI: Boyero L. 2017-2019.



  1. - Boyero L (2016) Global-scale experiments: an emerging tool for exploring the functioning of freshwater ecosystems (Plenary Session). 18th Conference of the Iberian Association of Limnology (Tortosa, Spain).
  2. - Boyero L (2018) A global perspective on the functioning of tropical streams. Congreso AQUATROP: Ecosistemas Acuáticos Tropicales en el Antropoceno (Quito, Ecuador).
  1. Pérez J, López-Rojo N, Basaguren A, Pozo J, Boyero L. 2018. How phylogenetic diversity
    influences litter decomposition. XIX Conference of the Iberian Association of Limnology,
    Coimbra (Portugal), June 24-29 2018. O.
  2. Pérez J, Boyero L, Landeira-Dabarca A, Ferreira V & Graça MAS. Global-scale patterns of leaf litter decomposition in streams. 17th Conference of the Iberian Association of Limnology. Santander, Spain, 2014. Oral communication.
  3. Boyero L, Gessner M.O. and 34 others. Global Litter Decomposition Patterns in Streams:
    Implications for Climate Change 2010 GWSP Conference of the Global Catchment Initiative (GCI).



Stream Ecology Laboratory

Faculty of Science and Technology

University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU)

Barrio Sarriena s/n Leioa, 48940

Vizcaya, Spain

Fax: +34 946013500


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Pictures: Giles Winstanley and J. Martin V.