Maria Moreno DruetRead more
Maria Moreno Druet
Maria is doing a PhD with us on the stability of soil microbe communities under heat waves, in collaboration with François Rineau (UHasselt) and Viktoriia Radchuk (IZW, Berlin).
Arunima SikderRead more
Understanding how species respond and adapt to changing environments is becoming increasingly important in the face of a changing climate. My PhD thesis is centered around gradual trait plasticity and its role during the impact and recovery of populations to and from environmental stress, using globally relevant phytoplankton communities.
This thesis will address the prevalent knowledge gap on gradual trait plasticity for species acclimation to environmental fluctuations. Analyzing the trait selection mechanisms in pair wise experiments will yield insights on trait shifts and evolution in the long term. Moreover, the ubiquitous distribution of the focal species ensures that our results will be transferrable to other organismal systems across geographical boundaries.
Frederik De LaenderPhD Read more
Frederik De Laender
I am interested in the various connections between environmental change, several aspects of biodiversity, and ecosystem function. We have mostly worked with models but we have also conducted studies to understand the detailed population dynamics in stressed plankton systems. In 2018, we showed that some of these mechanisms extend beyond plankton system, to terrestrial plants in grasslands across Europe and the USA. I have contributed to meta-analyses showing that biodiversity changes caused by nutrients and stressors lead to different effects on decomposition.
Intimately linked to the previous topic is stability, which quantifies how biological systems respond to a dynamic environment. We have done work on how various stability properties relate, both using models and experiments.
I am also interested in coexistence theory as a vehicle to better understand why species coexist and the mechanisms that ultimately drive community composition. One contribution of my team to that field is a new way to quantify niche and fitness differences. This discovery allows us to ask fundamental questions on what limits species richness in complex networks, and what unifies and divides different community types (work in progress). New research directions include eco-evolutionary dynamics and how these influence biodiversity and biodiversity change in the face of environmental change.
Qinghua ZhaoPhD Read more
I am working on community stability in freshwater, marine and terrestrial systems. How community stability is altered by climate change and other stress is my main interests. I also have a broad interests for other ecological topics, such as interaction among species, stoichiometry, homogenization of traits, coexistence, nonlinearity and so on.
Thomas ParmentierPhD Read more
I am an evolutionary ecologist with a special interest in ant symbioses. I mainly focus on obligate ant nest associates known as myrmecophiles. I use this peculiar group of arthropods to test general hypotheses on host-parasite dynamics, symbiont community interactions, host specificity mechanisms and community assembly of symbionts in a spatial context.
In my current project, I aim to analyze the drivers and dynamics of the meta food web of the myrmecophile community associated with mound building red wood ants. This rich metacommunity of ant symbionts consists of beetles, spiders, isopods and other arthropods. Hypotheses will be tested using a combination of empirical studies and theoretical modelling.
Mark HolmesRead more
I work on the DIVERCE project, a collaboration with two other research groups, looking at how intraspecific diversity modulates community response to multiple environmental stressors. Within my work, I use a combination of modelling exercises and microcosm experiments using marine cyanobacteria. I have focused more on how the presence of not just one, but multiple stressors affect communities’ ability to resist change and continue to provide ecosystem services. I am currently working on a paper which demonstrates that, when controlling total stressor intensity, which most studies fail to do, increasing number of stressors actually reduces the frequency of species extinctions.
Camille CarpentierRead more
This thesis aims to better understand how complexity of ecosystems allows them to cope with disturbances. To do so, we need to link the wide range of complexity metrics together, and with various stability metrics. Some of these metrics are redundant while others are completely independent and linked to specific ecosystem properties. The general idea is that confusion arise from this diversity of metrics, and that understanding how these metrics are linked theoretically and in practice is needed to elucidate, and potentially reconcile, the plethora of complexity-stability found in the literature. Our current work is divided into three main work packages: (1) Inventory of the metrics used in the literature; (2) Assessment of the relationships between these metrics based on mathematical development and in-silico experiments; (3) Identification of potential metrics to prioritise.
Oluwafemi OlusojiRead more
My research centres on understanding the effects of environmental change, especially temperature on intraspecific biodiversity dynamics in phytoplankton communities. This entails designing and performing experiments where we expose two strains of cyanobacteria to different temperature levels, measure their densities (growth) and some traits with flow cytometers. Then we build mathematical models that link the variation in the traits to the densities over time.
Other research lines include statistical computing which led to the development of an R package, cyanoFilter for clustering cyanobacteria using cell properties, and understanding the properties of intraspecific diversity indices.
Hélène VoahanginirinaRead more
The SAVA region, in the north-eastern side of Madagascar, is exposed to various pressures generated by human activities and climate change such as erosion, strong floods, loss of biodiversity, drought, etc. Pressures that have an impact on water resources. Therefore, the research is part of the GIRE SAVA project (Integrated Water Resources Management of the SAVA region) which has chosen the Ankavia watershed as the pilot study basin. The research aims to understand how these pressures impact river water physico-chemical and biological quality as well as the ecosystem services provided by this resource. Also, the research tries to predict the ecological state of the river in the long term and consequently will propose a management model that will reduce these impacts.