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Ecololgical and Evolutionary Response to Climatic Variation - Marie Curie Early Stage Research Training in Oslo (CEES-MCO)

Final Activity Report Summary - CEES-MCO (Ecological and evolutionary response to climatic variation - Marie Curie early stage research training in Oslo)

The CEES-MCO fellows have been highly successful during their stay at the centre. They have published a total of 27 articles in peer reviewed journals, and have had 39 presentations. Five have completed their PhD, and the rest plan to defend in 2010 (five) or 2011 (one). The students have covered a wide range of topics from the original outline of the CEES-MCO (for more details see below, and highlights).

The scientific objectives of the project have been reached:

- How does climatic change affect the structure and dynamics of ecosystems? New and important knowledge has been reached based on work of
(1) Tamara Ben Ari with analyses of long term data on plague-systems in different parts of the world, with a focus on United States (US) and China;
(2) Philippe Sabarros with insight to the match-mismatch and trophic interactions in marine systems;
(3) Tristan Rouyer with analyses of the influence of the climatic variability on the fluctuations of exploited fish stocks;
(4) Troy Hegel with analyses relating to how global scale climate, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), across different seasons and in interaction with management actions such as wolf population control, affect recruitment in mountain-dwelling caribou populations in Canada;
(5) Varvara Yashchenko investigating the role of viruses in the widely distributed fresh water symbiosis consisting of a protist (ciliate) and green algae Chlorella (this system may function as a model system for studying climate change effects on green symbioses at a molecular and an ecological level).

- How does climate affect the link between short-term ecological and long-term evolutionary processes? This has been reached through the work of Stephanie Marie Carlson with important studies integrating ecology and evolution under climate variation, both on a pike-perch system and a salmonid system, as well as the work mentioned in the above item.

- How will future anthropogenic activity affect the ecological and evolutionary processes? (How does climatic change interact with anthropogenically caused habitat destruction or exploitation in determining ecological and evolutionary processes?) This has been reached through the work of Anke Stüken who focused upon the identification of the gene cluster involved in cylindrospermopsin synthesis in the Aphanizomenon sp. strain 10E6 using 454-high throughput sequencing techniques and bioinformatic analyses (Cylindrospermopsin (CYN) is a potent cyanobacterial hepatoxin. Cyanobacteria of the genera Aphanizomenon are the main producers of CYN in central Europe and can form massive blooms in nutrient-rich fresh and brackish water systems); as well as the work of all the above-mentioned candidates.

- How does climatic change affect the rates of speciation and extinction? This has been reached through the work of:
(1) Thor Veen having focused on the analysis of niche differentiation in pairs of flycatcher focusing on the ecological basis for evolutionary changes for species expanding most likely due to climate change;
(2) through the work of Donald Griffin having explored the ability of populations with different genetic architecture to respond to rapid and persistent environmental change, as is found today with global climate change; and through the work of
(3) Claudia Junge having focused on the study of evolutionary processes during early stages of adaptive radiation: sympatric divergence in grayling.

- How will sustainable resource management (bio-economical management) be affected by climate change? This has been achieved through the work of Alexander Sadykov having focused upon the integration of ecological, evolutionary and economic modelling to develop bio-economic and game-theoretic economic models describing how the cod population in the Barents Sea is affected by climate, management and socioeconomic forces, as well as the work of all the other candidates.