In the last years, human activity has rapidly accelerated the rate of biodiversity loss, compromising the vital goods and services ecosystems provide to sustain well-being, and future economic and social development. The Black Sea Basin is listed among the WWF’s “top priority places” for conservation. Its unique biota, however, is serious threatened by illegal logging, intensive agriculture and unsustainable coastal development. Although the Black Sea Basin biodiversity is reasonably well characterised, many questions about its origin and relevance for present-day European natural heritage remain. The The DarkLife project aims at improving our current knowledge on the origins and diversification of terrestrial invertebrates in the Black Sea basin – a neglected refuge for survival of species during Quaternary glaciations and an important centre of origin and subsequent dispersal of a unique component of European wildlife. To tackle this ambitious goal, I will combine integrative taxonomic research with high-throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) techniques and state of the species distribution modelling (SDM) tools. I will use spiders as a model system organism. I will gain expertise on modern systematic and evolutionary biology research through training in two leading European institutions, the University of Barcelona, the top ranked university in Spain, and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) in Germany. The results of the DarkLife project will help me to reveal the factors and mechanisms that shaped the Black Sea basin unique biodiversity melting pot, unravel its origins and dynamics and, more importantly, predict how global warming may affect its future viability. The training provided by the MSC will help me to secure a scientific position in Bulgaria and become an active player in the development of future conservation policies and sustainability programs my home country.
Field of science
- /social sciences/other social sciences/social sciences interdisciplinary/sustainable development
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/evolutionary biology
Call for proposal
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