CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Origin and maintenance of biodiversity: An ecological, evolutionary and developmental theory of organisms’ interactions

Project description

Exploring how organisms interact

Ecological interactions form the basis of ecosystems, playing a key role in the availability of the services they provide. Efforts to understand these interactions have considered ecological and evolutionary processes in communities based on species-averaged body size. However, these methods could be flawed as they neglect the often dramatic body size changes of organisms during their development. The EU-funded EcoEvoDevoNetwork project aims to conduct unprecedented research into how evolutionary, ecological and developmental processes shape the emergence and maintenance of complex networks of interacting organisms. The results of the study will open up new vistas in complex eco-evolutionary networks and provide tools to assess and monitor the impacts of human activities on ecosystems.

Objective

Ecological interactions are the backbone of ecosystems and play an essential role in the availability of the services they provide. These interactions are to a large extent dictated by the body size of the interacting organisms. Efforts to understand the origin and maintenance of networks of interacting organisms have considered ecological and evolutionary processes in communities based on species-averaged body size. However, this species-centric approach neglects the often dramatic body size changes of organisms during their development. EcoEvoDevoNetwork will for the first time explore how evolutionary, ecological and developmental processes shape the emergence and maintenance of complex networks of interacting organisms, and will investigate how these processes mediate responses to environmental change. The result will open new vistas in complex eco-evolutionary networks and provide tools to assess and monitor the impacts of human activities on ecosystems. The research proposed here will build on recently developed ecological framework that synthesize size-structured models and trophic network models, and will extend it by incorporating evolutionary processes. This extended framework will for the first time explicitly account for processes at three different levels of biological organization: individual, population and community, in an ecological and evolutionary context. The applicant has a strong background in eco-evolutionary dynamics of size-structured populations, and will benefit from the expertise of the supervisor (Dr. C. Melián) in eco-evolutionary networks and statistical modeling during this project. The excellent supervision, infrastructure and facilities at the host institute will ensure the successful execution of this project and will provide a unique opportunity for the applicant to build a strong career in science.

Coordinator

EIDGENOESSISCHE ANSTALT FUER WASSERVERSORGUNG ABWASSERREINIGUNG UND GEWAESSERSCHUTZ
Net EU contribution
€ 191 149,44
Address
UBERLANDSTRASSE 133
8600 Dubendorf
Switzerland

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Region
Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Zürich Zürich
Activity type
Other
Links
Total cost
€ 191 149,44