Does Intraspecific Variability modulate the impact of EnviRonmental Change on biodiversity and Ecosystem function?

Project: Research

Project Details


Ecosystems are increasingly exposed to a multitude of environmental change drivers. A key question is if and how intraspecific variability modulates the response of biodiversity (community composition) and ecosystem function to such change. However, most existing theory does not account for potential environmental change effects on intraspecific variability and on interactions between competing individuals.
A first objective of DIVERCE is therefore to set up a coordinated distributed experiment to empirically test if and how intraspecific variability modulates the response of experimental communities of micro-organisms to two selective environmental change drivers (temperature and pesticide pollution). Our ‘coordinated distributed experiment’ will adopt a common design and apply it to various different model systems, including phytoplankton, ciliates, and fungi.
A second objective of DIVERCE is to study the mechanistic basis of our empirical results, focusing on the role of environmental change effects on per-capita interactions. To this end, we will test, using community models, if per-capita species interactions prevailing in pristine (i.e. pre-change) conditions accurately predict community composition and biomass production rates at various levels of environmental change and intraspecific variability, and in various model systems.
Achieving our objectives will broaden our understanding of the potential role of intraspecific variability in mediating environmental change effects on ecosystems. In this way, DIVERCE will contribute to theory building, ecological forecasting, and environmental decision making.
Effective start/end date1/10/1830/09/23

Attachment to an Research Institute in UNAMUR

  • ILEE
  • naXys


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