Human activities, such as the release of chemicals, induce stress to the earth’s ecosystems. Moreover, changing land use and habitat destruction decrease the habitat of species and increase fragmentation. An increasing fragmentation limits the movement, also named dispersal, of organisms between communities. Many studies have investigated how chemical stress or dispersal influence the diversity and productivity of communities. However, the way stress and dispersal may act together has only been addressed to a limited extent. In my dissertation, I therefore investigated the combined effect of chemical stress (the herbicide atrazine) and dispersal on the composition, diversity and productivity of marine microalgae communities. I also used model simulations to theoretically explore possible dispersal-diversity relationships. The presented results show that dispersal can generate changes in composition, diversity and productivity of stressed communities but that these effects depend on, among others, stress level and species identity.
|Date of Award||7 Mar 2019|
|Sponsors||Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO)|
|Supervisor||Colin R. Janssen (Supervisor), Frederik DE LAENDER (Co-Supervisor) & Timoteo Carletti (Jury)|