Complex eco-evolutionary dynamics of aquatic ecosystems
faced with human-induced and environmental stress

Main funder

Funder's project number: 317495

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 534 560,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2018

Project end date: 31/12/2022


Resilience and recovery ability are key determinants of species persistence and viability in a changing world.
Populations exposed to rapid environmental changes and human-induced alterations are often affected by
both ecological and evolutionary processes and their interactions, that is, eco-evolutionary dynamics. The
integrated perspective offered by eco-evolutionary dynamics is vital for understanding drivers of resilience
and recovery of natural populations undergoing rapid changes and exposed to multiple stressors. However,
the feedback mechanisms, and the ways in which evolution and phenotypic changes scale up to interacting
species, communities, and ecosystems, remains poorly understood. The objective of my proposal is to bridge
and close this gap by merging the fields of ecology and evolution into two interfaces of complex biological
dynamics. I will do this in the context of conservation and sustainable harvesting of aquatic ecosystems. I
will develop a novel mechanistic theory of eco-evolutionary ecosystem dynamics, by coupling the theory of
allometric trophic networks with the theory of life-history evolution. I will analyse the eco-evolutionary
dynamics of aquatic ecosystems to identify mechanisms responsible for species and ecosystem resilience and
recovery ability. This will be done through systematic simulation studies and detailed analyses of three
aquatic ecosystems. The project delves into the mechanisms through which anthropogenic and environmental
drivers alter the eco-evolutionary dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. Mechanistic understanding of these
dynamics, and their consequences to species and ecosystems, has great potential to resolve fundamental yet
puzzling patterns observed in natural populations and to identify species and ecosystem properties regulating
resilience and recovery ability. This will drastically change our ability to assess the risks related to current
and future anthropogenic and environmental influences on aquatic ecosystems.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2022-06-07 at 12:40