The DIVERCE project

Does intraspecific diversity modulate the impact of multiple environmental changes?

About the project

Predicting the impact of environmental change on ecosystems is both hard and a pressing need for humanity. That is because ecosystems are biologically diverse, and because environmental change is multifaceted. 

In recent years, considerable effort has been invested in understanding the role of species diversity on the impact of environmental change on biodiversity. However, much less is known about the influence of diversity within species. When trait variation within a population is great, does this matter for how this population will respond to environmental change? Similarly, global change comes in many different guises and environmental drivers can combine to produce seemingly unpredictable outcomes at the population and community level.

DIVERCE addresses these two research gaps by manipulating intraspecific diversity and the number of environmental drivers in a series of novel experiments on three model microbial systems. The project also has a theoretical aspect, where we construct mathematical models with the aim to transcend specific details and teasing out more general patterns, and to evaluate the long-term fate of intraspecific variation through eco-evolutionary feedbacks.

DIVERCE - An ARC project

ARC projects are Concerted Research Action projects that aim at developing centers of excellence within and across universities that integrate several fundamental research axes and, where possible, also applied research. ARC projects are awarded based on academic excellence of the applicants and the proposed research program. They typically last for 4 to 5 years. 

The team

  1. Bérengère Bastogne, PhD student (UCLouvain)

  2. Tessa de Bruin, PhD student (UCLouvain)

  3. Stéphane Declerck, PI (UCLouvain)

  4. Frederik De Laender, PI (UNamur)

  5. Mark Holmes, PhD student (UNamur)

  6. Nicolas Schtickzelle, PI (UCLouvain)

  7. Zhao Qinghua, postdoc (UNamur)

 Contact: Frederik De Laender