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OSUG - Terre Univers Environnement


Macroecology and metacommunity assembly rules: applications to biodiversity modelling and conservation

Leader: Wilfried THUILLER

Given the contemporary biodiversity crisis, effective conservation strategies that offset the environmental change threats to ecosystem integrity are crucial for maintaining all levels of biodiversity. We urgently need to develop new approaches to conservation planning, integrating traditional (e.g. species richness) and new approaches for the study of biodiversity (functional, phylogenetic) and encompassing several trophic compartments. The development of sound biodiversity scenarios is a prerequisite and thus a major challenge for the scientific community, especially in light of the intergovernmental assessment panel for biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES).

Although strong efforts have been devoted to the development of biodiversity models to meet this challenge, there are still objections to their ability to project biodiversity changes in the context of global environmental changes. Indeed, current biodiversity models rarely incorporate recent advances in ecological and evolutionary theory. Our group specifically adresses the following questions:
(i) how biogeographic history and community assembly rules shape species’ ranges and biodiversity patterns and (ii) how these processes interact to drive the response of populations and communities to environmental changes. Although we primarily focus on vegetation as primary producer and habitat, our theme covers all taxa (from fungi to large mammals), starting from the very local scale (1m plot) to the globe and encapsulating past, current and future times.

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