The Functional Diversity of Aquatic Communities Along Gradients of Environmental Change

This project is available from the academic year 2020/21 onwards.

Theme: Biodiversity & Ecology

Primary Supervisor:

Pavel Kratina

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, QMUL

Pavel Kratina's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Axel Rossberg

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, QMUL

Axel Rossberg's Profile Picture

Project Description:

This project will undertake a functional trait approach to understanding the cumulative impact of local and global environmental change on aquatic communities at a range of spatial scales. We will assess the congruence between taxonomic and functional trait diversity, to partition the relative importance of specific mechanisms of community assembly, and to determine whether the functional traits change predictably across environmental gradients. We will employ a new, unique database containing functional traits for over 600 aquatic food webs from several broad geographical regions as well as field manipulations along gradients such as temperature stress, eutrophication and habitat size. In addition to the analyses of the available database, the project involves experimental manipulation (in collaboration with our colleagues at UNICAMP, Brazil) of model tropical food webs in bromeliad phytotelmata.

Policy Impact of Research:

An ambitious goal of this project is to “rebuild community ecology from functional traits” (McGill et al. 2006) and to make community ecology more predictive science. Incorporating functional trait diversity into community ecology and conservation biology will have important implications for the development of effective conservation and management strategies.

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