The Lab Evolution et Diversité Biologique (UMR 5174 EDB) is part of the University Paul Sabatier (UPS). The Aquatic ecology and global changes (AQUAECO ) research group of EDB is leaded by Sébastien Brosse and employs around 15 scientists (full professors, associate professors, post-docs, PhD students) with expertise in freshwater ecology and statistical modelling.
The general aim of the research group AQUAECO is to determine the processes that affect the structure of freshwater communities and the functioning of freshwater ecosystems in the general context of global changes.
These processes are known to act at different spatial and temporal scales. At a global scale, climatic conditions and historical contingences drive species assemblages. At a smaller scale, community structure and ecosystem functioning are driven by ecological interactions between co-existing species and their biotic and abiotic environment. Freshwater ecosystems provide a unique opportunity to determine and quantify these processes at different scales. Indeed, streams, rivers and lakes are highly isolated ecosystems that represented biogeographic islands within a landscape of oceans and lands. This high level of geographical isolation increases endemism rate and biological diversity. However, freshwater ecosystems are also facing many perturbations caused by human activities that can subsequently impact their biological diversity, their functioning and the ecological services they provide to humans. Therefore, understanding the processes driving community structure is crucial to provide i) applied perspectives to protect fresh waters and ii) theoretical insights into the relation between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
In this context, the research conducted in the AQUAECO group is structured into three main axes:
- Determining the patterns and drivers of biodiversity. The aim is to quantify the factors affecting the spatial and temporal patterns of the multiple facets (i.e. taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic) of biological diversity (alpha- and beta-diversity). The approach used here includes several complementary approaches at different scales.
- Predicting the impacts of global change on biodiversity. Using predictive models, we establish scenario of future spatial distribution of aquatic species that include the effects of climate warming, habitat fragmentation and biological invasions. The aim here is to provide practical tools for species management and the conservation of freshwater ecosystems.
- Quantifying the interactions between organisms to understand ecosystem functioning in a context of global changes. The aim here is to quantify the effects of several perturbations induced by global changes on the interactions between individuals and species within freshwater communities. We then measure how changes in biotic interactions occurring at variable levels of biological organization affect food webs and ecological fluxes within and between ecosystems. Using both experimental and observational approaches, we aim at determining how human activities can affect the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
Sébastien Brosse (PhD) is a full professor, he has expertise in freshwater community ecology (distribution, human impacts) and predictive modelling.
Christine Lauzeral (PhD student) is working on invasive species distribution modelling.
Gaël Grenouillet (PhD) is an associate professor, he has expertise in macroecology (biological traits, human impacts, global change) and statistics.