Research project


This project I am coordinating is funded by the ERC (European Research Council - Starting Grant) for a duration of 5 years (2012-2016) and for a total amount of 1.5M€. I dedicate most of my time around the questions and objectives of this project. 

Here is the tribe involved in TEEMBIO:

The core-team
, with whom I wrote the project. They lead one or several workpackages and co-supervise PhD and master students
Dr. Sébastien Lavergne, Dr. Tamara Münkemüller, Dr. Cristina Roquet, Dr. Katja Schiffers 

Dr. Isabelle Boulangeat

PhD students:
Florian Boucher, Loïc Chalmandrier, Laure Gallien, Florent Mazel, Laüra Meller, Laure Zupan

Scientists partially involved:
Dr. Jean-Christophe Clément, Dr. Eric Coissac, Dr. Ludovic Gielly, Dr. Sandra Lavorel, Dr. Pierre Taberlet, Prof. Serge Aubert, Rolland Douzet

Marti Boleda, Damien Georges, Julien Renaud, Florence Sagnimorte
The MarMol plateform

Close collaborators:
Miguel. B. Araujo, Mar Cabeza, Vincent Devictor, Dominique Gravel, David Mouillot, Nicolas Mouquet, Justin Travis, Nick Zimmermann

Partner institutions:
Station Alpine J. Fourier, Parc National des Ecrins, Conservatoire Botanique National Alpin, Zone-Atelier Alpes

There is now compelling evidence that species are already facing extinction(1) or are currently shifting their geographic ranges and altering their phenology(2) in response to on-going changes in regional climates(3). Given this contemporary biodiversity crisis, effective conservation strategies that offset the environmental change threats to ecosystem integrity will be critical in maintaining genetic, species, functional and phylogenetic diversity. To address the issue, the European Council decided during the 2001 summit in Goteborg to intensify research and strengthen scientific knowledge in the field of global change. One of the major aims declared is the development of reliable projections of future geographic distributions of species, community compositions and patterns of functional or phylogenetic diversity. This should help to assess the impacts on ecosystems and associated services, develop adaptive management and conservation strategies and demonstrate the magnitude of environmental stakes to decision makers (DIVERSITAS-International). The development of sound biodiversity scenarios is thus a major challenge for the scientific community, especially in light of the likely imminent launch of an intergovernmental assessment panel for biodiversity and ecosystem services, IPBES.

	Biodiversity modelling is the methodological tool to meet this challenge. During the last ten years, researchers have made valuable and important efforts to examine intra- versus inter-model variability (review in (4)) and to compare phenomenological and process-based models. However, few general conclusions have been drawn with regard to model robustness and capacity to project biodiversity changes in a climate change context. The only common finding is that current biodiversity models rarely incorporate recent advances in ecological and evolutionary theory. Even though the field of community ecology has been extremely productive over the last ten years in providing various frameworks to better understand community assembly rules (5, 6) and in demonstrating that these rules can be relevant for studies focusing on large scales, none of them has been rigorously incorporated into tools of macro-ecological projection (7). Similarly, although current global change has already triggered evolutionary responses in some species, most existing models assume that species niches, traits and responses to environmental changes are stable through space and time. The assumptions that biotic interactions are only important at small spatial scales and that species’ niches remain unchanged (i.e. niche conservatism)(8) has thus generated considerable debate (9). However, to build more adequate tools incorporating eco-evolutionary dynamics, scientists are still missing important knowledge on: 1- how evolution shapes species’ niches and ranges, e.g. by buffering or triggering species response to environmental changes; 2-, how community assembly rules shape species' ranges, e.g. by modifying positive or negative biotic interactions; and 3- how these two processes interact to drive the response of populations and communities to environmental changes. 

The key-idea of TEEMBIO is the linkage between these four important fields in ecology: evolutionary ecology, community ecology, macroecology and global change impact assessment. The first one investigates the variation among individuals and changes in their traits due to genetic modifications. The second one studies the mechanisms of co-existence and species sorting. The third one aims at describing, understanding and predicting global patterns of species and ecosystem distributions. The last one aims at deriving model-based predictions into relevant indicators to be used for conservation planning and prioritization of services. Since the considered processes act on the opposing ends of the organisational hierarchy, they have rarely been combined and no model currently exists that integrates all these processes. The task of bridging the gap between local processes and species range dynamics is to build upon theoretical and empirical approaches from evolutionary ecology and community ecology to extract the processes relevant for higher-scale dynamics and to account for their interactions to generate biodiversity scenarios and associated services. Thus the main research objective of TEEMBIO is four-fold and accordingly reflected in four work packages

1- improve our understanding on how evolution shapes species ranges 
2- improve our understanding on how community assembly rules shape biodiversity and species ranges, 
3- develop a modelling framework that combines the predictive strength of process-based approaches with the ability to deliver projections on large spatial, temporal and organisational scales, 
4- provide more realistic biodiversity scenarios and associated services using the European Alpine flora as a case study. 

1. A. J. Pounds et al., Nature 439, 161 (2006). / 2. A. Menzel et al., Nature 397, 659 (1999). / 3. C. Parmesan et al., Nature 421, 37 (2003). / 4. W. Thuiller et al., Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 9, 137 (2008). / 5. P. Chesson, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 31, 343 (2000). / 6. B. J. McGill, Ecology Letters 13, 627 (2010). / 7. N. J. Gotelli et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107, 5030 (2010). / 8. C. O. Webb et al., Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 33, 475 (2002). / 9. J. J. Wiens et al., Ecology Letters 13, 1310 (2010)

TEEMBIO - towards eco-evolutionary models of biodiversity