Current Projects

Biodiversity and disease risk in marine systems

Investigator: Mrs J. (Jenni) Welsh
Period: 2011/02/01 - 2015/02/01
Support: NIOZ
Code: Diversty
Description: This project explores the effect of diversity on the rate of transmission of pathogens in marine ecosystems. Two pathogen-host model-systems will be used: trematodes in benthic invertebrates and viruses in phytoplankton. Laboratory studies will be used to interprete field observations and the obtained results will be integrated into existing population models and food webs to investigate how dilution effects of biodiversity alter disease dynamics in their hosts.
Definition: See project description

Scaling of metabolic traits

Investigator: J. (James) Maino
Period: 2011/03/28 - 2014/03/28
Collaboration: Melbourne University (Mike Kearney)
Support: Australian Research Council
Code: scaling
Description: The project aims to contribute to a metabolic theory of ecology and will focus on the scaling of metabolic traits between species of different body size. This involves testing `null theories' predicting how variation in traits among species is restricted by universal physicochemical and environmental constraints.

Energetic adaptability of Pecten maximus

Investigator: R. (Romain) Lavaud
Period: 2010/09/01 - 2013/09/01
Collaboration: LEMAR (Laboratoire des sciences de l'Environnement MARin), IUEM (Institut Universitaire européen de la mer - European Institute for Marine Studies) Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 PLOUZANE, FRANCE (Fred Jean)
IFREMER - Station Expérimentale d'Argenton 11, presqu'le du vivier 29840 Argenton-Landunvez (Marianne Alunno-Bruscia).
Institute of Marine Research, Postbox 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen (Øivind Strand)
Department of Biology, University of Bergen P.O. Box 7800, 5020 Bergen Norway (Rune Rosland)
Université de Lille 1 sciences et technologies/Station Marine de Wimereux, UMR CNRS 8187 LOG "Laboratoire d'Océanographie et de Géoscience" (Prof. Sebastien Lefebvre)
This project is part of the AquaDEB European research group and within the MENTOR framework
Support: University of Brest
Code: Pecten
Description: The main objective of this project is to describe the variability of the energetic strategy (growth and reproduction) of Pecten maximus according to the variability of its environment (food resources, temperature, and seasonality). Three different stations of the biogeographical area of P. maximus will be studied : the Bay of Brest, a norwegian fjord and the Irish Sea. Results should help in evaluating the impact of global warming on the evolution of populations and biogeographical area of great scallop.
Definition: See page of Romain Lavaud

Modelling effects of toxicants

Investigators: Mrs E. Zimmer; A. Barsi B. Martin;
Period: 2010/04/01 - 2013/04/01
Collaboration: INRA, Rennes (Virginie Ducrot)
Helmholtz Zentrum für Umweltforschung UFZ (Volker Grimm, coordinator)
Roskilde University (Valery Forbes)
many other participating institutions
Support: EU-Marie Curie-ITN CREAM
Code: CREAM, FALW 2956302
Description: In this project, we will investigate how effects on metabolic processes will affect life-history traits, and how these effects propagate to the population level. We will give specific attention to embryonic development, as this process has generally been disregarded in ecotoxicology of invertebrates. DEB theory makes highly detailed predictions for the effects of chemicals (and other stressors) on egg size, hatching time, and hatchling size, which require an evaluation of their validity and relevance for the population level. This project will lead to a better understanding of the quantitative links between different life-history traits, as a consequence of the rules for metabolic organisation. This knowledge is indispensable for an accurate prediction of the population impacts of toxicants, and to improve the relevance of ecotoxicological test protocols. As a model species, the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis will be used. This species was selected because it is the focus species in the sister project DEB-2 within CREAM, which allows for a close collaboration between these two projects. More and more and more and more.
Definition: Full text in pdf format

Predation on littoral mussel beds

Investigators: A. Waser;
Period: 2010/02/01 - 2014/01/31
Collaboration: SOVON (Bruno Ens)
Support: Waddenfonds
Code: Mosselwad
Description: The objective of this project is to analyse the predation pressure on a variety of mussel beds in the western and the eastern part of the Dutch Wadden Sea by using modelling, experimental and field observation approaches. In particular the approaches consist of 1) determining the state of the mussel bed (size, coverage, size composition of mussels and biomass), 2) investigating the composition and density of predators and 3) estimating intake rates of the main predators (Shore Crabs, Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers and Eider ducks (submerged feeding) all year round).
Definition: mosselwad website

Decline in bird diversity

Investigator: C. Teixeira
Period: 2009/01/01 - 2012/01/01
Collaboration: Instituto Superior Técnico Technical University Lisboa, program DEBbee (T. Domingos, T. Sousa),
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS, France (A. Rodrigues)
Support: FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) through scholarship SFRH/BD/36505/2007
Code: DEBbird
Description: One of the main causes for worldwide biodiversity decline is land-use change. Most of the theoretical frameworks for assessing the relative vulnerability of species to land-use change include population viability analysis models and require large amount of life-history data. However, considering even the most well known animal groups, such as the birds, there is a considerable amount of information lacking for most of the species. Ideally the necessary data to fill these information gaps would continue to be collected on the field. Considering present less ideal conditions, reliable data estimates are required, in order to fill the gaps and model the effects of land use change, in an optimized amount of time. This project aims to apply the Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) Theory in order to provide the estimates lacking for an extensive number of bird species of the western Palearctic ecozone. More

Life engine

Investigator: G. Marques
Period: 2009/01/01 - 2013/01/01
Collaboration: Instituto Superior Técnico Technical University Lisboa, program DEBbee (T. Domingos, T. Sousa),
Biodroid Entertainment
Support: QREN
Code: Lifeng
Description: The objective is to build a game engine that can present biological systems in a realistic form. We will write comprehensive software that can model biological systems from the organism to the ecossystem based on DEB theory. The research will have three main phases corresponding to the levels of organisation: 1) Individual (models for trees; small time scales modelling; transition from supply to demand systems) 2) Population (interaction between individuals; effects of immigration) 3) Ecosystem (interaction between populations; effects of invadors and other perturbations; body size spectra; interactions between individuals and ecosystems). More

Growth variability of the Pacific oyster

Investigator: A. Emmery
Period: 2008/11/01 - 2012/11/01
Collaboration: Ifremer, Argenton, Mrs Dr. M. Alluno-Bruscia;
Université de Lille 1 sciences et technologies/Station Marine de Wimereux, UMR CNRS 8187 LOG "Laboratoire d'Océanographie et de Géoscience" (Prof. Dr. S. Lefebvre)
Support: Ifremer and Région Basse-Normandie.
Code: IsoDEB
Description: Growth performances of the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) mainly rely on environmental factors, e.g. water temperature and food resources. However, the shellfish farming industry does not presently have a reliable tool to help understand and characterize the trophic functioning of marine ecosystems. Nor does it have relevant indicators to quantify and explain the variability in growth performances of oysters among culture sites on a national scale, with which to address future management questions. The main aim of the present PhD project is to develop and validate an operational tool for trophic characterization of shellfish farming areas, combining stable isotopes and modelling, which will explain differences in the growth of C. gigas between years and sites. More specifically, the project will use a monitoring network on growth and survival of C. gigas (Ostreos project), and different types of biomarkers for the origin and fate of organic matter in the environment, (stable isotopes and fatty acids) coupled with bioclimatic conditions. These data will be integrated into a dynamic energy budget (DEB) model of oyster growth to obtain ecophysiological indicators (nutrition level, availability of reserves, maintenance and growth rate) of growth in C. gigas depending on spatio-temporal environment fluctuations throughout the rearing cycle. More
Definition: Full text in pdf format;

Bottom-up versus top-down control in marine macrobenthos populations

Investigator: Mrs S. Saraiva
Period: 2008/04/01 - 2013/04/01
Collaboration: NIOZ, prof. dr. J van der Meer
Support: BSIK Climate and Space program
Code: ncp
Description: Based on available historic datasets from ongoing monitoring programmes carried out by NIOZ over the last decades, the effect of changes in ocean climate on the population dynamics (emphasis on changes in abundance, and if data allow a more detailed analysis of reproductive success, mortality, and migration as well) of a selection of benthic species will be examined. First, individual-based population models will be developed to analyze these historic datasets on population abundance and environmental variables. Processes at the level of the individual will be described according to the theory of Dynamic Energy Budgets (DEB). Next, it will be explored whether simplified versions in terms of non-linear higher-order stochastic population process models in discrete time are able to capture the essential dynamics. The results will be compared with various existing alternative deterministic skeletons both in terms of goodness of fit, dynamical behaviour and ecological credibility. If possible, multivariate extensions of this approach, i.e. taking into account the interdependencies among benthic species will be developed. Work will be done on quantifying the relative importance of (density dependent) internal dynamics and external forcing. More
Definition: Full text in pdf format

Bio-availability and time-varying exposures

Investigator: T. Jager
Period: 2006/08/01 - 2010/06/01
Collaboration: ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences Inc. (EMBSI), (Tom Parkerton)
Support: ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences Inc.
Code: BMexxon in Biomass cluster, FALW 2956.304
Description: Ecotoxicological advice and modeling work for ExxonMobil. The topics treated are diverse and selected in collaboration with ExxonMobil. Among others, the work includes the development of multiple-compartment models for the analysis of data from bioaccumulation experiments with earthworms and SPME fibers. Furthermore, we will work on modeling the toxic effects resulting from time-variable exposure (e.g., as the result of an oil spill). Other activities include the technical review of models and methods for bioaccumulation and effects in risk assessment. More
Definition: Context

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