The Ecology & Functional Biodiversity (EFB) thematic line, coordinated by Fred Wrona, conducts integrated, inter-disciplinary collaborative research (ranging from molecules to ecosystems) that generate innovative solutions to the growing challenges associated with the environmental conservation, protection and sustainable use of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
The EFB line addresses four core and integrated strategic questions related to establishing an improved predictive understanding of the biodiversity-ecosystem function linkage:
1) What combinations of existing species and ecological traits are needed to maintain the required ecosystem functions?
2) How is the increasing use of chemical contaminants, such as pesticides, and emerging compounds, such as nanoparticles, altering ecosystem function and interacting with other changing environmental drivers such as a changing and more variable climate?
3) How much local and regional genetic diversity must be maintained to ensure the sustainability of biological communities and ecosystem functions?
4) What proportion of the ES can be used by humans without affecting ecosystem sustainability and biodiversity?
EFB line will work closely with other CESAM lines. The closest integrated programme exists with the EBH line, which explicitly addresses the link between the environmental distribution and fate of contaminants, ecosystem services and human well-being. Methodologies and assessment approaches developed under the EFB will inform other lines on climate change and coastal-related issues; EFB will contribute to the MER line in supporting conservation and management of coastal and marine environments.
Research groups involved in the thematic line
- Adaptation Biology and Ecological Processes
- Functional Biodiversity
- Stress Biology
- Environmental Processes & Pollutants
Ecology & Functional Biodiversity thematic line specifically focuses on quantifying and understanding the functional role of biodiversity on the magnitude and stability of ecosystem structure and processes and in the provision of ecosystem services. The EFB research priorities are aligned to directly contribute to key priorities identified in European Water Framework, the EU Horizon 2020 programme addressing environmental protection, climate change impacts, sustainable management of natural resources, water, biodiversity and ecosystems and to regional, national and international priorities related to Action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Within this framework, the strategic research objectives of the EFB thematic line are to develop, validate and implement new bioassessment and biomonitoring approaches, analytical tools, and predicting models to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors (climate change and variability, contaminants, land use disturbance) on biological and ecological structure and function (at the individual, population and community scales) and to contribute to new knowledge on the causalities between biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services.
The key research objectives, based on the primary contributing research groups, are:
- To assess the present and projected impacts of global changes upon species and their habitats. To develop an improved mechanistic understanding of observed and predicted species responses to local, regional and global environmental change.
- To conduct research on the linkages and interactions between structural and functional biodiversity and ecotoxicological and environmental stressors in marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. To develop new diagnostic tools, analytical approaches and models to assess the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on biological/ecological resources, in particular on the biodiversity-ecosystems function linkages.
- To conduct integrated research focusing on the development of improved biomonitoring and bioassessment designs and analytical methods (including genotoxicity), environmental risk assessment approaches, and environmental contaminant fate, exposure and effects modelling.