Understanding the drivers of resilience of biodiversity in a changing world

Project: PhD

Project Details


The rapidly changing global environment poses significant challenges to biodiversity. To understand and address the impacts of environmental fluctuations and human activities on wildlife populations and communities, this PhD research investigates ecological dynamics and how several mechanisms of resilience contribute to biodiversity resilience. In the first part of the PhD, I will use a population level approach to explore how anthropogenic pressure impacts the dispersal ability of populations (chapter 1) and how climate change affects adaptation within populations (chapter 2). In the second part, I will study how the diversity and similarity in wildlife communities is impacted by and buffers anthropogenic pressure (chapter 3), and how a community’s network stability is impacted by climate change (chapter 4). First, I will focus on social norms towards carnivores, exploring how human attitudes and local legislation influence large mammalian carnivore distributions. By combining ecological and social variables at a national scale, the aim is to investigate the species’ capacity to persist or re-establish and test for social barriers to population success. Second, I will investigate the effects of environmental fluctuations on co-occurring migration strategies in an ungulate population. Using a modelling approach, the study simulates the consequences of yearly fluctuations in the onset of rainfall on migration strategies and population dynamics. Third, bird assemblages are examined to understand the role of diversity and similarity (or redundancy) in promoting community resilience. Combining metrics of species richness, phylogenetic and functional diversity, the research explores which mechanisms contribute most significantly to the stability of assemblages over a ~50 year period. Finally, I will assess the stability of each module of a food web, and then investigate the impact of climate-induced phenological shifts on a plant-pollinator network. By understanding these dynamics, we gain insights into ecosystem vulnerability and resilience in the context of ongoing climate change. Overall, this Ph.D. research contributes valuable insights into the mechanisms governing biodiversity resilience and ecological responses to a changing world. The findings shed light on the adaptive potential of wildlife species and communities in the face of uncertain environmental conditions and human pressures.
Effective start/end date1/05/22 → …


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