Friday 27 July 2018 - 14:00 to 15:00
NOC Southampton - Node Room (074/02) (Waterfront Campus).
A mechanistic understanding of the functioning of the marine ecosystem is essential to generating accurate predictions of how changing environments impact plankton communities in the ocean. However, representing the complexity of the marine ecosystem and its associated impacts is challenging in the face of the vast diversity of morphological and functional traits present in the ocean. As such, ecologists are increasingly focusing on trait-based approaches to assess organism fitness (and thus, community structure and distribution) along environmental gradients in the modern ocean as a mean of identifying the first principles of ecosystem functioning.
I will present here some of my work using a trait-based marine ecosystem model which allows to represent a selected and diverse population of marine plankton. The MIT-Darwin model generates diverse planktonic populations which self-assemble in response to the environment, resource competition and predefined physiological trade-offs of the organisms (size, nutrient uptake ability, grazing protection ...). I will first describe the concept of the Darwin model concept and then present its applications to a better understanding of the ecology of nitrogen fixers and calcifiers (coccolithophores and foraminifera) in the global ocean, and how I plan to develop it further to link with biogeochemical cycling and climate.