ECO-EVO-DEVO dynamics of biodiversity
Mývatn threespine stickleback as a model
A major challenge facing societies is the protection of biological diversity, which is critical for ecosystem functioning and services. Biodiversity is under serious threat from human activities and we lack understanding of the processes that shape it. Here we will explore the interplay among ecological (ECO), evolutionary (EVO) and developmental (DEVO) processes in generating and maintaining biodiversity within the framework of a novel conceptual ECO-EVO-DEVO model. Our objectives are to fill knowledge
1) The dual role of ecology on evolution (VIA natural selection) and on development (VIA phenotypic plasticity and parental effects).
2) The mechanisms underlying phenotypic variation; and
3) the dynamic nature and consequences of how phenotypic changes during ontogeny and evolution influence ecosystems. Our focus will be on the highly polymorphic and phenotypically plastic threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).
We will take advantage of the unique characteristics of the Lake Mývatn system in NE Iceland and our baseline knowledge of the diversity in stickleback. The research team is composed of Icelandic and international experts which also have experience from research in Mývatn. Through original integrative approaches (field survey, experiments, molecular work and modeling) this study will provide new knowledge on the nature of biological diversity which will impact the scientific community and stimulate
better management and conservation strategies.
PI: Prof. Bjarni K. Kristjánsson (BKK) is Head of the Aquaculture and Fish Biology
Department at Hólar University. BKK has worked long on studies on the diversity of
Icelandic freshwater fishes. BKK will oversee the running of the whole project, participate in morphometrics, environmental and diet sample analysis in student supervision, data analysis and the writing of the results.
Dr. Katja Räsänen (KR),
co - PI Senior Scientist at EAWAG (The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Switzerland. KR has extensive experience in studying evolutionary and ecologically processes in natural systems and the role of maternal effects in adaptive divergence. KR will participate in sample collection, oversee experimental work and participate in data analysis and manuscript writing, as well as student supervision.
Prof. Skúli Skúlason (SS) from Hólar University has a long experience in
studies on the diversity of Icelandic freshwater fishes. He will participate in student supervision, data analysis and writing of the results.
Dr. Blake Matthews (BM),
Senior Scientist at EAWAG, Switzerland. BM has extensive experience studying interactions between evolutionary, ecological, and ecosystem changes. BM will participate in the mesocosm and enclosure experiments, as well as student supervision and data analysis and writing.
Prof. Zophonías O. Jónsson (ZOJ),
University of Iceland has many years’ experience in studying diversity of Icelandic freshwater fishes at cellular and molecular levels. ZOJ will participate in sample collection and oversee gene expression analyses. He will participate in student supervision, data analysis and the writing of the results.
Dr. Árni Einarsson (AE),
Director of the Mývatn Research Station. AE has studied the ecological systems of Lake Mývatn and the surrounding areas for decades, focusing on food web interactions. AE will participate in student supervision, data analysis and the writing of the results. *Photo by Egill Adalsteinsson
Prof. Anthony Ragnar Ives (ARI),
University of Wisconsin- Madison, is an ecologist who does both theoretical and empirical work on species interactions and biodiversity. He is the lead PI on an USA-NSF 10-year project at Mývatn started in 2011 to study midge population fluctuations and the impacts they have on the surrounding ecosystem. ARI will participate in modelling, student supervision, data analysis and the writing of the results. IVES LAB