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Developing an evolutionary framework for understanding species co-existence: importance of intraspecific genetic variaiton for community ecology (ComGen)
Date du début: 1 août 2012, Date de fin: 31 janv. 2014 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The main goal of this IEF proposal is to allow the fellow to develop an entirely new set of theoretical skills complementing her extensive experimental expertise in the area of plant ecology and evolution. Theoretical training will be achieved by developing evolutionary biology models for targeted questions in the area of community ecology. These models will be conceptually novel by incorporating rigorous population genetic theory into long-standing community ecology questions. Models will be developed under the close supervision of two researchers with world-class expertise in evolutionary genetics and community ecology. The training provided by this IEF would be instrumental in boosting the fellow’s career both by providing hands-on training with theoretical modeling and positioning her at the forefront in the nascent field of community genetics. A small portion of the fellowship will be devoted to field and experimental studies using the empirical model Thymus vulgaris and its associated biotic communities in the Mediterranean. This empirical work, by testing explicitly predictions generated by her theoretical models, will capitalize on the fellow’s widely recognized expertise with this empirical system. It will also allow establishing firmly Thyme as a competitive empirical model to make breakthroughs in the field of community genetics that is currently largely dominated by work on a few empirical models, mainly in North America. This IEF proposal would also boost significantly European competitiveness in a new scientific field that, so far, is primarily developed in North America. The work is expected to make lasting contributions to our understanding of how species interact, and evolve to either co-exist stably or drive each other to extinction with broader implication for both conservation of Biodiversity and Climate change Biology.