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Chemistry, paleo-environment, and aquatic biodiversity: 2021 – 2023 New Projects

In 2019, the LabEx CEBA launched a call for Strategic Projects proposals intended to implement its scientific program until 2024. Five projects were selected to  start in 2020. (click here to read more about SP 2020 – 2023)

Because the majority of these projects were in the field offorest ecology, the CEBA direction board decided to open  a second round of Strategic Projects (SPII; 2021-2023) in order to better represent the thematic diversity of CEBA’s.

After a selection process involving the CEBA scientific committee and the international scientific committee, the direction board  has just confirmed the funding of four new projects.

Discover the new projects that will bring CEBA’s research to life.

CHEMDIV – The chemistry of war: what dictates diversity in chemical defenses?

Melinaea mmene – Papaïchton © Ombeline Sculfort

PI: Melanie McCLURE (LEEISA, Cayenne)

Chemical defences in animals are both ubiquitous and incredibly diverse, but all are important in modulating predator-prey interactions. This project proposes to 1) disentangle the role of evolutionary history and adaptation to explain the origin of diversity in chemical defences, and 2) ascertain how this chemical diversity relates to other functional and ecological traits. Here CHEMDIV proposes a holistic approach, including both biotic and abiotic factors, within a phylogenetic comparative framework of the chemically defended Ithomiini butterflies, to tease apart the intricate processes generating the multifaceted chemical diversity observed.

EMERGENCE – Evolution of Amazonian vertebrates around the Eocene–Oligocene transition: paleontological and paleoecological perspectives

PI: Laurent MARIVAUX (ISEM, Montpellier)

The Eocene‐Oligocene transition (EOT; ca. 34 Ma) was one of the most dramatic episodes of global climatic, environmental and biotic change of the Cenozoic. This event seemingly constrained and reshaped the structure of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems around the globe. Compared with northern continents, much less is known about the tempo and intensity of such changes across the EOT in tropical‐equatorial areas of South America. The program aims at implementing several approaches for: i) highlighting the effects of the EOT climatic shift on WAn paleoenvironments; ii) documenting the regional impact of this climatic deterioration on terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates; iii) characterizing these biotic changes and their tempo from a paleoecological perspective; iv) studying the patterns of vertebrate biodiversity dynamics across the EOT and subsequently; v) furthering our understanding of Neotropical tetrapod evolution through these abiotic changes. This research will be achieved through multidisciplinary, multifaceted and integrated approaches from life and earth sciences.

INTERACTIF – Interactive effects of deforestation and climate change on neotropical freshwater ecological networks and ecosystem multifunctionality

PI: Céline Leroy (AMAP, Cayenne)

Tropical freshwater ecosystems represent one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems, but also one of the most endangered in the world compared to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems are exposed to multiple local- and global-scale stressors but little is known of their synergistic effects. It has proven challenging to study the impacts of multiple environmental stressors on ecosystem functioning through their effects on biological diversity, first because effects on single species cannot be extrapolated to the complex network of species interactions, second because most of our current understanding of biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships has come from investigations of the response of ecosystem function in isolation neglecting the simultaneous responses of multiple functions (i.e., “multifunctionality”). The aim of INTERACTIF is to tease out the pure and interactive effects of local- and global-scale environmental stressors on different levels of biological organisation ―communities, ecological networks, ecosystems― in neotropical freshwater ecosystems.

NAMCO – Neotropical Aquatic eDNA Monitoring COnsortium

PI: Jérôme Murienne (EDB, Toulouse)

Aquatic ecosystems provide important ecosystem services, especially in the neotropics where many local communities strongly depend on water for resources. At the same time, those ecosystems have undergone significant degradation with negative impacts on biological diversity and people’s livelihoods. The recent IPBES report stressed the importance of conservation to safeguard biodiversity yet efficient management policies can only be established based on sound biodiversity surveillance programs. In recent years, we have shown that environmental DNA approaches can provide highly repeatable and standard measures of biodiversity. In this project, the aim is to establish, at the Neotropical scale, a consortium of “genomic observatories” for biodiversity monitoring and ecosystem conservation. NAMCO will provide 1-year time series at the different sites across the neotropics (French Guiana, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia) where biodiversity will be monitored through eDNA every month. Finally the researchers will examine the role of hydrology, ecology and anthropogenic disturbances on the seasonal variations of eDNA across the neotropics.