3rd Stanislaw Lem Workshop on Biodiversity and Evolution

The next iteration of our notorious series of Stanislaw Lem Workshops, March 6-9, 2023 at the WasserCluster Lunz, Austria

Estimation of functional diversity and species traits from ecological monitoring data

The rampant loss of biodiversity is starting to be recognized as a global crisis rivaling the climate emergency. To address this crisis, scientists need robust methods to measure the diversity in a system. Importantly, these methods should not only count species but capture the variety of different functions that the species in a system can perform. In this paper, we propose a machine learning method by which existing data from ecosystem monitoring can be reanalyzed to reveal changes of functional biodiversity over time.

Story behind the paper: The enigmatic persistence of dissolved organic matter in the oceans

Why complex systems theory might help to better understand one of the most mysterious carbon pools in the earth system

Emergent Diversity and Persistent Turnover in Evolving Microbial Cross-Feeding Networks

A distinguishing feature of many ecological networks in the microbial realm is the diversity of substrates that could potentially serve as energy sources for microbial consumers. The microorganisms are themselves the agents of compound …

Coexistence patterns and diversity in a trait-based metacommunity on an environmental gradient

The dynamics of trait-based metacommunities have attracted much attention, but not much is known about how dispersal and spatial environmental variability mutually interact with each other to drive coexistence patterns and diversity. Here, we present …

Enigmatic persistence of dissolved organic matter in the oceans

Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) contains more carbon than the combined stocks of Earth’s biota. Organisms in the ocean continuously release a myriad of molecules that become food for microheterotrophs, but, for unknown reasons, a residual …

Functional trait dimensions of trophic metacommunities

Metacommunity ecology currently lacks a consistent functional trait perspective across trophic levels. To foster new cross-taxa experiments and field studies, we present hypotheses on how three trait dimensions change along gradients of density of …

Story behind the paper: Optimal stock-enhancement of a spatially distributed renewable resource

When the watering can principle is not a good idea to manage your ecosystem

Shape matters: the relationship between cell geometry and diversity in phytoplankton

We analyse data on marine unicellular phytoplankton, exhibiting an astounding diversity of cell sizes and shapes. We quantify the variation in size and shape and explore their effects on taxonomic diversity. We find that cells of intermediate volume exhibit the greatest shape variation, with shapes ranging from oblate to extremely elongated forms, while very small and large cells are mostly compact. We show that cell shape has a strong effect on phytoplankton diversity, comparable in magnitude to the effect of cell volume, with both traits explaining up to 92% of the variance in phytoplankton diversity. Species richness decays exponentially with cell elongation and displays a log-normal dependence on cell volume, peaking for compact cells of intermediate volume.


Theoretical Ecology, Biodiversity and trait-based modelling