Biodiversity & Evolutionary Adaptation

Life on earth has been evolving and changing in response to environmental changes over the past four billion years resulting in fluctuating biological diversity. Ecosystems provide a wide range of free services to humanity that need to be managed responsibly.

Biodiversity & Adaptation

Organisms evolve and adapt to changing environmental conditions, which today are frequently caused by human activities. The basis for evolutionary adaptation is the genetic, physiological, and behavioural variation seen in individuals and species, with consequences for community composition and biodiversity as well as ecosystem functioning at different spatial scales.

To address these fundamental questions, we combine ecological theory with models, field data, and experimental setups. We also focus on a mechanistic understanding of biological processes using physiological, behavioural, proteomic and epigenetic indicators. Evolutionary processes, including sexual and asexual reproduction are investigated at the population level (experimental and natural ones).

Biodiversity in the Past 

Fossils are the preserved remains of organisms from the Past. They represent evidence for Darwinian evolution on Earth. ILEE studies the age and causes of extinction events of mammals and dinosaurs. We focus our research on massive extinction events related to worldwide warming in order to unravel the potential changes of biodiversity during future climate perturbations.

Ecosystem services - ES

The concept of ES stems from a strong sustainability framework, and its first goal was to support biodiversity preservation. It is now increasingly used to promote sustainable landscape management and planning, to improve the well-being of local actors.

To achieve this, inclusive, integrated valuation frameworks are developed. These frameworks combine different types of values (social, economic, biophysical), and include local stakeholders in a participatory way. The social valuation of ES is a key focus at ILEE, including the assessment of trade-offs and synergies between ES and actors to improve local ES governance.

Methodological approaches include ES mapping, modelling, and integrated ES assessments.

Photo credit: Frédéric Silvestre

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