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Understanding and modelling the functioning and evolution of marine organisms and ecosystems


Anthropogenic pressures and climate change are evolutionary forces whose effects on marine biodiversity are considered major. For this to happen, we need to understand the genotype-phenotype-environment relationship as well as to distinguish between the natural evolution of organisms and that induced by global change. Furthermore, our ability to model and predict these effects requires a better understanding of the biological factors that define the limits of a species' distribution, its fundamental ecological niche. These factors are to be sought in particular in the demographic history, fitness and adaptive capacities of species with regard to environmental conditions. Knowledge of the interactions of marine organisms is essential to explain the coexistence of species, their distributions, their productivities and their capacities for resistance and resilience. Ecological processes also impact the spatio-temporal dynamics of species populations and communities. These forcings structure marine ecosystems.
Connectivity and migrations are part of these dynamics. It is therefore necessary to bring together individual approaches in which behavioural (including social) phenomena govern the movements of individuals and large-scale population approaches in which physical determinants dominate. This ambition covers vast disciplinary fields, from molecular biology to ecology, including ethology and developmental biology. The integration of the results obtained in studies encompassing the entire range of the species and the successive habitats colonised during their life cycles will make it possible to specify the existing links between the quality and availability of marine habitats, connectivity patterns on an intraspecific (intra- or inter-population) scale and population dynamics.
Advancing knowledge of the functioning of marine organisms, their interactions and the spatio-temporal dynamics of marine ecosystems is therefore essential for the development of models for the evolution of species and marine ecosystems.


Challenge 1: Genetic, epigenetic and physiological basis of adaptation
Challenge 2: Individual and collective behavioural strategies and connectivity
Challenge 3: Spatio-temporal dynamics of populations in ecosystems under abiotic forcing
Challenge 4: Feedback between ecological and evolutionary processes at different scales

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