vERSO General

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Information about vERSO General

Published on February 26, 2014

Author: marinebiologybe



A general presentation about the new vERSO (Ecosystem Responses to global change: a multiscale approach in the Southern Ocean) project, funded under the BELSPO BRAIN-BE call.

vERSO Polar Day, RBINS Feb18, 2014

and another Accronym… vERSO: Ecosystem Responses to global change: a multiscale approach in the Southern Ocean

Who’s onboard (partners) • ULB (lead): Chantal De Ridder, Bruno Danis & Philippe Dubois • UGent: Ann Van Reusel • KUL: Filip Volckaert • VUB: Frank Dehairs • ULg: Gilles Lepoint • RBINS: Anton Van de Putte • MNHN: Marc Eléaume & Nadia Améziane • UB: Bruno David & Thomas Saucède

Who’s onboard (followup) • Hilde Eggermont (Belgian Biodiversity Platform, BE) • François André (SPF Environment, BE) • Steven Chown (Monash University, AUS) • Huw Griffiths (British Antarctic Survey, UK) • Julian Gutt (Alfred Wegener Institute, DE) • Guillaume Lecointre (Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, FR)

Context • SO experiencing fast-paced environmental changes • Potential far-reaching modifications of ecosystem functions • Multiple, interacting stressors: t°, pH, sedimentation, nutrients, food resources,… • Little information on benthic systems • RoI: WAP and TA • New SCAR SRPs (AntERA, AntECO)

Objectives • Assess the impact on various benthic taxa • Multiscale, integrated approach • Research on connectivity and adaptation, trophic ecology, sensitivity and resilience, modelisation

Workpackages • WP1: Connectivity and Adaptation • WP2: Trophic Ecology • WP3: Sensitivity and Resilience • WP4: Integrative modelling • WP5: Valorisation

WP1: Connectivity and Adaptation • identify the contemporaneous and past connectivities in nematods, amphipods, echinoderms and fishes • identify and understand the dispersal-related processes that explain the distribution patterns and biodiversity • assess relative importance of environmental and dispersal-related explanatory variables in determining distribution and biodiversity patterns. • microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA markers • specific spatio-temporal molecular patterns will be used to expand the predictive power and resolution of the models

WP2: Trophic Ecology • delineate general trophic web structure and carbon pathways • assess trophic variability • estimate the adaptative potential of communities to future trophic changes • characterise primary production and fluxes to the sea floor, energy flow through the benthic food web and trophic niches • stable isotope tracing experiments or natural isotopic ratios and fatty acid compositions

WP3: Sensitivity and Resilience • assess the combined effects of temperature, acidification, and food quality and quantity on nutrient fluxes, metabolism and functional structure • prokaryotes, nematodes, amphipods and echinoids • food sources enriched in heavy stable isotopes of C and N will be used to trace their fate in the trophic web. • characterise energy metabolism and acid-base balance • output of these experiments will be used in the interpretation of WP2 and WP4 • resilience analysis based on available long-term data and on modelling using sensitivity, connectivity and trophic ecology data

WP4: Integrative modelling • run predictive models • species distribution models (SDMs) and dynamic models • integrate biogeographical, connectivity, trophic, sensitivity and environmental data • fine-scale data will be used to validate predictive SDMs • dual role in vERSO: science driver and integrator

WP5: Valorisation • publication of scientific and Data papers • transfer information to policy-makers, through Antarctic Environments Portal (, CCAMLR, or the ATCM - CEP • mentor young scientists and ongoing networking activities with APECS • increase the use of new tools, methods and technologies • create and maintain an attractive website targeting different (non-)expertise groups • organise vERSO symposium, back-to-back with SCAR Biology Symposium 2017

More info • • dedicated website yet to be deployed… stay tuned!

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