Our research aims at understanding the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in planktonic ecosystems, and the conditions that (sometimes) favour the dominance of a single taxon (or genotype). Specifically, we focus on the abiotic and biotic controls of phytoplankton community dynamics in lakes, and the factors that trigger toxic cyanobacterial blooms. We study the feedbacks between plankton phenotypic or genetic changes, population responses, species interactions and food-web dynamics in lakes affected by climate warming, eutrophication and pollution.
We approach the topic from a trait-based perspective to mechanistically link individual and population level responses to community and ecosystem level processes. We aim at mapping species interactions in complex and interconnected ecosystems, at inferring phytoplankton responses at different scales (from local to regional, from hours to decades), and at developing data-driven models to forecast changes in plankton biodiversity and aquatic ecosystem services (e.g. cyanobacterial blooms and water quality).
We study plankton communities in their natural environment using high frequency automated monitoring, historical series of lake monitoring data, DNA meta-barcoding, and mesocosm experiments. We continuously explore, develop and test new tools and approaches for monitoring plankton community dynamics, biodiversity and water quality.