Long-term effects of environmental change on invertebrates at the basis of marine food webs: A multigenerational, interspecies, interorder approach

01 January 2022 → 31 December 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Marine ecology
    • Lipidomics
    • Aquatic sciences, challenges and pollution not elsewhere classified
epigenetics food webs
Project description

Global change is threatening coastal marine ecosystems, with potential severe impacts on nutrient shifts and food supply through the marine food web. This research proposal will study the effects of global change on primary consumers, i.e. marine copepods, and the potential consequences on food supply. It will focus on the fatty acids profiles, as a proxy for food quality, under short- and long-term scenarios of global change. Long-term exposure to global change stressors may lead to multigenerational effects and transgenerational plasticity through interactions between the fatty acid metabolism and DNA methylation. The project aims to unravel these potential links and improve our understanding of the interactions between fatty acids, DNA methylation and global change. Global change will be analysed in terms of the impact of increased temperature (ocean warming) and decreased pH (ocean acidification). The project will focus on both pelagic and benthic species to understand whether intrinsic species characteristics may play a crucial role in environmental stress response. Overall, the proposed project will lead to new and innovative insights by combining food web ecology, stress ecology, biochemical profiling and epigenetics to allow an integrated approach to understand ecosystem functioning.