The spatial and community-context of ecological specialisation

Karen Bisschop

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Our world is amazingly heterogeneous; from open landscapes to closed forests, from lowlands to highlands, and from arid plains to swamps. Different species adapt to these different conditions and perform best in that specific environment. But just being adapted to one condition is not enough as the world is also incredibly dynamic, both in space and time. Species may endure these changes, behaviourally adapt or perform some kind of ecosystem engineering. Also genetic adaptation is possible over several generation. In this thesis, I try to untangle which factors may influence adaptation. Understanding when adaptation is more likely to occur is important for conservation purposes or making better predictions. Adaptation is a complex process that is affected by its spatial and community context. By means of experiments with an arthropod model species we investigated this context for adaptation to a novel food source. The spatial context consisted of homo- or heterogeneous environments or differences in dispersal, while the community context included the presence of another species during adaptation or the influence of the present microbiome (micro-organisms assisting their hosts with for instance digestion and detoxification of food). Although I was able to explain more about the influence of dispersal, competition, and the microbiome, it is just a glimpse of what still needs to be discovered.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Etienne, Rampal, Supervisor
  • Bonte, Dries, Supervisor, External person
  • Falcao Salles, Joana, Supervisor
Award date4-Sept-2020
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-034-2506-1
Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-2505-4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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