Using physiological response data to improve marine species distribution models

Type: 
Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
programme: 
EMBC+
Species distribution models (SDM) link species occurrences with the environmental characteristics, and have the potential to predict distributions in a geographically explicit framework, including extrapolation in space and time. The predictive power of SDM, however, is very much dependent on the assumption that species are at equilibrium with their environment. The very nature of IAS makes that this is assumption is not met for these organisms (Elith et al. 2010). Therefore SDM of invasive or range-shifting species is particularly challenging, and requires advanced modeling techniques. In this research we would like to generate physiological response data for certain invasive seaweeds and try to augment species distribution models with this data in order to generate more accurate distribution models. This research will require fieldwork (Mediterranean and/or Atlantic coasts) for sampling strains and lab work for the physiological experiments (culturing algae under various ecological parameters), next to modeling techniques.
prerequisites: 
interest in marine biogeography; interest in lab experiments; basic knowledge of R
Number of students: 
1
academic year: 
2015-2016
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Olivier De Clerck
Other people involved: 
Samuel Bosch (UGent - Phycology)
Reference Number: RP-36282