Scenarios Of Marine Biodiversity and Evolution under Exploitation and climate change
Current ecosystem models explore how fish communities respond to global change by focusing on some key ecological processes (production, migration, physiology and trophic interactions), either alone or in some limited combination. SOMBEE will pioneer a modelling tool that includes all of these ecological processes and impacts on life-history trait composition, genetic diversity and evolutionary potential of marine fish, providing a step-change in our capacity to simulate changes in biodiversity in response to scenarios of fishing and climate change.
Scenarios and models are invaluable tools to guide long-term strategic policies but although the degree of their realism has greatly improved, the Darwinian evolution of fish populations is still neglected in future projections. Fish evolution and adaptation can mitigate the impacts of global change on fish populations and prevent their extirpation, an evolutionary rescue, but it can also push them towards evolutionary traps due to the erosion of their genetic diversity and thus reduction of their evolutionary potential and resilience.
SOMBEE addresses the role of eco-evolutionary dynamics and their consequences for the sustainable exploitation of fish resources in the future. The key open question addressed is whether exploited fish populations have the capacity of adapting swiftly enough to global change to ensure their persistence and their sustainable exploitation.
Project website: sombee.org