Population genetics and intraspecific diversity of acquatic protists across habitats and eucaryotic clades
Pelagic microalgae (or phytoplankton) form the base of the aquatic food web. Consequently, they have a major impact on the food web, energy flow and biogeochemical cycles. However, some microalgae can also form harmful blooms that lead to substantial economic losses and health issues by causing toxicity of mussels, fish kills, odors, unattractive water color, or by making freshwater unsuitable as drinking supply.
Populations of harmful algae are genetically highly structured and may show remarkable differentiation among and within local populations. Diversity patterns may indicate colonization and invasion patterns, reveal mechanisms of adaptation and speciation and provide insights into the evolutionary history of phytoplankton species.
The aim of this researcher network is to foster collaboration in the ongoing studies on patterns, mechanisms the ecological consequences of intra-specific diversity of aquatic photosynthetic protists. They will compare phytoplankton species and populations from different taxonomic groups and habitats spanning from freshwater lakes to the brackish Baltic Sea and North Atlantic waters. This will advance the general understanding of population genetic, ecological and evolutionary principles in aquatic protists which are still poorly known.
During the network's three years they will share materials, methods and instrument facilities, perform joint surveys and experiments, exchange knowledge and expertise, integrate information and offer joint training possibilities for PhD students and post-docs (workshops and lab visits).