This project is aimed at identifying the biological factors that drive the response of lotic microbial communities to massive organic and chemical pollutions, and at developing predictive tools of their ability to tolerate, resist, exploit pollutants and/or go back to original status (resilience) in river systems under anthropogenic pressure.
For that purpose, a series of hypotheses on biodiversity-stability and biodiversity-functionality relationships in microbial communities will be initially formulated. They will be tested on model synthetic communities of freshwater bacteria to which different stressors (input of organic matter, “invader” wastewater bacteria, and/or pollutants) will be applied in controlled conditions. Thereafter, the dynamics of the same communities will be analyzed in more complex systems (sterile, natural ecosystems) and eventually compared to in situ data. Theories and predictive tools that will emerge from this study will contribute to a better management of microbial communities and their processes in order to protect value and restore river ecosystem services.
DYNAMO partners: ESA-ULB (George, I, Servais, P. Goetghebuer, L), Applied Microbiology-UCL (Agathos, S)
Period of the study: July 2014- June 2018.
Financial support: FNRS – Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgium) (http://www.fnrs.be/)