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Lydie Couturier

TROPICOP: Global-scale analysis of tropical food web dynamics to understand climate impacts on top predators

PostDoctoral Fellow: Dr Lydie Couturier
Scientific Sponsors: Anne Lorrain (LEMAR), Nathalie Bodin (MARBEC), Frédéric Ménard (MIO)
LabexMER Research Axis: Axis 6 : Evolution of marine habitats and adaptation of populations

Tropical marine ecosystems sustain complex and highly productive food-webs that are a vital economic resource for the fishing industry worldwide, but current human-driven changes are threatening the stability and resilience of these systems. There is an urgent need to better understand the trophic interactions that regulate the ecosystem structure, function and services so that impacts of fishing and climate-driven changes can be evaluated. The overall objective of this project is to investigate the trophic networks that support large pelagic predators that are of high economic, conservation and/or ecological value. Bulk and compound specific stable isotope analyses combined with fatty acid analysis will be used to examine spatial and temporal variability in top predator trophic niches, diet composition, and basal food web sources across three tropical ocean basins. Using a multi-disciplinary approach and state-of-the-art methodologies, this study will focus on two main functional groups of large predators: top-order carnivores and low-order planktivores. It will provide a better understanding of the dynamics of pelagic food webs and of the impacts of current human-induced changes on the stability of trophic interactions. Importantly, this project will support and complement ecosystem-based models developed around the world.

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