12th International Phycological Congress - IPC2021
Elisa Schaum Ph.D.
Research group leader
Department of Biology
Institute of Marine Ecosystem and Fishery Science
Plenary Lecture: “Phytoplankton and the Apocalypse – what to expect in a changing world”
An oceanographer turned evolutionary biologist, I investigate what makes and breaks the adaptive potential of large marine microbial populations. We know that this potential is generally large, but what makes some populations better than others at coping with an increasingly weird, increasingly unpredictable environment in the long-term? Apart from pure curiosity, there is ecological reasoning to this madness, as these microbes are the foundations of aquatic food-webs and biogeochemical cycles. Changes on the microbial level will inevitably have major repercussions on aquatic ecosystems. In my lab, we examine climate change through the lens of evolutionary biology (Under which circumstances do we expect organisms to evolve and how fast, and how much? Can we predict evolution?) and oceanography (What are the ecological repercussions of rapid evolutionary responses? How can we regale our modeller collaborators with better data?). Projects include but are not limited to investigating the roles of marine viruses on evolutionary trajectories, species interactions, and environmental variability, in a changing world. We use methods spanning experimental evolution set-ups in the laboratory, physiological and molecular analyses, and field work.