The Ecological and evolutionary consequences of tropicalisation

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: School of Ocean and Earth Science


Climate warming is creating novel ecological communities whereby species compositions and interactions differ from a historical baseline. Notably, tropical marine species are being documented in temperate biogeographic regions, while the ranges of temperate species are shifting poleward. This phenomenon is known as 'tropicalisation'; yet very little is known of its ecological and evolutionary consequences. For instance, we do not know if temperate prey species are able to defend themselves against tropical marine predators nor how the influx of tropical predators affects community composition ("top-down" effects). Tropicalisation may also have genetic/evolutionary consequences. For example, range contracting temperate species may experience an overall loss of genetic diversity and disappearance of unique genetic clades - which in turn may have consequences on the capacity for species to adapt to climate warming and future evolutionary trajectories (i.e. extinction risk). This PhD will draw from a wide variety of disciplines and theory, ranging from predator induced defenses/predator-prey interactions/community ecology to molecular phylogeography and phylogenetics to address key knowledge gaps on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of tropicalisation. The project will focus on a transition zone between tropical and temperate biogeographic regions where tropicalisation has been preliminarily documented but its consequences have not been established.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007210/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2027
2403306 Studentship NE/S007210/1 01/10/2020 31/03/2024 Karolina Zarzyczny