Prof. Nadir Alvarez, email@example.com, +41224186456
Dr. Camille Pitteloud, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41224186456
Topics: Evolutionary ecology, Biodiversity
Soil organisms play a fundamental role in the functioning of ecosystems by participating in the recycling of organic matter. More difficult to identify than surface organisms, underground biota are still largely unknown, and many species remain to be discovered, earning them the name dark biodiversity. While a decline in species richness along the altitude has been observed in a majority of taxa living above or on the soil surface, recent studies indicate that the response of some soil organisms, notably nematodes, is following an inverse trend. However, altitudinal biodiversity gradients remain totally unexplored for some groups that make up dark biodiversity, such as springtails and mites. Using metagenomic tools, this project aims to characterize the taxonomic composition of subterranean communities on multiple altitudinal gradients across the Alpine arc, and to understand how environmental gradients contribute to the structuring and diversification of dark biodiversity at the landscape scale.