Willem Bonnaffé (2017)
The eco-genetic architecture of eco-evoluitonary feedbacks
I obtained a BSc (3 years) in Life Sciences in 2013 at Université Pierre et Marie Curie with additional courses in Ecosystemic and Evolutionary Ecology. Then I undertook a MSc (2 years) in Evolutionary Ecology at Ecole normale supérieure, through which I specialized in Theoretical Ecology and Statistical, Computational, and Mathematical Modelling of ecological systems. I have also done 6 research internships in the fields of Cognitive Ethology, Behavioural, Evolutionary, and Theoretical Ecology, involving experimental, empirical and theoretical approaches.
I am broadly interested in confronting theory to data, in an attempt to identify mechanisms underlying real world processes. Namely, I compare the behaviour of mathematical and computational models representing real world processes to patterns observed in datasets using bayesian statistical modelling technics.
During my DPhil I intend to use these methods to study mechanisms underlying spatio-temporal dynamics of trophic networks, using as a model the tri-trophic network of Wytham woods, in Oxford. More particularly, I want to quantify the contribution of short term eco-evolutionary feedbacks, ecosystem architecture, and environmental spatio-temporal variation, to observed time series of each components constituting Wytham’s tri-trophic network. For that purpose I propose to construct alternative mathematical models corresponding to different hypothesis regarding the dynamics of the trophic network and compare their likelihood. I expect to find that increased environmental variation, and/or more diverse ecological interactions, reduce the strength of eco-evolutionary feedbacks through spatial and temporal disruption of selection gradients.