Plaice. Photo: Kenneth Løvholt.

PhD defence about biodiversity in fish communities

Monday 11 May 20


Martin Lindegren
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 92


Aurore Maureaud
Scientific Assistant
DTU Aqua

On 15 May 2020, Aurore Maureaud, DTU Aqua will defend her PhD thesis. Due to the corona pandemic the defence will take place online. 

Ecosystems worldwide have experienced an unprecedented loss of species. To understand the consequences of this biodiversity crisis, scientists are working on quantifying the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Ecosystem functioning is the ability of an ecosystem to perform and maintain key properties such as biomass and flux of energy. 

PhD Student Aurore Maureaud and her colleagues have tested the existence of links between biodiversity and ecosystem functions in natural complex marine ecosystems at both regional and continental scales, and with theoretical food web modeling. The empirical tests are based on high-resolution data on fish community composition and abundance in continental shelf seas across the North Atlantic. 

Many experimental studies have shown a positive influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning, demonstrating enhanced biomass production under higher number of species. However, the extent to which such findings hold in natural systems is unknown, especially in large and complex marine ecosystems. Aurore Maureaud’s thesis demonstrates that while a positive relationship between the number of species and several ecosystem functions is expected in theory, that link is not necessarily emergent from observations of real fish communities. 

The thesis also highlights that the metric of biodiversity and ecosystem function evaluated matters to determine the overall ecosystem performance because one ecosystem function may not represent the other functions of the ecosystem.

About the defence

Aurore Maureaud will defend her PhD thesis "Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in marine communities. Evidence from large-scale observations and modeling" on Friday 15 May 2020 at 14.00 CEST.

The defence takes place online via Zoom. Please contact Rikke Hansen,, by 14 May 15:00 for a link to join the defence.

  • Principal supervisor: Senior Researcher Martin Lindegren, DTU Aqua
  • Co supervisor: Professor Ken Haste Andersen, DTU Aqua
  • Senior Researcher Anna Rindorf, DTU Aqua
  • Professor Erik Bonsdorff, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
  • Research Scientist Jonathan Lefcheck, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, USA
Chairperson at defence
  • Senior Researcher Stefan Neuenfeldt, DTU Aqua

The thesis

A copy of the PhD thesis "Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in marine communities. Evidence from large-scale observations and modeling" may be obtained via e-mail. Please send your request to Rikke Hansen,

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