Alexandra Engler

Concordia University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Pedro Peres-Neto
Dylan Fraser
Start: 2019-09-03


The underlying mechanism of the co-existence of lake fishes
My PhD project aims at uncovering the processes underlying fish coexistence in Canadian lakes. The purpose is to link species distributional patterns to their environments and attributes. My main approach will be to establish the links between species distributions, variation in species (traits, evolutionary history, life-history and physiology) and environmental characteristics of lakes, to understand and predict patterns of species co-occurrence and biomass distribution. Several approaches may be used, and among them, functional trait analyses will serve as a central approach to understand the role of the different species play in their lakes, and to establish how the different quantitative traits change as a function of different Canadian environmental gradients, including local lake conditions and climate. In addition to generating knowledge about species coexistence, my research will allow to generate predictive models for lake-fish services. There is much need to establish the links between different dimensions of biodiversity (for example, species richness, functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity) and ecosystem services, such as fish distribution and their biomasses that are important to human societies. Because aquatic ecosystems are widely recognized for providing many features valued by humans, including fisheries and cultural values, the proposed research also aims at generating scientific knowledge to improve conservation and management strategies for lake-fishes in Canada


Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, functional ecology, Biodiversity Conservation