Ecology of marine benthic ecosystems
Mathieu Cusson, Ph.D.
Research field (Français)
My research interests deal with the understanding of various mechanisms that shape biodiversity and its impact on ecosystem functioning. My research aims to evaluate how species and their abundance within the community contribute to the functioning of the whole assemblage. The long term objectives are to i) look at the spatial distribution of biodiversity and identify the controlling environmental and biotic variables; ii) link diversity and function within communities; iii) determine the role of keystone species in maintaining community functions, and iv) predict human impacts on ecosystems. To answer these questions, I use benthic intertidal habitats having high species diversity and a number of functional traits. In these relatively accessible habitats, population recruitment and dynamics are fast (<1 yr), experimental manipulation of the communities is not complex, and abiotic variables are easy to measure. I favour the collection of field data within an observational and experimental design. My research involves analyses at a very large scale (macro-ecology and meta-analysis) as well as within theoretical concepts such as energy flux at both population and community levels.