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P.M. (Pedro) Mayer Branco MSc

Faculty of Science
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
Photographer: onbekend

Visiting address
  • Science Park 904
Postal address
  • Postbus 94248
    1090 GE Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Profile
    More on IBED

    About

    I am a graduate student carrying out research in the Aquatic Microbiology group at IBED. Broad research interests comprise theoretical ecology, evolution and population dynamics.
    An overview of my project may be found in the subsidiary page, Research at IBED, and details lacking therein can be obtained on demand while unavailablein this website.
    Briefly, ecological stoichiometry and adaptive dynamics will provide the general framework to my doctoral studies. Results shall be applied to plankton communities in an effort to gain further insight about their biodiversity.

  • Research at IBED

    Research Project

    Modelling ocean plankton ecosystems using ecological stoichiometry and adaptive dynamics

    Overview

    Ecological stoichiometry is the study of the nutrient balance among organisms and inorganic nutrient pools. It is therefore a qualitative measure common to both organisms and their environment, and its importance is key to linkthese two ecological entities at multiple scales. There is mounting evidence for the genetic determination of cellular elemental composition, as well as for its implications in the physiology and growth of organisms. Such properties ultimately affect species interactions within an ecosystem, and shape community structure, stability and dynamics. Moreover, stoichiometry may be regarded as a variable quantitative trait; a component of fitness wherefrom diverse phenotypes arise and differentially adapt to selective environmental pressures.
    Adaptive dynamics is an approach to long-term, frequency- and density-dependent selection derived from evolutionary game theory and quantitative genetics. Unlike standard quantitative genetics models, adaptive dynamics has a strong ecological focus and assumptions thereof result in simpler, more tractable mathematical systems. The rationale of adaptive dynamics relies on the interplay between mutation and selection, and inquires about the invasibility of rare mutants arising in resident populations. Of particular interest are evolutionarily singular equilibria, which may allow for stable polymorphisms through evolutionary branching.   
    The merger of ecological stoichiometry and adaptive dynamics in simple  plankton community models is a novel contribution to advance the understanding of ocean ecosystems, namely regarding their high biodiversity. First, stoichiometry will be explicitly implemented in models based on resource competition theory, and ecological conditions will be assessed for species coexistence. Second, rapid evolution shall be addressed in diverse phytoplankton populations facing stoichiometric trade-offs between competitive ability and grazing susceptibility. Third, the adaptive dynamics framework will be applied to account for sympatric speciation following invasion of monomorphic algae populations. Fourth, adaptive radiation will be tested as a mechanism for specialization and consequent relaxation of competition for nutrients, thereby promoting mutualism among specialists.

    Supervision

    This research project is supervised by Prof. Jef Huisman at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), and Prof. Hein de Baar at the University of Groningen (RUG).

    UvA/IBED/Aquatic Microbiology RUG/Ocean Ecosystems

    Timeframe

    October 2006-December 2009

    Funding

    Doctoral grant awarded by the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT)

    Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT)
  • Publications

    2020

    2018

    2010

    • Branco, P., Stomp, M., Egas, M., & Huisman, J. (2010). Evolution of nutrient uptake reveals a trade-off in the ecological stoichiometry of plant-herbivore interactions. American Naturalist, 176(6), E162-E176. https://doi.org/10.1086/657036 [details]

    2008

    • Benincà, E., Huisman, J., Heerkloss, R., Jöhnk, K. D., Branco, P., van Nes, E. H., ... Ellner, S. P. (2008). Chaos in a long-term experiment with a plankton community. Nature, 451(7180), 822-825. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature06512 [details]

    2021

    • Branco, P., Egas, M., Elser, J. J., & Huisman, J. (2021). Correction to: Eco-evolutionary dynamics of ecological stoichiometry in plankton communities” (American Naturalist 192: E1–E20). American Naturalist, 197(4). https://doi.org/10.1086/713285

    2021

    • Mayer Branco, P. M. (2021). Ecological stoichiometry and the evolution of plankton communities. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • CSide
      Data Scientist