I am a PhD student at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) since March 2021 (supervisors: Bruno Danis and Isabelle George).
Globally, my research aims to understand if and how an opportunist Antarctic species can acclimate to environmental and feeding changes, in a context of climate change. It consists of investigating the trophic plasticity of an Antarctic sea urchin, Sterechinus neumayeri, as well as its gut microbiome variability, in contrasted habitats and environments of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). To assess the trophic plasticity and the microbiome compositional and functional variability, a combination of stable isotopes and metabarcoding analyses will be performed on S. neumayeri food pellets (i.e. mucus-enrobed food presenting associated microbial communities). Samples of this sea urchin will be collected during two Antarctic expeditions, in Southern WAP (TANGO1, 2023) and in the Northern WAP (TANGO2, 2024)
Title of the thesis: “Trophic plasticity and gut microbiome variability under climate change context: a case study of a Southern Ocean sea urchin species”
Antarctica; Gut microbiome; Sea urchins; Metabarcoding; Stable isotopes
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