Joint Call CESAB - sDiv SYNERGY: Coexistence and stability high-diversity communities

CESAB is the synthesis centers of the French FRB (Foundation for Research on Biodiversity).

The 2019 joint CESAB / sDiv call on “synergy” funded 2 theory driven groups of 5-7 researchers (4 meetings per group) that will share their meetings between the two centers.

UNICOP - Unification of modern Coexistence theory and Price equation


DUTHIE, A. Bradley, Biological and Environmental Sciences - University of Stirling
LION, Sébastien, CEFE - CNRS - Montpellier, France


Modern coexistence theory provides a unifying framework in ecology for understanding how species interact and coexist. Nevertheless, predicting how species abundances change over time for communities of numerous co-evolving species remains largely intractable. Recent efforts to understand eco-evolutionary change in these communities has been highly successful through the synthesis of ecological and evolutionary models, but complete theoretical unification remains unachieved. This project will adopt a different approach. Rather than synthesising disparate models, it will build new theory from shared fundamental ecological and evolutionary principles. Deductive inference will then be used to derive fundamental unifying equations of eco-evolutionary dynamics. This project will thereby lead to new unifying equations and re-derive existing fundamental equations from first principles. It will seek general truths concerning how shared processes shape the evolution and coexistence of biodiverse communities, and attempt to bridge gaps that currently exist among parallel theoretical frameworks.


A. Bradley Duthie– University of Stirling (Great-Britain) ; Sébastien Lion– CEFE CNRS Montpellier (France) ; Lynn Govaert– University of Zurich (Switzerland); Florence Débarre – CNRS (France) ; Victor Luque– UNED (Spain) ; Swati Patel– Tulane University (USA)

INTRACO - Unravelling the role of intraspecific variability in tree specied coexsistence in tropical forest

First meeting: 16.-20.05.2022

Ghislain Vielledent
Isabelle Marechaux

Hundreds of tree species can coexist within a single hectare of tropical forest. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how so many species can stably coexist while competing for a limited number of resources (mainly light, water, and nutrients). Among these mechanisms, the role of intraspecific variability (IV), which is large in tree communities, has only been recently considered. Studies that have so far explored the effect of IV on species coexistence focused on species-poor systems, used disparate approaches, and reached contrasting results. IV can result from genetic variability and could make species less different, hindering their stable coexistence. A different view is that observed IV is primarily the result of fine-scale environmental variability and could reveal differences among species on unobserved dimensions, promoting species coexistence. Our project proposes to provide a clear synthesis of the effect of IV on species coexistence in hyperdiverse communities combining literature review, empirical data-set analyses, and both theoretical and data-based models. Our results will help understand and predict changes in biodiversity in a global change context.

Ghislain Vielledent - CIRAD (France) ; Isabelle Marechaux– INRAE (France); Adam T.  Clark – iDiv (Germany); James S.  Clark – Duke University (USA) / INRAE (France); Benoit Courbaud– INRAE (France); Camille GIRARD-TERCIEUX – CNRS (France);  Nadja Rüger– iDiv (Germany)


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