What is the MacLIFE international lab ?

MacLIFE stands for “MAnagement and CLimate Impacts on Freshwater Ecosystems”. It is a joint research initiative between three labs in Spain, California and France. These labs, and their staff, share their resources, facilities, and ideas to make some decisive progress in our understanding of the structure and functioning of freshwater ecosystems in a rapidly changing climate, and under various anthropogenic stresses. We know that Climate Change has large, multiple and pervasive effects on many elements of our biosphere.

This map displays the cumulative number of climate hazards by 2100 under business as usual scenario. By Mora et al. 2018. Interactive maps are available at this location.

River ecosystems are usually the receptacle of these effects and also concentrate many other stresses directly generated by local human activities. They are indeed a geomorphological component of all our landscapes, and they connect mountains to estuaries and oceans. But these ecosystems, when in good health, also provide mankind with multiple services, such as clean water supply, food supply, bio-filtering, carbon sequestration, and in general, biodiversity maintenance.

These key elements and functions of biodiversity are at stake under the duress of climate change, through major changes in rainfall patterns, aggravated by our own uses of water and resources. And each country, region, will endure distinct effects of climate change. But each country, region, also manages these ecosystems differently. So how will these ecosystems, their functions, the communities they host, react to those cocktails of factors ? To tackle this question, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour as well as INRAE decided to create a seamless international lab, to bolster academic and action research.

The three labs will share their skills, talents, facilities and equipment, to study the impacts of climate change and freshwater ecosystems management in contrasted bioclimatic regions, such as the Mediterranean, Atlantic and sub-Antarctic areas.

The bioclimatic regions we target.

We will investigate how each level of biodiversity is affected, but also what are the interaction and the feedbacks between these levels, from the gene to the ecosystem. We will also devote a specific attention to spatial and temporal scales, in order to distinguish between local and regional impacts, buffering and portfolio effects, functional, ecological and evolutionary changes.

An integrative approach, from gene to ecosystems, on a wide spatio-temporal continuum.

This initiative has started in June 2021, approved by our institutes and universities.

The online meeting held in June 2021, with the support of our institutions and funders.

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