Michel LoreauCentre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, Station d'Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS, Moulis, France F1000 Section Head (since 20 October 2004)
Director, Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, The Station d'Ecologie Experimentale in Moulis, France
Full Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Ecology at McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
PhD from the Free University of Brussels (ULB, Belgium)
• The International Ecology Institute Prize
• The Silver Medal of the National Centre for Scientific Research (France)
• The Agathon De Potter and Max Poll Prizes of the Royal Academy of Belgium.
• Finalist, with the BIODEPTH project, of the Descartes Prize of the European Union
• PLoS Biology
• He is a member of the advisory board of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
• Ecology Letters
• The American Naturalist
• Ecological Monographs
He has served on numerous scientific committees, including:
• Chair, The Scientific Committee of DIVERSITAS, the international programme of biodiversity science
• Chair, The International Steering Committee of the consultative process towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB)
• Chair, The Steering Committee of the European Science Foundation programme Linking Community and Ecosystem Ecology (LINKECOL)
• Chair, The Scientific Committee of the International Conference Biodiversity Science and Governance organised by France under the high patronage of Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, and Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO
He is the author of over 200 scientific publications in the fields of theoretical ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, population ecology, and evolutionary ecology. His current research aims to make a theoretical synthesis between the so far widely separated fields of ecosystem functioning, community organisation, and evolution of species. He views theory as a powerful tool to generate, clarify and generalise new concepts and hypotheses. Accordingly, he attaches great importance to a tight interaction between the mathematical models he develops and empirical or experimental work on a wide range of systems, both terrestrial and aquatic, and in both the field and the laboratory.
His main research theme focuses on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This topic has experienced a spectacular growth in recent years at the international level, a growth to which he has contributed very actively through both his scientific work and his responsibilities in major international programmes and initiatives. He has also contributed to the development of the theory of metacommunity and meta-ecosystem dynamics, which allows him to address the spatial dimension of biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and the relationship that links them.
Merging evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology is another key objective of his work. He is developing new theoretical approaches and models that explore the evolutionary emergence of entire food webs and ecosystems, and the reciprocal constraints that ecosystem functioning and evolution of species exert on each other. In this context, he has a keen interest in the ecological and evolutionary role of material cycles as circular causal pathways that transmit indirect effects to all ecosystem components (ecology and evolution of indirect mutualism generated by nutrient cycling between plants and herbivores or decomposers, effects of the coupling of several biogeochemical cycles on the functioning and stability of ecosystems).
Michel Loreau also devotes his activities to promoting the coordination of research efforts and the link between science and policy in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem services internationally. He played a key part in this domain by initiating and then chairing the LINKECOL European Science Foundation programme, by restructuring and then chairing the DIVERSITAS international programme, and by chairing the consultative process towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB).
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