Work Package 2: Ecosystem Functioning and Service
WP 2 aims at elucidating the mechanisms of the emergence or disappearance of degrading activity of chemicals at the ecosystem level. It is based on the hypothesis that the fate of a given chemical is crucially influenced by ecosystem properties; in particular the catabolic inventory as the base of the capability of natural microbial communities to drive natural attenuation processes. Description of work: WP 2 analyses the dynamic and complex ecological interplay of the bio-catalytic, geo-physical and chemical conditions governing reactivity of a chemical in an environmental compartment from the single cell to the ecosystem level. It makes use of diverse modelling approaches to investigate the dynamics of chemicals and the functional resilience of biodegradation in response to their availability at different spatial and temporal scales. Results in silico will be coupled with laboratory experiments for comparison of resulting dynamics and model parameterisation. Such knowledge is required to understand the relationships between the spatial structure and plasticity of microbial communities and their functional resilience for contaminant degradation in natural and engineered ecosystems.
Model of WP 2
Chemicals' molecular properties (as derived in WP 1) are put into the context of laboratory, technical and field ecosystems (inner orange circle). Various observational methods (green segments) and modelling approaches (grey segments) are applied and combined to analyse these ecosystems, with strong references to ecological theory (outer orange circle). Results serve as input for WP 3.