EBA’s key areas of marine, terrestrial and freshwater research will be addressed through five Work Packages, each with defined sub-themes:
Work Package 1: Evolutionary history of Antarctic organisms
- Vicariance and Radiations: When did the key radiations of Antarctic taxa take place?
- Impact of glaciation on land (habitat modification/loss and timing and extent of isolation), and at sea (evolutionary links between continental shelf and slope or deep-sea species);
- Phylogeography: geographical structure and relationships in the Antarctic biome;
- Evolutionary history of Antarctic micro-organisms (both prokaryotic and eukaryotic).
Work Package 2: Evolutionary adaptation to the Antarctic environment
- Limits to organism performance: adaptation to the Antarctic environment constraining physiological performance;
- Physiological and genomic adaptations that allow organisms to survive in the Antarctic: the extent to which these are special to the Antarctic or simply variants of more general adaptations exhibited by organisms elsewhere;
- Ability of Antarctic organisms to cope with daily, seasonal and longer-term environmental changes;
- Behavioural and morpho-functional adaptations;
- Adaptation and plasticity (genotype and phenotype).
Work Package 3: Patterns of gene flow and consequences for population dynamics: Isolation as a driving force
- Population structure and dynamics in the context of evolutionary biology;
- Natural and anthropogenic dispersal processes: immigration and emigration of organisms; intra-Antarctic dispersal; the role of advective/transport processes in gene flow and population structure;
- Genetic structure of populations: differences among and between Antarctic and non-Antarctic populations;
- The extent to which populations of Antarctic organisms exist as metapopulations.
Work Package 4: Patterns and diversity of organisms, ecosystems and habitats in the Antarctic, and controlling processes
- Spatial and temporal variations in diversity: variation of diversity at different spatial scales within the Antarctic and within defined time frames;
- Response to latitudinal and environmental gradients: local, regional and global;
- Radiations: history of key evolutionary radiations in the Antarctic;
- Unknown areas: patterns of diversity and biotic composition of unexplored but important areas (e.g. deep sea, inland nunataks, subglacial lakes).
Work Package 5: Impact of past, current and predicted future environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem function
- Interactions between introduced and indigenous species in selected environments under climate change;
- Effect of abiotic change on biota;
- Modelling interactions between environmental change and organism responses in order to predict biotic change;
- Impact of biological feedback on climate.
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