Bram Vanschoenwinkel

Bram Vanschoenwinkel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Department of Biology

PhD in Biology
Associate professor at VUB in Brussels, Belgium

About

136
Publications
29,050
Reads
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3,060
Citations
Introduction
Recent work in my research group includes: 1. Connectivity research with different models (plankton, birds, mangroves) 2. Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services research with different ecosystems (temporary ponds, inselbergs, grasslands) 3. Habitat selection research with mosquitoes and cacao pollinators as models 4. Global Change research (responses of aquatic communities to e.g. elevated pCO2, resilience mechanisms)
Additional affiliations
October 2013 - present
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 2010 - October 2013
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • FWO postdoctoral fellowship
November 2009 - October 2010
KU Leuven
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
August 2005 - October 2009
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Biology
October 2003 - June 2005
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Biology
October 2001 - June 2003
KU Leuven
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
Explaining the variance of local communities in a spatial-environmental matrix is one of the core interests of ecology today. Recent progress in metacommunity theory has made a substantial contribution to this field, however good empirical data in support of available theories are still relatively scarce. In this study we sampled a cluster of 36 te...
Article
Disturbance and dispersal are two fundamental ecological processes that shape diversity patterns, yet their interaction and the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood, and evidence from natural systems is particularly lacking. Using an invertebrate rock pool metacommunity in South Africa as a natural model system, we studied potential in...
Article
There has been a proliferation of studies aimed at predicting the distributions of species from environmental variables despite evidence that spatial interpolation or spatially-constrained mechanistic models have comparable explanatory power. Moreover, the processes behind environmental and spatial correlations – and their interactions – remain elu...
Article
Full-text available
Recent work on habitat selection has shown that the perceived quality of habitat patches may depend on the quality of adjacent patches. However, it is still unclear how local habitat selection cues can alter distribution patterns in metacommunities at a larger (regional) scale. We studied mosquito oviposition in pond landscapes that differed in the...
Article
Full-text available
The degree to which the distribution of mangrove forests will be impacted by climate change depends on the dispersal and establishment of sea-faring propagules, which drive forest rejuvenation, gene flow and range expansion. Climate change affects sea surface density via changes in temperature and salinity. However, these changes have not been mapp...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Waterbirds that travel seasonally between Europe and Africa use wetlands along four major Palearctic‐Afrotropical flyways. However, it is unknown to what extent the overall connectivity of these flyways may be threatened by ongoing habitat loss and degradation. Here, we contrasted the wetland connectivity along these four flyways, applying grap...
Article
Full-text available
Dissolved CO 2 levels (pCO 2 ) are increasing in lentic freshwaters across the globe. Recent studies have shown that this will impact the nutritional quality of phytoplankton as primary producers. However, the extent to which freshwater zooplankton may also be directly affected remains unclear. We test this in three model species representative of...
Article
In many areas, the main sources of mosquito vectors are not natural habitats but small artificial water bodies that are provided unintentionally by humans. Such container habitats have been linked to outbreaks of dengue fever and other arboviral diseases. However, in many parts of the world the possible risks associated with container habitats have...
Article
In metacommunity ecology, a major focus has been on combining observational and analytical approaches to identify the role of critical assembly processes, such as dispersal limitation and environmental filtering, this work has largely ignored temporal community dynamics. Here, we develop a ‘virtual ecologist’ approach to evaluate assembly processes...
Preprint
Dissolved CO 2 levels (pCO 2 ) are increasing in lentic freshwaters across the globe. Recent studies have shown that this will impact the nutritional quality of phytoplankton as primary producers, however, the extent to which freshwater zooplankton may also be directly affected remains unclear. We test this in three model species representative of...
Chapter
Most large branchiopods inhabit endorheic waters that are of a temporary nature, atypical for the wet tropics but common in (semi)arid regions. Due to their ancient history and conserved morphology, they are often referred to as “living fossils.” Adapted to cope with intermittent droughts, large branchiopods produce long lived resting eggs that acc...
Article
Context. Previous research has shown the presence of an endangered humpback whale population breeding off the Pacific coast of Central America. However, little is known about the density, size, social-group structure and spatial habitat use of this subpopulation. Aim. The study goal was to characterise a potential breeding subpopulation of humpback...
Article
Full-text available
Our current, empirical understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function is based on two information sources. First, controlled experiments which show generally positive relationships. Second, observational field data which show variable relationships. This latter source coupled with a lack of observed declines in local...
Article
Full-text available
Background Chemical communication is an important aspect of the behavioural ecology of a wide range of mammals. In dogs and other carnivores, anal sac glands are thought to convey information to conspecifics by secreting a pallet of small volatile molecules produced by symbiotic bacteria. Because these glands are unique to carnivores, it is unclear...
Article
Pesticides are crucial to improve agricultural productivity, but often adversely affect surrounding aquatic systems and their fauna. To determine the environmental risk of pesticides, routine ecotoxicological tests are performed on several organisms, including standard fish models. However, these typically do not include fish species from variable...
Article
Full-text available
Recent evidence suggests predators may change colonization rates of prey in nearby predator-free patches as an example of context-dependent habitat selection. Such remote predator effects can be positive when colonizers are redirected to nearby patches (habitat compression), or negative when nearby patches are avoided (risk contagion). However, it...
Article
Full-text available
• In many biomes, a variety of different small freshwater habitats, such as pools and phytotelmata can occur together in the same habitat matrix. However, both the biodiversity and the functioning of these ecosystems remain poorly known. • Three freshwater habitat types in a tropical West African biodiversity hotspot were studied. • The study demon...
Article
Environmental change jeopardizes the survival of species from variable environments by making the occurrence of favorable conditions less predictable. For organisms with long‐lived propagules (e.g. spores, eggs or seeds), the theory of diversified bet hedging (DBH) predicts that delayed hatching over different growing seasons can help populations a...
Article
Mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit are a global public health threat that affects most human populations. Mosquito abundances are strongly linked to the number of suitable larval habitats available. However, it is still not well understood how different land uses impact larval habitat quality in different parts of the world. We investigated...
Poster
Full-text available
The occurrence of the amphibious plant Elatine gussonei in Mediterranean temporary ponds is patchy and has a strong stochastic component. It is however as yet unknown what affects the presence of E. gussonei in such temporary freshwater rockpools (TFRs). The range of conditions within which it survives and reproduces has also not yet been fully cha...
Preprint
Full-text available
Metacommunity ecology has focused on using observational and analytical approaches to disentangle the role of critical assembly processes, such as dispersal limitation and environmental filtering. Many methods have been proposed for this purpose, most notably multivariate analyses of species abundance and its association with variation in spatial a...
Article
Full-text available
Granite and/or gneiss inselbergs are excellent examples of geomorphologic stable island habitats, considered as Old, Climatically Buffered, Infertile Landscapes (OCBILs). However, contrary to oceanic islands, their underlying drivers of diversity patterns remain to be investigated. Here, we studied 24 inselbergs in south-eastern Brazil, aiming to u...
Article
Full-text available
In the past decade, unoccupied aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) have emerged as powerful tools for ecologists, and the quality and diversity of information they can reconstruct is increasing. Rocky outcrops or inselbergs are complex three-dimensional (3D) ecosystems with several spatial microhabitats that are difficult to characterize using ground-...
Article
It is typically assumed that for species to persist in working landscapes, they must either persist alongside agricultural pressures (i.e. land-sharing) or become restricted to remnant patches of natural habitat (i.e land-sparing). However, a third possibility is that species survive in stable ecological refuges that then supply the surrounding mat...
Article
Full-text available
The metacommunity concept has the potential to integrate local and regional dynamics within a general community ecology framework. To this end, the concept must move beyond the discrete archetypes that have largely defined it (e.g. neutral vs. species sorting) and better incorporate local scale species interactions and coexistence mechanisms. Here,...
Article
Full-text available
In many aquatic plant taxa, classification based on morphology has always been difficult. Molecular markers revealed that the complexity in several of these aquatic taxa could be addressed to recurrent hybridization events and cryptic species diversity. The submerged macrophyte genus Ruppia is one of these aquatic genera with a complex taxonomy due...
Article
Population growth and economic development have resulted in increased water demands, threatening freshwater resources. In riverine ecosystems, continuous monitoring of the river quality is needed to follow up on their ecological condition in the light of water pollution and habitat degradation. However, in many parts of the world, such monitoring i...
Article
1.Recent findings suggest that the colonization of habitat patches may be affected by the quality of surrounding patches. For instance, patches that lack predators may be avoided when located near others with predators, a pattern known as risk contagion. Alternatively, predator avoidance might also redirect dispersal towards nearby predator‐free pa...
Article
• Assessing the quality of wetlands as refuelling areas for migrating waterbirds based on resource distribution patterns is challenging. Resources in wetlands can vary both horizontally and vertically and may be differentially available to different bird species at different times of the year. Therefore, the extent to which wetland quality can be g...
Article
Full-text available
Most temporary pond zooplankton species produce drought-resistant eggs that accumulate in the sediment and form an egg bank. When a pond dries and the egg bank is exposed, wind erodes eggs and wind action has been suggested as an important determinant of population demographics. While field observations suggest that egg bank erosion may be highest...
Preprint
Full-text available
The metacommunity concept has the potential to integrate local and regional dynamics within a general community ecology framework. To this end, the concept must move beyond the discrete archetypes that have largely defined it (e.g. neutral vs. species sorting) and better incorporate local scale species interactions and coexistence mechanisms. Here,...
Article
Understanding the influence of land-use activities on river quality has been a key focus of river monitoring programs worldwide. However, defining which land-use spatial scale is relevant remains elusive. In this study, therefore, we contrasted the influence of land use on river quality using three types of land-use estimators, namely circular buff...
Article
Full-text available
Many organisms that live in inland standing waters produce dormant life stages that can accumulate in propagule banks to survive temporarily unfavourable periods. These egg banks have important effects on the ecology of populations and communities in terms of phenology, population densities, the probability of extinction, species diversity and habi...
Article
Full-text available
In the tropics, limestone caves in karstic areas are known for their unique biodiversity. However, many caves remain unstudied and little is known about underlying gradients that determine diversity and biomass in aquatic microhabitats. Here, we sampled zooplankton and benthos in a set of 12 aquatic caves, locally called closed cenotes in Yucatán,...
Article
Full-text available
1. Intense anthropogenic disturbance threatens temporary pond ecosystems and their associated fauna across the Palearctic. Since fairy shrimps (Crustacea, Branchiopoda) are endemic to temporary ponds, populations are declining due to habitat loss and it is important to define adequate units for conservation. 2. Phylogeographic reconstructions, base...
Article
Dispersal allows species to shift their distributions in response to changing climate conditions. As a result, dispersal is considered a key process contributing to a species' long‐term persistence. For many passive dispersers, fluid dynamics of wind and water fuel these movements and different species have developed remarkable adaptations for util...
Article
Full-text available
Bromeliads are common plants in the Neotropics. Being epiphytic, they are often incorrectly considered as parasites and removed from agroforestry systems. However, their water-filled leaf axils provide habitats for a diverse group of aquatic organisms, potentially including cacao pollinating dipterans which could be beneficial to local farmers. Thu...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological communities change across spatial and environmental gradients due to (i) changes in species composition, (ii) changes in the frequency or strength of interactions or (iii) changes in the presence of the interactions. Here we use the communities of aquatic invertebrates inhabiting clusters of bromeliad phytotelms along the Brazilian coast...
Data
Other analyses. All of the adonis, regression and permutation output are included here. This file contains Tables C-E and Figs E-I. (PDF)
Data
Validation of markov network method. We validated the method by confirming it gave the same results as known interaction strengths and could predict trophic interaction strengths in simple bromeliad food webs. We took two different approaches to this confirmation. First, we ran the Markov network analysis on a three species module from Costa Rica w...
Data
Partitioning beta diversity. We partitioned beta diversity using Baselga’s (2009) method. In this supplementary file we show the equations used to partition beta diversity. (PDF)
Data
Environmental variation between sites. For every bromeliad, we measured a suite of environmental variables to assess the amount and quality of habitat available to the invertebrates. Then we tested for differences between sites in the bromeliad-level environmental variables. We also obtained precipitation data for every site. This file contains Tab...
Article
Full-text available
While escape responses are shown to differ in areas with varying levels of human disturbance, it is not known to what extent these reactions depend on the composition of local species assemblages. We investigated variation in three flight response metrics for the invasive Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) in Belgium in three locations with different...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecological networks change across spatial and environmental gradients due to (i) changes in species composition or (ii) changes in the frequency or strength of interactions. Here we use the communities of aquatic invertebrates inhabiting clusters of bromeliad phytotelms along the Brazilian coast as a model system for examining turnover in the prope...
Article
Full-text available
Both constitutive and inducible antipredator strategies are ubiquitous in nature and serve to maximize fitness under a predation threat. Inducible strategies may be favored over constitutive defenses depending on their relative cost and benefit and temporal variability in predator presence. In African temporary ponds, annual killifish of the genus...
Article
Full-text available
Many organisms are transported passively and make use of the energy of natural phenomena or other organisms to disperse. However, not all species are equally likely to disperse over long distances. In mangroves, which possess seafaring propagules, it is largely unknown which species are more likely to reach the ocean and contribute to long-distance...
Article
Full-text available
Statistical predictions of the impact of climate change on biodiversity assume that the environmental and spatial characteristics of contemporary species’ distributions reflect the conditions needed for their continued and prolonged existence. Here we explore this assumption by testing whether a species’ threatened status is associated with the amo...
Article
Full-text available
Higher temperatures and increased environmental variability under climate change could jeopardize the persistence of species. Organisms that rely on short windows of rainfall to complete their life-cycles, like desert annual plants or temporary pool animals, may be particularly at risk. Although some could tolerate environmental changes by building...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, moss associated invertebrates remain poorly studied and it is largely unknown to what extent their diversity is driven by local environmental conditions or the landscape context. Here, we investigated small scale drivers of invertebrate communities in a moss landscape in a temperate forest in Western Europe. By comparing replicate quadrat...
Article
Full-text available
In temporally variable environments producing offspring with variable phenotypes can help parents to buffer against different future environmental conditions. Freshwater zooplankton can produce clutches with eggs of different sizes, but it remains unknown whether such variable offspring provisioning could be promoted by uncertainty in the quality o...
Article
To assess whether the annual killifish Nothobranchius wattersi responds plastically to a desiccation risk and whether this response is life stage dependent, life-history traits such as maturation time, fecundity and life span were experimentally measured in N. wattersi that were subjected to a drop in water level either as juveniles, as adults or b...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change does affect not only average rainfall and temperature but also their variation, which can reduce the predictability of suitable conditions for growth and reproduction. This situation is problematic for inhabitants of temporary waters whose reproductive success depends on rainfall and evaporation that determine the length of the aquat...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence has accumulated that colonization of new habitats by aquatic insects is often selective rather than random. However, it is still unclear how habitat selection changes during a colonization sequence. We studied colonization of adult aquatic beetle and bug communities in cattle tanks exposed to fish predation or predation risk repeatedly ove...
Data
Appendix S6. The data and R‐code to replicate this study.