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Person in charge of the Unit : Oui
Bioecology of marine benthic invertebrates, especially echinoderms : aquaculture, biodiversity, biomineralization, development, ecotoxicology, general biology, nutrition, reproduction, symbioses. The marine biology unit of the ULB is closely associated to its equivalent of the Mons-Hainaut University within the ''Centre Interuniversitaire de Biologie Marine'' (CIBIM)
The increase of athmospheric CO2 concentration induce both a warning and a acidification of oceans and is linked with a higher occurrence of strong waves and severe storms. The goal of our research is to determine the effect of these increase on (1) the development and growth of animal individuals, (2) their physiology, in particular the acid-base balance and skeletal formation, (3) the biotic interractions framing littoral ecosysytems, and (4) the distribution of organisms, in particular in the southern Ocean.
Echinoderms build a mineralized endoskeleton which maintains their global shape, offers protection and is involved in food gathering (Aristotles lantern of sea-urchins). This skeleton is made of high-magnesium calcite whose properties strongly differ from abiotic equivalents. The goal of the research is (1) to understand the biological mechanisms which control the formation of the skeleton and the setting-up of its properties; (2) to determine the environmental effects on skeletogenesis both on the functional point of view (e.g. the reinforcement linked to hydrodynamism) and on the chemical point of view (is the skeleton composition modified according to environmental conditions and, consequently, can the skeleton be used as recorder of these conditions?).