BGC Member Spotlight: Aurore Maureaud

Background: Aurore studied fisheries science in France before conducting her PhD at the Centre for Ocean Life at the Technical University of Denmark. Her PhD focused on the relationship between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. To test the existence of these relationships, she combined multiple scientific surveys to test the links between different components of fish biodiversity and biomass with a spatially resolved structural equation model.

Her results, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, showed that contrary to many other studies, the number of species at a site does not necessarily influence ecosystem functioning. Rather, the dominance of marine fish – often overlooked – determines the level of biomass in marine communities. These findings were then generalized with a theoretical trait-based model, demonstrating the importance of dominance in driving ecosystem functions in food webs.

Aurore wants to understand macroecological patterns and mechanisms structuring ecosystems under global change. What did the ocean say to Aurore? Nothing, it just waved!

Research: Aurore’s research combines empirical and theoretical methods to develop a better understanding of marine biodiversity and the ecosystem functions it supports.

A key feature of Aurore’s research is to combine large data sets, enhancing international scientific cooperation, and the study of biodiversity under global change in the oceans

To develop macroecological understanding of marine communities in the context of global change, Aurore is part of a project named FISHGLOB, involving a team of international researchers that study changes of fish taxonomic and functional biodiversity under global change from tropical to arctic ecosystems. In particular, Aurore led a global consortium of 75 researchers evaluating the existence and availability of trawl surveys worldwide, highlighting the importance of publishing and sharing these data for studying species under global change, and their management. These results are published in Global Change Biology.

At the BGC Center: As a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale and BGC, Aurore’s research now focuses on global biodiversity of marine taxa, including fish and macroinvertebrates. She is part of the taxon expert group and is responsible for compiling up-to-date taxonomies and occurrence data to model the ranges of marine species. She is particularly interested in evaluating the potential for species distribution models to inform our understanding of the occurrence of both data-poor and data-rich species, and how this influences macroecological patterns, estimations of species ranges and biodiversity metrics, which are essential variables for marine conservation