Bart Haegeman

Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling
Station d’Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS
09200 Moulis, France


Research interests

A large part of classical ecological theory is built on the hypothesis that ecological systems are spatially homogeneous. However, natural ecosystems are characterized by a complex and heterogeneous spatial structure. A major challenge of ecology is to develop a better theoretical framework to take into account this spatial complexity. I try to contribute to this challenge by leveraging my background as a theoretical physicist.

Metacommunity theory extends non-spatial ecological theory by considering a set of local communities in a fragmented habitat. Currently I am trying to integrate trophic complexity into metacommunity theory. I am interested in understanding how dispersal of preys and predators affects the structure (e.g., diversity) and the functioning (e.g., stability) of the local communities and of the metacommunity as a whole. This type of work could provide a theoretical framework for the management of ecosystem services in a spatial context.

I am also developing tools to confront predictions of metacommunity models to empirical data. In this context I am attracted by the elegance of models assuming species neutrality. These models are particularly promising to describe highly diverse bacterial communities. These communities can now be studied with an unprecedented level of detail using powerful sequencing techniques. However, a theoretical framework to interpret these massive amounts of sequencing data is still lacking. This line of research aims to contribute to fill this gap.


A list of my publications can be found here.