In Toulouse there is solid research network with groups in the areas of the Biology of Organisms, Ecology and Veterinary science and Agronomy sciences (UPS, INRA, INPT, Veterinary School). This touches on a good number of evolving ecological problems linked to an appreciation of the diversity of biological resources. By stimulating interactions and collaborations, this theme has helped to bring together researchers and teaching staff coming from different areas of life sciences (eg genetics and ecology of populations, ecology of communities, theoretical biology, agronomy and animal science) as well as from other scientific disciplines (eg mathematics and physics)
Three major themes are presented that aim to cover conceptual and theoretical objectives and their applications:
1- The origins and evolution of biological resources. This theme deals with the problems relating (i) the evolving process and mechanisms in the diversity of living organisms and (ii) the mechanisms of adaptation and formation of species. An understanding in these fields backs-up research areas such as systematics, evolving biogeography, evolutionary genetics, and molecular evolution.
2- Current dynamics of biodiversity. The emphasis here is on the factors that regulate the evolution of populations and communities, like environmental changes, unstable and long-lasting interactions between species, genetic and demographic factors. An understanding in these fields backs-up research areas such as the ecology of communities and the genetics and ecology of populations.
3- The protection, restoration and management of biological resources. The objectives of the research in the framework of this theme are (i) to test and perfect methods for recording and characterising organisms, populations and communities in order to deepen, enrich and improve biodiversity management strategies and (ii) to evaluate the priorities for the conservation and restoration of genetic resources, habitats and species, in order to better understand the consequence of biodiversity management practices.
The objective of these themes is to give the graduate students a conceptual and experimental mastery of the mechanisms that determine the origin, establishment, the maintenance, the regulation and the evolution of biological diversity within communities. The wide diversity of the research groups involved in this theme as well as the tools and approaches used to understand the dynamics of this biodiversity, should enable the students to be educated in a multidisciplinary spirit. For example the students will have the chance to use the latest mathematical and computational tools to profit from the wealth of information stemming from modern molecular biology. Finally, in parallel with the fundamental aspects of ecology and evolutionary biology, the training will also bring an awareness of how research and initiatives in microbial, plant and animal biodiversity are applied in management, conservation and promotion, in order to help students with their move into the professional world.