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Gradual_Change SIGNED

Gradual and abrupt environmental change: connecting physiology, evolution and community composition

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "Gradual_Change" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: BERLIN
postcode: 14195

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Germany [DE]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙390˙598 €
 EC max contribution 2˙390˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-10-01   to  2021-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    FREIE UNIVERSITAET BERLIN DE (BERLIN) coordinator 2˙390˙598.00


 Project objective

A major goal in ecology is to predict how environmental changes, including drivers of global change, affect communities and ecosystem functioning, with society demanding answers to these pressing questions. A key limitation of virtually all experimental approaches addressing such questions is that treatments are delivered abruptly, while many changes occurring in nature are gradual. Here I propose to comprehensively study consequences of environmental change when delivered abruptly vs. gradually. In order to understand and model effects of gradual vs. abrupt changes, we need to simultaneously consider physiological effects (e.g. acclimation), evolutionary changes (e.g. adaptation) and changes in community composition and functioning. Even though changes at these levels likely interact, there is no study in which physiology, evolutionary changes and community shifts have been studied in response to a changing environmental factor. This research program thus enters unchartered territory of empirical environmental research in proposing work at this nexus of physiology, environmental change and community composition/ function. I focus on soil fungi, key players in terrestrial ecosystems, testing a range of gradually vs. abruptly changing environmental factors, in a range of soils, in the field and in microcosms. We connect differential responses to species traits, apply modeling and employ data syntheses across all biomes and organisms to achieve high external validity. We carry out a set of core experiments that will afford unprecedented insight into the nature of change in a community context in response to warming, focusing on soil fungi. In these we follow evolutionary change (phenotype and genotype), test physiological shifts by re-isolation of fungi and monitor community changes. This work will have transformative character in providing not only new mechanistic insights into effects of environmental change, but will also represent a step change in fungal ecology.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Anika Lehmann, Masahiro Ryo, Joana Bergmann
Shaping Up: Toward Considering the Shape and Form of Pollutants
published pages: 7925-7926, ISSN: 0013-936X, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b03520
Environmental Science & Technology 53/14 2019-10-07
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Karine Bonneval, Johannes Lehmann
Sounds of Soil: A New World of Interactions under Our Feet?
published pages: 45, ISSN: 2571-8789, DOI: 10.3390/soilsystems3030045
Soil Systems 3/3 2019-10-07
2019 Yun Liang, Anika Lehmann, Max-Bernhard Ballhausen, Ludo Muller, Matthias C. Rillig
Increasing Temperature and Microplastic Fibers Jointly Influence Soil Aggregation by Saprobic Fungi
published pages: , ISSN: 1664-302X, DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02018
Frontiers in Microbiology 10 2019-10-07
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Janis Antonovics
Microbial biospherics: The experimental study of ecosystem function and evolution
published pages: 201904326, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1904326116
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019-06-06
2019 Anika Lehmann, Katharina Fitschen, Matthias Rillig
Abiotic and Biotic Factors Influencing the Effect of Microplastic on Soil Aggregation
published pages: 21, ISSN: 2571-8789, DOI: 10.3390/soilsystems3010021
Soil Systems 3/1 2019-06-06
2018 Matthias C. Rillig
Microplastic Disguising As Soil Carbon Storage
published pages: 6079-6080, ISSN: 0013-936X, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02338
Environmental Science & Technology 52/11 2019-06-06
2019 Anderson Abel de Souza Machado, Chung W. Lau, Werner Kloas, Joana Bergmann, Julien B. Bachelier, Erik Faltin, Roland Becker, Anna S. Görlich, Matthias C. Rillig
Microplastics Can Change Soil Properties and Affect Plant Performance
published pages: , ISSN: 0013-936X, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b01339
Environmental Science & Technology 2019-06-06
2018 Anderson Abel de Souza Machado, Chung Wai Lau, Jennifer Till, Werner Kloas, Anika Lehmann, Roland Becker, Matthias C. Rillig
Impacts of Microplastics on the Soil Biophysical Environment
published pages: 9656-9665, ISSN: 0013-936X, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b02212
Environmental Science & Technology 52/17 2019-06-06
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Anderson Abel de Souza Machado, Anika Lehmann, Uli Klümper
Evolutionary implications of microplastics for soil biota
published pages: 3, ISSN: 1448-2517, DOI: 10.1071/en18118
Environmental Chemistry 16/1 2019-06-06
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Anika Lehmann
Exploring the agricultural parameter space for crop yield and sustainability
published pages: , ISSN: 0028-646X, DOI: 10.1111/nph.15744
New Phytologist 2019-06-06
2019 Masahiro Ryo, Carlos A. Aguilar-Trigueros, Liliana Pinek, Ludo A.H. Muller, Matthias C. Rillig
Basic Principles of Temporal Dynamics
published pages: , ISSN: 0169-5347, DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2019.03.007
Trends in Ecology & Evolution 2019-06-06
2019 Matthias C. Rillig, Anika Lehmann, A. Abel Souza Machado, Gaowen Yang
Microplastic effects on plants
published pages: , ISSN: 0028-646X, DOI: 10.1111/nph.15794
New Phytologist 2019-06-06
2018 Nico Eisenhauer, Jes Hines, Forest Isbell, Fons van der Plas, Sarah E Hobbie, Clare E Kazanski, Anika Lehmann, Mengyun Liu, Alfred Lochner, Matthias C Rillig, Anja Vogel, Kally Worm, Peter B Reich
Plant diversity maintains multiple soil functions in future environments
published pages: , ISSN: 2050-084X, DOI: 10.7554/elife.41228
eLife 7 2019-06-06
2018 Michael McTee, Lorinda Bullington, Matthias C Rillig, Philip W Ramsey
Do soil bacterial communities respond differently to abrupt or gradual additions of copper?
published pages: , ISSN: 1574-6941, DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiy212
FEMS Microbiology Ecology 95/1 2019-06-06
2018 Matthias C. Rillig, Michael Bonkowski
Microplastic and soil protists: A call for research
published pages: 1128-1131, ISSN: 0269-7491, DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.04.147
Environmental Pollution 241 2019-06-06
2018 Jeff R. Powell, Matthias C. Rillig
Biodiversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and ecosystem function
published pages: 1059-1075, ISSN: 0028-646X, DOI: 10.1111/nph.15119
New Phytologist 220/4 2019-06-06

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