Dr Isabel Smallegange was awarded the MEERVOUD grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The MEERVOUD programme aims to increase the number of female researchers in the position of assistant-professor in the field of Earth and Life Sciences and Exact Science in The Netherlands.
Smallegange received the grant for her research on the effects of future climate change on plant and animal populations. Biologists still lack a model that can precisely answer the question of what these effects will be. Smallegange’s research will address the development of a mechanistic theory that can accurately predict the ecological and evolutionary consequences of environmental change on populations. The theory will focus on the energy budgets of individuals as the dynamics of populations are primarily driven by the energy available to those individual to necessitate survival, growth and reproduction. To test her theory, Smallegange will conduct laboratory and field experiments at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) using two mite species that differ in their pace of life (‘life history speed’).