Marine biologist Anna-Maria Vafeiadou was awarded the Paul Van Oye price

(21-01-2020) Every 2 years the Royal Belgian Academy of Sciences and Arts (KVAB) in Brussels awards innovative research on general biology in Flanders.

How can species live together?

The focus of Anna-Maria’s research is investigating how species can live together. According to the classical ecological theory of coexistence, two functionally similar species cannot coexist due to their strong competition; one will outcompete the other.

She studied environmental conditions, resource utilisation and microhabitat partitioning as possible drivers of niche differentiation. Niche differentiation is the principal driver of species coexistence, as competing species with similar ecological functions can diversify their ecological niche so that the smaller their niche overlap is, the more stabilising is their niche partitioning.

Ecologiscal research

She is particularly interested in investigating species interactions and ecological mechanisms which can maintain local biodiversity and important ecosystem functions. Unravelling the complexity of the mechanisms promoting species coexistence is a major task in ecological research, especially in a rapidly changing environment due to climate change.


Faculty of Sciences

Department of Biology

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