Michel Loreau - Biography#

Michel Loreau's general research goal is to build the theoretical foundations for a new ecological synthesis that integrates the divergent perspectives of community ecology, evolutionary ecology and ecosystem ecology. He views theory as a powerful tool to generate, clarify and generalise new concepts and hypotheses; accordingly, he attaches great importance to a tight interaction between the mathematical models he develops and empirical or experimental work on a wide range of ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic.

His main research theme during the past twenty years has been on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and on the ecological and societal consequences of biodiversity loss. This new field of research has experienced a dramatic growth to which he has strongly contributed, not only through his scientific work but also through his responsibilities in multiple national and international initiatives. He has also laid the theoretical foundations of two other new research fields that address the spatial and evolutionary dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: metacommunity and metaecosystem ecology, and evolutionary ecosystem ecology. Lastly, he has championed an integrative biodiversity science that transcends disciplinary boundaries.

Michel Loreau strongly believes that science should become aware of its social responsibilities. Therefore, he has devoted significant efforts to fostering new research initiatives and linking science and policy in the area of biodiversity and ecosystem services internationally. He has been member of numerous national and international scientific committees. In particular, he initiated and chaired the Linking Community and Ecosystem Ecology programme of the European Science Foundation; he restructured and chaired DIVERSITAS, the international programme of biodiversity science; he chaired the International Conference Biodiversity Science and Governance organised by France under the high patronage of the President of the French Republic and the Director-General of UNESCO; and he initiated and chaired the consultative process towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity, which gave birth to the Intergovernmental science−policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
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