séminaire du PEV – vendredi 8 novembre 2013

pigeonEvolution of plumage coloration and parasite epidemiology in urban pigeons

Lisa Jacquin, université Paris 6

vendredi 8 novembre 2013 à 11 heures, amphi Monge



Increasing urbanization is a major challenge for biodiversity conservation, yet the evolutionary mechanisms underpinning the maintenance of intra-specific variability in urban species are still poorly known. To tackle this question we studied the evolution and maintenance of melanin-based color polymorphism in an emblematic urban species, the feral pigeon Columba livia. We compared the phenotypic and physiological responses of differently colored pigeons to increasing urbanization, combining large scale captures in Paris and experimental manipulations in aviairies. We found complex genotype-by-environment interactions on parasite load, immunity, and reproductive performances, suggesting that melanin-based coloration reflects alternative strategies to cope with increased urbanization and food restriction in this species. Moreover, we outlined key factors influencing parasite epidemiology and zoonosis risks in urban areas. Spatial heterogeneity in urbanized areas may thus have major consequences for the evolution of intra-specific variability and parasite spread in feral pigeons, opening the possibility of local adaptations to human activities in urban-adapted species.