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ECO/EVO group

Ecology and Evolution

leader: François Bretagnole



three main axes are immuno-ecology and trade-offs, host-parasite
interactions, and mating systems (Figure 1, the hatched areas show the
interactions between fields of study).  The common feature of these
three fields is the study of interactions between organisms, which
requires an understanding of the degree of interdependence of the
partners, the degree of reciprocity of interactions, the potential
influence on interaction of any of the partners, and the evolutionary
compromises necessary for durability in interaction.


1 – Host-parasite interactions

Various projects are included under this heading (Figure 2).


Figure 2: overview of “host-parasite relationship" research projects


1-A- Manipulation of hosts by parasites: ecology, evolution and mechanisms

Main model organisms: amphipods and their parasites (mainly Acanthocephala)

  • Study of behavioural and physiological modifications caused by parasites

  • Adaptive value of these modifications

  • Mechanisms of these modifications

  • Sources of the variations observed in the degree of modification

  • Correlation(s) between the various modifications

1-B – Parasite specialisation: local adaptations and characteristics

Main model organism: amphipods and their parasites (mainly Acanthocephala); birds and their blood parasites

1-C – Characterisation of the symbiotic relationship between pea crabs (Pinnotheridae) and sea urchins


2 – Immuno-ecology

The various projects included under this heading are presented in figure 3.


Figure 3: overview of “immuno-ecology" research projects


2-B – Evolutionary ecology of oxidative stress regulation

  • Trade-offs between antioxidant activity and secondary sexual characteristics involved in carotenoid use

  • Early antioxidant activity and its effects on subsequent adaptive characteristics

  • Heritability of antioxidant defences.

2-C – Immunity, parasitism and sexual selection

Main model organisms: birds (house sparrows,
blackbirds, zebra finches) and their parasites (Plasmodium, Coccidiae);
amphipods and their parasites (mainly Acanthocephala)


3 – Mating Systems

The projects included under this heading are presented in Figure 4.


Figure 4: overview of “mating systems" research projects


3-A – Mating dynamics, mating pairs

Main model organisms: birds (zebra finches); Cichlidae (cichlid fishes)

3-B – Relationships between social organisation and mating systems in Zenaida doves Zenaida aurita

3-C – Mating systems of amphipod crustaceans and isopods: patterns and processes

3-D – Impact of parasitism on the mating systems of amphipod crustaceans


Who does what?


Most projects are interactions between the three research axes.


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