Postdoc, PhD Adèle Mennerat
I am an evolutionary ecologist with background in both ecology and molecular biology, and a taste for statistics. I am fascinated by the evolution of life history and behaviour, and take a particular joy in designing experiments to test theoretical predictions. Beyond their value as model species I am generally curious about all animals, but if I had to choose my favourite organisms would be parasites and birds.
Promiscuity and cooperation in socially monogamous species
I am currently testing recent models from Christian Joergensen and Sigrunn Eliassen on the evolution of female promiscuity and cooperation in socially monogamous species (Click here).
Using longitudinal data combined with field experiments, I am investigating predictions from the model, which shows that extra-pair mating creates incentives for males to cooperate more within neighbourhoods, because their potential reproductive success is spread out among several nests (click here for a nice Nature News & Views on the topic!).
Anne Charmantier, CEFE CNRS, Montpellier, France (Click here).
Marie Stine Danielsen (current MSc student)
Simon Miljeteig (past MSc student)
Evolution of parasite life histories
I am also interested in life history evolution, with a particular focus on parasite life histories.
Because they have a very tight relationship with the hosts on which they rely, parasites often experience strong selection, and hence may display rapid adaptive changes in their life-history traits. I am currently studying how the conditions prevailing in salmon aquaculture may have selected for faster life histories and higher virulence in the salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Click here).
Mathias Stoelen Ugelvik (current PhD student)
Camilla Haakonsrud Jensen (past MSc student)
Behavioural ecology of host-parasite interactions
I have also been studying how parasitic infection affects host behaviour in wild passerine birds.
In southern France and Corsica (CEFE CNRS lab in Montpellier, click here) female blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus garnish their nests with aromatic plants. Via field experiments I have shown that by doing so they reduce bacterial loads on their offspring, especially those most infested with ectoparasites, which in turn makes them grow faster. This behaviour thus appears as a special kind of maternal care taking the form of preventive medication.
In populations of great tits Parus major studied by researchers from the EGI in Oxford (Click here) I have studied how avian malaria affects the social behaviour of hosts, and how bacteria are spread on social networks.