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  • Current position

    Post-doctoral researcher at LBBE-CNRS

    Funding :

    “AGEX” project (ANR-15-CE32-0002-01) granted by the French National Research Agency (ANR) (PI : Jean-François Lemaître)

    Period : April 2016 - June 2017 (15 months)

    Subjects :
    - Long-term effects of heterozygosity in roe deer.
    - Age-based mate choice and multiple paternity in roe deer.

    Main collaborators :

    • Jean-François Lemaître (LBBE-CNRS)
    • Jean-Michel Gaillard (LBBE-CNRS)
    • Mark Hewison (CEFS-INRA)
    • Erwan Quéméré (CEFS-INRA)

  • Research interests

    Disciplines :


    Research interests :

    I am interested in applying molecular tools to test theories and answer questions across the disciplines of behavioural and evolutionary ecology, population and landscape genetics, quantitative genetics and conservation biology in wild vertebrate populations. I used so far mainly microsatellite markers but I have recently started to collaborate on projects that apply next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques to population and landscape genomics as well as quantitative genetics studies.

    My research has covered to date various aspects of the ecology, evolution, genetics and behaviours of mammals and birds. Key themes encompassed :

    • foraging ecology, interspecific competition and niche partioning,
    • sexual selection and evolution of behaviours and life-history traits (ex. mating systems, territoriality, mate choice, multiple paternity, dispersal, social structure, vigilance),
    • estimation of population abundance using non-invasive methods (ex. camera trapping, hair-sampling, pellet-group count),
    • spatial ecology, habitat use and habitat selection,
    • patterns of genetic diversity at different spatial scales (from the social group to the entire species),
    • natural and anthropogenic, ancient and comtempory factors affecting the genetic diversity and genetic structure of wild populations,
    • heterozygosity-fitness correlations,
    • personality variation,
    • behavioural, genetic and demographic responses of populations to landscape modifications.

    My current research interests focus on the role of behaviours in the response and adaptation of populations and species to human-induced rapid environmental changes and on the populational and ecosystemic consequences of this response.
    Humans have brought about unprecedented changes to environments worldwide through habitat loss/fragmentation, spread of exotic species, overharvesting, pollutants and climate change. These anthropgenic disturbances have been recognized throughout the world as a key issue affecting biodiversity. But while hundreds of species are suffering dramatically from these environmental changes, others, such as urbanized, synanthropic and pest species, can benefit from these anthropogenic changes. It is therefore critical and urgent to better understand how organisms respond to environmental change and manage to persist or not in modified environments. To cope with environmental change, animals have basically 3 options : shift their distribution range, adjust through phenotypic plasticity, or adapt through genetic evolution. But dispersal between patches may not be possible due to physical barriers to movement. Similarly, human-mediated changes are often so rapid that evolutionary processes may simply be unable to keep pace with the changes that are taking place. Behavioural plasticity, thanks to the high reactivity and high lability of behaviours, may thus play a key role in species adaptation to human-induced rapid environmental changes by allowing animals to adjust behavior to suit the conditions of its immediate environment.

    In this context, I try to answer to the following questions :

    • How do behaviours vary within and between individuals, populations and species ?
    • What are the proximal and ultimate factors responsibles of these variations ?
    • What are the consequences of these variations in terms of fitness, genetic diversity and population dynamics ?
    • What are the respective roles of environmental effects (phenotypic plasticity) and genetic effects (microevolution) in the variability of behavioral traits ?
    • What are the impacts of environmental changes on behaviors ?
    • Are these behavioural changes adaptive ?
    • What are the impacts of these behavioural changes in terms of biotic interactions, ecosystem functioning and ecosytem services ?
    • Can behaviours facilitate or hinder adaptation to environmental change ?

    Methods :

    My research usually combines molecular ecology tools with spatial analyses and field ecological data in wild and long-term monitored populations.

    Biological model :

    I have been working mainly on Mammals and in particular on ungulates, marsupials, monotremes, pinnipeds, and primates. But during my Master, I worked on seabirds.

  • Academic qualifications

    2007 : Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution (with the highest grade : "Très honorable").
    - University of Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III (France).
    - As part of a joint agreement with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, Uppsala, Sweden).

    2003 : MSc. degree (DEA) in Ecology (with honours : "Bien")
    - University of Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI (France).

    2000 : Post-graduate degree (maîtrise) in Biology of Populations and Ecosystems (with honours : "Bien")
    - University of Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I (France).
    - As part of an International Exchange Program (CREPUQ) with the MSc. in Wildlife and habitat management of the University of Rimouski (UQAR, Canada).

    1999 : BSc. degree (licence) in Biology of Organisms (with honours : "Bien").
    - University of Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I (France).

    1996-1998 : BCPST (biology, geology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics) preparatory class for a selective entrance to Agronomy schools and the Ecoles normales supérieures.
    - Lycée Champollion - Grenoble (France).

  • Grants, fellowships and scholarships

    • +Competitive research grants
    • +Fellowships and scholarships
  • Research experiences

    • +Postdoc
    • +PhD
    • +Master
    • +Field ecologist at the French Polar Institute
  • Publications in press and submitted

    - Quéméré E., Gaillard J.-M., Galan M., Vanpé C., David I., Pellerin M., Kjellander P., Hewison A.J.M., & Pemberton J. Relative contribution of genetics and environment to body mass variation in two populations of a widespread ungulate experiencing contrasting early-life conditions. In revision for a resubmission to Evolution (10/2016).

    - Vanpé C., Lemaître J.-F., Hewison A.J.M., Gemmell N.J. & Gaillard J.-M. Beyond Rensch’s rule : the intensity of sexual selection and male agility shape sexual size dimorphism in large mammals. In revision for a resubmission to The American Naturalist (10/2016).

    - Bonnot N., Hewison A.J.M., Morellet N., Gaillard J.-M., Debeffe L., Monestier C., Couriot O., Cargnelutti B., Chaval Y., Lourtet B. & Vanpé C. Stick or twist : roe deer adjust their flight behaviour to the perceived trade-off between risk and reward. Accepted for publication in Animal Behaviour (01/11/2016).

    - Vanpé C., Debeffe L., Galan M., Hewison A.J.M., Gaillard J.-M., Gilot-Fromont E., Morellet N., Verheyden H., Cosson J.F., Cargnelutti B., Merlet J. & Quéméré E. 2016. Immune gene variability influences roe deer natal dispersal. Oikos (in press). DOI : 10.1111/oik.02904