evolution and ecology division

Our research aims to understand the impact of global changes (anthropogenic and climatic) on insect diversity, abundance and ecology in the context of food security and public health. We are working on insect models with positive impacts on human well-being, such as pollinating insects, edible insects and natural enemies of insect pests, as well as negative impacts such as crop pests and vectors of mammalian parasites. The objectives are to identify the mechanisms underlying the responses of these insects to biotic and abiotic pressures, and to predict the impacts and feedbacks of global change from a management and conservation perspective. The main study sites are located in continental Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Our locations and partnerships :

 Four main research areas are developed within our pole :

  1. Ecology of insects with production or conservation concerns : changes in land use and climate change can affect the abundance, richness and diversity of insect populations with production or conservation concerns. In this context, we study the ecology of edible insects, the ecology of bees through experimental and empirical approaches as well as the impact of exotic pests on native insect populations, including parasitoids, and on native prey populations (Asian hornet – honey bee interaction).
  2. Adaptation of insects to anthropogenic environments : certain anthropogenic actions lead to the reduction of natural habitats and the invasion of species that can affect agriculture and human health. In particular, we are studying host adaptation in parasitoids used in biological control, the evolution of diet adaptation in predators such as Coccinellidae, and the domiciliation processes of insect vectors of diseases.
  3. Modelling the response of insects to global changes : in a context of global change, it is difficult to have models for predicting the individual and population response of insects. To address this, we model insect phenology (e.g. crop pests) and the spatio-temporal dispersal of insect populations based on experimental or participatory data on climate, landscape and cropping practices. We also use modelling in combination with field data as a decision support tool for environmental management and for the analysis of complex scenarios to be tested in the field such as the combination of multiple stresses.
  4. Functional role of insects in agroecosystems : through their ecological functions, insects determine the dynamic balance of ecosystems. These services and dis-services are key to food security and human health. We study their resilience by jointly analysing the pollination services provided by insects and the dis-services related to pests in agricultural and anthropised systems.

Methodologies :

  • Field studies
    • Survey of land use and landscape structure
    • Long-term monitoring of populations
    • Monitoring of insect movements in natura
    • Field experiments and controlled conditions
    • Participatory data collection through digital cooperation
  • Population genetics
    • Mitochondrial and nuclear gene analysis
    • Microsatellite locus analysis
    • RADseq (Restriction site Associated DNA sequencing)
    • Environmental demogenetics
  • Genomics and transcriptomics
    • High-throughput DNA and RNA sequencing
    • LC-MS-MS analyses (proteomics)
  • Behaviour and Electrophysiology
    • Monitoring of insect behaviour by olfactometry and video recording
    • Automatic monitoring (RFID) of insect ontogeny
    • Extracellular olfaction and gustation
  • Modelling and Bioinformatics
    • Statistical models for demogenetic inference
    • Mechanistic models
    • Individual-centred and Bayesian models
    • Genome and transcriptome analysis, search for QTLs,…
Universidad de Los Andes
DEEIT_PAGE_ID_DupasStéphane Dupas, Research Scientist, IRD.
Environmental demogenetics of insects and plant diseases and enhancement of ecosystem services provided by agroecology, through participatory systems.
DEEIT_PAGE_IDCamilo Patarroyo, PhD student, UniAndes, Colombie.
Environmental demogenetics of insects and plant diseases and valuing the ecosystem services provided by agroecology, through participatory systems.
Bonoukpoè Mawuko, Sokamé, postDoc, ICIPE, Kenya.
Yield losses of maize due to insect pests in a context of climate change. Involved in research axis 1.

PhD manuscripts of the students trained since 2004:

2004- Kergoat Gaël J. – The Bruchidius genera (Coleoptera, Bruchidae): a model to study the evolutionary relationships between insects and plants.

2006- Sezonlin Michel – Phylogeography and population genetic of the cereal stem borer Busseola fusca (Lepiudoptera: Noctuidae), in sub-Saharan Africa, impact for the biological control of this insect.

2008- Chabaud Marie-Ange – Developement of appetitive conditionings and analysis of individual and group memory performances in appetitive and aversive contexts in Drosophila.

2008- Félix Anne-Emmanuelle – Chemical ecology and phylogenetic approaches in three African Lepidoptera species of genus Busseola (Noctuidae).

2009- Branca Antoine – Ecological diversification of the African parasitoid Cotesia sesamiae : role of symbiotic partners.

2009- Mailafiya Duna Madu – Diversity and ecological preference of parasitoids associated with lepidopteran stem borers in Kenya.

2009- Ong’amo George Otieno – Diversity, Ecology and population dynamics of lepidopteran stem borers in Kenya.

2010- Juma Gérald – Basis of host plant recognition and acceptance by Busseola fusca larvae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

2010- Meshack Obonyo Amos Awino – Basis of host recognition by the larval endoparasitoids: Cotesia sesamiae Cameron et Cotesia flavipes (Cameron) (Hymenboptera: Braconidae).

2011- Quartier Marion – Study of the impact of anthropization on the evolutionary ecology of the vectors of Chagas disease, case of three communities of Tapajós in the Brazilian Amazon.

2010- Torres-Leguizamon Magaly – Genetical study of Tecia Solanivora (Povolny 1973).

2012- Crespo-Perez Veronica – Global changes and distribution modeling of invasive insect pests in the Tropical Andes.

2012- Rebaudo François – Spatio-temporal modeling of pests dynamics in social-ecological systems.

2013- Bertrand Bénédicte – Analysis of the genetic diversity of bee populations of the West-Mediterranean lineage of bees (Apis mellifera mellifera): Application to conservation.

2013- Glaser Nicolas – Contribution of the chemical senses to new environment : a transcriptomic study in the stemborer Sesamia nonagrioides (Lepidoptera : Noctuidae).

2013- Chardonnet Floriane – Role of the foraging gene in the evolution of the feeding behaviour of the noctuid cereal stemborers.

2015- Faye Emile – Thermal landscapes and pest dynamic in Andean tropical agrosystems.

2015- Petit Christophe – Induction of olfactory and gustatory preferences by cereal lepidopteran stem borers in East Africa: effect of pre-imaginal and imaginal experiences.

2016- Marchant Axelle – The process of domiciliation of hematophagus bugs vectors of Chagas disease: contribution of the chemosensory transcriptome study.

2018- Arnauld Becheler – Environmental demogenetic model.

2019- Benoist Romain – Behavioural, physiological and genetic basis of the reproductive success of a hymenopteran parasitoid.

2020- Bichang’a Gladys – Biochemical and molecular aspects of host recognition and acceptance by Cotesia spp. populations in coastal and western Kenya.

2020- Bonoukpoè Sokame – Functioning of a community of lepidopteran maize stemborers and associated parasitoids following the fall armyworm invasion in Kenya.

2023- Baptiste Regnier – Modeling the development rate of insect pests in the context of global warming: the case of maize stem borers.

2023- Marie Merle – Genome dynamics and molecular evolution of chemosensory receptors in Chagas disease vectors of the Rhodnius genus.

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