Chloé Chabaud

Effects of dehydration on the diet and predation risk of the viviparous lizard

PhD project : Impact of water balance on trophic interactions and predation risk in a terrestrial ectothermic mesopredator
My PhD project aims to study the behavioral and physiological strategies of ectotherms (animals that do not maintain a constant body temperature) to cope with variations in their environment. More precisely, my study model is the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara), a lacertid found in France in wetlands such as peat bogs. I am interested in the links between water balance and trophic relationships, both in terms of predation risk and diet. Indeed, global changes will affect not only temperatures but also water availability of the habitats (change in rainfall frequency, drought, etc.). For this species that lives in wetlands, water access is a strong constraint and can affect its physiology and behavior. My PhD work is based on experimental research, carried out at the CEBC and CEREEP Ecotron IleDeFrance, in which I study the behavioral and physiological responses of this species when exposed to water restriction. In particular, my project aims at highlighting possible trade-offs between the needs of regulating the water balance and on the one hand those of acquiring food resources and on the other hand those of avoiding predators. The analysis of these trade-offs will improve our understanding of the ecology and evolution of water balance.

PhD student in the ECOPHY Team, supervised by Olivier Lourdais (CEBC) and Jean-François Le Galliard (iEES Paris)