Living and ageing in a disturbed world:
My work tries to understand causes and consequences of between- and within-individual variations of life-history traits and associated trade-offs. These variations can occur throughout an individual life, but life-history strategies can differ from an individual to another, and can also exhibit similar trajectories, for instance in relation to age.
Environmental characteristics could also affect life-history traits and strategies, as well as trade-offs. For instance, permanent perturbations, such as contaminants (e.g. trace metals, pesticides), or chronical parasite infections (e.g. avian malaria) could induce chronical stress and lead to negative impacts on fitness. Since stress is linked to a complex physiological cascade, physiological mechanisms could be the first to be impacted by perturbations, and thus, are of primary importance to investigate in this context.
As such, my work aims to understand how physiological mechanisms, and more particularly hormonal and immunological mechanisms, are affected by perturbations and how this impact could vary with age.
To answer these questions, it is necessary to conduct both cross-sectional (between-individual level), and longitudinal studies (within-individual level). I had and I have the chance to work on longitudinal and long-term (over 30 years) research projects, on Alpine marmots and on common terns; and my work at the CEBC develops this type of approach as well, mainly on birds.
Lecturer – La Rochelle University – Research group ECOPHY