My main research interests lie in the area of evolutionary ecology of predator-prey interactions. Within this field, my current research topic is on the evolution of predator life-history traits under the constraints imposed by their prey and the chemical ecology of predator-prey interactions. The predators and preys I’m interested in are ladybirds (Coccinellidae : Coleoptera) and aphids / coccids (Aphididae / Coccoidea : Hemiptera) and therefore my research covers also the applied field of biological control.
Because “ Nothing in evolution or ecology makes sense except in the light of the other ” (Pelletier et al, 2009) and a phylogeny of ladybirds was missing, I developed a collaboration with colleagues from EDB (DEEP team) on the subject. This experience together with skills on the natural history and community ecology of the Coccinellidae is an asset to ladybirds’ ecology in general : I was driven to participate to projects running from the ecology of myrmecophilous ladybirds to the study of ladybird invasions.
In the first years of my associate professor career I was faced with a new field for me – teachers training in ecology (French agricultural secondary school system). The objective of the ecology French agricultural curriculum, following European regulations favouring sustainable agriculture, was to give pupils (future agricultural professionals) a better understanding of the environmental framework within which they would be working and a better appreciation of environmental questions. Although well intentioned, the curriculum was difficult to teach : teachers felted unable to link ecology concepts to the applied agricultural matters pupils were interested in and to motivate them. Therefore, with JL Hemptinne (EDB - PRADA team), I developed a research project on ecological education (Magro & Hemptinne, 2011, “Enseigner l’écologie : une autre approche didactique – Teaching ecology : a new pedagogical approach”). Today, although my research activities are focused on ecology, I still devote some time to a partnership with secondary school teachers to produce teaching pedagogical resources for ecology education, often based on my own research projects in ecology. I believe this collaboration between research in ecology and ecology education, is essential to foster the adoption of agroecology practices by farmers, teachers and pupils.
• 2012 : Habilitation in Ecology, University of Toulouse - Toulouse III
• 1997 : Ph. D in Biology, University of Evora (Portugal)
• 1993 : Master in Science in Integrated Pest Management, Univ. of Lisbon (Portugal)
• 1988 : Licence degree in Biology, Univ. of Lisbon (Portugal)