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Home > Research Teams > PRADA : Processes of Adaptation

PRADA : Processes of Adaptation

by Julien Cote - published on , updated on

Head: Philipp Heeb

Co-head: Julien Cote & Joël White

Team Overview

This research team focuses on natural selection, the main evolutionary process. Our research goal revolves around three main forces shaping this process:

  1. the variations in life history traits as fitness components
  2. the selective pressures framed by environmental factors and lasting interactions
  3. the non-genetic inheritance that is currently changing the evolutionary approaches in several fields

 
Our research projects belong to these three main topics :
 

1. Constraints and variation of phenotypes and life history traits

Our first research theme relates to the theory of life histories, that is the history of life that can be defined as the specific allocation by individuals throughout their life of time and energy devoted to fundamental activities such as growth, tissue repair and maintenance as well as reproduction. To study the evolution of life histories is to ask how a phenotype manages to maximize the total number of the descendants he transmits to future generations. To reach this goal organisms can differ in their age at maturity, their fecundity, their frequency of reproduction, longevity and other demographic parameters. Organisms can be considered as being the evolutionary responses to ecological challenges thus the evolution of life histories is placed at the interface between ecology and evolution. Life-history theory proposes to study the phenotypes in terms of demographic traits by postulating that these traits are linked through constraints (evolutionary trade-offs) that can differ depending on the resources available in the environment as well as individual characteristics that are determined genetically or otherwise (maternal effects, ontogeny etc...). One of our objectives is to study the allocation strategies (e.g. time and energy) to different functions through the characterization of situations where parents should be favoring the allocation of energy towards a given sex-ratio of their young, where prey decide to allocate time to vigilance or food searching, two activities that are potentially exclusive, and where newborns have to allocate time and energy either to dispersal or growth. In the context of sex allocation, we aim to define the theoretical contexts among which different selection pressures are predicted by various models. The aspect examining the trade-off faced by prey between vigilance and feeding will examine components of vigilance depending on their nature (either anti-predator or social) and according to their degree of incompatibility with other activities requiring also the investment of time. Dispersal strategies are being studied by integrating the network of internal and external factors that lead to the decision to either stay or leave at the natal site. One of the main current challenges is to study the allocation strategies at the level of the individual. This implies the need to quantify the variations of demographic parameters between individuals and the co-variations of these parameters at the individual level, including the parameters where their estimation is based on one only event taking place during the life of an individual (e.g. recruitment, death). One of the objectives of the team PRADA will be to use the recent developments of statistical tools that allow demographic modelling approaches to study the evolutionary trade-offs and test hypotheses on the role of constraints in the evolution of the timing of reproduction of an individual, in the evolution of senescence and delayed reproduction in organisms with the longest longevity. Furthermore, the aspect of research on life history traits is closely linked to the recent developments associated with the measures of phenotypic variations among individuals. The allocation strategies will result from the architecture of morphological, physiological and behavioural traits. The study of demographic trade-offs would benefit enormously from the observable criteria allowing to classify individuals according to their tendency to express a behaviour or to develop a physiological response that could be associated with variations in demographic traits such as the probability to reproduce, to disperse or survive. In association with the modelling toolbox at the scale of the individuals provided by demographs these integrative approaches would allow to obtain a better understanding of the demographic strategies present in a population. The integration of these two complementary approaches is one of the main objectives of the PRADA team.

Researchers involved : P. Beldade; P. Blanchard ; E. Cam ; J. Cote ; C. Ducamp ; P. Heeb ; J-L. Hemptinne ; A. Magro ; B. Pujol.

2. Selective pressures involved in species interactions

In this topic, we are interested in selective pressures involved in eco-evolutionary processes, especially those involved in interactions among species such as prey-predator, host-parasite and host-microbiota interactions. A first research goal is to study mechanisms acting on prey-predator interactions (e.g. aphids-ladybirds, lizards-snakes) including the information on local predation risk acquired by prey species, their chemical determinants and their eco-evolutionary consequences on prey escape strategies. A second goal concerns host phenotypic traits driving selective pressures acting on symbionts and on the evolution of host-symbiont interactions (sensu lato: beneficial or commensal pathogens). Our group particularly focuses on host choices and on speciation in host-parasite systems. Host’s environment is a complex feature which can vary over time and among hosts. Host environment may therefore constitute a selective pressure. For example, in the bacterial pathogen Xenorhabdus studied in our group, the variability in host environment likely drove the evolution of genetic and epigenetic systems producing phenotypic variation during infestation. However, host species are usually interacting with several species of symbionts living onto and inside hosts and called microbiota. Host environment is therefore a suite of selective pressures for numerous species and can shape species communities which can in turn change host fitness. Finally, beyond reciprocal selective pressures within these interactions, our group is interested in the impact of human induced environmental changes (e.g. climate change, urbanization). Global changes can for instance shape species constituting microbiota and their interactions directly or through modifications of host phenotypic traits. Using a diversity of host organisms (e.g. mammals, birds, reptiles and insects) and both experimental systems and large scale geographical monitoring, the PRADA group studies the effect host-microbiota-environment interactions on the fitness and the population dynamics of host species.

Researchers involved : J. Cote ; J-B. Ferdy ; J-L. Hemptinne ; P. Heeb ; S. Leclaire; A. Magro ; S. Ponsard ; B. Pujol ; J. White.

3. Transmission of traits within and between generations

PRADA also addresses that last cornerstone of natural selection, which goes beyond transmission within a generation and deals with the transmission of trait variation between generations. Ever since the advent of mendelian heredity and later heritability of quantitative traits, this field had not witnessed a revolution as pronounced as that of the last decade. It is now increasingly accepted that heredity in general and heritability in particular do not result only from the transmission of information encoded in DNA. The field of non-genetic inheritance is growing rapidly and should bring about a profound change in the way we view life in the coming years. The PRADA team is interested in the relative contribution of genetic and non-genetic inheritance to evolution. Today, it is termed inclusive inheritance to unify the various components of inheritance and assess the complete evolutionary potential of populations. However, studies that have simultaneously disentangled phenotypic variation transmitted genetically and non-genetically are scarce and the heritability of life history traits have rarely been assessed in natural populations or mesocosms. We will address these challenges in order to significantly improve our understanding of the contribution of genetic and non-genetic inheritance on the phenotypic diversity of organisms and populations in relation to selection. We will address several aspect of inclusive heritability, such as maternal effect and ecological niche transmission in natural populations, cultural inheritance and inheritance of epigenetic markers. We are also interested in the intra-generational processes of phenotypic modification (e.g. phenotypic plasticity and transmission of information) which is a necessary basis for the transmission of non-genetic traits between generations. To this end, we combine experimental approaches and fieldwork using many types of model organisms ranging from plants to vertebrates.

Researchers involved : P. Beldade ; J. Cote ; E. Danchin ; C. Faucher; J-L. Hemptinne ; S. Leclaire; A. Magro ; B. Pujol; F. Roch; J. White.

Members :

Beldade Patricia
Blanchard Pierrick
Cam Emmanuelle
Cote Julien
Danchin Etienne
Ducamp Christine
Faucher Christian
Ferdy Jean-Baptiste
Heeb Philipp
Hemptinne Jean-Louis
Leclaire Sarah
Magro Alexandra
Ponsard Sergine
Pujol Benoît
Roch Fernando
White Joël

Espinasse Gilles
Dardenne Nathalie
Garrigues Jean-François
Latutrie Mathieu
Marin Sara
Parthuisot Nathalie
Ramon-Portugal Felipe

Duneau David
Gourcilleau Delphine
Mousset Mathilde
Noebel Sabine
Salles Océane
Salmona Jordi
Thomson Caroline
Winandy Laurane
Winney Isabel

Cambon Marine
Monier Magdalena
Pellerin Félix
Pineaux Maxime
Teyssier Aimeric

(Associate Researcher, CNRS)
(Associate Professor, UPS)
(Professor, UPS)
(Associate Researcher, CNRS)
(Researcher, CNRS)
(Associate Professor, ENFA)
(Associate Professor, ENFA)
(Professor, UPS)
(Researcher, CNRS)
(Professor, ENFA)
(Associate Researcher, CNRS)
(Associate Professor, ENFA)
(Professor, UPS)
(Associate Researcher, CNRS)
(Associate Professor, UPS)
(Associate Professor, ENFA)

(Technician, ENFA, [50 %])
(Technician, ENFA)
(Technician, ENFA, [50 %])
(Study Engineer, CDD UPS)
(Study Engineer, CDD UPS)
(Study Engineer, CDD UPS)
(Research Engineer, CDD ENFA)
 
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)
(postdoc)

(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)

 

Alumni :

Jacob Staffan
Dagaeff Anne-Cécile
Merkling Thomas
Susset Eline
Xiaobo Wang
Bestion Elvire
Acker Paul
Sentis Arnaud

(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(PhD Student)
(postdoc)

 

Last 20 publications of the team :

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