Scientific collaborator of the University of Liège
Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology
Freshwater and Oceanic Science Unit of reSearch (U.R. FOCUS)
Université de Liège, Quai van Beneden 22, 4020 Liège, Belgique
E-mail : email@example.com
Currently FYSSEN post-doc at EDB (Toulouse) and SETE – CNRS (Moulis).
Description of PhD thesis
The introduction of alien species in natural environment, and more particularly fish introduction, is one of the main causes of amphibian decline. Among amphibians, newts present a larval development and an exclusively aquatic reproduction. They have also evolved in habitats naturally devoid of fish, which makes them particularly vulnerable to these introductions. In addition, newts can exhibit intraspecific diversity patterns, such as facultative paedomorphosis, in which a phenotype can reproduce in keeping larval traits such as gills, while the other phenotype undergoes metamorphosis. Paedomorphs are particularly affected by fish introductions as they almost always disappear after such introduction. In this context, the aim of my thesis was to better understand how behavior could explain the exclusion or coexistence patterns between native amphibians and introduced fish species. Through several laboratory experiments, we focused on newt behavioral avoidance and its consequences on essential activities, such as feeding and reproduction. More particularly we assessed the influence of several intrinsic and extrinsic factors on the behavioral response: the phenotypes (i.e., the metamorphs and the paedomorphs), the learning abilities, the personality of both fish and newts, the heterogeneity of habitats and the temporal variation of risk. In addition, to complete these experiments, we also conducted field studies to assess newt occurrence in invaded habitats and their resilience ability after fish extirpation.
Main study species: Alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris), palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus), Pyrenean brook newt (Calotriton asper).
Methodology: experiments in controled conditions, focal and scan ethometric observations and video-tracking.
Publications and communications during the master and doctoral research
2012 – 2016: PhD Thesis at the University of Liege (FNRS fellowship). Promotor: Mathieu Denoël
2011-2012: “NON-FRIA”grant of the University of Liège