The team of EPE tries to understand physiology as an evolved trait with fitness consequences, which can only be understood when animals are studied in their natural environment. This is supplemented with studies under controlled laboratory conditions, enabling a detailed understanding of the underlying physiological mechanism, and how these influence survival and reproduction. The principal aim of the Evolutionary Eco-Physiology team is to understand how organisms cope with arising trade-offs (I. mechanisms) and the resulting fitness consequences (II. evolution). These trade-offs are of different nature and are studied at different levels, from cell to organism to population. Hereby energy-based trade-offs have been recognised as one of the principal forces shaping life history strategies, because energy metabolism is at the crossroad of all vital functions of an organism. As such, evolutionary eco-physiology helps us to understand how animals (including humans) are succeeding in a changing word, and why they might fail, which is of high significance in a period of accelerated global change.
News of the EPE team can be found here
Stephane Blanc investigates muscle adaptations to mechanical workloads and their consequences on metabolic homeostasis in both humans and animals. He uses paradigms which target independently each variable of the energy balance equation such as spaceflights, bed rests, dry immersion, exercise training & detraining, hibernation and daily torpor. The long term objectives are 1) to determine key mechanisms leading to maladaptations (humans) versus adaptations (hibernating species) in response to low mechanical workload i.e. physical inactivity, 2) to determine stopovers for human space flight and planetary exploration, and 3) develop countermeasures that will prevent and /or reduce the observed negative effects.
Francois Criscuolo studies aging, a very complex and multi-factorial process that is largely variable, both at the inter-specific and at the inter-individual level. Understanding how the process of ageing shapes individual variability in performance and lifespan remains a corner-stone question in evolutionary biology. The main goal of his research is to contribute to a better understanding of the origin of the great diversity of ageing rates that results from evolution, by trying to uncover the mechanisms (i.e. molecular, cellular and physiological) that shape the life-history trade-offs in different environments.
Jean-Yves Georges studies the comparative ecology of ectotherms in contrasted environments, focussing on physiological, behavioural and ecological flexibility in freshwater turtles. Research is developed in natural, introduced and reintroduced populations of local and exotic/invasive species to better understand the processes involved in individual survival, reproduction and population demography in these ectotherms in the context of global change. Based on a trans-disciplinary approach, he further aims to assess the global ecology of the socio-ecosystems freshwater turtles exploit in order to provide a scientific basis for the management of these habitats and species.
Sylvie Massemin’s first axis of research is to study the factors (such as climate, time and spatial-scale, age) affecting movements of birds (dispersion, partial migration) and the consequences in term of life-history traits. The second axis is to evaluate the pollution effect on ecological and physiological parameters in birds and investigate the pollution-senescence relationship.
Carsten Schradin wants to understand how animals can cope with a changing world via behavioral and physiological flexibility, which are a product of evolution. He is especially interested in how his study organism, African striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio), can cope with droughts, which are predicted to increase in future in severity and frequency due to climate change.
Cédric Sueur Cédric Sueur is working on animal behaviour and specifically on social networking and decision-making in animal groups. He aims to understand how intrinsic characteristics such as age, stress, physiology or nutrient requirements might impact the group level properties. Cédric Sueur is at the head of a network entitled “Social Network Analysis in Animal Societies” linking about sixty experts in sociality and graph theory.