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Vincent A. VIBLANC

Social determinants of individual phenotype in group living animals

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Work Address

Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, UMR 7178 CNRS/Unistra
Département Ecologie, Physiologie & Ethologie
23 rue Becquerel
67087 Strasbourg Cedex 2, France
Phone : +33 (0) 3 88 106 950
Fax : +33 (0) 3 88 106 906
e-mail :
Twitter
ResearchGate
ORCID

  Position

Researcher (CR2) at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

  Profile

2017- Researcher (CR2-CNRS) IPHC
2014-16 Research associate IPHC
2012-14 Post-Doctoral fellow CEFE
2011-12 Post-Doctoral Fellow University of Lausanne
2008-11 PhD IPHC
2008 MSc University of Strasbourg
2006 BASc University of Caen &
University of Joensuu

Review Editor for Frontiers in Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology
Reviewer services on Publons

  Personal Website

For more information on current projects please visit my personal website and ResearchGate.

  Research

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in understanding the evolution of group living and how social x genetic influences shape individual phenotype. My work is situated at the interface of behavioural ecology and ecophysiology. Together with my students and collaborators, we use both correlative and experimental approaches in the wild as complementary frameworks for assessing the effects of social environments on individual phenotype and their ultimate consequences on fitness (including trans-generational consequences). Reciprocally, we are interested in how individual phenotype pertains to social behaviour and group living. Our work is carried out both in the Northern and Southern hemisphere and currently revolves around 3 main work packages using group-living animals, ranging birds, mammals and fish, as model systems.

WP1 : What are the social determinants affecting individual physiology and fitness ?
I am interested in understanding to which extent the social environment may act as a source or buffer to individual stress, affecting individual energetics, health and ageing.

WP2 : What are the trans-generational consequences of social heterogeneity ?
This research theme focuses on understanding the consequences of inter-individual variation in exposure to social stimuli on offspring phenotype.

WP3 : What promotes the evolution and maintenance of social signals ?
Here, I focus on understanding the bi-directional effects of individual physiology and social interactions on social signals vs. the effect of social signals on individual physiology and social interactions, in species where conspicuous social signals occur.

More information on our current research projects can be found on ResearchGate.

  Study systems

To address the above questions, I have chosen to focus mostly on colonial model systems of varying degree of social complexity. Some of my main model systems and questions are described below :

Columbian ground squirrels project

 
Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) are hibernating rodents, part of the marmotini. Their social system can be classified as matrilineal, with related females sharing adjacent and overlapping territories (both in time and spatially). Whereas there is no active cooperation in this species, our research indicates that related...

Columbian ground squirrels project

Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus) are hibernating rodents, part of the marmotini. Their social system can be classified as matrilineal, with related females sharing adjacent and overlapping territories (both in time and spatially). Whereas there is no active cooperation in this species, our research indicates that related females are less aggressive to one another than towards unrelated females, and appear to reap fitness benefits from having close kin in their breeding environment. We are using a combination of long-term monitoring (+ 25 years) of individuals of known life history with shorter-term experiments on sociality to study the effects of social factors on individual behaviour, stress physiology, oxidative stress and ageing, energy allocation decisions and fitness. To these ends, we are mixing physiological, behavioural and data logging in the field, and we are assessing the effects of social environments both on adult and offspring phenotype. Our work is carried out in the Rocky Mountains of Canada.

Main collaborators : FS Dobson (Auburn University), R Boonstra (University of Toronto), P Neuhaus (University of Calgary), F Criscuolo (IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178), D Filippi (Sextant Technology, New Zealand), P Uhlrich (IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178).

King penguin project

 
King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are colonial seabirds that breed in large colonies of several thousands of individual pairs. Breeding birds are highly territorial and aggressive to other conspecifics. The king penguin is a monomorphic species, males and females sharing common ornaments including colourful beak spots and...

King penguin project

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King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are colonial seabirds that breed in large colonies of several thousands of individual pairs. Breeding birds are highly territorial and aggressive to other conspecifics. The king penguin is a monomorphic species, males and females sharing common ornaments including colourful beak spots (also reflecting structural UV colours) and feather patches. Those ornaments are important features used in mate choice and social communication. Our research in this species focuses on two main questions (1) how do social conspecifics and social density shape adult and chick stress phenotype and metabolism and (2) what physiological mechanisms insure the honesty of ornamental signals and what are the consequences of ornamentation on individual physiology. The research is led within the framework of the Polar Program #119 ECONERGY of the French Polar Institute. Our work is carried out on the Crozet Island in the Southern Ocean.

Main collaborators : JP Robin (IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178), P Bize (University of Aberdeen), Q Schull (IFREMER-UMR Marbec), A Stier (University of Glasgow), FS Dobson (Auburn University), F Criscuolo (IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178).

SIGNAL project in fish

 
Our work on gilt-head seabream (Sparus aurata) and Orbicular batfish (Platax orbicularis) is a collaboration between the IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178 and the IFREMER MARBEC and the Centre IFREMER du Pacifique. In those model species, we are focusing on the...

SIGNAL project in fish

Our work on gilt-head seabream (Sparus aurata) and Orbicular batfish (Platax orbicularis) is a collaboration between the IPHC-CNRS UMR 7178 and the IFREMER MARBEC and the Centre IFREMER du Pacifique. In those model species, we are focusing on the physiological determinants of individual ornamentation as an index of individual quality. From an applied perspective, gilt-head seabreams and orbicular batfish are commercially important species for aquaculture. Our research is focusing on establishing non-invasive criteria to determine individual condition and health status for rearing practices.

From a more fundamental perspective, we are interested in understanding the determinants, function and evolution of ornamental signals in those species. Specifically, whether those ornaments are condition-dependent and mediated by social or sexual selection.

The SIGNAL project is headed by Drs. Jérôme Bourjea and Quentin Schull from the IFREMER Marbec and involves a number of participants and structures, including the experimental marine station of Palavas (IFREMER) and the Pacific Centre of IFREMER.

Main collaborators : IFREMER-UMR Marbec : J Bourjea, Q Schull, C Saraux, E Gasset, G Dutto, B Brisset. CNRS UMR Marbec : D McKenzie. IFREMER UMR241 : D Saulnier, B Beliaeff, M Crusot.

  Students & Collaborators

Over two thousand years ago, the great Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384BC-322BC), already recognized that whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The bigger picture can only emerge through synergy and collaborative endeavour. I strongly believe in this, and put strong emphasis on building upon ideas and projects with students and collaborators. Please be sure to read upon the many people involved in the above projects here.

  Publications

  Institutional Coverage