Research themes

Ecological interactions and dynamics of ecosystems

Species interactions, such as predation, competition or mutualism, play a fundamental role in the structuring and dynamics of animal and plant communities. They can strongly affect fluctuations in population size, species relative abundance and ecosystem functioning. Key ecological phenomena, such as pest outbreaks, biodiversity maintenance, trophic cascades are thought to be directly related to ecological interactions. One of our objectives is to measure and predict the effect of those interactions on the dynamics of co-occurring species.

Pollination, a necessary interaction for ecosystem functioning (Photo: F. Barraquand)

Functional biodiversity and human pressures

Understanding the responses of natural communities to environmental and anthropogenic factors is a central endeavour in ecology. We use a multidisciplinary approach linking functional ecology, quantitative geography, landscape ecology, economy and social sciences to explore the relationships between natural communities and their environment. Communities are described based on species life histories and ecological functions (foraging and reproductive strategies, dispersal, rarity, species size, etc.). We relate available biological data sets to existing knowledge on landscape structures and dynamics. A special effort is devoted to studying land-water transition ecosystems like wetlands and estuaries.

Our approaches include

  • Statistical inference of ecological interactions using long-term or large-scale monitoring
  • Theoretical models of community dynamics
  • Network analyses linking multiple habitats (food webs, landscape graphs)
  • Multivariate statistics

We work in collaboration with LabEx COTE research teams as well as regional stakeholders.