Evolution, Ecologie et Paléontologie
( Evo-Eco-Paléo )

Unité Mixte de Recherche UMR 8198

Evolutionary ecology and reproduction



  • Sylvain Billiard (assistant prof.)
  • Isabelle De Cauwer (assistant prof.)
  • Mathilde Dufaÿ (Prof., group leader)
  • Pierre Saumitou-Laprade (Senior researcher CNRS)
  • Xavier Vekemans, (Prof.)
  • Philippe Vernet (Prof. Emeritus)

Technical staff:

  • Eric Schmitt (Greenhous)
  • Cécile Godé (Molecular biology)

Masters, PhD students, post-docs:

  • Clotilde Lepers : PhD thesis (codir. S. Billiard & M. Dufaÿ), defended in dec. 2015.
  • Marina Voinson : PhD thesis(dir. S Billiard, Charline Smadi - IRSTEA Paris, Alexandra Alvergne - University of Oxford))
  • Natasha de Manicor : PhD thesis(co-dir. F. Massol & M. Dufaÿ ; very active participation of N. Hautekèete & Y. Piquot)


(A few) past members:


  • Sylvain Bertrand (Master 2; 2016)
  • Astrid de Mestier (Master 2, 2016)
  • Léa Lateur (Master 1, 2016)
  • Amandine Delcorral (Master 1, 2016)
  • Diala Abu Awad (PhD 2014)
  • Emmanuelle Billard (teaching post-doc 2008-2009)
  • Roxane Delle-Vedove (teaching post-doc 2012-2014)
  • Antoine Dornier (teaching post-doc 2010-2011)
  • Laetitia Husse (Master 2, 2011)
  • Emna Lahiani (thèse 2013)
  • Pierre Lepercq (Master 2, 2012)
  • Céline Van de Paer (Master 2, 2015)


Research topics

We work in population ecology with a particular interest for plant reproductive systems. We study the potential impact of indicidual interactions (among individuals from the same populations, among species, as for instance plant-pollinator interactions) on the evolution of reproductive strategies and on population stability.


1. Evolution of reproductive systems:

  • Evolution of unisexuality: which ecological and genetic factors allow unisexual individuals (which transmit their genes through one sexual function instead of two) to be maintained in competition with hermaphroditic individuals ? Students and post-docs : Emmanuelle Billard, Emna Lahiani, Sylvain Bertrand, Amandine Del Corral
  • Evolution of selfing vs. outcrossing and of self-incompatiblity : when should selfing vs. outcrossing evolve ? In which conditions does a self-incompatibility system with only two groups evolve and remain stable?
  • How reproductive traits interact with each others ? How self-incompatibility affect the evolution of gynodioecy, androdioecy and polygamy ? How does the selfing rate impact the dynamics of gynodioecy ? Students and  post-docs : Antoine Dornier, Pierre Lepercq, Laetitia Husse, Celine Van de Paer, Sylvain Bertrand


2. Impact of interactions on reproductive strategies and population stability :

  • Mating system and plants – pollinators interactions: how does the selfing rate influence populations dynamics of plants and pollinators ? How does the interaction with one or several pollinator species impact the evolution of selfing ? Students and post-docs : Clotilde Lepers
  • Dioecy and pollination: is pollination less efficient in dioecious species ? How does the interaction with pollinators affect the evolution of sexual dimorphisme in a plant species ? Is sexual dimorphism a risk for population stability ? Students and post-docs : Diala Abu Awad, Clotilde Lepers, Léa Lateur, Astrid de Mestier
  • Reproductive system and population stability : how does the mating system affect the mutation load and fixation probability of deleterious mutations ? what consequences for population viability ? How important is the step of the life cycle at which selection/mutation/densitt dependence occurs ? Students and post-docs : Diala Abu Awad
  • Habitat framgentation, S-Allee effect and resilience of self-incompatibility systems : does self-incompatibility represent a danger for the dynamics of small populations?
  • Horizontal transfer of information and evolutionary dynamics : how can costly plasmids and endosymbionts be maintained ? how does social transmission of information affect the dynamics of diseases ? Students and post-docs : Marina Voinson


Approaches :

  • theory studies: analytical modelling and simulations (population genetics, population dynamics, adaptive dynamics, phenotycal models)
  • empirical studies : population genetics, population biology, pollination biol chemical ecology

Study species

androdioecious species : Phyllirea angustifolia, Fraxinus ornus

dioecious species : Chamaerops humilis, Silene dioica


gynodioecious species: Silene nutans, Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima


hermaphroditic (and self-incompatible) species : Biscutella neustriaca, Arabidopsis halleri, Ligustrum vulgare, Olea europea

polygamous species: Fraxinus excelsior


crédits photos: Isabelle De Cauwer, Léa Lateur, Emna Lahiani, Mathilde Dufaÿ