I am an old-school bird-guy with a strongly developed taste for parasites. So far I've been concentrating on avian malaria-like parasites, but expansion is likely. I also have a quite strong interest in long-lived birds and have achieved some intimacy with birds of prey. They also like getting under my skin.
My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infection, host-parasite coexistence, resistance and tolerance. I combine diverse methods, ranging from behavioural observation to using individual-based data, long-term population and genomic analyses, richly garnished with loads of fieldwork. Ultimately, my research aims at understanding why some parasites are less deadly and damaging than their reputation suggests.
I am also quite fascinated by discrete phenotypic polymorphisms, e.g. plumage polymorphisms. These are still quite enigmatic in their genetic and selection underpinnings, but appear to be one of the major life-history determinants in some species (or maybe attractants to the researchers of those species). Discrete polymorphisms seem to much too often correlate with a bunch of other probably selected traits. I believe with a good amount of work there is a lot about life to be understood there. Not insignificantly, discrete polymorphisms seem to often correlate with infection-related traits, which bring together my field of interest.
Interested by bird ecology for many years, I studied community and population dynamics, as well as interspecific competition as parts of my early research career.
During my current PhD project, I focus on host-parasite interactions in a long-term monitored population of common buzzard (Buteo buteo) and their co-evolutionary partners, a species of blood parasites (Leucocytozoon).
My research are questionning ecological and evolutionary processes such as parasite-induced fitness consequences in juvenile hosts, their physiological and molecular responses to these parasites or understanding the timing and intensity of host defenses involved in these responses.
Various methods were used to answer this problematics: physiology and morphometric measures, blood chemistry and transcriptomic analyses.
Utlimately, my project will enlight on how young long-lived raptors cope with highly transmitted parasites and the intrinsic mechanisms of their defense components.