Species invasions are a global scourge. Nonetheless, they provide the appropriate evolutionary setting to rigorously test the role that interspecific competition plays in species' evolution.
Through an interdisciplinary approach involving the study of ecological, behavioral and morphological traits, my postdoctoral research in the Losos lab (Harvard University) takes an integrative view of the coexistence mechanisms between the native Anolis oculatus and the invasive Anolis cristatellus lizard species in the Caribbean island Dominica.
The study of Ecological and Agonistic Character Displacement simultaneously allows us to determine how the evolution of habitat use, limb morphology and agonistic display behavior of the two species are inter-connected.
Pr. Jonathan Losos (Harvard University)
Dr. Anthony Herrel (MNHN Paris)
Dr. Dave Clark (Alma College)
By combining laboratory and field experiments, my PhD research (Montpellier University) addressed the ecological mechanisms involved in species divergence and coexistence between two sister species of striped mice (Rhabodmys bechuanae and R. dilectus dilectus). The two species diverged in contrasting environments and form secondary contacts in South Africa in similar macro-environment.
I used this natural laboratory (i.e. common garden setting) to evaluate the plastic versus adaptive nature of species responses to abiotic and biotic interactions. I focused on four traits (i.e. habitat, space use, diet and sociality) and compared their characteristics in parapatry and sympatry in different micro-environments.