Structures producing iridescence in hummingbirds

Featured at:

  • Living Light 2018
  • II Joint Congress Evolutionary Biology

New method for iridescence measurements

Best talk award at the 5th Young Natural History Scientists conference.

Iridescence and competition in hummingbird communities

Female Anna's hummingbird hovering (Montana).

The number of colours efficient for communication in a given environment is limited. Sympatric species that are similar in behaviour thus likely compete for colours. On the other hand, common ancestry and camouflage tend to drive colour evolution towards similar patterns among species. In the tropical rainforest, many close-related hummingbirds species co-occur. Furthermore, hummingbirds display a wide range of colours due to the micro-organisation of their melanosomes. Hummingbirds are thus an outstanding model to study colour competition and evolution problematics.

Work featured by the musée des Confluences.

Past projects

How interspecific interactions shape species range

Male Western bluebird perched on a branch.

A classic view is that better competitor will exclude lesser competitors. It is established that under some conditions, lesser competitors can coexist with a better competitor by shifting their range or their phenology for example. However, the effect of lesser competitors on the superior competitor are more rarely studied. Bluebirds are convenient species to study this question. Indeed, Mountain bluebirds have recently been displaced from their historical range by the more aggressive Western bluebirds. However, Western bluebirds colonization seems to stop at higher elevation. Which mechanism allow Mountain bluebirds to stay in those high elevation areas in spite of the close presence of the closely related Western bluebirds?

Fire as a selective pressure : the case of Sorghum stipoideum

Sunset over the mangrove in Wyndham, Western Australia.

The Kimberley, located in the north-west of Australia, is one of the most fire-prone ecosystem in the world. Annual grasses are submitted to fast evolution and usually have very large populations, making them good models to study the selective pressure induced by fire. My project focused on the effect of fire on Sorghum stipoideum, the most abundant grass in this savanna ecosystem.

Study of common birds communities

Bluebird peaking out of the nestbox.

Lack of data is one of the major issue in ecology and conservation sciences. One way to get a lot of data is the emergent concept of citizen science. Moreover, integrating citizens in the research process leads them to feel more concerned about environment and conservation. In this study, I analyze data of a new citizen-observatory: and show that it provides high quality data, which may be used in research works.

Work featured in L'oiseau mag n°114 .

Influence of en-route meteorological conditions on timing and trajectory of the migration in Common crane (Grus grus)

Three common cranes flying in the pink sky at dawn.

Understanding the environmental factors underlying the timing of migration is a major concern in conservation sciences. Indeed, being able to predict if birds will stop at a given stopover enables to organize consciousness-raising actions or protection programs. Main aims of this work are:

  • Prove that the timing of cranes migration depends on meteorological conditions
  • At short-term, predict the precise timing of the migration using weather forecast
  • At long-term, assess the effect of climate change on the phenology of cranes