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mathieu denoel

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See detailDispersal and alternative breeding site fidelity strategies in an amphibian
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege; Dalleur, séverine; Langrand, Estelle et al

in Ecography (in press)

Dispersal (i.e., movement from a natal or breeding site to another breeding site) is a central process in ecology and evolution as it affects the eco-evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured ... [more ▼]

Dispersal (i.e., movement from a natal or breeding site to another breeding site) is a central process in ecology and evolution as it affects the eco-evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured populations. Dispersal evolution is regulated by the balance between costs and benefits, which is influenced by the individual phenotype (i.e., phenotype-dependent dispersal) and environmental factors (i.e., condition-dependent dispersal). Even though these processes have been extensively studied in species with simple life cycles, our knowledge about these mechanisms in organisms displaying complex life cycles remains fragmentary. In fact, little is specifically known about how the interplay between individual and environmental factors may lead to alternative dispersal strategies that, in turn, lead to the coexistence of contrasted site fidelity phenotypes. In this paper, we examined breeding dispersal in a pond-breeding amphibian, the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus), within usual walking distances for a newt. We took advantage of recent developments in multi-event capture-recapture models and used capture-recapture data (946 newts marked) collected in a spatially structured population occupying a large pond network (73 ponds). We showed a high rate of breeding site infidelity (i.e., pond use) and the coexistence of two dispersal phenotypes, namely, a highly pond faithful phenotype and a dispersing phenotype. Individuals that were site faithful at time t-1 were therefore more likely to remain site faithful at time t. Our results also demonstrated that the probability that individuals belong to one or the other dispersal phenotypes depended on environmental and individual factors. In particular, we highlighted the existence of a dispersal syndrome implying a covariation pattern among dispersal behavior, body size, and survival. Our work opens new research prospects in the evolution of dispersal in organisms displaying complex life cycles and raises interesting questions about the evolutionary pathways that contribute to the diversification of movement strategies in the wild. [less ▲]

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See detailFacultative paedomorphosis as a mechanism promoting intraspecific niche differentiation
Lejeune, Benjamin ULiege; Sturaro, Nicolas ULiege; Lepoint, Gilles ULiege et al

in Oikos (in press)

Organisms with complex life cycles are characterized by a metamorphosis that allows for a major habitat shift and the exploitation of alternative resources. However, metamorphosis can be bypassed in some ... [more ▼]

Organisms with complex life cycles are characterized by a metamorphosis that allows for a major habitat shift and the exploitation of alternative resources. However, metamorphosis can be bypassed in some species through a process called paedomorphosis, resulting in the retention of larval traits at the adult stage and is considered important at both micro- and macroevolutionary scales. In facultatively paedomorphic populations of newts, some individuals retain gills and a fully aquatic life at the adult stage (paedomorphs), while others undergo complete metamorphosis (metamorphs), allowing for a terrestrial life-stage. Because facultative paedomorphosis affects trophic structures and feeding mechanism of newts, one hypothesis is that it may be maintained as a trophic polymorphism, with the advantage to lessen intraspecific competition during the shared aquatic life-stage. Here, we tested this hypothesis combining stomach content data with stable isotope techniques, using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, in facultatively paedomorphic alpine newts Ichthyosaura alpestris. Both stomach content and stable isotope analyses showed that paedomorphs had smaller trophic niches and were more reliant on pelagic resources, while metamorphs relied more on littoral resources, corresponding to a polyphenism along the littoral-pelagic axis and the extension of the population's trophic niche to otherwise ‘underused’ pelagic resources by paedomorphs. Interestingly, stable isotopes revealed that the trophic polyphenism was less marked in males than in females and potentially linked to sexual activity. Although paedomorphosis and metamorphosis are primarily seen as results of tradeoffs between the advantages of using aquatic versus terrestrial habitats, this study provides evidence that additional forces, such as intraspecific trophic niche differences between morphs and trophic niche expansion, may play an important role in the persistence of this dimorphism in heterogeneous environments. Moreover, the different patterns found in males and females show the importance of considering sex to understand the evolutionary ecology of trophic polymorphisms. [less ▲]

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See detailMorphological integration and alternative life history strategies: a case study in a facultatively paedomorphic newt
Tomašević, Natasa; Cvijanović, Milena; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege et al

in Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution (2017), 328(8), 737-748

Tetrapod limbs are serially homologous structures that represent a particularly interesting model for studies on morphological integration, i.e. the tendency of developmental systems to produce correlated ... [more ▼]

Tetrapod limbs are serially homologous structures that represent a particularly interesting model for studies on morphological integration, i.e. the tendency of developmental systems to produce correlated variation. In newts, limbs develop at an early larval stage and grow continuously, including after the habitat transition from water to land following metamorphosis. However, aquatic and terrestrial environments impose different constraints and locomotor modes that could affect patterns of morphological integration and evolvability. We hypothesize that this would be the case for alternative heterochronic morphs in newts, i.e. aquatic paedomorphs that keep gills at the adult stage and adult metamorphs that are able to disperse on land. To this end, we analysed patterns and strengths of correlations between homologous skeletal elements of the fore- and hindlimbs as well as among skeletal elements within limbs in both phenotypes in the alpine newt, Ichthyosaura alpestris. Our results showed that metamorphs and paedomorphs had similar, general patterns of limb integration. Partial correlations between homologous limb elements and within limb elements were higher in paedomorphs when compared to metamorphs. Decrease in partial correlation between homologous limb elements in metamorphs is accompanied with a higher evolvability of the terrestrial morph. All these results indicate that environmental demands shaped the patterns of morphological integration of alpine newt limbs and that the observed diversity in correlation structure could be related to a qualitative difference in the modes of locomotion between the morphs. [less ▲]

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See detailPond drying cues and their effects on growth and metamorphosis in a fast developing amphibian
Székely, Diana ULiege; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege; Székely, Paul et al

in Journal of Zoology (2017), 303(2), 129-135

The hydroperiod of breeding habitats imposes a strong selection on amphibians and pond-breeding species usually exhibit a high degree of plasticity in the duration of larval period. However, the potential ... [more ▼]

The hydroperiod of breeding habitats imposes a strong selection on amphibians and pond-breeding species usually exhibit a high degree of plasticity in the duration of larval period. However, the potential for phenotypic plasticity in fast developing species was investigated only in a small number of anurans, and the specific response to environmental cues such as low water versus decreasing water level, as well as the effects of such cues on particular developmental stages, are even less understood. In this context, we investigated the plastic response to pond desiccation in a neotropical species (Ceratophrys stolzmanni) by raising tadpoles in three water level treatments: constant high, constant low and decreasing. The growth rates were the highest reported for amphibian tadpoles (up to 0.3g/day) and the time to metamorphosis was short in all treatments, with the fastest developing tadpole metamorphosing in only 16 days after egg deposition. Individuals from the constant high water level treatment had a higher growth rate than those in the other two treatments, whereas decreasing and constant low water levels had similar effects on development, speeding up metamorphosis. In turn, this involved a cost as these tadpoles had a lower body size and mass at metamorphosis than the ones raised in constant high water levels. The final stages of metamorphosis, when tadpoles are the most vulnerable, were shorter in tadpoles exposed to a decreasing water level, allowing them to leave water quickly. Our experiment demonstrates that phenotypic plasticity is maintained even in environments devoid of permanent aquatic habitats. Ceratophryd tadpoles are able to shorten their developmental time when they perceive a risk of desiccation and react similarly to cues coming from the two unfavorable water conditions showing their adaptation to ephemeral and unpredictable breeding habitats. [less ▲]

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See detailFacultative paedomorphosis in pond-breeding newts
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege

Conference (2017, September 21)

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See detailAverage first-passage time of a quasi-Hamiltonian Mathieu oscillator with parametric and forcing excitations
Vanvinckenroye, Hélène ULiege; Denoël, Vincent ULiege

in Journal of Sound and Vibration (2017)

A linear oscillator simultaneously subjected to stochastic forcing and parametric excitation is considered. The time required for this system to evolve from a low initial energy level until a higher ... [more ▼]

A linear oscillator simultaneously subjected to stochastic forcing and parametric excitation is considered. The time required for this system to evolve from a low initial energy level until a higher energy state for the first time is a random variable. Its expectation satisfies the Pontryagin equation of the problem, which is solved with the asymptotic expansion method developed by Khasminskii. This allowed deriving closed-form expressions for the expected first passage time. A comprehensive parameter analysis of these solutions is performed. Beside identifying the important dimensionless groups governing the problem, it also highlights three important regimes which are called incubation, multiplicative and additive because of their specific features. Those three regimes are discussed with the parameters of the problem. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiple uprising invasions of Pelophylax water frogs, potentially inducing a new hybridogenetic complex
Dufresne, Christophe; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege; Di Santo, Lionel et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

The genetic era has revolutionized our perception of biological invasions. Yet, it is usually too late to understand their genesis for efficient management. Here, we take the rare opportunity to ... [more ▼]

The genetic era has revolutionized our perception of biological invasions. Yet, it is usually too late to understand their genesis for efficient management. Here, we take the rare opportunity to reconstruct the scenario of an uprising invasion of the famous water frogs (Pelophylax) in southern France, through a fine-scale genetic survey. We identified three different taxa over less than 200 km2: the autochthonous P. perezi, along with the alien P. ridibundus and P. kurtmuelleri, which have suddenly become invasive. As a consequence, the latter hybridizes and may now form a novel hybridogenetic complex with P. perezi, which could actively promote its replacement. This exceptional situation makes a textbook application of genetics to early-detect, monitor and understand the onset of biological invasions before they pose a continental-wide threat. It further emphasizes the alarming rate of amphibian translocations, both at global and local scales, as well as the outstanding invasive potential of Pelophylax aliens. [less ▲]

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See detailFish introductions, newt decline and paedomorph extinction
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege

Scientific conference (2017, May 16)

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See detailMontenegrin ponds and lakes under threat: multiple stressors caused large-scale amphibian decline
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege; Kalezić, Miloš; Džukić, Georg et al

Conference (2017, May 03)

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See detailThe ‘male escape hypothesis’: sex-biased metamorphosis in response to climatic drivers in a facultatively paedomorphic amphibian
Mathiron, Anthony; Lena, Jean-Paul; Baouch, Sarah et al

in Proceedings of the Royal Society B : Biological Sciences (2017), 284(1853), 20170176

Paedomorphosis is a major evolutionary process that bypasses metamorphosis and allows reproduction in larvae. In newts and salamanders, it can be facultative with paedomorphs retaining gills and ... [more ▼]

Paedomorphosis is a major evolutionary process that bypasses metamorphosis and allows reproduction in larvae. In newts and salamanders, it can be facultative with paedomorphs retaining gills and metamorphs dispersing. The evolution of these developmental processes is thought to have been driven by the costs and benefits of inhabiting aquatic versus terrestrial habitats. In this context, we aimed at testing the hypothesis that climatic drivers affect phenotypic transition and the difference across sexes because sex-ratio is biased in natural populations. Through a replicated laboratory experiment, we showed that paedomorphic palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) metamorphosed at a higher frequency when water availability decreased and metamorphosed earlier when temperature increased in these conditions. All responses were sex-biased, and males were more prone to change phenotype than females. Our work shows how climatic variables can affect facultative paedomorphosis and support theoretical models predicting life on land instead of in water. Moreover, because males metamorphose and leave water more often and earlier than females, these results, for the first time, give an experimental explanation for the rarity of male paedomorphosis (the ‘male escape hypothesis’) and suggest the importance of sex in the evolution of paedomorphosis versus metamorphosis. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the identification of paedomorphic and overwintering larval newts based on cloacal shape: review and guidelines
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege

in Current Zoology (2017), 63(2), 165-173

Paedomorphosis is an alternative process to metamorphosis in which adults retain larval traits at the adult stage. It is frequent in newts and salamanders, where larvae reach sexual maturity without ... [more ▼]

Paedomorphosis is an alternative process to metamorphosis in which adults retain larval traits at the adult stage. It is frequent in newts and salamanders, where larvae reach sexual maturity without losing their gills. However, in some populations, larvae overwinter in water, while remaining immature. These alternative ontogenetic processes are of particular interest in various research fields, but have different causes and consequences, as only paedomorphosis allows metamorphosis to be bypassed before maturity. It is thus relevant to efficiently identify paedomorphs versus overwintering larvae. In this context, the aim of this paper was threefold: firstly, to perform a meta-analysis of the identification procedures carried out in the literature; secondly, to determine the effectiveness of body size to make inferences about adulthood by surveying natural newt populations of Lissotriton helveticus and Ichthyosaura alpestris, and thirdly, to propose easy guidelines for an accurate distinction between large larvae and paedomorphs based on an external sexual trait, which is essential for reproduction — the cloaca. More than half of the studies in the literature do not mention the diagnostic criteria used for determining adulthood. The criteria mentioned were the presence of mature gonads (10%), eggs laid (4%), courtship behaviour (10%), and external morphological sexual traits (39%) including the cloaca (24%). Body-size thresholds should not be used as a proxy for paedomorphosis, because overwintering larvae can reach a larger size than paedomorphs within the same populations. In contrast, diagnosis based on cloacal external morphology is recommended, as it can be processed by the rapid visual assessment of all caught specimens, thus providing straightforward data at the individual level for both sexes. [less ▲]

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See detailOut of the ground: two coexisting fossorial toad species differ in their emergence and movement patterns
Székely, Diana ULiege; Cogalniceanu, Dan; Székely, Paul et al

in Zoology (2017), 121

Understanding the way species with similar niches can coexist is a challenge in ecology.The niche partitioning hypothesis has received much support, positing that species can exploit available resources ... [more ▼]

Understanding the way species with similar niches can coexist is a challenge in ecology.The niche partitioning hypothesis has received much support, positing that species can exploit available resources in different ways. In the case of secretive species, behavioural mechanisms of partitioning are still poorly understood. This is especially true for fossorial frogs because individuals hide underground by day and are active only during the night. We investigated the nocturnal activity and tested the niche partitioning hypothesis in two syntopic fossorial spadefoot toads (Pelobates fuscus and P. syriacus) by examining interspecific variation in emergence from the soil. We employed a night vision recording system combined with video-tracking analyses in a replicated laboratory setting to quantify individual movement patterns, a procedure that has not been used until now to observe terrestrial amphibians. Most individuals appeared on the surface every night and returned to their original burrow (about 60% of the times), or dug a new one around morning. There was a large temporal overlap between the two species. However, P. syriacus was significantly more active than P. fuscus in terms of total distance covered and time spent moving, while P. fuscus individuals left their underground burrow more frequently than P. syriacus. Consequently, P. fuscus adopted more of a sit-and-wait behaviour compared to P. syriacus, and this could facilitate their coexistence. The use of night video-tracking technologies offered the advantage of individually tracking these secretive organisms during their nocturnal activity period and getting fine-grain data to understand their movement patterns. [less ▲]

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See detailHabitat selection and reproduction of newts in networks of fish and fishless aquatic patches
Winandy, Laurane ULiege; Legrand, Pauline ULiege; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege

in Animal Behaviour (2017), 123

The spatial distribution of organisms in patchy environments can be determined by the relationship between habitat quality and animal behaviour. In species with complex life cycles, such as pond-breeding ... [more ▼]

The spatial distribution of organisms in patchy environments can be determined by the relationship between habitat quality and animal behaviour. In species with complex life cycles, such as pond-breeding amphibians, the selection of a suitable wetland is crucial. While the traditional view of amphibian ecology suggests strong site fidelity and low vagility, more recent research highlights mechanisms involving active site choice through avoidance behaviour and bet-hedging strategies in heterogeneous environments. The introduction of fish to the aquatic environment is one of the factors that may alter site selection and lead to local dispersal. In this context, we investigated the habitat choice of Alpine newts, Ichthyosaura alpestris, in networks of fish (Carassius auratus) and fishless aquatic patches. Using a laboratory design consisting of aquaria divided into two water tanks connected by a terrestrial platform, we assessed newt distribution and movement between patches. During the breeding period, we compared the reproductive success of individuals in two types of networks. We found that newts escaped fish by rapidly changing aquatic patches and then aggregating in safe aquatic patches that were free of fish. In the fish network, newts maintained reproduction, but the high local abundance resulted in decreased sexual activity and egg production and increased use of the terrestrial habitat. However, in the fishless network, newts moved between aquatic patches several times, exhibited more courtship behaviour and laid more eggs than they did in the fish networks. Our results showed both adaptive habitat switching due to environmental risks in the fish network and habitat supplementation (i.e. use of alternative resources) in the fishless network. Such studies on movement behaviour and habitat selection have conservation implications in showing that the persistence of native species in invaded networks depends on the rescue effect, with immigration to fish-free habitats potentially preventing local extinction. [less ▲]

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See detailDo sex reversal procedures differentially affect agonistic behaviours and sex steroid levels depending on the sexual genotype in Nile tilapia?
Gennotte, Vincent ULiege; Akonkwa, Balagizi; Mélard, Charles ULiege et al

in Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological Genetics and Physiology (2017), 327(4), 153-162

In Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, phenotypic males and females with different sexual genotypes (XX, XY, YY) have particular behavioural and physiological traits. Compared to natural XX females and XY ... [more ▼]

In Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, phenotypic males and females with different sexual genotypes (XX, XY, YY) have particular behavioural and physiological traits. Compared to natural XX females and XY males, XY and YY females, and XX males expressed higher level of aggressiveness that could be related to higher levels of 17β-oestradiol and 11-ketotestosterone respectively. Our results suggest that the presence of a Y chromosome increases aggressiveness in females. However, since the same relationship between aggressiveness and the Y chromosome is not observed in males, we can hypothesize that the differences in aggressiveness are not directly dependent on the genotype but on the sex reversal procedures applied on young fry during their sexual differentiation to produce these breeders. These hormonal treatments could have permanently modified the development of the brain and consequently influenced the behaviour of adults independently of their genotype. In both hypotheses (genotype or sex reversal influence), the causes of behavioural modifications have to be searched in an early modification of the brain sexual differentiation. [less ▲]

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See detailFeeding ecology of metamorphic and paedomorphic palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) in Larzac
Didaskalou, Emilie; Lejeune, Benjamin ULiege; Lepoint, Gilles ULiege et al

Poster (2016, December 16)

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See detailPoissons, tritons et pédomorphes
Denoël, Mathieu ULiege

Scientific conference (2016, November 25)

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See detailPhenotypic plasticity in a fossorial toad from a Pacific xeric forest (Ecuador)
Székely, Diana ULiege; Szekely, Paul; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege et al

Poster (2016, October 06)

For amphibians, optimal size at metamorphosis is determined by a trade-off between opportunities for growth and risks of mortality in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and many species show a high degree ... [more ▼]

For amphibians, optimal size at metamorphosis is determined by a trade-off between opportunities for growth and risks of mortality in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and many species show a high degree of plasticity in time and size at metamorphosis that allow them to adapt to unpredictable environments. We used as model a neotropical anuran species, the Pacific horned frog, Ceratophrys stolzmanni, that inhabits the Tumbesian dry forests of southwestern Ecuador, and lays its eggs in lentic habitats of variable size and unpredictable duration. We investigated (i) how tadpoles time their metamorphosis in order to escape a rapidly drying aquatic habitat, and (ii) the consequences of metamorphosis plasticity on the immediate and mid-term fitness of individuals. We conducted two experiments; in the first one we exposed 36 tadpoles to one of three water levels treatments: constant high, decreasing and constant low. Tadpoles that were raised in decreasing or low water level metamorphosed on average 13% and 10% faster than the ones from constant high water level, but at a lower body size and mass. Growth rates were among the highest recorded for tadpoles and individuals from the constant high water level treatment grew at a much faster rate than the others. In a second experiment, we sampled 72 freshly metamorphosed (Gosner stage 45) C. stolzmanni individuals of assorted sizes (SVL between 23.8 and 47.9 mm, body weight between 1.2 and 11.9 g). From this spectrum of sizes, we selected the 21 largest and 22 smallest individuals and evaluated the effects of body size at metamorphosis on trophic and locomotory performance parameters. We determined their growth rate and survival over the course of an activity season (i.e., two months). Our results show that bigger size at metamorphosis is correlated with better survival chances and performance. Larger individuals were more mobile, had bigger gape width and better survival rates (95% compared to 64% for small individuals). Growth rates were not correlated with initial size, and small individuals were capable of increasing their size at a higher rate. This indicates that, although size at metamorphosis has an immediate impact on fitness, smaller individuals are able to compensate with an increased growth rate. [less ▲]

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See detailWho are the winners in the race against desiccation – phenotypic plasticity in a fossorial toad
Székely, Diana ULiege; Székely, Paul; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege et al

Conference (2016, September 29)

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