- Evolution and Ecophysiology group - Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Gembloux, Belgium
- Aquatic, Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Fish, Genetics/Genomics, Insecta, Marine, Molecular biology, Parasitology, Phylogeny, Symbiosis
Areas of expertise
I have a PhD in ecology and evolution with a major focus on the study of microorganisms, their role in ecosystems, and host-microbe interactions. Since my master degree, my main research interest is to study the evolutionary relationships between symbiotic communities within the same organism and their importance for host physiology and health in relation to the environment (biotic and abiotic factors). During my PhD, I oriented my research towards the external and internal microbial communities inhabiting natural populations of teleost fishes and investigated the link with their monogenean ectoparasites. Using metabarcoding approaches, my work was the first to reveal that variation in bacterial communities is driven by both annual fluctuations of abiotic factors and host-related factors. These studies have opened up new avenues of research, such as understanding the mechanisms of colonization of microorganisms and the differences in selection pressures according to fish tissue, species and associated traits, including diet, social behavior and physiology. I further provided novel evidence for a link between parasites and microbiota, which seems to be determined by several mechanisms potentially including the protective and attractive role of certain microorganisms, but also microorganisms that are themselves affected by parasites. I also studied the functional link between the gastrointestinal microbial communities and appetite regulation, as well as feeding behavior, growth and life history traits of salmonids during smoltification. As a postdoc, I am now studying the molecular basics of plasticity of fat synthesis in a parasitoid wasp, Leptopilina heterotoma by using ‘omics’ approaches (RNA and epigenome sequencing).