Marie Pierre Chapuis

 Contact Details

Main Research Interests

My research is mainly focused on population evolution of insect species. I use molecular and evolutionary ecology to infer population histories and processes (e.g. routes of colonization, demographic quantities) and test for the roles of (a)biotic factors (e.g. landscape, microbial communities).

At Cirad, we have a long history with locust species, such as the Desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (picture: Antoine Foucart, Augrabies Falls, South-Africa). These crop pests are subject to huge and unpredictable increases in population density, associated with a switch from the shy and cryptic to the highly active and aggregative behavior (phase polyphenism). We are interested in the environmental conditions leading to the evolution of population outbreaks and extreme density-dependent phenotypic plasticity in these species. See the dedicated webpage.



Recent and Ongoing Research Lines

Characterization of the diversity of Orthopteran species associated with field crops 

This initiative aims at contributing to the international efforts to develop species identification tools. Such efforts are often applied at a deep taxonomic level by using high-throughput sequencing of multiple amplicons (e.g. mitochondrial barcode, nuclear fragments). At this level, we focus on ancient DNA from Western-African specimens of the diverse Acrididae family from our collection. Identification can otherwise be problematic at a recent taxonomic level, which requires integrative revisions based on morphological and molecular data. At this level, we focus on two case studies: we use the RAD-Seq technique and geometrical morphometry to explore species limits within the Calliptamus genus, and we combine microsatellite genotyping, mitochondrial barcoding, and morphological and ecological data to resolve the enigmatic genetic isolation of the ‘Palavas grasshopper', a giant form of the migratory locust.
Main collaborators: A. Coeur d'Acier, A. Foucart, J. Haran, L. Benoit.
Plant-insect-bacteria interactions  

Communities of microorganisms (microbiota) have an intimate, often mutualistic, but also complex relationship with their host and its environment. As a first step toward considering the microbial compartment for solving key questions in plant health, we characterize microbiota composition variation in phytophagous insects according to host plants (e.g. fruit species in fruit flies or wheat genotypes in the migratory locust). We also explore immune (e.g. parasitism), behavioral (e.g. gregarious phase) or genetic (e.g. evolutionary history) factors.
Main collaborators: L. Benoit, S. Fellous, M. Galan, E. Kazakou


Evolution of phase polyphenism

The aim is to inform on reaction norms of polyphenic traits (e.g. behavior, growth, morphology, reproduction) in populations of Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria in optimal or stressful environments. We also explore some of the genetic parameters (e.g. heritability of traits), genetic mechanisms (e.g. heat shock proteins) and evolutionary hypotheses (e.g. resource use optimization) involved in phenotypic plasticity.
Main collaborators: H. Jourdan, N. Leménager, Y. Michalakis, B. Pélissié, C. Piou.
Main publications (so far): 4, 8, 14, 27. 


Education and Professional Employment

2009 - current, Cirad Researcher, France (Honorary Research Affiliate of the School of Biological Sciences, Sydney, Australia)

2007 - 2009, Marie-Curie Outgoing International Fellow, CBGP, Montpellier and University of Sydney, Australia, with G.A. Sword and S. J. Simpson 

PhD. University of Montpellier, France 2006 (Supervisors: A. Estoup, Y. Michalakis & M. Lecoq)

MSc. University of Montpellier, France 2002 (Supervisor: A. Estoup)


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