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Evolutionary Ecology - EE
Adaptation in heterogeneous environments

Flore Zélé

Post-Doc Researcher

I received a Ph.D. in Population Biology and Ecology from the University of Montpellier 2 (France) in 2012 and I am currently a postdoctoral researcher working in the team “Adaptation in heterogeneous environments” within the Evolutionary Ecology Group of cE3c at the University of Lisbon.

My research interests lie within evolutionary biology, especially host-symbiont interactions. I aim at addressing several issues ranging from host adaptation to symbionts to symbiont-mediated ecologically important traits, such as defense against parasites or pesticides resistance.

During my PhD I investigated whether a natural Wolbachia infection can alter the quality of mosquitoes as vectors of malaria using a Wolbachia-mosquito-Plasmodium triad with a common evolutionary history. Presently, I am studying the interactions between the endosymbiontic bacterium Wolbachia and its host, the spider mite Tetranychus urticae.

My current research is driven by three overarching objectives: i) determine which factors, such as the mites’ host plant, affect the diversity and prevalence of endosymbionts in natural populations of spider mites; ii) investigate the effect of Wolbachia on the spider mites reproduction and their mating strategies, as well as the mechanisms underlying Wolbachia-induced sex-ratio distortion in T. urticae; iii) unravel the evolution of Wolbachia from mutualism to parasitism through experimental evolution.