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Evolutionary Ecology - EE
MITE2: Multidisciplinary Investigation Targeting Ecology and Evolution

Flore Zélé

External Collaborator

Herbivorous mites Host-parasite interactions Bacterial endosymbionts Reproductive isolation and speciation Experimental evolution Molecular ecology

My research interests lie within eco-evolutionary biology of species interactions, especially those within and among hosts and symbionts.

During my PhD, with Ana Rivero and Olivier Duron at the University of Montpellier, 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.

Then, I moved for several unforgettable years of postdocs with Sara, in the MITE2 group. I did a number of projects on issues ranging from host adaptation to symbionts to symbiont-mediated ecologically important traits: (i) I studied how the host plants of spider mites and co-infections with other symbionts or pathogens affect the interaction between Wolbachia and its spider-mite hosts; and how these factors shape the diversity and prevalence of symbionts in natural populations of spider mites; (ii) I investigated the effect of Wolbachia on spider-mite reproduction and mating strategies, as well as host adaptation to Wolbachia-induced reproductive manipulations; (iii) I developed a project to address the consequences of the interaction between Wolbachia and pesticide resistance in spider mites, which is still ongoing.

Recently, I moved to the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier (ISEM), where I am pursuing my research in close collaboration with Sara and the MITE2 group. My current work addresses the role of symbionts in host speciation and reproductive interference, and how eco-evolutionary feedbacks resulting from the interplay between reproductive and competitive interactions affect the evolution of reproductive barriers and species coexistence.


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