The Alpine Marmot Project

Welcome to the Alpine Marmot Project

Aurélie Cohas

espace

Assistant Professor

mail:

tel. : +33(0)4 72 44 85 83
fax : +33(0)4 72 43 13 88

UMR CNRS 5558 – LBBE
Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive
UCB Lyon 1 – Bât. Grégor Mendel
43 bd du 11 novembre 1918
69622 VILLEURBANNE cedex
FRANCE

Projects

My research focuses on the interface between behavioural ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics and population dynamics. For this, I combine behavioural observations, molecular tools and long-term data with the main biological model, the Alpine marmot, Marmota marmota.

Evolution of mating systems

Why do some individuals live in couples, while others choose multiple genetic and social partners (partner change, extra-pair paternity)? Based on what criteria do individuals choose their social partner(s) and genetic partner(s)? How are these criteria evaluated? What are the costs and benefits of these choices at the individual level? What are the consequences for population genetic structure or population dynamics?

perruche manchot empereur fou à pied bleu dik dik loup d'Ethiopie

In this context, my main research project currently focuses on partner choice for different genetic characteristics and the impact of choice on genetics and population dynamics. I am particularly interested in the consequences of mate choice for the evolution of genetic characteristics under selection, in particular on the evolution of major histocompatibility complex (MHC). This project builds on exceptional data, collected since 1990, on the population of Grande Sassière marmots; but also on data collected on different populations in the Alps and Pyrenees and during different time scales (contemporary, historical but also geological). It will quantify the role of mate choice in maintaining and promoting genetic diversity.

Evolution of sociality

Why do some individuals live alone while others live in complex social groups? Why do some become dominant while others remain subordinate? What are the costs and benefits of being dominant? What are the costs and benefits of being subordinate? What are the consequences of the size or composition of social groups? What are the consequences for the population genetic structure or population dynamics?

meerkat chimpanze chien de prairie abeille

In this context, I am currently interested in the consequences of the size and composition of social groups (1) on survival and reproductive success, and (2) on patterns of senescence in individuals who make up these groups. This project is based on both interspecific analysis of the mammals and on data from the population of Grande Sassière marmots. The Alpine marmot presents, in effect, a characteristic both fascinating and confusing: cooperative breeding. The Alpine marmot is thus characterized by the existence of social groups in which only the dominant pair reproduces, assisted by subordinates. These subordinates, although sexually mature are reproductively suppressed. They delay dispersion and instead help dominant individuals to raise their offspring. Such a social structure is expected to have important consequences for the life history traits, genetics and dynamics of the population.

Post-copulatory sexual selection

Why do some males develop extravagant secondary sexual characteristics (colours, weapons …)? Why do males develop some extravagant reproductive structures (disproportionate testicles, giant sperm …)? Do trade-offs exist between these traits? Do these traits coevolve with those of females? What are the roles of male competition and female choice in the evolution of these traits?

cerfs mandrilles ova spermatozoides

Sexual selection acts on secondary sexual characteristics such as the characteristics of the gametes and reproductive systems of males and females. I am currently interested in the potential trade-offs between these different traits and factors that can influence these trade-offs such as the mating system or mating tactics. For this, I am particularly interested in rodents and ungulates on which both interspecific and intraspecific studies are conducted (in collaboration with ONCFS for the work on ungulates).

Climate change

How does climate change affect the survival and reproduction of individuals? What are the consequences for population dynamics? Which physiological and behavioural mechanisms at the individual level can explain the observed changes at the population level? What are the evolutionary processes involved in the response of species to climate change?

corail manchot empereur fou à pied bleu ours glacier glacier

Recent climate changes on Earth have consequences for the distribution, size and performance of many animal populations. Understanding the repercussions of climate change is essential if we want to predict outcomes for these animal populations. While many studies in birds have shown changes in species’ phenology, such as earlier breeding seasons, the examples of mammals are quite rare. In the context of this project, I am interested in determining how and what climatic factors affect different life history traits in the Alpine marmot.

Fundings

Publications

Plard F., Fay R., Kéry M., Cohas A., Schaub M. (2019) Integrated population model: A powerful tool to embed individual processes in population dynamics models. Ecology, in press.

Bichet, C., Lepetit, D., and Cohas, A. (2018). Extrinsic and intrinsic constraints interact to drive extra‐pair paternities in the Alpine marmot. Journal of evolutionary biology, 31: 1794-1802. pdf

Berger, V., Lemaître, J. F., Allainé, D., Gaillard, J. M., and Cohas, A. (2018). Early and Adult Social Environments Shape Sex-Specific Actuarial Senescence Patterns in a Cooperative Breeder. The American Naturalist, 192:525-536. pdf

Cohas, A., Rey, B., Federico, V., Regis, C., Lardy, S., and Bichet, C. (2018). Stress levels of dominants reflect underlying conflicts with subordinates in a cooperatively breeding species. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72: 72. pdf

Zidat T., Dufour A.-B., Meiffrein G., Gabirot M., Comte G., Allainé D. (2018) Anal scent gland secretions inform on sexual maturity sex and social status in the Alpine marmot Marmota marmota (Rodentia: Sciuridae): a role in intrasexual competition in cooperative breeders? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 125:229-239.pdf

Dupont P., Allainé D., Cohas A., Pradel R. (2017) Testing determinants of the annual individual fitness: An overall mean mixture model for de‐lifing data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9:668-680. pdf

Berger V., Lemaître JF., Dupont P., Allainé D., Gaillard JM. and Cohas A. (2016) Age-specific survival in the socially monogamous alpine marmot (Marmota marmota): evidence of senescence. Journal of Mammalogy, 97:992–1000. pdf

Bichet C., Allainé D., Sauzet S. and Cohas A. (2016) Faithful or not: direct and indirect effects of climate on extra-pair paternities in a population of Alpine marmots. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 283: 20162240. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2240. pdf

Bichet C., Sauzet S., Averty L., Dupont P., Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Ferrari C., Figueroa I., Tafani M., Rézouki C., López BC., and Cohas, A. (2016) Multiple geographic origins and high genetic differentiation of the Alpine marmots reintroduced in the Pyrenees. Conservation Genetics, 17: 1157–1169. pdf

Canale C.I., Ozgul A., Allaine D., Cohas A. (2016) Differential plasticity of size and mass to environmental change in a hibernating mammal. Global Change Biology, 22: 3286-303. pdf

Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Allainé D., Callait-Cardinal MP. and Cohas A. (2016) Mate choice for neutral MHC genètic characteristics in Alpine marmots: different targets in different contexts? Ecology and Evolution, 6: 4243-4257. pdf

Lardy, S., Rey, B., Salin, K., Voituron, Y., & Cohas, A. (2016). Beneficial effects of group size on oxidative balance in a wild cooperative breeder. Behavioral Ecology, 27: 1820–1825. pdf

Rézouki, C., Tafani, M., Cohas, A., Loison, A., Gaillard, J. M., Allainé, D., & Bonenfant, C. (2016). Socially‐mediated effects of climate change decrease survival of hibernating Alpine marmots. Journal of Animal Ecology,85: 761–773. pdf

Bichet C., Sauzet S., Averty L., Dupont P., Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Ferrari C., Figueroa I., Tafani M., Rézouki C., López BC., and Cohas, A. (2016) Multiple geographic origins and high genetic differentiation of the Alpine marmots reintroduced in the Pyrenees. Conservation Genetics, 17: 1157–1169. pdf

Berger V., Lemaître JF., Allainé D., Gaillard JM. and Cohas A. (2015) Early and adult social environments have independent effects on individual fitness in a social vertebrate. Proceedings of Royal Society B, 282:20151167 pdf

Berger V., Lemaître JF., Gaillard JM. and Cohas A. (2015) How do animals optimize the size-number trade-off when aging? Insights from reproductive senescence patterns in marmots. Ecology, 96:46-53 pdf

Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Lemaître J-F., Lardy S., López B.C., Cohas A. (2014) Do pre- and post-copulatory sexually selected traits covary in large herbivores? BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14: 1-9. pdf

Lardy S., Allainé D. and Cohas A. (2013) Intrasexual competition and female dominance tenure in a singular breeding mammal, the Alpine marmot. Animal Behaviour, 86:1155–1163. pdf

Tafani M., Cohas A., Bonenfant C., Gaillard J.-M., Allainé D. (2013) Decreasing litter size of marmots over time: a life-history response to climate change? Ecology, 94:580–586. pdf

Tafani M., Cohas A., Bonenfant C., Gaillard J.-M., Lardy S., Allainé D. (2013) Sex-specific senescence in body mass of a monogamous and monomorphic mammal: the case of Alpine marmots. Oecologia, 172:427–436. pdf

Kuduk K., Johanet A., Allainé D., Cohas A., Radwan J. (2012) Contrasting patterns of selection acting on MHC class I and class II DRB genes inthe Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota). Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 25: 1686-1693. pdf. supporting information

Lardy S., Cohas A., Desouhant E., Tafani M., Allainé D. (2012) Paternity and dominance loss in male breeders : the cost of helpers in a cooperatively breeding mammal. PLoS One 7: e29508. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029508. pdf

Lardy S., Cohas A., Figueroa I., Allainé D. (2011) Mate change in a socially monogamous mammal: evidences support the “forced divorce” hypothesis. Behavioural Ecology, 22: 120-125. pdf

Cohas A., Allainé D. (2009) Social structure influences extra-pair paternity in socially monogamous mammals. Biology Letters, 5: 313-316. pdf

Cohas A., Bonenfant C., Kempenaers B., Allainé D. (2009) Age-specific effect of heterozygosity on survival in alpine marmots, Marmota marmota. Molecular Ecology 18: 1491-1503. pdf

Cohas A., Yoccoz N.G., Bonenfant C., Goossens B., Genton C., Galan M., Kempenaers B., Allainé D. (2008) The genetic similarity between pair members influences the frequency of extrapair paternity in alpine marmots. Animal Behaviour, 76: 87-95. pdf

Cohas A., Yoccoz N.G., Allainé D. (2007) Extra-pair paternity in alpine marmot (Marmota marmota): Genetic quality and genetic diversity effects. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 61: 1081-1092. pdf

Cohas A., Bonenfant C., Allainé D., Gaillard J-M. (2007) Are extra-pair young better than within-pair young? A comparison of survival and dominance in alpine marmot. Journal of Animal Ecology, 76: 771-781. pdf

Cohas A., Yoccoz N.G., Da Silva A., Goossens B., Allainé D. (2006) Extra-pair paternity in the monogamous alpine marmot (Marmota marmota): The roles of social setting and female mate choice. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 55: 597-605. pdf

Da Silva A., Luikart G., Yoccoz N.G., Cohas A., Allainé D. (2006) Heterozygosity-Fitness-Correlation revealed by microsatellite analyses in European alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). Conservation Genetics, 7: 371-382. pdf

Joly P., Morand , Cohas A.(2003) Habitat fragmentation and amphibian conservation: Building a tool for assessing landscape matrix connectivity. Comptes Rendus Biologie, 326: 132-139. pdf

Conferences

Bichet C., Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Cohas A. (2018) Multiple geographic origins and high genetic differentiation of the Alpine marmots reintroduced in the Pyrenees. Functional Ecology Conference, Nancy, France. pdf.

Federico V., Gaillard J-M., Lemaitre J-F., Allaine A., Cohas A. (2018) Evolutionary pathways to cooperative breeding in Mammals- The role of ecology. Sfécologie2018, Rennes, France.

Ferrandiz-Rovira M., Cohas A. (2018) Incorporating adaptive responses to climate change to explore future scenarios of wildlife distributions: insights from different populations of Alpine marmots. Functional Ecology Conference, Nancy, France. pdf.

Bichet C., Allainé D., Sauzet S., Cohas A. (2017) Direct and indirect effects of climate on extra-pair paternities in a population of Alpine marmots. European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 16th Congress, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Garcia R., Rey B., Pardonnet S., Cohas A. (2017). Social environment shapes the stress response of Alpine marmot pups (Marmota marmota). 13th student meeting: Ecology and Behaviour, Chizé, France.

Marchand T., Evan A., Fuchs B., Rey B., Singh N., Arnemo J.M., Arnold W., Canale C., Pardonnet S., Cohas A. (2017) Drivers of hibernation in marmots and bears. 6th International Bio-Logging Science Symposium, Constanz, Germany.

Ferrandiz-Rovira, M., Cohas A, Allainé D. and Callait-Cardinal M-P. (2015) Specific alleles of the major histocompatibility complex (mhc) class ii and age influence prevalence or abundance of intestinal parasites in alpine marmots (Marmota marmota). World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP), Liverpool, UK.

Berger V., Lemaître J.-F., Gaillard J.-M., Cohas A. (2014) How do animals optimize the size–number trade-off when aging? Insights from reproductive senescence patterns in marmots. British Ecological Society, Lille, France.

Ferrandiz-Rovira, M., Bigot T., Allainé D., Callait-Cardinal M-P., Radwan J., Cohas, A. (2013) Large-scale genotyping by next generation sequencing: How to overcome the challenges to reliably genotype individuals? 2ème Colloque Génomique Environnementale, Rennes, France. pdf

Tafani, M., Allainé, D., Cohas, A. (2013) Effet des changements climatiques sur une population de marmottes Alpines (Marmota marmota). 36ème colloque de mammalogie,Toulouse, France.

Ferrandiz-Rovira, M., Lemaître, J-F. , Lardy, S., Claramunt-Lopez, B., Cohas, A. (2012) Evolutionary trade-off between weapon length and sperm size in large herbivores. 8th Ecology and Behaviour congress of the SERL, Chizé, France.

Lardy, S., Cohas, A., Desouhant, E., Tafani, M., and Allainé, D. (2012) Paternity and dominance loss in male breeder: The cost of helpers in a cooperatively breeding mammal, the Alpine marmot. 8th Ecology and Behaviour congress of the SERL, Chizé, France.

Lardy S., Cohas A., Allainé D. (2011) The cost of helpers – Consequences and mechanisms of male-male competition in cooperative breeders. European Society for Evolutionary Biology 13th congress, Tübingen, Germany. pdf

Tafani, M., Allainé, D., Cohas, A. (2010) Growth pattern and senescence in body mass of a medium sized herbivore (Marmota marmota). Ecologie 2010 Conference, Montpellier, France.

Lardy S., Cohas A., Allainé D. (2009) Divorce in a monogamous mammal, evidence supporting the “forced divorce” hypothesis. European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 12th Congress, Turin, Italy. pdf

es supporting the “forced divorce” hypothesis. ESEB, 12th congress, Turin. pdf

Thesis

Cohas A. (2006) Causes évolutives des paternités hors-couple chez les espèces socialement monogames: L’exemple de la marmotte alpine (Marmota marmota). [Evolutionary causes of extra-pair paternity in socially monogamous species: the example of the Alpine marmot (Marmota marmota)]. Thèse de doctorat. Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon. pdf

Media

GREC-PACA (2018) Impacts du changement climatique et transition(s) dans les Alpes du Sud. Participation au cahier ‘Montagne’.

Mourez J. (2018) Les marmottes étudiées de près pour 5 ans. Le Dauphiné Libéré, August 3rd.

Cohen AA. (2017) Vieillir dans la nature. Episode 3. Canadian production. Arte, France

Investigacion y Ciencia (2017) Marmotas alpinas : El seguimiento de la especie en distintas zonas de alta montaña revela algunas de sus estrategias vitales. February n°485.

Diari Ara Andorra (2017) La inadaptació de la marmota. Januray 8th. pdf

Diari de Girona (2016) Un estudi conclou que les marmotes són infidels per evitar consanguinitat. May 31st.

Diario de Pontevedra (2016) Las marmotas hembra son infieles para evitar la consanguinidad. May 31st.

El progreso (2016) Las marmotas hembra son infieles para evitar la consanguinidad. May 31st

El Punt Avui (2016) Les marmotes s’assenten al Pirineu tot i la trava genètica . July 26th.

La Vanguardia (2016) La marmota se acomoda en el Pireneo. July 24th.

26. El 9 nou (2016) Examen a la marmota del Ripollès July 15th

La Veu de Sant Joan (2016) El @CREAF_ecologia i la @UAB han pogut determinar la procedència de les marmotes del Pirineu @Marionafr July 13th

Diari de Girona (2016) La reintroducció de l’espècie fa que les marmotes colonitzin tot el Pirineu July 12th.

ABC (2016) Constatan el éxito en la reintroducción de marmotas en el Pirineo.

Heraldo (2016) Vuelven las marmotas alpinas a los Pirineos. July 11th.

Efe Verde (2016) Constatan el éxito en la reintroducción de marmotas en el Pirineo. July 11th.

Diari de Girona (2016) La reintroducció de l’espècie fa que les marmotes colonitzin tot el Pirineu. July 12th.

Vilaweb (2016) La reintroducció de marmotes als Pirineus és tot un èxit malgrat la baixa diversitat genètica. July 11th.

Ràdio La Seu (2016) La reintroducció de marmotes als Pirineus es consolida malgrat la baixa diversitat genètica. July 12th.

Aldia.cat (2016) Les marmotes es reintrodueixen amb èxit als Pirineus tot i la baixa diversitat genètica. July 11th.

UAB Divulga (2016) Reintroducing the alpine marmot into the Pyrenees . November 16th.

La Vanguardia (2016) Las hembras de marmotas son infieles para evitar la consanguineidad May 30th.

La Razon (2016) Hembras de marmota: infieles por una causa justa. May 30th.

Efe Futuro (2016) Las hembras de marmotas son infieles para evitar la consanguineidad. May 30th.

El Digital del Asuturias (2016) Las hembras de marmota son infieles con otros machos para evitar la consanguinidad. May 31st.

Navarra Información (2016) Las hembras de marmotas son infieles para evitar la consanguineidad. May 31st.

Andalucia información (2016)Las marmotas hembra le ponen los cuernos a sus parejas y con razon. May 30th.

UAB (2016) Las hembras de marmota son infieles con otros machos. May 30th.

Naya A. (2016) CREAF Female marmots “cheat on” their male partners May 30th

Efe Verde (2016) Hembras de marmotas, infieles para evitar la consanguineidad. May 30th.

Catalunya ràdio (2016). May 31th. audio

TVE / La 2 (2016) La marmota infiel. May 30th.

RAC 105 (2016) El fricandó matiner. June 3rd.

Gonay A. (2014) Film: Des scientifiques dans la montagne

Khamis H. (2014) A la découverte du mode de vie des marmottes. Radio Suisse Romande, August 25th.

Reye B. (2014) Das nickerchen der murmeltier. Tages-Anzeiger, September 13th.

Dupuis F. (2013) ALPES NATURE : Vanoise, objectif marmotte ! Alpes Magazine, n°142. pdf

Milleret R. (2013) . Dans le terrier des marmottes à La Grande Sassière. Le Dauphiné Libéré, 21 Juillet 2013.

Giraud M. (2009) Darwin c’est tout bête ! eds Robert Laffont.

Boone D. (2009) Rencontres au sommet. Version Femina n°384.

Comby G. (2007) Comme pour les marmotte, l’adultère est-il salutaire? Le Matin Dimanche, 5 August 2007. pdf

Kaplan M. (2007) Ain’t misbehaving. The Economist, 28 June 2007.

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