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Christe Group - Evolution of Host-parasite Interactions.


Host-parasite interactions represent one of the most promising routes for the understanding of general evolutionary processes. Particularly promising are studies which involve closely related parasite species that parasitized a same host species because such systems might provide insights into the detailed mechanisms of coevolution between host defences and parasite virulence. We are currently investigating different host-parasite models with a special focus on the evolution of parasite specialization and speciation.

Bats and ectoparasites

We are investigating the micro-evolutionary relationships in one host-parasite system consisting of different bat species and species of obligatory parasitic mites that spend their entire life on their bat host (Spinturnix sp). This research combines:
1) a comparative approach in the field (parasite population dynamics and reproduction vs. host condition, sex and immunocompetence).
2) an experimental work involving bats and parasites kept in captivity.
3) molecular phylogeny of european Spinturnix species.
4) phylogeography and population genetics of the greater mouse-eared bats Myotis myotis and Spinturnix myoti.
5) phylogeography and population genetics of the Maghrebian bat Myotis punicus and Spinturnix sp. Moreover we are presently modelling vital parameters using capture-recapture data.

Collaborators: Nadia Bruyndonckx, Raphaël Arlettaz (University of Bern), Jérôme Goudet, Manuel Ruedi


Avian malaria

Although avian malaria is a very common and widely distributed parasite, the complex interactions between the 3 actors of this particular bird-mosquito-Plasmodium natural system remain largely unknown. Recently, the development of molecular genetic screening techniques has revealed high diversity and higher prevalence of avian malaria than previously thought. Moreover the development of real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) has allowed the quantification of parasitaemia and opens new fascinating field of investigations in this host-parasite system. Despite the growing interest in avian malaria in evolutionary biology, the role played by the vector in this host-parasite relationship remains to be investigated.

This project focuses on avian malaria in the great tit Parus major and its natural mosquito vector, looking at different aspects of interactions between parasites and hosts.

Collaborator: Olivier Glaizot (Museum of Zoology, Lausanne), Luca Fumagalli


In press |  2016 |  2015 |  2014 |  2013 |  2012 |  2011 |  2010 |  2009 |  2008 |  2007 |  2006 |  2005 |  2004 |  2003 |  2002 |  2001 |  2000 |  1999 |  1998 |  1997 |  1996 |  1995 |  1994 |  1993 |  Thèses (doctorat) | 

In Press
Delhaye J., Salamin N., Roulin A., Criscuolo F., Bize P., Christe P., In Press. Interspecific correlation between red blood cell mitochondrial ROS production, cardiolipin content and longevity in birds. Age . [DOI] [Pubmed]
Kühnert E., Schönbächler C., Arlettaz R., Christe P., 2016. Roost selection and switching in two forest-dwelling bats: implications for forest management. European Journal of Wildlife Research 62(4) pp. 497-500. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Dubey S., Christe P., Formenti V., Staub E., Schuerch J., Glaizot O., Ursenbacher S., 2015. Introduced freshwater blenny influences the diet and body condition of the invasive dice snake in Lake Geneva. Journal of Wildlife Management 79(2) pp. 338-343. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Jenkins T., Christe P., 2015. Bringing together phylogenies and behavioural ecology in host-parasite interactions. pp. 434-449 in Morand S., Krasnov B.R., Littlewood D.T.J. (eds.) Parasite diversity and diversification: evolutionary ecology meets phylogenetics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. [Web of Science]
Jenkins T., Delhaye J., Christe P., 2015. Testing Local Adaptation in a Natural Great Tit-Malaria System: An Experimental Approach. Plos One 10(11) pp. e0141391. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Witsenburg F., Clément L., López-Baucells A., Palmeirim J., Pavlinić I., Scaravelli D., ?evčík M., Dutoit L., Salamin N., Goudet J. et al., 2015. How a haemosporidian parasite of bats gets around: the genetic structure of a parasite, vector and host compared. Molecular Ecology 24(4) pp. 926-940. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Bize P., Cotting S., Devevey G., van Rooyen J., Lalubin F., Glaizot O., Christe P., 2014. Senescence in cell oxidative status in two bird species with contrasting life expectancy. Oecologia 174(4) pp. 1097-1105. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., 2014. Existe-t-il des traitements antibiotiques naturels pour les animaux sauvages? pp. 67-74 in Morand S., Moutou F., Richomme C. (eds.) Faune sauvage, santé et biodiversité, quels défis? Editions Quae.
Lalubin F., Delédevant A., Glaizot O., Christe P., 2014. Natural malaria infection reduces starvation resistance of nutritionally stressed mosquitoes. Journal of Animal Ecology 83(4) pp. 850-857. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
van Rooyen J., Jenkins T., Lahlah N., Christe P., 2014. North-African house martins endure greater haemosporidian infection than their European counterparts. Journal of Avian Biology 45(5) pp. 450-456. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Allan E., Jenkins T., Fergus A.J.F, Roscher C., Fischer M., Petermann J., Weisser W., Schmid B., 2013. Experimental plant communities develop phylogenetically overdispersed abundance distributions during assembly. Ecology 94(2) pp. 465-477. [DOI]
Lalubin F., Delédevant A., Glaizot O., Christe P., 2013. Temporal changes in mosquito abundance (Culex pipiens), avian malaria prevalence and lineage composition. Parasites & Vectors 6 p. 307. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Milcu A., Allan E., Roscher C., Jenkins T., Meyer S.T., Flynn D., Bessler H., Buscot F., Engels C., Gubsch M. et al., 2013. Functionally and phylogenetically diverse plant communities key to soil biota. Ecology 94(8) pp. 1878-1885. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Rooyen J.v., Lalubin F., Glaizot O., Christe P., 2013. Altitudinal variation in haemosporidian parasite distribution in great tit populations. Parasites and Vectors 6 p. 139. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
van Rooyen J., Lalubin F., Glaizot O., Christe P., 2013. Avian haemosporidian persistence and co-infection in great tits at the individual level. Malaria Journal 12(40) p. 40. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Glaizot O., Strepparava N., Devevey G., Fumagalli L., 2012. Twofold cost of reproduction: an increase in parental effort leads to higher malarial parasitaemia and to a decrease in resistance to oxidative stress. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 279(1731) pp. 1142-1149. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Glaizot O., Fumagalli L., Iritano K., Lalubin F., Van Rooyen J., Christe P., 2012. High prevalence and lineage diversity of avian malaria in wild populations of great tits (Parus major) and mosquitoes (Culex pipiens). PLoS One 7(4) pp. e34964. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Lalubin F., Bize P., Van Rooyen J., Christe P., Glaizot O., 2012. Potential evidence of parasite avoidance in an avian malarial vector. Animal Behaviour 84(3) pp. 539-545. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Genoud M., Christe P., 2011. Thermal energetics and torpor in the common pipistrelle bat, Pipistrellus pipistrellus (Vespertilionidae: Mammalia). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular and Integrative Physiology 160(2) pp. 252-259. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Metzger C., Christe P., Ursenbacher S., 2011. Diet variability of two convergent natricine colubrids in an invasive-native interaction. Mertensiella 18 pp. 86-93. [Document]
Obrist M. K., Rathey E., Bontadina F., Martinoli A., Conedera M., Christe P., Moretti M., 2011. Response of bat species to sylvo-pastoral abandonment. Forest Ecology and Management 261(3) pp. 789-798. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Sanchez A., Devevey G., Bize P., 2011. Female-biased infection and transmission of the gastrointestinal nematode Trichuris arvicolae infecting the common vole, Microtus arvalis. International Journal for Parasitology 41(13-14) pp. 1397-1402. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Biollaz F., Bruyndonckx N., Beuneux G., Mucedda M., Goudet J., Christe P., 2010. Genetic isolation of insular populations of the Maghrebian bat, Myotis punicus, in the Mediterranean Basin. Journal of Biogeography 37(8) pp. 1557-1569. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Bruyndonckx N., Biollaz F., Dubey S., Goudet J., Christe P., 2010. Mites as biological tags of their hosts. Molecular Ecology 19(13) pp. 2770-2778. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Bruyndonckx N., Dubey S., Christe P., 2010. Fortuitous infestation or wide host range? The case of Spinturnicidae and their bat hosts: Reply to Guiller and Deunff (2010). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57(3) pp. 1353-1354. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Castella G., Christe P., Chapuisat M., 2010. Covariation between colony social structure and immune defences of workers in the ant Formica selysi. Insectes Sociaux 57(2) pp. 233-238. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Devevey G., Bize P., Fournier S., Person E., Christe P., 2010. Testing the predictive adaptive response in a host-parasite system. Functional Ecology 24(1) pp. 178-185. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Devevey G., Bruyndonckx N., Von Houwald F., Studer-Thiersch A., Christe P., 2010. Age-specific variation of resistance to oxidative stress in the greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus). Journal of Ornithology 151(1) pp. 251-254. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Megali A., Yannic G., Zahno M.-L., Brügger D., Bertoni G., Christe P., Zanoni R., 2010. Passive and targeted surveillance for european bat lyssavirus in Swiss bats. Rabies Bulletin Europe 34(3) pp. 5-7. [Document] [url editor site]
Megali A., Yannic G., Zahno M.L., Brügger D., Bertoni G., Christe P., Zanoni R., 2010. Surveillance for European bat lyssavirus in Swiss bats. Archives of Virology 155(10) pp. 1655-1662. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Witsenburg F., Schürch R., Otti O., Heg D., 2010. Behavioural types and ecological effects in a natural population of the cooperative cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher. Animal Behaviour 80(4) pp. 757-767. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Bruyndonckx N., Dubey S., Ruedi M., Christe P., 2009. Molecular cophylogenetic relationships between European bats and their ectoparasitic mites (Acari, Spinturnicidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51(2) pp. 227-237. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Castella G., Christe P., Chapuisat M., 2009. Mating triggers dynamic immune regulations in wood ant queens. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(3) pp. 564-570. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Devevey G., Chapuisat M., Christe P., 2009. Longevity differs among sexes but is not affected by repeated immune activation in voles (Microtus arvalis). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 97(2) pp. 328-333. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Devevey G., Christe P., 2009. Flea infestation reduces the life span of the common vole. Parasitology 136(11) pp. 1351-5. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Bize P., Devevey G., Monaghan P., Doligez B., Christe P., 2008. Fecundity and survival in relation to resistance to oxidative stress in a free-living bird. Ecology 89(9) pp. 2584-2593. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Castella G., Chapuisat M., Christe P., 2008. Prophylaxis with resin in wood ants. Animal Behaviour 75(4) pp. 1591-1596. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Castella G., Chapuisat M., Moret Y., Christe P., 2008. The presence of conifer resin decreases the use of the immune system in wood ants. Ecological Entomology 33(3) pp. 408-412. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Devevey G., Niculita-Hirzel Hélène, Biollaz F., Candice Y., Chapuisat M., Christe P., 2008. Developmental, metabolic and immunological costs of flea infestation in the common vole. Functional Ecology 22(6) pp. 1091-1098. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Reber A., Castella G., Christe P., Chapuisat M., 2008. Experimentally increased group diversity improves disease resistance in an ant species. Ecology Letters 11(7) pp. 682-689. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Chapuisat M., Oppliger Anne, Magliano P., Christe P., 2007. Wood ants use resin to protect themselves against pathogens. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 274(1621) pp. 2013-2017. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Glaizot O., Evanno G., Bruyndonckx N., Devevey G., Yannic G., Patthey P., Maeder A., Vogel P., Arlettaz R., 2007. Host sex and ectoparasites choice: preference for, and higher survival on female hosts. Journal of Animal Ecology 76(4) pp. 703-710. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Eraud C., Devevey G., Gaillard M., Prost J., Sorci G., Faivre B., 2007. Environmental stress affects the expression of a carotenoid-based sexual trait in male zebra finches. Journal of Experimental Biology 210(20) pp. 3571-3578. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Roulin A., Christe P., Dijkstra C., Ducrest A. L., Jungi T. W., 2007. Origin-related, environmental, sex, and age determinants of immunocompetence, susceptibility to ectoparasites, and disease symptoms in the barn owl. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 90(4) pp. 703-718. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Alonso-Alvarez C., Bertrand S., Devevey G., Prost J., Faivre B., Chastel O., Sorci G., 2006. An experimental manipulation of life-history trajectories and resistance to oxidative stress. Evolution 60(9) pp. 1913-1924. [Document] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Bertrand S., Alonso-Alvarez C., Devevey G., Faivre B., Prost J., Sorci G., 2006. Carotenoids modulate the trade-off between egg production and resistance to oxidative stress in zebra finches. Oecologia 147(4) pp. 576-584. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Keller L., Roulin A., 2006. The predation cost of being a male: implications for sex-specific rates of ageing. Oikos 114(2) pp. 381-394. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Christe P., Morand S., Michau J., 2006. Biological conservation and parasitism. pp. 593-613 in Morand S., Krasnov B.R., Poulin R (eds.) Micromammals and macroparasites : from evolutionary ecology to management. Springer, Tokyo. [DOI]
Regnaut S., Christe P., Chapuisat M., Fumagalli L., 2006. Genotyping faeces reveals facultative kin association on capercaillie's leks. Conservation Genetics 7(5) pp. 665-674. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Loyau A., Moureau B., Richard M., Christe P., Heeb P., Sorci G., 2005. Cross-amplification of polymorphic microsatellites reveals extra-pair paternity and brood parasitism in Sturnus vulgaris. Molecular Ecology Notes 5(1) pp. 135-139. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Martin R.D., Genoud M., Hemelrijk C.K., 2005. Problems of allometric scaling analysis: examples from mammalian reproductive biology. The Journal of experimental biology 208(Pt 9) pp. 1731-47. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Møller A.P., Christe P., Garamszegi L.Z., 2005. Coevolutionary arms races: increased host immune defense promotes specialization by avian fleas. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18(1) pp. 46-59. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Roulin A., Bize P., Tzaud N., Bianchi M., Ravussin P. A., Christe P., 2005. Oxygen consumption in offspring tawny owls Strix aluco is associated with colour morph of foster mother. Journal of Ornithology 146(4) pp. 390-394. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Alatalo R.V., Aragon S., Aviles J.M., Barbosa A., Gomes C.B., Cadee N., Christe P., Cuervo J.J., Diaz M., Erritzoe J. et al., 2004. Support for a colleague. Science 303(5664) p. 1612. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Alonso-Alvarez C., Bertrand S., Devevey G., Gaillard M., Prost J., Faivre B., Sorci G., 2004. An experimental test of the dose-dependent effect of carotenoids and immune activation on sexual signals and antioxidant activity. American Naturalist 164(5) pp. 651-659. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Alonso-Alvarez C. Bertrand S. Devevey G. Prost J. Faivre B. & Sorci G., 2004. Increased susceptibility to oxidative stress as a proximate cost of reproduction. Ecology Letters 7 pp. 363-368. [Document] [Web of Science]
Giorgi M.S., Arlettaz R., Guillaume F., Nusslé S., Ossola C., Vogel P., Christe P., 2004. Causal mechanisms underlying host specificity in bat ectoparasites. Oecologia 138(4) pp. 648-654. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Blount J.D., Metcalfe N.B., Arnold K.E., Surai P.F., Devevey G.L., Monaghan P., 2003. Neonatal nutrition, adult antioxidant defences and sexual attractiveness in the zebra finch. Proceedings. Biological Sciences 270(1525) pp. 1691-1696. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Oppliger Anne, Bancala F., Castella G., Chapuisat M., 2003. Evidence for collective medication in ants. Ecology Letters 6(1) pp. 19-22. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Arlettaz R, Christe P., Surai P-F., Møller A. P., 2002. Deliberate rusty staining of plumage in the bearded vulture: does function precede art? Animal Behaviour 64 pp. F1-F8.
Arlettaz R., Christe P., Desfayes M., 2002. 33 years, a new longevity record for a European bat. Mammalia 66(3) pp. 441-442. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Christe P., Møller A. P., Gonzalez G., de Lope F., 2002. Intraseasonal variation in immune defence, body mass and hematocrit in adult house martins Delichon urbica. Journal of Avian Biology 33(3) pp. 321-325. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Arlettaz R., Christe P., Lugon A., Perrin N., Vogel P., 2001. Food availability dictates the timing of parturition in insectivorous mouse-eared bats. Oikos 95(1) pp. 105-111. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Giorgi M.S., Arlettaz R., Christe P., Vogel P., 2001. The energetic grooming costs imposed by a parasitic mite (Spinturnix myoti) upon its bat host (Myotis myotis). Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 268(1480) pp. 2071-2075. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Arlettaz R., Baeriswyl P. A., Christe P., Lugon A., 1999. A female vespertilionid bat (Myotis blytii) lactating in October at 46oN latitude. Le Rhinolophe 13(7317) pp. 17-22.
Møller A.P., Christe P., Lux E., 1999. Parasitism, host immune function, and sexual selection. Quarterly Review of Biology 74(1) pp. 3-20. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Møller A. P., de Lope F., 1998. Immunocompetence and nestling survival in the house martin: the tasty chick hypothesis. Oikos 83(1) pp. 175-179. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Møller A. P., Christe P., Erritzoe J., Mavarez J., 1998. Condition, disease and immune defence. Oikos 83(2) pp. 301-306. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Oppliger Anne, Christe P., Richner H., 1997. Clutch size and malarial parasites in female great tits. Behavioral Ecology 8(2) pp. 148-152. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Christe P., Richner H., Oppliger Anne, 1996. Begging food provisioning and nestling competition in great tit broods infested with ectoparasites. Behavioral Ecology 7(2) pp. 127-131. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Christe P., Richner H., Oppliger Anne, 1996. Of great tits and fleas: sleep baby sleep. Animal Behaviour 52(6) pp. 1087-1092. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Oppliger Anne, Christe P., Richner H., 1996. Clutch size and malaria resistance. Nature 381(6583) p. 565. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Perrin N., Christe P., Richner H., 1996. On host life-history response to parasitism. Oikos 75(2) pp. 317-320. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Richner H., Christe P., Oppliger Anne, 1995. Paternal investment affects prevalence of malaria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 92(4) pp. 1192-1194. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Christe P., Oppliger Anne, Richner H., 1994. Ectoparasite affects choice and use of roost sites in the great tit, Parus major. Animal Behaviour 47(4) pp. 895-898. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Richner H., Oppliger Anne, Christe P., 1993. Effect of an ectoparasite on reproduction in great tits. Journal of Animal Ecology 62(4) pp. 703-710. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Phd thesis
Delhaye J., 2016. OXIDATIVE STRESS IN HOST-PARASITE INTERACTIONS: A CASE STUDY FROM AVIAN MALARIA. Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe P. (dir.).
Witsenburg F., 04-2014. The role of bat flies (Nycteribiidae) in the ecology and evolution of the blood parasite Polychromophilus (Apicomplexa: Haemosporida). 162 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe P. (dir.). [Document]
Lalubin F., 11-2013. The role of vectors in the epidemiology of avian malaria. 180 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe, P. (dir.).
Lalubin F., 2013. The role of vectors in the epidemiology of avian malaria. 160 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe, P. (dir.).
van Rooyen Juan, 2013. Characterising avian haemosporidian communities: ecological factors, parasite persistence and coinfection. Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe P. (dir.).
Bruyndonckx N., 2009. Genetic survey of "spinturnix sp" (Acari, Mesostigmata) and their bat hosts in Western Palearctic. 149 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christie P. (dir.).
Castella G., 2008. The economics of anti-parasite defences in animal societies. 124 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe P. (dir.).
Devevey G., 2008. The costs of parasitism and anti-parasitic defense in the common vole. 204 p., Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine, Christe P. (dir.).


Philippe Christe
Office room: 3122
Phone: +4121 692 41 57
Fax: +4121 692 41 65

Administrative assistant
Office room: 3109
Phone: +41 21 692 4160
Fax: +41 21 692 4165



Biophore - CH-1015 Lausanne  - Switzerland  -  Tel. +41 21 692 41 60  -  Fax +41 21 692 41 65
Swiss University