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Group Fitze - Current and Past Mechanisms of Evolution.

Prospective students

Interested students are very welcome, and are urged to contact me by email. Please send a letter of interest including a CV written in English, French, Spanish, or German accompanied by recommendation letters. Postdoctoral fellows should attach their three most relevant scientific publications.

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Current and Past Mechanisms of Evolution

The goal of our group is to understand which mechanisms of evolution, both current and past, contribute to observed biodiversity. We also focus on the relative importance of these distinct mechanisms. In studying these topics, we employ multiple approaches combining behavioural ecology, ecology, population dynamics, population genetics, and biogeography.

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Current and past evolution of animal populations

We are interested in investigating the evolutionary mechanisms that contribute to current genetic, morphologic, phenotypic, and behavioural variability. To this end, we integrate behavioural data, genetic data, morphometric measures, ecological niche data, and geological data. We are principally interested in the relative contribution of different types of evolution (e.g. ecological patterns, allopatric speciation) to observed variability. Our study organisms include the Spanish Sandracer (Psammodromus hispanicus), the Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara), and several bird species.

    Lacerta vivipara from Formigal                      Psammodromus hispanicus from Madrid

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Natural population dynamics

Population dynamics are of fundamental importance in biodiversity and conservation. Each year we survey five natural Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) populations located in the Pyrenees. These data allow us to understand how different factors correlate with the observed population dynamics and to calibrate population experiments accordingly.

Experimental population dynamics

Since censuses in natural populations do not allow us to distinguish between causes and consequences, we perform population experiments. In these experiments we test which factors affect population dynamics and we investigate their importance in population stability. The oviparous form of the Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara) is used as a model species. Population experiments are carried out in the Spanish Pyrenees, where we maintain sixteen semi-natural lizard populations. Experimental populations live in a constructed natural habitat, allowing both lizards and their prey to behave normally, without the need for human intervention (e.g. additional food). Population experiments usually run for at least one year. Given that pedigrees are fully known, individual fitness can be measured over several generations. This provides us with almost total control of many of the key factors governing population dynamics.

Experimental semi-natural lizard populations built at our research station in the Pyrenees (Jaca, Spain). From left to right, Miguel Peñalver Alcázar, Luis Martín San José García, Patrick S. Fitze

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Sexual selection and sexual conflict

Sexual selection has been proposed as an important evolutionary force that may impact population stability and lead to speciation. Already Darwin described sexual selection, nevertheless it is still unclear how the intensity of sexual selection is determined and how best to measure it. We are thus interested both in determining sexual selection and in identifying the most appropriate means by which to quantify it. We are also investigating which forms of sexual selection exist in the common lizard, their relative importance and their impact on sexual conflict.

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Evolution of animal coloration

Animals display a wide range of different colours, which may function as signals providing information about health, condition, mating status, etc. To understand why animals display exaggerated coloration, an understanding of the function of coloration and the underlying mechanisms are required. Our investigations of coloration should thus help to provide a link between mechanisms and behaviour. Primarily, we are interested in the mechanisms that determine coloration in both the nestling and adult great tit, and in understanding why yellow plumage is already seen in nestlings. We are also studying the determination and evolutionary history of plumage coloration in Red Warblers (Ergaticus ruber).
Concurrently, a related line of research is devoted to analysis of the colourful ventral coloration of the common lizard Lacerta vivipara. Its ventral coloration ranges from white to orange in the Pyrenees and from yellow to dark orange in the Cévennes (France). Our studies aim to identify the determinant mechanisms underlying these patterns of coloration and the associated implications for sexual selection and population dynamics.

Male colour variation a) in populations from the Cévennes, b) in the Pyrenees and Cantabrian mountains. Note, males from the Pyrenees show patchy coloration on a single scale, while this is not the case in the Cévennes.

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Studied species:

Lacertidae: Common Lizard Lacerta vivipara
  Spanish Sand Racer Psammodromus hispanicus species complex
   
Birds: South and Central American Species,
  Red Warbler Ergaticus ruber,
  Great Tit Parus major
   
Insects: Oil beetles Meloïdae
  Red-striped Oil Beetle Berberomeloe majalis
  Hen Flea Ceratophyllus gallinae

 

Techniques used:
We use a broad range of approaches including experimentation, long-term population studies, population sampling, loads of statistical analyses and sometimes theoretical modelling. Below you will find a short list of the most used techniques

Experimentation Individual level                  
  Population level
   
Colour analyses Photospectrometric analyses
  Digital imaging techniques
  Carotenoid analyses by HPLC                           
  Micro-structural analyses
   
Genetic approaches Sequencing
  Microsatellite analyses
  AFLP analyses
   
Biogeographic analyses GIS based analyses
  ENFA/Maxent analyses
  SAR models
   
Statistical analyses Capture-Recapture Models
  Path analyses
  Resampling techniques
  ...


and many more

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2015 |  2014 |  2013 |  2012 |  2011 |  2010 |  2009 |  2008 |  2007 |  2006 |  2005 | 
 

2015
Peñalver-Alcázar M., Romero-Diaz C., Fitze P.S., 01-2015. Communal egg-laying in oviparous Zootoca vivipara louislantzi of the Central Pyrenees. Herpetology Notes 8 pp. 4-7.
2014
Fitze P. S., 2014. Psammodromus edwardsianus (Dugès, 1829). pp. 313-330 in Salvador A. (eds.) Fauna Ibérica. Reptiles. 2a edición revisada y aumentada, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid.
Fitze P. S., 2014. Psammodromus occidentalis Fitze et al., 2012. pp. 330-338 in Salvador A. (eds.) Fauna Ibérica. Reptiles. 2a edición revisada y aumentada, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid.
Fitze P.S., 2014. Evolution and behavior. pp. 613-619 in Vargas P., Zardoya R. (eds.) The tree of life : evolution and classification of living organisms. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Mass..
Fitze P.S., 2014. Evolutionary Ecology. pp. 595-611 in Vargas P., Zardoya R. (eds.) The tree of life : evolution and classification of living organisms. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Mass..
Fitze P.S., 2014. Psammodromus hispanicus Fitzinger, 1826. pp. 338-353 in Salvador A. (eds.) Fauna Ibérica. Reptiles. 2a edición revisada y aumentada, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid.
Fitze P.S., Gonzalez Jimena V., San-Jose L.M., Heulin B., Sinervo B., 2014. Frequency-dependent sexual selection with respect to offspring fitness returns is consistent with predictions from rock-paper-scissors dynamics in the European common lizard. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 2(article 77) pp. 1-11. [DOI]
San-Jose L.M., Peñalver-Alcázar M., Milá B., Gonzalez-Jimena V., Fitze P.S., 2014. Cumulative frequency-dependent selective episodes allow for rapid morph cycles and rock-paper-scissors dynamics in species with overlapping generations. Proceedings of the Royal Society. B Biological Sciences 281(1788) p. 20140976. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
2013
Bleu J., Le Galliard J.F., Fitze P.S., Meylan S., Clobert J., Massot M., 2013. Reproductive allocation strategies: a long-term study on proximate factors and temporal adjustments in a viviparous lizard. Oecologia 171(1) pp. 141-151. [DOI] [Pubmed]
Horáthová T., Cooney C.R., Fitze P.S., Oksanen T.A., Jelic D., Ghira I., Uller T., Jandzik D., 2013. Length of activity season drives geographic variation in body size of a widely distributed lizard. Ecology and Evolution 3(8) pp. 2424-2442. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Huyghe K., San-Jose L., Peñalver M., Fitze P.S., 2013. An ecomorphological analysis of the determinants of mating success. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 110(3) pp. 658-664. [DOI] [Web of Science]
Romero-Diaz C., Richner H., Granado-Lorencio F., Tschirren B., Fitze P.S., 2013. Independent sources of condition dependency and multiple pathways determine a composite trait: lessons from carotenoid-based plumage colouration. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26(3) pp. 635-646. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
San-Jose L.M., Fitze P.S., 2013. Corticosterone regulates multiple colour traits in Lacerta [Zootoca] vivipara males. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26(12) pp. 2681-2690. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
San-Jose L.M., Granado-Lorencio F., Sinervo B., Fitze P.S., 2013. Iridophores and not carotenoids account for chromatic variation of carotenoid-basedcColoration in Common lizards (Lacerta vivipara). American Naturalist 181(3) pp. 396-409. [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
2012
Aragón P., Lobo J.M., 2012. Predicted effect of climate change on the invasibility and distribution of the Western corn root-worm. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 14(1) pp. 13-18. [embargo unspecified] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Baselga A., Lobo J.M., Svenning J.C., Aragón P., Araújo M.B., 2012. Dispersal ability modulates the strength of the latitudinal richness gradient in European beetles. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21(11) pp. 1106-1113. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science]
Fitze P.S., 08-2012. Ecología Evolutiva. pp. 493-508 in Vargas Gómez P.L., Zardoya San Sebastián R. (eds.) El árbol de la vida: sistemática y evolución de los seres vivos. Vargas Gómez P.L., Madrid.
Fitze P.S., 08-2012. Evolución del Comportamiento. pp. 509-515 in Vargas Gómez P.L., Zardoya San Sebastián R. (eds.) El árbol de la vida: sistemática y evolución de los seres vivos. Vargas Gómez P.L., Madrid.
Fitze P.S., 09-2012. Lagartija cenicienta - Psammodromus hispanicus. p. 8 in Salvador A., Marco A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., 10-2012. Lagartija de Edwards - Psammodromus edwardsianus. p. 19 in Salvador A., Marco A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., 10-2012. Lagartija occidental ibérica - Psammodromus occidentalis. p. 16 in Salvador A., Marco A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., 09-2012. Spanish Sand Racer - Psammodromus hispanicus. p. 8 in Salvador A., Marco A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., 10-2012. Western Sand Racer - Psammodromus edwarsianus. p. 18 in Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., 10-2012. Western Sand Racer - Psammodromus occidentalis. p. 16 in Salvador A., Marco A. (eds.) Enciclopedia Virtual de los Vertebrados Españoles. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid. [Document] [url editor site]
Fitze P.S., Gonzalez-Jimena V, San-Jose L.M., San Mauro D., Zardoya R., 2012. A New Species of Sand Racer, Psammodromus (Squamata: Lacertidae), from the Western Iberian Peninsula. Zootaxa 3205 pp. 41-52. [Web of Science]
Gonzalez-Jimena V., Fitze P., 2012. Blood corticosterone levels and intersexual selection games: best-of-bad-job strategies of male common lizards. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66(2) pp. 305-315. [DOI] [Web of Science]
San Jose L.M., Granado-Lorencio F., Fitze P.S., 2012. Dietary lipids reduce the expression of carotenoid-based coloration in Lacerta vivipara. Functional Ecology 26(3) pp. 646-656. [DOI] [Web of Science]
San-Jose L.M., Granado-Lorencio F., Fitze P.S., 2012. Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and carotenoids in male common lizard tissues. Herpetologica 68(1) pp. 88-99. [Web of Science]
2011
Bleu J., Le Galliard J.F., Meylan S., Massot M., Fitze P.S., 2011. Mating does not influence reproductive investment, in a viviparous lizard. Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological Genetics and Physiology 315(8) pp. 458-464. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Fitze P.S., Gonzalez-Jimena V., San-Jose L.M., San Mauro D., Aragón P., Suarez T., Zardoya R., 2011. Integrative analyses of speciation and divergence in Psammodromus hispanicus (Squamata: Lacertidae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 11 p. 347. [DOI] [Pubmed]
Fitze P.S., Le Galliard J.F., 2011. Inconsistency between different measures of sexual selection. American Naturalist 178(2) pp. 256-68. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Jiménez-Valverde A., Peterson A.T., Soberón J., Overton J.M., Aragón P., Lobo J.M., 2011. Use of niche models in invasive species risk assessments. Biological Invasions 13(12) pp. 2785-2797. [embargo unspecified] [DOI] [Web of Science]
2010
Huyghe Van Oystaeyen Pasmans Tadic Vanhooydonck & Van Damme, 2010. easonal changes in parasite load and a cellular immune response in a colour polymorphic lizard. Oecologia 163 pp. 867-874.
Jacot A., Romero-Diaz C., Tschirren B., Richner H., Fitze P.S., 2010. Dissecting carotenoid from structural components of carotenoid-based coloration: a field experiment with great tits (Parus major). American Naturalist 176(1) pp. 55-62. [Document] [DOI] [Web of Science] [Pubmed]
Thomassen Buermann Milá Graham Cameron Schneider Pollinger Saatchi Wayne & Smith, 2010. Modeling environmentally associated morphological and genetic variation in a rainforest bird, and its application to conservation prioritization. Evolutionary Applications 3 pp. 1-16.
2009
Fitze, Cote, San-Jose, Meylan, Isaksson, Andersson, Rossi, Clobert, 2009. Carotenoid-based Colours Reflect the Stress Response in the Common Lizard. PLoSONE 4(4) pp. e5111. [Document] [DOI]
2008
Cote, Le Galliard, Rossi, Fitze, 2008. Environmentally induced changes in carotenoid-based coloration of female lizards: a comment on Vercken et al. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21 pp. 1165-1172. [Document] [DOI]
Fitze, Cote, Martínez-Rica, Clobert, 2008. Determinants of male fitness: disentangling intra- and inter-sexual selection. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21 pp. 246-255. [Document] [DOI]
Fitze, Le Galliard, 2008. Operational sex ratio, sexual conflict, and the intensity of sexual selection. Ecology Letters 11 pp. 1-8. [Document] [DOI]
2007
Cote, Clobert, Fitze, 2007. Mother-offspring competition promotes colonization success. Proccedings of the National American Society of the United States of America 104 pp. 9703-9708. [Document] [DOI]
2006
Cote, Clobert, Meylan, Fitze, 2006. Experimental enhancement of corticosterone levels positively affects subsequent male survival. Hormones and Behavior 49 pp. 320-327. [Document] [DOI]
2005
Fitze, Le Galliard, Federici, Richard, Clobert, 2005. Conflict over multiple partner mating between males and females of the polygynandrous common lizards. Evolution 59 pp. 2451-2459. [Document] [DOI]
Le Galliard, Fitze, Cote, Massot, Clobert, 2005. Female common lizards (Lacerta vivipara) do not adjust their sex-biased investment in relation to the adult sex ratio. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18 pp. 1455-1463. [Document] [DOI]
Le Galliard, Fitze, Ferrière, Clobert, 2005. Sex ratio bias, male aggression, and population collapse in lizards. Proccedings of the National American Society of the United States of America 102 pp. 18231-18236. [Document] [DOI]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Patrick S. Fitz
Office room: 4309
Phone: +4121 692 42 70
Fax: +4121 692 41 65
patrick.fitze[@]unil.ch

Administrative assistant
Office room: 3109
Phone: +4121 4260
Fax: +412 692 4165
giusy.girardi[@]unil.ch

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