In my Phd project, I am focusing on the role of melanocortins as an adaptative function of melanin-based traits, in the tawny owl (Strix aluco) and the barn owl (Tyto alba). In vertebrates, the degree of melanism is often associated with variation in important traits, such as social and sexual behaviour. Blacker vertebrates seem more aggressive, sexually active and resistant to stress than less darker conspecifics. Yet, there is no general explanation, but one proposal of such association stems from pleiotropic effects of genes regulating melanogenesis: the melanocortin 1-recpetor (MC1R), responsible for the eumelanin synthesis, and the agouti signalling protein (ASIP), responsible for the pheomelanin synthesis. Pleiotropic effects of such genes may thus account for the covariance between melanism and other phenotypic traits.
Born on May 15th, 1982 in Nelspruit, South Africa
PhD student in the group of Prof. Alexandre Roulin at the University of Lausanne.
Research assistant in the department of Ecology and Evolution (DEE) at the University of Lausanne. I worked on several research topics, with a lot of field works as well as lab works.
2005-2006Msc in Biology at the University of Lausanne, specialization in Conservation. Master Thesis: "Landscape genetics of the Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris)" (supervised by Dr. S. Dubey, Dr. J. Pellet & Dr. L. Fumagalli).
2002-2005 Bsc in Biology, specialization in Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne.
Mainly outdoor activities, e.g. mountaineering, rock climbing, skitouring, hiking, but also naturalism or nature photography. I have a special interest in soccer and I still play in a club yet. Travelling and discovering new cultures and new landscapes is very important for my mind. Finally, I am very interested in some fine foods and fine wines, too! In a simple way, I enjoy life!