Dr. Germain Montazeaud

I am a young scientist interested in a wide range of topics related to crop production and agriculture. Originally trained as an agricultural engineer specialized in plant breeding, I started my research career at the interface between agronomy, ecology, and evolutionary biology. I am particularly excited about the idea of using our knowledge of ecosystem functioning and species evolution in the wild to design innovative and sustainable cropping systems. During my PhD, I used such interdisciplinary approaches to better understand plant-plant interactions in the context of crop varietal mixtures. I notably investigated how social evolution theories could be used to revisit past and current breeding practices, and how these theories could be used to select more cooperative (i.e. less competitive) crops.


My current postdoc project aims at better understanding social interactions in plants, using crops as a model system. Such understanding would allow to better integrate plant-plant interactions in breeding programs, notably by favoring the selection more cooperative varieties. The project involves a collaboration between the University of Lausanne and Agroscope, the Swiss Federal Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Research. It focuses on three main questions: (i) What is the contribution of social effects to heritable variation in productivity traits in crops? (ii) What is the genetic architecture of these social effects? (iii) Which traits are the most important contributors to social effects? I will address these questions using a field experiment with several hundred wheat genotypes grown under competitive interactions. I will characterize social interactions using analytical approaches classically used in animal species, such as Indirect Genetic Effects (IGE) models. From these results, I will investigate concrete applications to help breeders identify high-yielding cooperative genotypes in early-generation selection.

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