PhD work: As mutations are the primary source of genetic variation, the distribution of their effects on fitness is a key input in evolutionary theory. Questions such as in what proportion and to what extent mutations are deleterious/advantageous are of great importance in evolutionary theory, in particular to predict the dynamics of adaptation, and understand the patterns observed in experimental evolution. However, these issues are still largely unresolved, both empirically or theoretically. During my phD, I studied how the distribution of mutation effects on fitness can vary with various factors: the environment, the level of phenotypic interactions or complexity in the species, the level of adaptation of the parental genotype etc. I proposed theoretical predictions, based on fitness landscape models and tested them using reviews of the empirical literature in model species. I also carried out a preliminary experimental work for a more direct test in the brine shrimp Artemia, a crustacean adapted to life in salt ponds. I developed various protocols for breeding, measuring life history traits, mutagenizing artemias. I also worked on the evolutionary theory of sexual reproduction and recombination.
Post doc: In my post doc here, I will study how the interplay of epistasis, drift and linkage influence the genetic variance and the response to selection of quantitative traits. The idea is to base on the existing theoretical literature to develop a more realistic description of the dynamics of quantitative traits in natural populations (e.g. accounting for bottlenecks, inbreeding and linkage, epistatic interactions etc..).