Meunier, Joël Dr.
Dr. Joël Meunier
|seit 2012||Akademischer Rat, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Deutschland|
|2009-12||Post-Doc, Universität Basel, Schweiz|
|2005-09||Doktorarbeit an der Universität Lausanne, Schweiz. Thema “Conflict resolution and evolution of social structures in insect societies”|
|2004-05||Master (“Master 2 Rech”), Universität Paris VI und Universität Paris XI, Frankreich|
|2000-04||Bachelor (“DEUG”, “Licence”, “Maitrise”), Universität Montpellier II, Frankreich|
I am interested in the evolution of social life in insects. My research focus (1) on the behavioural, genetic and chemical mechanisms regulating within-group conflicts, (2) on the basis of recognition systems and chemical communication within and between groups, (3) on the reciprocal interactions between social/ecological environment and life-history traits expressed by group members, and finally (4) on the parameters used by foragers to come back to their nest after foraging trips. My biological models are the European earwig Forficula auricularia, a sub-social insect wherein females provide non-obligatory forms of care to their offspring, and several species of ants (Formica sp. and Myrmica sp.), which exhibit eusocial colonies with variable social structures. The methods I use typically involve behavioral experiments, chemical and microsatellites analyses, statistical processes (meta-analyses), as well as field and laboratory observations. More information on https://sites.google.com/site/meunierjoel/.
1. Social conflicts
Group living is considered one of the major evolutionary transitions of life on Earth and can be found in diverse animal species. However, living in non-clonal societies entails important conflicts among group members that need to be solved to ensure individual fitness and favor group cohesion. Two conflicts typically shape family life: the parent-offspring conflict over parental care and the mother-father conflict over their respective investment in parental care. The first type of conflict evolves because offspring are selected to demand more care than parents are selected to provide. The second one emerges as each parent is predicted to favor greater investment by the other parent than is in the other’s best interest. Eusocial colonies of Hymenoptera (ants and some species of wasps and bees) are also an important arena of social conflicts between queens, workers and even males. These conflicts, which often results from relatedness asymmetries between colony members, are generally expressed over critical colony traits, such as colony sex-ratio, worker reproduction, or reproductive skew among queens. By manipulating the potential sources of social conflicts both within family and within eusocial groups, my research aims at testing which mechanisms are involved in the evolution and the maintenance of different degrees of social complexity in insects.
2. Recognition & Communication
Group living requires that group members direct cooperative and aggressive behaviors towards the correct individuals. Furthermore in large and small groups, broad communication abilities between individuals are known to enhance the efficiency of the division of labor, the group productivity and, ultimately, the fitness returns for each individual. In insects, the waxy layer of the cuticle has been shown to play a fundamental role in communication. This layer typically exhibits a group of chemical compounds (e.g. cuticular hydrocarbons, or CHC) that greatly varies between individuals and may reflect important information such as the sex, the caste, the reproductive status or the quality of the individual. Hence, the reliability of chemical signals and how this information triggers behavioral responses from encountered individuals are key parameters in social organisations. My works test the nature of the information reflected by chemical signatures and investigate the importance and reliability of chemical information on social interactions.
3. Life-history traits, Co-evolution & Co-adaptation
Variation in life-history traits traditionally reflects combinations of genetic, maternal and/or abiotic environmental influences. In addition to these “traditional” effects, the life-history traits exhibited by group-living animals may also result from variation in the social environment. This latter effect is peculiar in that, contrary to the “traditional” factors, it is the result of selection pressures exerted on related and interacting individuals. In eusocial systems such as ants, an important component of the social environment is constituted by the workers, which care for the brood and are therefore able to manipulate offspring number or resource allocation. In families, social environment typically refers to the parents (from an offspring’s point-of-view) or to the offspring (from a parent’s point-of-view), who influence the levels of food provisioning or within-clutch competition, respectively. My studies endeavor to disentangle the importance of “traditional” versus social effects on life-history traits, and to understand how these factors interact to shape the evolution of social life (e.g. through co-evolution and co-adaptation processes).
PublikationenAn updated list of publication can be found on https://sites.google.com/site/meunierjoel/
Meunier J and Kölliker M (2012) Parental antagonism and parent-offspring co-adaptation interact to shape family life. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: biological Sciences 279, 3981-3988
Meunier J and Kölliker M (2012) When it is costly to have a caring mother: food limitation erases the benefits of parental care in earwigs. Biology letters 8(4), 547-550
Meunier J, Wong JWY, Gomez Y, Kuttler S, Röllin L, Stucki D and Kölliker M (2012) One clutch or two clutches? Fitness correlates of coexisting alternative female life-histories in the European earwig. Evolutionary Ecology 26(3), 669-682
Mas F, Meunier J and Kölliker M (2011) A new function of hydrocarbons in insect communication: maternal care and offspring signalling in the European earwig. Chimia 65:9, 744
Meunier J (2011) Can multiple pathways mediate the influence of queen number on nestmate discrimination in ants? Communicative and Integrative Biology 4(5), 609-611
Meunier J, Delémont O and Lucas C (2011) Recognition in ants: social origin matters. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19347
Darrouzet E, Meunier J, Bagnères AG & Schatz B (2011) Le génie des insectes sociaux. In "Le génie de la nature" (Book chapter - in French), ISBN 978-2914817769, Editions Biotope, p 86- 111.
Meunier J*, Fingueiredo Pinto S*, Burri R and Roulin A (2011) Eumelanin-based coloration and fitness parameters in birds: a meta-analysis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 65, 559-567 *Authors contributed equally to the work
Meunier J, Reber A and Chapuisat M (2011) Queen acceptance in a socially polymorphic ant. Animal Behaviour 81, 163-168
Masclaux F, Hammond R, Meunier J, Gouhier-Darimont C, Keller L and Reymond P (2010) Competitive ability not kinship affects growth of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. New Phytologist 185(1), 322-331
Meunier J, Delaplace L and Chapuisat M (2010) Reproductive conflicts and egg discrimination in a socially polymorphic ant. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 64(10), 1655-1663
Reber A, Meunier J and Chapuisat M (2010) Flexible colony founding strategies in a socially polymorphic ant. Animal Behaviour 78, 467-472
Meunier J and Chapuisat M (2009) The determinants of queen size in a socially polymorphic ant. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22, 1906-1913
Holzer B, Meunier J, Keller L and Chapuisat M (2008) Stay or drift? Queen acceptance in the ant Formica paralugubris. Insectes sociaux 55, 392-396
Meunier J, West SA and Chapuisat M (2008) Split sex ratios in the social Hymenoptera: a meta-analysis. Behavioral Ecology 19, 382-390