Caroline Nieberding

Caroline Nieberding
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain | UCLouvain · Earth and Life Institute

PhD Biology

About

149
Publications
10,834
Reads
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Introduction
I am a Professor at UCLouvain (Belgium) specialized in Evolution and Ecology. Head of the team “Evolutionary Ecology and Genetics”. Visit my lab https://nieberdinglab.be. My research focuses on : i) sexual selection as a driving force of speciation ii) plasticity and evolution of dispersal for fueling speciation iii) social learning for transmitting adaptive traits across generations (Baldwin's idea of social heredity)
Additional affiliations
September 2008 - present
Biodiversity Research Institute
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2005 - August 2008
Leiden University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2002 - December 2004
French National Centre for Scientific Research
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (149)
Article
Full-text available
Unraveling the origin of molecular pathways underlying the evolution of adaptive traits is essential for understanding how new lineages emerge, including the relative contribution of conserved ancestral traits and newly evolved derived traits. Here, we investigated the evolutionary divergence of sex pheromone communication from moths (mostly noctur...
Article
Full-text available
In arthropods, larger individuals tend to have more fat reserves, but data for many taxa are still missing. For the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster , only few studies have provided experimental data linking body size to fat content. This is rather surprising considering the widespread use of D. melanogaster as a model system in biology. Here, w...
Poster
Full-text available
For offspring, resource acquisition is determined by the behavioral decisions of mothers. This is particularly important for species that are restricted to a single resource, such as parasitoids that complete their entire development on a single arthropod host. Parasitoid fat reserves depend entirely on the fat content of the host they develop on....
Article
Full-text available
Research on social learning has centered around vertebrates, but evidence is accumulating that small-brained, non-social arthropods also learn from others. Social learning can lead to social inheritance when socially acquired behaviors are transmitted to subsequent generations. Using oviposition site selection, a critical behavior for most arthropo...
Article
Organisms that colonize new habitats may gain fitness advantages from changes in habitat selection including oviposition behaviour. Variation in oviposition site selection may contribute to ecological differentiation in response to novel ecological conditions. Both inherited and environmentally induced or learned differences may contribute to varia...
Preprint
Ruther et al (2021) evaluated fatty acid synthesis in several parasitic wasp species to test if the general finding that lipogenesis in parasitoids is lacking is upheld (Visser et al 2010 PNAS). As proposed by Visser & Ellers (2008), parasitoids can readily assimilate the triglyceride stores produced by their host. When large triglyceride stores ar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research on social learning has centered around vertebrates, but evidence is accumulating that small-brained, non-social arthropods also learn from others. Social learning can lead to social inheritance when socially acquired behaviors are transmitted to subsequent generations. Here, we first highlight the complementarities between social and class...
Preprint
Full-text available
Habitat fragmentation increases the isolation of natural populations resulting in reduced genetic variability and increased species extinction risk. Behavioral innovation through learning, i.e., the expression of a new learned behavior in a novel context, can help animals colonize new suitable and increasingly fragmented habitats. It has remained u...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous cases of evolutionary trait loss and regain have been reported over the years. Here, we argue that such reverse evolution can also become apparent when trait expression is plastic in response to the environment. We tested this idea for the loss and regain of fat synthesis in parasitic wasps. We first show experimentally that the wasp Lepto...
Preprint
Full-text available
The impact of learning ability and sexual selection on the climate and biodiversity crisis are currently unclear. Using the African butterfly Bicyclus anynana , which shows strong phenotypic plasticity (i.e., polyphenism) in response to temperature, we tested whether learning affects mate preferences under climate warming. We first modelled climate...
Preprint
Full-text available
Unraveling the origin of molecular pathways underlying the evolution of adaptive traits is essential for understanding how new lineages emerge, including the relative contribution of conserved, ancestral traits, and newly evolved, derived traits. Here, we investigated the evolutionary divergence of sex pheromone communication from moths (mostly noc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dollo's law of irreversibility states that once a complex adaptation has been lost in evolution, it will not be regained. Recently, various violations of this principle have been described. Here, we argue that the logic underlying Dollo's law only applies to traits that are constitutively expressed, while it fails in case of 'plastic' traits that a...
Article
Full-text available
Polyphenism is a type of phenotypic plasticity supposedly adaptive to drastic and recurrent changes in the environment such as seasonal alternation in temperate and tropical regions. The butterfly Bicyclus anynana shows polyphenism with well-described wet and dry seasonal forms in sub-Saharan Africa, displaying striking morphological, physiological...
Article
Full-text available
We review experimental and theoretical evidence that learning in insects and spiders affects the expression of mate preferences and of sexual signals, the evolution of both traits, and ultimately patterns of assortative mating, and speciation. Both males and females can modify their sexual preferences and signaling based on previous social interact...
Article
Over the last years, several studies suggested that male courtship activity is more important than female preference for male secondary sexual traits in determining male mating success in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. We use Kehl et al. (Front Zool 12, 2015)'s study and related publications, to highlight three methodological and conceptual aspect...
Article
Full-text available
Phenotypic variation is the raw material for selection that is ubiquitous for most traits in natural populations, yet the processes underlying phenotypic evolution or stasis often remain unclear. Here, we report phenotypic evolution in a mutant line of the butterfly Bicyclus anynana after outcrossing with the genetically polymorphic wild type popul...
Article
Olfactory communication can be of critical importance for mate choice decisions. Lepidoptera are key model systems for understanding olfactory communication, particularly considering sex pheromone signaling in the context of sexual selection. Solvent extraction or rinsing of pheromone-producing structures is a widespread method for quantifying sex...
Article
Full-text available
Lipid synthesis can have a major effect on survival and reproduction, yet most insect parasitoids fail to synthesize lipids. For parasitic wasps in the genus Leptopilina, however, studies have suggested that there is intraspecific variation in the ability for lipid synthesis. These studies were performed on only few populations and a large-scale in...
Article
We review the evidence that learning affects fitness in non-social insects. Early accounts date back from the 1970s and were based on field-based observational and experimental work, yet exploration of the ways in which various forms of learning increase fitness remains limited in non-social insects. We highlight the concerns that arise when artifi...
Preprint
Olfactory communication can be of critical importance for mate choice decisions. Lepidoptera are important model systems for understanding olfactory communication, particularly considering sex pheromone signaling in the context of sexual selection. The extraction or rinsing of pheromone-producing structures is a widespread method for quantifying se...
Preprint
The interaction between mutational (i.e. genetic) robustness, cryptic genetic variation and epistasis is currently under much debate, as is the question whether mutational robustness evolved under direct selection or as a by-product of environmental robustness. Here we report that mutational robustness was restored in a mutant line of the butterfly...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual selection is by essence social selection: an individual’s fitness is partly determined by the phenotype of its social partners (i.e., the social environment). Nevertheless, most behavioral studies on mating patterns and sexual selection are conducted in laboratory standardized conditions, and it is unclear how potential laboratory-induced so...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual traits are often the most divergent characters among closely related species, suggesting an important role of sexual traits in speciation. However, to prove this, we need to show that sexual trait differences accumulate before or during the speciation process, rather than being a consequence of it. Here, we contrast patterns of divergence am...
Data
Table S2. List of compounds detected in the four species.
Data
Table S1. Detailed list of sampled individuals for the four Bicyclus species.
Article
Sexual selection is increasingly recognized to depend upon, and to fluctuate with, major ecological factors in natural environments. The operational sex ratio (OSR) and population density can affect the opportunity for, and strength of, sexual selection but their effects are rarely taken into account in laboratory behavioural studies. In Bicyclus a...
Conference Paper
The molecular mechanisms controlling sex pheromone production in moths have been studied extensively both at molecular and biochemical level. The production of sex pheromones in females of many moth species is tightly regulated by a photoperiodic cue initiated with the release of the pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) to the hemo...
Article
Full-text available
Real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) is a technique widely used to quantify the transcriptional expression level of candidate genes. qRT-PCR requires the selection of one or several suitable reference genes, whose expression profiles remains stable across conditions, to normalize the qRT-PCR expression profiles of candidate ge...
Article
Full-text available
Selection can facilitate diversification by inducing character displacement in mate choice traits that reduce the probability of maladaptive mating between lineages. Although reproductive character displacement (RCD) has been demonstrated in two-taxa case studies, the frequency of this process in nature is still debated. Moreover, studies have focu...
Article
Non-genetic transmission of information across generations, so-called parental effects, can have significant impacts on offspring morphology, physiology, behaviour and life-history traits. In previous experimental work using the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch, we demonstrated that dispersal distances increase with local density an...
Article
Full-text available
Chemical communication in insects’ sexual interactions is well-known to involve olfaction of volatile compounds called sex pheromones. In theory, sexual chemical communication may also involve chemicals with low or no volatility exchanged during precopulatory gustatory contacts. Yet, knowledge on this latter type of chemicals is so far mostly restr...
Article
Inbreeding depression results from mating among genetically related individuals and impairs reproductive success. The decrease in male mating success is usually attributed to an impact on multiple fitness-related traits that reduce the general condition of inbred males. Here, we find that the production of the male sex pheromone is reduced signific...
Article
Full-text available
The garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus (Rodentia, Gliridae), displays a surprisingly high karyotypic diversity, with the number of chromosomes varying between 2N = 48 and 2N = 54. We aimed to assess whether the karyotypic diversity is congruent with the mitochondrial differentiation of the populations; improve our understanding of the taxonomic rel...
Article
Although dispersal distance plays a major role in determining whether organisms will reach new habitats, empirical data on the environmental factors that affect dispersal distance are lacking. Population density and kin competition are two factors theorised to increase dispersal distance. Using the two-spotted spider mite as a model species, we alt...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Dispersal is a multi-phase process that influences the genetic demography of populations, the geographic distribution of species, and the success of species attempting to expand their ranges. The distances individuals disperse, and the environmental factors influencing these decisions, deserve the utmost attention in a...
Article
Ecology Letters (2012) 15: 415–424 Although olfaction is a primary mode of communication, its importance in sexual selection remains understudied. Here, using the butterfly Bicyclus anynana, we address all the parameters of importance to sexual selection for a male olfactory signal. We show that variation in the male sex pheromone composition indic...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal distance is understudied although the evolution of dispersal distance affects the distribution of genetic diversity through space. Using the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, we tested the conditions under which dispersal distance could evolve. To this aim, we performed artificial selection based on dispersal distance by choos...
Article
Full-text available
A phylogeographic study was carried out of Trichuris muris, nematode parasitizing Murinae rodents from the Muridae family, isolated from four different hosts and from different geographical regions of Europe by amplification and sequencing of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 fragment of the ribosomal DNA. T. muris was found in the Apodemus sylvaticus, Apodemus f...
Article
Selection can facilitate diversification by inducing character displacement in mate choice traits that reduce the probability of maladaptive mating between lineages. Although reproductive character displacement (RCD) has been demonstrated in two-taxa case studies, the frequency of this process in nature is still debated. Moreover, studies have focu...
Data