Nicolas Schtickzelle

Nicolas Schtickzelle
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain | UCLouvain · Earth and Life Institute

PhD

About

102
Publications
22,302
Reads
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4,418
Citations
Introduction
I am a researcher and professor of quantitative and experimental ecology for biodiversity conservation. I am mainly interested in understanding how populations react to global change and how this affects their long-term viability. Currently I focus my research, using butterflies in the wild and microcosms with unicellular organisms in the lab, on the question: "What is the impact of variation in life history traits on (meta)population dynamics and viability?"
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • My research group focuses on viability and dynamics of (meta)populations in a context of biodiversity conservation. I mainly work on butterfly species in the wild and unicellular organisms in laboratory microcosms.
October 2015 - present
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • I teach biometry and conservation biology to undergaduate and graduate students
September 2015 - present
Université Catholique de Louvain - UCLouvain
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • I teach biometry and conservation biology to undergaduate and graduate students

Publications

Publications (102)
Preprint
Background The mechanisms underlying the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are still poorly understood. Although species richness is commonly used as a biodiversity measure, recent studies showed that functional diversity, i.e. the diversity of functional traits, might be a better proxy. Functional traits are defined as ph...
Article
The genetic characteristics of neutral loci in natural populations are shaped by the interplay between genetic drift and gene flow that themselves result from key ecological and evolutionary processes. Because of their influence on population size, habitats characteristics may influence substantially populations' genetic characteristics. However, p...
Article
Full-text available
Phenotypic plasticity, the ability of one genotype to produce different phenotypes in different environments, plays a central role in species' response to environmental changes. Transgenerational plasticity (TGP) allows the transmission of this environmentally induced phenotypic variation across generations, and can influence adaptation. To date, t...
Article
Dispersal mediates the flow of organisms in meta-communities and subsequently energy and material flows in meta-ecosystems. Individuals within species often vary in dispersal tendency depending on their phenotypic traits (i.e., dispersal syndromes), but the implications of dispersal syndromes for meta-ecosystems have been rarely studied. Using empi...
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Understanding the functioning of natural metapopulations at relevant spatial and temporal scales is necessary to accurately feed both theoretical eco-evolutionary models and conservation plans. One key metric to describe the dynamics of metapopulations is dispersal rate. It can be estimated with either direct field estimates of individual movements...
Preprint
Full-text available
Dispersal is a key process mediating ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Its effects on metapopulations dynamics, population genetics or species range distribution can depend on phenotypic differences between dispersing and non-dispersing individuals (i.e., dispersal syndromes). However, scaling up to the importance of dispersal syndromes for met...
Article
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Phenotypic plasticity is increasingly recognized as a key element of eco‐evolutionary dynamics, but it remains challenging to assess because of its multidimensional nature. Indeed, organisms live in complex environments where numerous factors can impact the phenotypic expression of traits (inter‐environment axis), possess multiple traits that can i...
Preprint
Full-text available
3D printing is described as the third industrial revolution: its impact is global in industry and progresses every day in society. It presents a huge potential for ecology and evolution, sciences with a long tradition of inventing and creating objects for research, education and outreach. Its general principle as an additive manufacturing technique...
Article
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There is growing evidence that anthropogenic landscapes can strongly influence the evolution of dispersal, particularly through fragmentation, and may drive organisms into an evolutionary trap by suppressing dispersal. However, the influence on dispersal evolution of anthropogenic variation in habitat patch turnover has so far been largely overlook...
Article
Habitat fragmentation is expected to reduce dispersal movements among patches as a result of increased inter-patch distances. Furthermore, since habitat fragmentation is expected to raise the costs of moving among patches in the landscape, it should hamper the ability or tendency of organisms to perform informed dispersal decisions. Here, we used m...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding how and why individual movement translates into dispersal between populations is a long-term goal in ecology. Movement is broadly defined as ‘any change in the spatial location of an individual’, whereas dispersal is more narrowly defined as a movement that may lead to gene flow. Because the former may create the condition for the lat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Phenotypic plasticity, the ability of one genotype to produce different phenotypes in different environments, plays a central role in species’ response to environmental changes. Transgenerational plasticity (TGP) allows the transmission of this environmentally-induced phenotypic variation across generations, and can influence adaptation. To date, t...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is growing evidence that anthropogenic landscapes can strongly influence the evolution of dispersal, particularly through fragmentation, and may drive organisms into an evolutionary trap by suppressing dispersal. However, the influence on dispersal evolution of anthropogenic variation in habitat patch turnover has so far been largely overlook...
Article
Habitat fragmentation, the conversion of landscapes into patchy habitats separated by unsuitable environments, is expected to reduce dispersal among patches. However, its effects on dispersal should depend on dispersal syndromes, i.e. how dispersal covaries with phenotypic traits, because these syndromes can drastically alter dispersal and subseque...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding how and why individual movement translates into dispersal between populations is a long-term goal in ecology. Movement is broadly defined as “any change in the spatial location of an individual”, whereas dispersal is more narrowly defined as a movement that may lead to gene flow. Because the former may create the condition for the lat...
Preprint
Understanding how and why individual movement translates into dispersal between populations is a long-term goal in ecology. Movement is broadly defined as “any change in the spatial location of an individual”, whereas dispersal is more narrowly defined as a movement that may lead to gene flow. Because the former may create the condition for the lat...
Article
Full-text available
A functional definition of the habitat-concept based on ecological resources incorporates three interconnected parameters: composition, configuration, and availability of the resources. The intersection of those parameters represents the functional habitat of a given population or species. Resource composition refers to the co-occurrence of the res...
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Ecology and evolution unfold in spatially structured communities, where dispersal links dynamics across scales. Because dispersal is multicausal, identifying general drivers remains challenging. In a coordinated distributed experiment spanning organisms from protozoa to vertebrates, we tested whether two fundamental determinants of local dynamics,...
Article
Limited dispersal is classically considered as a prerequisite for ecological specialization to evolve, such that generalists are expected to show greater dispersal propensity compared with specialists. However, when individuals choose habitats that maximize their performance instead of dispersing randomly, theory predicts dispersal with habitat cho...
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A fundamental challenge in experimental ecology is to capture nonlinearities of ecological responses to interacting environmental drivers. Here, we demonstrate that gradient designs outperform replicated designs for detecting and quantifying nonlinear responses. We report the results of (1) multiple computer simulations and (2) two purpose‐designed...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding how and why individual movement translates into dispersal between populations is a long-term goal in ecology. Movement is broadly defined as "any change in the spatial location of an individual", whereas dispersal is more narrowly defined as a movement that may lead to gene flow. Because the former may create the condition for the lat...
Article
Population genetics is used in a wide variety of fields such as ecology and biodiversity conservation. How estimated genetic characteristics of natural populations can be influenced by the sampling design has been a long-standing concern. Multiple simulation and empirical studies illustrated the influence of both sample size and polymorphism of mar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Organisms rarely experience a homogeneous environment. Rather, ecological and evolutionary dynamics unfold in spatially structured and fragmented landscapes, with dispersal as the central process linking these dynamics across spatial scales. Because dispersal is a multi-causal and highly plastic life-history trait, finding general drivers that are...
Article
Obtaining an accurate quantification of population size is often of prime importance in ecology and conservation biology (e.g. population viability analysis, a basic step for assessing species and population status in a given area and guiding effective conservation). When obtaining a reliable quantification of absolute (vs. relative) population siz...
Article
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Local adaptation is assumed to occur under limited gene flow. However, habitat-matching theory predicts dispersal should favour rather than hinder local adaptation when individuals selectively disperse towards habitats maximizing their performance. We provide experimental evidence that local adaptation to the upper margin of a species' thermal nich...
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Context Landscape-scale population dynamics are driven in part by movement within and dispersal among habitat patches. Predicting these processes requires information about how movement behavior varies among land cover types. Objectives We investigated how butterfly movement in a heterogeneous landscape varies within and between habitat and matrix...
Article
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1. The nitrogen limitation hypothesis posits that phytophagous insects benefit from nitrogen enrichment of their host plants through a reduction of the concentration of toxic compounds and an increase of free amino acids and proteins. However, species' response to nitrogen enrichment varies substantially and high nitrogen levels are associated with...
Article
Measuring functional connectivity, the ability of species to move between resource patches, is essential for conservation in fragmented landscapes. However, current methods are highly time consuming and expensive. 2. Population synchrony- the correlation in time series of counts between two long-term population monitoring sites, has been suggested...
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It is widely recognized that ecological dynamics influence evolutionary dynamics, and conversely that evolutionary changes alter ecological processes. Because fragmentation impacts all biological levels (from individuals to ecosystems) through isolation and reduced habitat size, it strongly affects the links among evolutionary and ecological proces...
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Kin selection theory predicts that costly cooperative behaviors evolve most readily when directed toward kin. Dispersal plays a controversial role in the evolution of cooperation: dispersal decreases local population relatedness and thus opposes the evolution of cooperation, but limited dispersal increases kin competition and can negate the benefit...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding dispersal is of prime importance in conservation and population biology. Individual traits related to motion and navigation during dispersal may differ: (1) among species differing in habitat distribution, which in turn, may lead to interspecific differences in the potential for and costs of dispersal, (2) among populations of a speci...
Data
Individual measures of forewing length (mm), eye area (mm2), and facet size (μm) by eye region (dorsal, frontal, lateral and ventral) for Group 1 individuals. Species: Boloria eunomia and B. aquilonaris. ID: individual identifier. Group: disperser, resident or unclassified (See methods for a description). Sex: F = female, M = male. (XLSX)
Data
Individual measures of forewing length (mm), thorax length (mm), and thorax width (mm) for Group 2 individuals. Species: Boloria eunomia and B. aquilonaris. ID: individual identifier. Population: population of origin. Sex: F = female, M = male. (XLSX)
Article
1. In polymorphic species, two or more discrete phenotypes co-occur simultaneously. Sex-limited polymorphism is a particular case of polymorphism, in which several discrete morphs coexist within one of the two sexes only. Several hypotheses were proposed to explain the existence and the maintenance of sex-limited polymorphism in insects: (i) the mo...
Chapter
Most organisms are able to use social information to adjust key behaviours in their lifecycle including dispersal and cooperation. Ciliate microcosms provide a highly powerful tool to study the role of biocommunication in ecology and evolution because they allow simultaneous study of the chemical carriers of information and their eco-evolutionary c...
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Microbes are critical components of ecosystems and provide vital services (e.g., photosynthesis, decomposition, nutrient recycling). From the diverse roles microbes play in natural ecosystems, high levels of functional diversity result. Quantifying this diversity is challenging, because it is weakly associated with morphological differentiation. In...
Article
Dispersal is increasingly recognized as being an informed process, based on information organisms obtain about the landscape. While local conditions are often found to drive dispersal decisions, local context is not always a reliable predictor of conditions in neighbouring patches, making the use of local information potentially useless or even mal...
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Full-text available
Whilst the overall geographic range of the lesser marbled fritillary, Brenthis ino (Rottemburg, 1775), is currently expanding, this species is patchily distributed at a local spatial scale due to its use of flower rich semi-natural meadows and the aggregated distribution of its host plant. Therefore, understanding the dispersal patterns of this but...
Article
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1.Laboratory microcosm experiments using protists as model organisms have a long tradition and are widely used to investigate general concepts in population biology, community ecology and evolutionary biology. Many variables of interest are measured in order to study processes and patterns at different spatiotemporal scales and across all levels of...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Microbes are critical components of ecosystems and vital to the services they provide. The essential role of microbes is due to high levels of functional diversity, which are, however, not always mirrored in morphological differentiation hampering their taxonomic identification. In addition, the small size of microbes hinders the measurement of...
Article
Dispersal and phenotypic plasticity are two main ways for species to deal with rapid changes of their environments. Understanding how genotypes (G), environments (E) and their interaction (genotype and environment; G x E) each affects dispersal propensity is therefore instrumental for predicting the ecological and evolutionary responses of species...
Article
Full-text available
Boloria eunomia is a boreo-montane butterfly species suffering from habitat loss and isolation in the relictual part of its distribution range. Small populations persist in habitats scattered on plateaux or low mountains in western, central and southern Europe. Quantifying gene flow within and between these remnant populations is thus a crucial poi...
Chapter
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We adopted a resource-based habitat approach to better understand the distribution and conservation of the Violet Copper butterfly, the focal species of this book. The significance of this organism-centered, behavioural approach of habitat to understand and conserve butterflies, instead of using general vegetation types as surrogates of a species’...
Article
* Experimental laboratory systems (ELS) are widely applied research tools to test theoretical predictions in ecology and evolution. Combining ELS with automated image analysis could significantly boost information acquisition due to the ease at which abundance and morphological data is collected. Despite the advantages of image analysis, the techno...
Article
As ectothermic organisms, butterflies have widely been used as models to explore the predicted impacts of climate change. However, most studies explore only one life stage; to our best knowledge, none have integrated the impact of temperature on the vital rates of all life stages for a species of conservation concern. Besides, most population viabi...
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of species structured in metapopulations involves an important dilemma of resource allocation: should investments be directed at restoring/enlarging habitat patches or increasing connectivity. This is still an open question for Maculinea species despite they are among the best studied and emblematic butterfly species, because none...
Data
Review of the population dynamics models developed for Maculinea species so far. (DOC)
Article
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Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) exemplify the ways in which populations are structured by homing and the abiotic factors affecting their dynamics in discrete breeding and rearing habitats. What is the finest spatial scale of their population structure, and where do clusters of spatially proximate breeding groups lie along the continuum from isol...
Article
Males of several animals increase their reproductive success by territorial behaviour. In butterflies, males may defend a territory (i.e., territorial perching tactic), but this is assumed to be an energetically costly way to locate mates. Limitations of the energy budget may affect fight performance, and may, consequently, force males to adopt an...
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Full-text available
Habitat quality and the impact of natural enemies might profoundly affect metapopulation dynamics and viability. However, their relative impact has usually been considered independently. Here we address the question of how caterpillar habitat quality and parasitism prevalence interact to shape habitat selection in the bog fritillary butterfly Bolor...
Article
Dispersal costs can be classified into energetic, time, risk and opportunity costs and may be levied directly or deferred during departure, transfer and settlement. They may equally be incurred during life stages before the actual dispersal event through investments in special morphologies. Because costs will eventually determine the performance of...
Article
PurposeTemperature profoundly impacts on distribution and habitat-use of organisms. The development of ectothermous caterpillars does not depend on host plant quality only, but also on the availability of suitable thermal conditions. Selection for thermally favorable microclimates (i.e. behavioral thermoregulation) is a primary mechanism of tempera...
Article
Habitat quality and habitat geometry are two crucial factors driving metapopulation dynamics. However, their intricacy has prevented so far a reliable test of their relative impact on local population dynamics and persistence. Here we report on a long-term study in which we manipulated habitat quality within a butterfly metapopulation, whereas habi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Habitat preservation and restoration are crucial for species conservation and to tackle its main challenges. In many cases, this implies management actions, especially for semi-natural ecosystems. We address here the question of management actions suitable for maintaining viable populations of two relict butterfly species inhabiting wet meadows and...
Article
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Relations between species mobility and life history traits and/or landscape and habitat features are of broad interest to ecologists and conservation biologists. Here we investigated the reliability of the relations between mobility and (1) resource grain and (2) morphological traits in butterflies. Results were used to assess the biological realis...