Pierre Blacher

Pierre Blacher
University of Lausanne | UNIL · Department of Ecology and Evolution

PhD

About

14
Publications
1,547
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119
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2009 - November 2013
Université Paris 13 Nord
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (14)
Article
Full-text available
Restricted reproduction is traditionally posited as the defining feature of eusocial insect workers. The discovery of worker reproduction in foreign colonies challenges this view and suggests that workers' potential to pursue selfish interests may be higher than previously believed. However, whether such reproductive behaviour truly relies on a rep...
Article
Full-text available
Dominance hierarchies allow group-living animals to regulate the partitioning of reproduction, but the recognition systems underlying dominance interactions remain equivocal. Individual recognition, a cognitively complex recognition system, is often posited as an important mechanism for the regulation of linear dominance hierarchies because of its...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of social parasites on their hosts' fitness is a strong selective pressure that can lead to the evolution of adapted defence strategies. Guarding the nest to prevent the intrusion of parasites is a widespread response of host species. If absolute rejection of strangers provides the best protection against parasites, more fine-tuned strat...
Article
Full-text available
Context-dependent decision-making conditions individual plasticity and is an integrant part of alternative reproductive strategies. In eusocial Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps), the discovery of worker reproductive parasitism recently challenged the view of workers as a homogeneous collective entity and stressed the need to consider them as auton...
Article
Full-text available
In group-living animals where dominance hierarchies occur, aggression can be reduced if individuals are able to recognize each other. To do this, and to adapt their behaviour suitably when faced with a rival, individuals may rely on two nonmutually exclusive recognition means: they could recognize group members individually and/or their social stat...
Article
Full-text available
Identifying mechanisms limiting hybridization is a central goal of speciation research. Here, we studied pre‐mating and post‐mating barriers to hybridization between two ant species, Formica selysi and Formica cinerea. These species hybridize in the Rhône valley in Switzerland, where they form a mosaic hybrid zone, with limited introgression from F...
Article
Full-text available
Key social traits, like queen number in eusocial insect colonies, have long been considered plastic, but the recent finding that colony social organization is under strict genetic control in multiple ant lineages challenges this view. This begs the question of which hardwired behavioral mechanism(s) generate alternative forms of social organization...
Article
Full-text available
Relatedness underlies the evolution of reproductive altruism, yet eusocial insect colonies occasionally accept unrelated reproductive queens. Why would workers living in colonies with related queens accept unrelated ones, when they do not gain indirect fitness through their reproduction? To understand this seemingly paradox, we investigated whether...
Preprint
Full-text available
Relatedness underlies the evolution of reproductive altruism, yet eusocial insect colonies occasionally accept unrelated reproductive queens. To better understand this seemingly paradox, we investigated whether acceptance of unrelated queens by workers is an incidental phenomenon resulting from failure to recognize non-nestmate queens, or whether i...
Article
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Cooperative breeding animals frequently inhabit harsh environments. It is widely accepted that harsh environments hinder independent reproduction, and this constraint maintains individuals in family groups. Yet the assumption that harsh ecological conditions reduce the success of members of cooperative breeding groups when breeding independently ha...
Article
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Eusocial insects provide special opportunities to elucidate the evolution of ageing as queens have apparently evaded costs of reproduction and reversed the fecundity–longevity trade-off generally observed in non-social organisms. But how reproduction affects longevity in eusocial insects has rarely been tested experimentally. In this study, we took...
Thesis
Conflicts are inherent characteristics of non-clonal animal societies. The main goal of this thesis was to study the individual reproductive decisions of workers in relation with the cooperation/conflict dynamics in the annual bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Colonies of B. terrestris have the particularity to go through two distinct phases: a social p...
Article
Full-text available
We previously reported the existence of a unique policing system in the clonal ant Cerapachys biroi, where individuals that fail to synchronize to the colony reproductive dynamics and reproduce without control are recognized and executed by their nestmates. These executions help maintain the alternation of reproductive and foraging phases, a colony...

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