Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology



CBA research group(s):

Experimental Evolution

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Flore Zélé

Main Research Interests

My research concerns evolutionary biology of host-symbiont interactions. I aim at addressing several issues ranging from host adaptation to symbionts, to symbiont-mediated ecologically important traits, such as defense against parasites or pesticides resistance. Arthropods are particularly suitable models to study these interactions, as they frequently host vertically-transmitted bacteria, which spread using two main strategies: mutualism, in which symbionts directly benefit to their host; and reproductive parasitism, in which symbionts manipulate the reproduction of their host to their own advantage, often at the expense of males (ie evolutionary dead-ends for maternally inherited bacteria). Presently, I am studying the interactions between the endosymbiontic bacterium Wolbachia and its host, the spider mite Tetranychus urticae.


Academic Qualifications

  1. 2012: PhD in Population Biology and Ecology. Thesis entitled "The effect of infection by Wolbachia on malaria (Plasmodium sp.) transmission by mosquitoes". (University of Montpellier 2)
  2. 2009: 2nd year MSc in Functional, Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology (University of Rennes 1)
  3. 2008: 1st year MSc in Fundamental and Comparative Ethology (University of Paris 13)
  4. 2007: Bsc in Biology (University of Montpellier 2)


Relevant Publications:

Zélé F., Nicot A., Berthomieu A., Weill M., Denoyelle J., Rivero A. & Duron O. 2014. Wolbachia increases susceptibility to Plasmodium infection in a natural system. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281:20132837.

Zélé F., Nicot A., Duron O. & Rivero A. 2012. Infection with Wolbachia protects mosquitoes against Plasmodium-induced mortality in a natural system. Journal of Evolutionary Biology25:1243-1252. (Editor's Choice article from the July 2012 issue of JEB and Recommended by Faculty of 1000).

Dion E., Zélé F., Simon J.C. & Outreman Y. 2011. Rapid evolution of parasitoids when faced with the symbiont-mediated resistance of their hosts. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24:741-750.

Ongoing Projects:

2013-2016: Postdoctoral fellowship. Evolution of sex allocation in Tetranychus urticae, a major crop pest (under the supervision of Sara Magalhães and in collaboration with Isabelle Olivieri at the University of Montpellier; FCT_ANR grant). My postdoctoral project mainly aims at following the adaptation of spider mites to the endosymbiotic sex-ratio distorter bacteria Wolbachia, as well as unravelling the mechanistic basis of Wolbachia sex-ratio manipulation of their host.


Other Information:


Member of National/International Scientific Societies

  • Member of Associação Portuguesa de Biologia Evolutiva
  • Member of the International Symbiosis Society