SFE2 2024

From 10/21/2024 to 10/25/2024

Centre de Congrès de Lyon - 50, quai Charles de Gaulle 69006 Lyon

Epigenetics in Ecology, Agronomy and Evolution

Séverine Chambeyron (IGH, CNRS, Montpellier)
Nicolas Nègre (DGIMI, U. Montpellier, Montpellier)
Christoph Grunau (IHPE, CNRS, Perpignan), christoph.grunau@univ-perp.fr
Charlotte Grimaud (IGH, CNRS, Montpellier)

Epigenetics, a field that explores how environmental factors can persistently alter the function of genes without changing the DNA sequence, has become increasingly relevant in the domains of ecology, agronomy, and evolution. In ecology, epigenetic mechanisms are seen as crucial for understanding how organisms adapt to their environments in real-time, using epigenetic sources of adaptive phenotypic variants. This includes responses to environmental stressors, which can be epigenetically transmitted to subsequent generations, offering a new perspective on the dynamics of population and community ecology. In agronomy, epigenetics holds promise for improving crop resilience and productivity. By analysing and manipulating epigenetic markers, there is hope to enhance crop resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses like drought or extreme temperatures. This approach could lead to sustainable agricultural practices by reducing the reliance on chemical treatments and genetically modified organisms. Evolutionary biology has also been influenced by epigenetics, as it introduces a layer of complexity to the understanding of natural selection and adaptation. Epigenetic changes can occur rapidly in response to environmental changes and influence phenotypic variation within populations. This suggests that epigenetics could play a significant role in evolution, challenging the traditional view that evolutionary change primarily occurs through genetic mutations over long periods. Overall, the integration of epigenetics into ecology, agronomy, and evolution offers a more comprehensive view of how organisms interact with their environment and evolve, bridging the gap between genetic inheritance and environmental influences. It provides innovative approaches for environmental conservation, agricultural development, and understanding evolutionary processes, making it a vital and expanding field of study.
The symposium will be organised in three parts. Following an introductory keynote there will be three 15-minute talks selected from abstract submissions in the three fields: ecology, agronomy, and evolution. The symposium will terminate with a 30-minute brainstorming workshop / round table discussion to identify priorities for future research efforts and networking activity. Discussions will be summarized and made available to the participants in a short session the following day.

Keynote speaker: Giacomo Cavalli (IGH Montpellier, France). Member of the French Academy of Sciences

Societal engagement of ecology scientists

Elodie Vercken (ISA, INRAE, Sophia Antipolis)
Gilles Escarguel (LEHNA, U. Lyon 1, Villeurbanne), gilles.escarguel@univ-lyon1.fr
Simon Fellous (CBGP, INRAE, Montferrier-sur-lez)

“Ecologie”, in French, is both a scientific field and a political stance. This ambiguity has long been a pitfall for scientists defending their work from attacks over their integrity.
Times have now changed. The ecological catastrophe of which a growing number of citizens is aware of gives a new social responsibility on our field of research and its practitioners. It is indeed impossible to manage a threatened world without ecological science and without ecology scientists. More than ever, the question arises of how to respond to this new context, both as a research community and as citizens.
This symposium will give voice to complementary views on the role of scientists in managing eco-societal challenges. Our goal will be to foster discussion and reflection so that all members of the SFE² community can position themselves in relation to their own involvement.

Diversity in agroecoystems: does it also help to cope with the changes in water quantity and quality?

Soraya Rouifed (Isara, unité AGE, Lyon), srouifed@isara.fr
Olivier Duchêne (Isara, unité AGE, Lyon)
Christelle Ginot (Isara, unité AGE, Lyon)
Yoann Besset-Manzoni (Isara, unité AGE, Lyon)

In order to face increases in drought or flood events, some ecological processes may support the resistance and resilience of agroecosystems. Furthermore, both terrestrial and aquatic agroecosystems are particularly susceptible to water pollution (especially through pesticides or nutrient leaching, or eutrophication). Although the general relationship between diversity and stability in (agro)ecosystems is now well established, very few data allow for the precise identification of the dimensions of diversity (intra/interspecific, functional, spatial) or the key processes that would promote agroecosystem stability in the face of variations in water quantity or quality. This symposium aims to highlight original research on various types of agroecosystem that illustrates whether and how the diversity of plant, animal or microbial communities help to reduce or overcome periods of water excess or shortage, and to preserve water quality. Perspectives about this subject can also be discussed. Submissions about studies on various ecosystems are welcomed if they can also give insights on processes occurring in agroecosystems.

Key speaker:
Samuel LE GALL, Institute of Bio- and Geosciences IBG-3 Agrosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

Causes and consequences of spatial connectivity patterns: from population genetics to ecosystem functioning

Vincent Calcagno (ISA, INRAE, Sophia Antipolis), vincent.calcagno@inrae.fr
Isabelle Gounand (iEES, CNRS, Paris)
François Massol (CIIL, CNRS, Lille)

Organisms live in a “structured world”. How populations and ecosystems are connected in space, through the exchange of genes, organisms and nutrients, has major consequences for their functioning, their ability to adapt in the face of environmental changes, and for the way we should manage them.
While it is extremely difficult to directly observe and quantify connectivity, it is increasingly clear that connectivity patterns are often very variable in space and time, with important fluctuations in the amount of coupling and dispersal between subsystems. This challenges classical views and theories, and research on the functioning of spatially connected populations and ecosystems has exploded, through both theoretical and empirical developments.
This symposium will cover insights into the processes that generate connectivity patterns, novel methods to infer them in the field, and predictions on how coupling at different spatial and temporal scales shape the dynamics of populations and functioning of ecosystems.

Evolutionary ecology of microbial predation

Gregory Velicer (ETH Zürich), gregory.velicer@env.ethz.ch

Microbial communities are the evolutionary sources of multicellular life, play critical roles in its ongoing function and evolution, and drive major ecosystem processes. Yet our ability to develop and test theories that accurately describe the ecology and evolution of highly complex and diverse microbial communities remains in its infancy. This ability, however, is growing with increasing insights from microbial ecology, experimental evolution, and studies of microbial interaction networks. A key influencer of microbial communities and their evolution is predation, whether by small animals such as nematodes or by protists, bacteria or viruses. Predators can alter the balance of competition among species, shape interaction networks across trophic levels, and have long-term impacts on community dynamics and stability. We invite researchers studying any aspect of predation by and of microbes from an eco-evolutionary perspective to share and discuss advances in both knowledge and methodology in this fascinating young field

Invited speakers
Dr. Jordi van Gestel - European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) - Dr. van Gestel studies interactions between predation and the evolution of microbial development using the predatory amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.
Dr. Marie Vasse - ETH Zürich - Dr. Vasse studies effects of prey-community richness and prey identities on bacterial predator-prey coevolution as well as effects of predation on prey-community dynamics over evolutionary time scales using the bacterial predator Myxococcus xanthus.

Environmental Genomics

Organized by the French Environmental Genomics Network
Lucie Bittner (Isyeb, MNHN, Paris)
Jean-Christophe Simon (IGEPP, INRAE, Rennes), jean-christophe.simon@inrae.fr
Philippe Vandenkoornhuys(ECOBIO, U Rennes 1, Rennes)

Environmental genomics is a relatively new discipline that aims to study the functioning and evolution of ecosystems in their natural state at different levels of organization, based on the rapid developments of omics. It also generates knowledge and expertise that can address strong societal issues for sustainable ecosystem management, increased ecosystem services, and better evaluation of the environmental risks of human activities and their products. This symposium on Environmental Genomics is organized by the GDR GE, now renewed as RT Greenomics (Genomics Research for Eco-Evolution and eNvironment), which is the reference network for the scientific community working in this field, bringing together over 1000 researchers from Universities and Research Institutes (CNRS and INRAE). The objectives of this symposium are to promote -omics approaches in environmental and eco-evolutionary sciences and to provide an update on recent scientific and methodological advances.

Keynote speakers:
Lucie BITTNER : MHNN - UMR ISYEB – Paris, France
Fabrice ROUX : CNRS – UMR LIPME – Toulouse, France

Advances in Statistical Ecology

Organized by the French Statistical ecology Network
Stéphane Dray (LBBE, CNRS, Villeurbanne), stephane.dray@univ-lyon1.fr
Olivier Gimenez (CEFE, CNRS, Montpellier)

Statistical ecology focused on the development and application of statistical methods and tools to answer questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. This cross-disciplinary field aims to explain the variability observed in data at different levels of organization, from genes to ecosystems, populations and communities. With the explosion in technological resources deployed (sensors, imaging, etc.), ecologists and evolutionary biologists are seeing a considerable number of new questions emerge, but are faced with a consequent mass of data from which it is often difficult to extract relevant information. Statistical ecology aims to develop new methods for answering biological questions while preserving the nature of the data collected. These methodological advances are made available to biologists via the implementation and distribution of computer software. The tools deployed can then be used to answer questions that are not only fundamental to the functioning of populations and biological communities, but also applied to the conservation and management of biodiversity. The aim of the symposium is to provide an overview of recently developed statistical methods and tools for data analysis in ecology in the broadest sense (community ecology, population dynamics, eco-epidemiology, behavioral ecology, etc.).

Keynote speaker:
Diana Bowler (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

Theory for understanding complex biological systems

Emanuel A. Fronhofer (ISEM, CNRS, Montpellier), emanuel.fronhofer@umontpellier.fr
Sonia Kéfi (ISEM, CNRS, Montpellier)

Eco-evolutionary systems are often complex. They encompass, for example, levels of organization, from gene-networks to ecosystems, various time-scales, from rapid ecological responses to geology, and spatial scales, from single cells to landscapes. Understanding the drivers of such complex systems requires appropriate theory. However, current ecological and evolutionary theory simplifies strongly by either focusing on single species and pairwise interactions, or at the other extreme, by assuming very large, N-species systems. Yet, real biological complexity is of intermediate nature which provides an important challenge for theory development.
Our symposium aims at exploring this gap: theory for the behaviour of biological systems of realistic, intermediate complexity. We will discuss the associated challenges in ecology and evolution, from genes to large ecosystems.

Sharing with Humans: aquatic species adaptation to recent environmental variability

Loïc TEULIER (LEHNA, U Lyon1, Villeurbanne), loic.teulier@univ-lyon1.fr
Amélie Crespel (U. Turku)
Quentin Schull (MARBEC, IFREMER, Sète)

The Anthropocene is characterized by the increasing occurrence of extreme environmental events deeply threatening aquatic ecosystems, such as the ones related to global change but also directly induced by the competition with human activities. While the short-term plastic response of aquatic species starts to be relatively well documented, we crucially lack information on the capacity of the populations to evolve to these recent and rapid constraints across generations. Even though, in the long run, the repetition of those events will require the populations’ adaptation. Therefore, this symposium will focus on the potential evolutionary consequences of the temporal change of these extreme events on the ecological, behavioural, and physiological responses of aquatic species. A better understanding of species response across generations is essential for a wiser management of natural environment and associated human activities.

Key speakers:
• Natalie Pilakouta (University of St-Andrews, UK)
• Davide Thambiturai (MARBEC, Montpellier, France)

Disequilibrium responses of biodiversity in a rapidly changing world

Pierre Gaüzère (LECA, Grenoble), pierre.gauzere@gmail.com

Historically, ecology has relied on the equilibrium paradigm, positing that an ecological system is assumed to have a determined, stable, and predictable state based on environmental conditions. However, ongoing rapid global changes pose new scientific challenges for ecological science: moving beyond the equilibrium paradigm and the metaphor of "the balance of nature" towards non-equilibrium perspectives that consider a non-stationary environment. These include, among others, the consideration of transient dynamics and the response delays of communities. This ongoing paradigm shift challenges the fundamental assumptions of many concepts, models, and approaches in ecology that still have a significant influence on the assessment of biodiversity patterns, the understanding of the processes shaping them, and the prediction of their future states. This symposium aims to bring together the latest theoretical advances (non-stationary community dynamics), methodological developments (detection of abrupt changes and states of disequilibrium), and empirical evidence (distribution of imbalances at large scale) established in this dynamic research frontier. The symposium will also bring discussions to pave the way for a unified understanding of ecological disequilibriums, and how to integrate these advances into conservation biology.

Service plants – at the service of agroecosystems

Organized by the reCREA2 project consortium (Metaprogram SumCROP, INRAE)
Anne-Violette LAVOIR (ISA, UniCA-INRAE, Sophia Antipolis), anne-violette.lavoir@inrae.fr
Jean-Marc BLAZY (ASTRO, INRAE, Guadeloupe)
Anne-Marie Cortesero (IGEPP, Univ. Rennes - INRAE, Rennes )
Hélène Gautier (PSH, INRAE, Avignon)
Delphine MOREAU (Agroecologie, INRAE, Dijon)

Intensive agricultural management has aimed to maximise the provision of food, fibre and fuel at the expense of other ecosystem services. However, agricultural production is underpinned by a chain of supporting and regulating services such as soil fertility, water provision, pollination, or pest regulation. In the framework of the ecological intensification of agriculture, plant functional diversity plays a vital role in the supply of many of these ecosystem services. Plants added within these diversification schemes are called service plants as they provide additional services. Yet, the definition and the identification of these service plants are still unclear because of the diversity of plant species and mechanisms involved. In an attempt to unravel the still vague concept of service plants, a cross-disciplinary group of researchers has been set up, with a particular focus on pest regulation by plants. This symposium will be the occasion to share the work that has been carried out and to give to young researchers the opportunity to present their work on service plants.