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Topic: Structure and functioning of colonies of Rhinolophus ferrumequinum (the greater horseshoe bat) in Nouvelle Aquitaine region
Thesis supervisor: N. Charbonnel
Funding: Cemeb Labex grant
Dates: December 1st, 2016 – November 30th, 2019

Chiroptera play a major ecological role as insect predators, seed scatters or plant pollinators. However they are among the most threatened animals in Europe. Their decline is strongly related to anthropogenic activities and includes mainly the destruction of their breeding, transit or hibernation places, their hunting environment, as well as an excess mortality related to chemicals. Recently, emerging infectious diseases also caused the decline of European colonies.

This project of thesis tackles the matter of the biology of preservation of an almost endangered species, the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum) through two serious questions:

  1. does the decline of observed populations come along with a decrease of the genetic diversity of colonies?
  2. which is the impact of this decrease on the viability of colonies?

We propose to use the population genomics tools and the metabarcoding to describe and understand the population dynamics in our study area and estimate the viability of colonies by various indicators (neutral [microsatellites] and adaptative genetic diversity [genes related to immunity, to the answer to pollution, to diet quality]). Results will help to propose parts of an answer to the stakes of this species conservation.