Ecology of Multitrophic Interactions &  Biomimetism
Prospective Students

Keywords :

Integrative biology

Organismal biology

Functional ecology

Quantitative ecology

Population dynamics

Community dynamics

Climate change biology

Nature inspired technology


Arthropod biology

Multitrophic interactions


Links :

How to reach us

City of tours

IRBI home page

University of  TOURS


I had so far good students who got interesting jobs in different countries; most of them hold permanent positions within the academia [click here to alumni]. I am also particularly proud of having two Ph.D. students winning the prizes for the best paper written by a junior scientist in two journals of the British Ecological Society, Functional Ecology in 2002 (D. Giron) and Journal of Animal Ecology in 2007 (S. Pincebourde). This is most likely unique in the long history of that society.

My masters students know rather well what they want, and even better what they dislike. I help them a lot in identifying he best groups worldwide to carry on with their aims, such as for the two master students C. Boutry (now with T. Blackedge, Akron University, to study spider web mechanics) and R. Richard (now with E. McCauley, Calgary, to study the link between individual physiology and population dynamics in Daphnia). For those who carry on with a Ph.D. with me, I borrow a strategy from one of my former advisors, R. Nisbet. He defines the Ph.D. thesis in three successive time blocks, the first one being directed by the professor (remember the word ‘student’ after ‘Ph.D.’), the second block being one of consensus if not conflict, as students acquired self-confidence and might have dissenting views about the next steps. The third one is directed by the student, who should by then be more qualified than me to tell us where to go. The degrees of freedom (for both of us, by the way) are also dictated by the level of expertise and the origin of the funds: a Ph.D. student on one of my grants has less flexibility than a Marie-Curie post-doc who wrote his/her own proposal. I see this transfer of knowledge with an increment in pertinence as THE point of being a university professor, the other duties (carrying Science, involvement in PR, acting as an expert, for example) being equally well covered by other professions (research scientists at the CNRS, INRA, USDA, Max Plank etc.). Of course, the earlier in the career, the more help do people need, and I tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time with master and early Ph.D. Students.

Of course all this can be achieved only if there is a full commitment to the task, implying weeks of many work hours, sometimes reduced week-ends and short summer vacation … it is a privilege to be paid to learn. Science is an unusual activity and should remain so. Remember that our mandate is not smaller than finding both new and relevant things! With nearly 7 mia. humans on the planet, it is for a young student both an intimidating but highly challenging order.

Many good students are running away from Science. Among the many reasons, the lack of job perspective is often quoted as a major stumbling block. It does not fit my own personal experience. It is true that there are more and more scientists on the market (but when you follow this really as closely as you say, you know that the number of wanted scientists in the EU or India, for example, in the coming decade is huge). It is however also true that the world will always lack people of good will who do more than going after their ‘business as usual’.

If you feel interested by coming to work in our group, or to visit us, please feel free to email me ( For spontaneous contact to try to join the group, please attach your CV to your email.

To prospective students

Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l'Insecte

UMR 7261 Faculté des Sciences et Techniques

Avenue Monge, Parc Grandmont  

37200 TOURS (France)