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Marie-Jeanne Holveck

Marie-Jeanne Holveck

session, year:
2017 2nd


Receiving laboratory:
UR AE “Bees and Environment”, Avignon

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Mobility project

Olfactory, pitcher-plant inspired, trap of the invasive Asian hornet

Insect invasive alien species represent an increasing threat. Yet, eradication campaigns are costly, often inefficient and non -selective, calling for the development of biodiversity - friendly traps. Recently introduced in Europe, the Asian hornet Vespa velutina spreads rapidly, putting bee po pulations at risk thus threatening pollination service and thereby causing huge ecological damages and economical costs to apiculture and agriculture. While  researchers are attempting to set an insect semiochemical -based trap but still without success, the occurrence of natural and relatively selective carnivorous plant traps (attracting and capturing Asian hornet s but not hon eybees) opens new perspectives. This project aims at identify ing, among unexplored olfactory cues produced by Sarracenia oreophila and S. X Juthatip soper carnivorous pitcher plants, a specific molecule or a combination of chemical compounds attracting the Asian hornet specifically. Finding such specific bait requires a fine -scale physiological and behavioural study in the laboratory followed by v alidation in the field. The aims are therefore to (1) identify the Volatile Organic Compound s (VOC s) specifically detectable by the Asian hornet in the pitcher plant odour bouquet using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC -MS) and coupled Gas Chrom atography and Electro -Antenno Graphy ( GC -EAG), (2) test the attraction of Asian hornet s and the non - attraction of honeybees to the se VOC s using laboratory behavioural choice tests, and (3) test the efficiency of the most species -specific lab oratory -attractan t(s) in the field. This original and timely project relies on promising preliminary results, cutting -edge tools, validated protocols, and a coherent consortium of partners with complementary expertise in ecology, behaviour and chemistry of plants, bees and hornets. It will yield high -quality results easily diffused through the gained knowledge on t he hornet’s understudied olfactory communication, and the promotion of an efficient and species -specific trap against this major predator of honeybees.

Biography & research interests

I am a behavioural ecologist interested in the evolution of animal multimodal communication in changing environments. I have become interested in animal behaviour, sensory and evolutionary ecology ever since my Master at Angers University (2001-2002) and then my PhD at Leiden University (2003-2008). I accrued strong conceptual and technical expertise in these topics after 3 postdocs: at the Centre of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology CEFE in Montpellier (2007-2010), at the Catholic University of Louvain (2011-2016), and back at CEFE (2016-2018). I study how variation in communication (i.e. signal emission and perception, cognition) influences (1) signal evolution in multiple sensory modalities (acoustic, visual, chemical) and (2) population adaptation (phenotypic plasticity, genetic variability) to different environments. Such a multimodal approach is highly relevant to understand how species cope with their rapidly changing environment due to anthropogenic activities, such as climate change or biological invasions. In 2018, I was awarded an AgreenSkills+ fellowship allowing putting my competences at the service of INRA for promoting a bioinspired trap of the Asian hornet, a new invasive pest in EU.

Selected publications

Nieberding CM & Holveck MJ. 2017. Laboratory social environment biases mating outcome: a first quantitative synthesis in a butterfly. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 71-117. Doi: 10.1007/s00265-017-2346-9.

Holveck MJ*, Grégoire A*, Guerreiro R, Staszewski V, Boulinier T, Gomez D** & Doutrelant C**. 2017. Kittiwake eggs viewed by conspecifics and predators: implications for colour signal evolution. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 122, 2, 301-312. Doi: 10.1093/ biolinnean/blx065. *Co-first and **co-last authors

Hollander FA, Titeux N, Holveck MJ & Van Dyck H. 2017. Timing of breeding in an ecologically trapped bird. The American Naturalist, 189(5), 515-525.

Van Dyck H & Holveck MJ. 2016. Ecotypic differentiation matters for latitudinal variation in energy metabolism and flight performance in a butterfly under climate change. Scientific Reports, 6(36941). Doi: 10.1038/srep36941.

Holveck MJ, Gauthier AL & Nieberding CM. 2015. Dense, small and male-biased cages exacerbate male-male competition and reduce female choosiness in Bicyclus anynana. Animal Behaviour, 104, 229-245.



Invasive alien species;Chemical communication;Plant-insect interactions;Odour cue;Behavioural choice tests;Biomimetic trap;Carnivorous pitcher plants;Sarracenia;Vespa velutina;Apis mellifera