Gila Monsters
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Team DeNardo

Olivier Lourdais



PhD Evolutionary Biology 2002, University of Poitiers/CEBC-CNRS.

Post-Doctoral Work ASU 2005, Arizona State University


Postdoctoral Research Interest

My principal interest was focused on evolutionary biology and the evolution of life history traits and strategies. Because physiological regulations are at the interface between environmental constraint and evolutionary changes I used an integrative approach combining ecological and physiological investigations. The models I study are ectotherm vertebrates, more precisely squamates reptiles (lizards and snakes). I maintain active international collaborations with Dr. X Bonnet and Pr. Richard Shine.


Work in the DeNardo Lab

While patterns of energy allocation are key factors of reproductive strategies, these elements predominantly reflect offspring quantity. However, reproductive success is dependent on both offspring quantity and offspring quality. Since embryonic development is highly sensitive to perturbations the most effective means by which a mother can influence the quality of her offspring would be by controlling the environment in which her offspring develop.
My post-doctoral research was mainly focused on the costs and benefits of contrasting strategies of controlling the thermal environment during embryonic development. Notably, I wanted to clarify embryo requirements and the impact of environmental constraints to understand evolution of thermoregulatory strategies and reproductive mode.
-Oviparous forms:
Among boids, pythons are particular with the female coiling tightly around the clutch during the whole development period. Interestingly some species are able to produce heat by shivering thermogenesis. In a pilot study, I examined the children python (Antaresia childrenii) a species that brood its eggs without producing heat.
-Viviparous forms:
Egg retention (viviparity) may constitute an alternative to egg brooding because the gravid female can regulate her temperature behaviorally. I compared the thermoregulatory strategies of two related species the aspic viper (Vipera aspis) and the adder (Vipera berus) that differ in their geographic range and associated climatic constraints.


Past Research

To date, my research has focused on patterns of energy allocation and associated reproductive costs. In particular I studied the reproductive strategy of a viviparous snakes (Vipera aspis) that displays high but infrequent reproductive output. The clarification of the selective advantages of this strategy was the theme of my doctorate research (1999-2002) supervised by Xavier Bonnet (CEBC, CNRS, France). I started my post-doctoral research (2002-2003) at the CEBC by working on the reproductive strategy of the colombian rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus) with a particular focus on the energetic constraints of gestation.

Publications from work while in the DeNardo lab

Lourdais, O., Heulin, B., and DeNardo, D. F. (2008) Thermoregulation during gravidity in the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni): a test of the pre-adaptation hypothesis for maternal thermophily in snakes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 499-508.

Lourdais, O., Hoffman, T. and DeNardo, D. F. (2007) Maternal brooding in the Children's python (Antaresia childreni) promotes egg water balance. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 177: 569-577.

Side Activities

I invented the life jacket dance.



Olivier Lourdais,
Researcher Class 2, Equipe écophysiologie évolutive
79 360 Villiers en Bois

FRANCE Ph: + 33 (0) 5 49 09 96 16
Fax: + 33 (0) 5 49 09 65 26
Email: Lourdais@cebc.cnrs.fr
Website: http://www.cebc.cnrs.fr/Fidentite/lourdais/lourdais.htm

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