Professor Camille Bonneaud
Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Professor in Evolutionary Biology
Environment and Sustainability Institute 00.12
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
Microarray analysis of gene expression in House Finches induced by experimental infection with the bacterial pathogen Mycoplasma gallisepticum.
My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of host-pathogen interactions in natural populations, mainly of birds. I am particularly interested in understanding how emerging infectious pathogens jump into new host species and how they subsequently adapt to these novel host environments, as well as how host resistance/tolerance evolves following epizootic outbreak. One of my main study systems is an endemic bacterium of poultry which jumped into a common North American passerine, the House finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), causing a devastating epizootic that killed millions of these birds. I also use nest-box populations of great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) on an altitudinal gradient of the French Pyrenees to examine how climate change might affect the interaction between malaria parasites and their avian hosts.
I am a member of the Evolution group. For further details, please see Research.
PhD., University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris (France)
M.Sc., University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris (France)
B.Sc. (License), University Denis Diderot, Paris (France)
Research group links
Naturally infected (left) and healthy (right) house finches. Note the swelling around the eye in the former; death rates are likely increased in the wild due to predation or starvation following blindness.
My research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of host-pathogen interactions in natural populations, mainly of birds. I am particularly interested in understanding how emerging infectious pathogens jump into new host species and how they subsequently adapt to these novel host environments, as well as how host resistance/tolerance evolves.
1. Rapid evolution of host and pathogen following emerging disease outbreak: Mid-1990s, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a common bacterial pathogen of poultry, jumped into a wild North American songbird, the house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), triggering a devastating epizootic that killed millions of birds. This epizootic is not only of one of the best documented emerging infectious outbreaks in the wild, but it is also one that was left to evolve naturally without any human intervention. As such, it offers a unique opportunity to understand how pathogens jump into new hosts, how they adapt to these novel hosts and how hosts evolve resistance and/or tolerance. We combine experimental work on house finches with cutting-edge molecular, immunological and microbiological approaches to study host and pathogen co-evolution over the course of this epizootic. This work is funded by NERC and a Royal Society Research Grant, and conducted with Dr Andrea Dowling (Postdoc), Dr Mathieu Giraudeau (Postdoc), Molly Staley (PhD student) and Luc Tardy (PhD student).
2. Climate change and wildlife pathogens, insights from an altitudinal gradient: Emerging diseases are expected to increase under climate change as pathogens colonise new areas and infect new host populations. Empirical tests of these changes, however, are difficult to execute without confounding influences. We examine how climate change might affect the interaction between malaria parasites and their avian hosts in the French Pyrenees, where altitude (and hence climate), but not habitat or day length, varies significantly over short distances. We compare the prevalence, species richness and transmission seasonality of malaria parasites in four closely monitored nest-box populations of great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus); these populations are located over short geographical distances (4-16km) and at various altitudes (400-1600m) of the Pyrenees Mountains. This work is funded by a Royal Society International Exchange Grant and conducted with Jessica Lewis (Masters by Research) and Josh Lynton-Jenkins (Masters by Research).
3. Adaptation to environmental changes: Two major threats to animal populations are habitat fragmentation and climate change. This will lead to increased selection for mobility under changing temperatures. We use a model amphibian (wild-caught Xenopus tropicalis) to test how selection for increased dispersal under variable temperatures impacts on trade-offs with immunity and reproduction. Amphibians are ecologically-relevant due to their high sensitivity to anthropogenic influences, but using a model species, rather than an endangered one, allows one to both conduct experiments in the lab and use a sequenced genome to test the genetic underpinnings of responses to selection.
Collaborators on this project:
Dr Anthony Herrel (MNHN, CNRS, France)
Publications by category
Publications by year
Camille_Bonneaud Details from cache as at 2024-03-02 06:32:45
External Engagement and Impact
Supervision / Group
- Andrea Dowling NERC-funded postdoctoral researcher