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Post-doctoral researcher

phone: +44 (0)1 865 281 314

e-mail: sdellico@ulb.ac.be


Research interests

PhD projects

Supervisor : P. Mardulyn

  1. Impact of floral specialization on the intra-specific diversity and population fragmentation of several bee species. A phylogeographic approach

Floral specialization is currently a new research topic for a collaboration between three Belgian universities: the University of Mons, the Free University of Brussels and the University of Liege. One part of this research project is to study the impact of this floral specialization on the intra-specific diversity, the capacity of dispersion and the evolution history of several bee species. In our current study, a comparative phylogeographic approach has been selected to investigate the issue. First termed “phylogeography” by Avise (1989), the aim of this field between phylogenetics and population genetics is to study the geographical distribution of genetic lineages and this, especially at the intra-specific level. We use distinct genetic markers: from two to four nuclear loci and one mitochondrial locus. This project is based on a sampling of several model species of the Bombus and Melitta genera on their entire geographic distribution.

  1. Modelling in population genetics and phylogeography

Numerical simulators are increasingly used tools to understand the evolutionary and genetic consequences of complex population processes. In this context, we developed PhyloGeoSim, a software that simulates the evolution of DNA sequences under a demographic and geographic model of coalescence. It can be used to simulate data sets under evolutionary scenarios taking both demographic and geographic characteristics into account (e.g. isolation by distance, fragmentation, expansion, secondary contact, …). The geographic structure of the model is based on a two dimensional grid in which each cell corresponds to one population. This coalescence model is currently used to (i) perform theoretical studies of commonly used summary statistics in the fields of population genetics and phylogeography, and (ii) in several case studies such as the analysis of the recent range expansion of a solitary bee or the fragmentation history of cold-adapted leaf beetles. In the latter case, simulations are inspired and compared to results of ecological niche modeling.

    We also developed the software SPADS, a population genetics toolbox computing several summary statistics from populations or groups of populations, performing several input file conversions for other population genetics programs and implementing two clustering algorithms to study the genetic structure of populations. The toolbox also includes Matlab and R functions to represent distance and diversity patterns across landscapes. SPADS has been specifically developed for the analysis of multi-locus datasets of DNA sequences.

Master thesis project

  1. Genetic analysis of red deer (Cervus elaphus) populations in Armoric

Supervisors: M.-C. Flamand & F. Chaumont (UCL)

The context of red deer in Armoric is a typical case where the situation of the population is completely drawn and dependent on human activities. This species was not at all naturally widespread in these little forests but was partially and artificially introduced several decades ago. Since these introductions, hunting schedules regulates the population. Despite this regulation, a lot of recent new artificial barriers are installed all around the forests in order to cancel the pressure of this species on the cultures surrounding these forests. In summary, all the current ecological situation of those specimens is closely linked to human activities. The aim of this master thesis project was to explore and study the diversity and the structure of this population in this highly dependent human context. Investigating the potential impact of fragmentation on the population (aspects of diversity and risks of consanguinity effects) becomes more and more important in the context of the future total isolation with artificial barriers. Another objective was to give new tools to better understand and manage red deer in this area. This new genetic database and the different assignment methods tested are now able to investigate the origin of a given individual.


Dellicour S, Fearnley S, Lombal A, Heidl S, Dahlhoff E, Rank N, Mardulyn P (In press) Inferring the past and present connectivity across the range of a North American leaf beetle: combining ecological-niche modeling and a geographically explicit model of coalescence. Evolution.

Lecocq T, Dellicour S, Michez D, Lhomme P, Valterová I, Rasplus JY, Rasmont P (In press) Scent of a break-up: phylogeography and reproductive trait divergences in the red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius). BMC Evolutionary.

Dellicour S, Mardulyn P (2014) SPADS 1.0: a toolbox to perform spatial analyses on DNA sequence data sets. Molecular Ecology Resources 14, 647-651.

Dellicour S, Mardulyn P, Hardy OJ, et al. (2014) Inferring the mode of colonization of the rapid range expansion of a solitary bee from multilocus DNA sequence variation. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27, 116-132.

Dellicour S, Lecocq T, Kuhlmann M, Mardulyn P, Michez D (2014) Molecular phylogeny of the bee genus Melitta (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) supports African origin of bees. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 70, 412-419.

Dellicour S, Lecocq T (2013) GCAligner 1.0: An alignment program to compute a multiple sample comparison data matrix from large eco-chemical datasets obtained by GC. Journal of Separation Science 36, 3206-3209.

Lecocq T, Vereecken NJ, Michez D, Dellicour S, Lhomme P, Valterová I, Rasplus J-Y, Rasmont P (2013) Two islands within an island: patterns of genetic and reproductive traits differentiation in mainland vs. Corsican populations of bumblebees. PLoS ONE 8.

Lecocq T, Lhomme P, Michez D, Dellicour S, Valterovác I, Rasmont P (2011) Molecular and chemical characters to evaluate species status of two cuckoo bumblebees: Bombus barbutellus and Bombus maxillosus (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Bombini). Systematic Entomology 36, 453-469.

Dellicour S, Frantz A, Colyn M, Bertouille S, Chaumont F, Flamand M-C (2010) Population structure and genetic diversity of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in forest fragments in north-western France. Conservation Genetics 12, 1287-1297.

Oral communications

Dellicour S, Kastally C, Hardy O, Mardulyn P (2013) PhyloGeoSim 1.0: a simulator of DNA sequences evolution under a demographic and geographic model of coalescence. 5th CÉCI Scientific Meeting (Namur, Belgium).

Dellicour S, Hardy O, Vereecken NJ, Mardulyn P (2012) Comparing historical hypotheses using DNA sequence variation in a geographic model of coalescence.
Evolution congress 2012 (Ottawa, Canada).

Dellicour S, Hardy O, Vereecken NJ, Mardulyn P (2012) Study of a range expansion using a geographical model of coalescence.
18th EMPSEB (Virrat, Finland).

Dellicour S, Hardy O, Vereecken NJ, Mardulyn P (2012) Comparing historical hypotheses using DNA sequence variation in a geographic model of coalescence.
19th Benelux Congress of Zoology (Bruxelles, Belgium).

Dellicour S, Frantz A, Colyn M, Bertouille S, Chaumont F, Flamand M-C (2010) Population structure and genetic diversity of red deer (Cervus elaphus) in forest fragments in north-western France.
Annual meeting of the Belgian Statistical Society (Spa, Belgium).

Educational background

2013-today   University of Oxford - Oxford

  1. Post-doc in the field of ecological dynamics of infectious diseases (supervisor: Pr Oliver Pybus). Grant: Wiener-Anspach.

2009-2013   University of Brussels (ULB) - Brussels

  1. PhD in the fields of phylogeography and population genetics. Title: “Study the evolution of phytophagous insects. Phylogeographic approach and methodological developments”. Grant: FRIA (FNRS).

2008-2009   University of Louvain (UCL) - Louvain-la-neuve

  1. Master thesis in the fields of population genetics and conservation. Title: “Genetic analysis of red deer (Cervus elaphus) populations in Armoric”, high honours.

  2. Quetelet Price given by the Quetelet Society to a master thesis in biostatistics/biometry

  3. Shortlisted for the Jacques Kets Awards given by the Royal Belgian Zoological Society

2004-2009   University of Louvain (UCL) - Louvain-la-neuve

  1. Master degree in bio-engineering : chemistry and bio-industries, specialization : molecular biology. High honours for the master degree

2008   University of Manchester - Manchester

  1. Erasmus exchange program in the Life of Science faculty of the University of Manchester

2004   University of Brussels (ULB) - Brussels

  1. Examination for admittance to polytechnics faculties in the French Community of Belgium : certificate passed

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  1. Simon Dellicour