Evolutionary Biology & Ecologyebe-Welcome.html
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phone: +32 (0)2 650 44 97

e-mail: Denis.Fournier@ulb.ac.be

Personal website

Research interests

Biological invasions

Biological invasions have major ecological and economical consequences, especially by disrupting trophic cascades and by homogenising biodiversity. Each invasion process is characterised by three stages: the introduction, the establishment of viable populations, and their proliferation in the new environment. Demographic, ecological and genetic mechanisms occur in each stage.

Our researches aim at studying biological invasions in social insects and lie on a combinatory approach including genetic, behavioural, chemical and ecological data.

Life-history traits of humivorous termites

Humus-feeding termites are abundant and ecologically important in soils of neotropical rainforests. However, their reproductive and dispersal strategies remain poorly known.

Our interests are directed towards investigating population genetic structure and reproductive and dispersal strategies of a guyanese Cavitermes species.

Selected publications

Aron S, Lybaert P, Baudoux C, Vandervelden M, Fournier D (2016) Sperm production characteristics vary with level of sperm competition in Cataglyphis desert ants. Functional Ecology 30, 614-624.
doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12533

Fournier D, de Biseau J-C, De Laet S, et al. (2016) Social structure and genetic distance mediate nestmate recognition and aggressiveness in the facultative polygynous ant Pheidole pallidula. PLoS ONE 11, e0156440.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156440

Fournier D, Hellemans S, Hanus R, Roisin Y (2016) Facultative asexual reproduction and genetic diversity of populations in the humivorous termite Cavitermes tuberosus.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283, 2016.0196.
doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0196

Moerman R, Vanderplanck M, Roger N, et al. (2016) Growth rate of bumblebee larvae is related to pollen amino acids. Journal of Economic Entomology 109, 25-30.
doi: 10.1093/jee/tov279

Wauters N, Dekoninck W, Hendrickx F, Herrera HW, Fournier D (2016) Habitat association and coexistence of endemic and introduced ant species in Galápagos Islands. Ecological Entomology 41, 40-50.
doi: 10.1111/een.12256

Fournier D, Hanus R, Roisin Y (2015) Development and characterization of microsatellite markers from the humivorous termite Cavitermes tuberosus (Isoptera: Termitinae) using pyrosequencing technology. Conservation Genetics Resources 7, 521-524.
doi: 10.1007/s12686-014-0411-5

Gérard M, Michez D, Fournier D, et al. (2015) Discrimination of haploid and diploid males of Bombus terrestris (Hymenoptera; Apidae) based on wing shape. Apidologie 46, 644-653.
doi: 10.1007/s13592-015-0352-3

Wauters N, Dekoninck W, Herrera H, Fournier D (2014) Distribution, behavioral dominance and potential impacts on endemic fauna of the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata (Hymenoptera: Myrmicinae) in the Galápagos archipelago. Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 90, 205-220.
doi: 10.3956/2014-90.4.205

Fournier D, Tindo M, Kenne M, et al. (2012) Genetic structure, nestmate recognition and behaviour of two cryptic species of the invasive big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala. PLoS ONE 7, e31480.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031480

Hamidi R, Debout G, Heredia A, et al. (2012) Multicoloniality in the highly polygynous ant Crematogaster pygmaea (Formicidae: Myrmicinae). European Journal of Entomology 109, 95-102.
doi: 10.14411/eje.2012.012

Aron S, Steinhauer N, Fournier D (2009) Influence of queen phenotype, investment and maternity apportionment on the outcome of fights in cooperative foundations of the ant Lasius niger. Animal Behaviour 77, 1067-1074.
doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.01.009

Foucaud J, Orivel J, Fournier D, et al. (2009) Reproductive system, social organization, human disturbance and ecological dominance in native populations of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata. Molecular Ecology 18, 5059-5073.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04440.x

Fournier D, Aron S (2009a) No-male’s land for an Amazonian ant. Current Biology 19, R738-R740.
doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.021

Fournier D, de Biseau J-C, Aron S (2009b) Genetics, behaviour and chemical recognition of the invading ant Pheidole megacephala. Molecular Ecology 18, 186-199.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.04018.x

Orivel J, Grangier J, Foucaud J, et al. (2009) Ecologically heterogeneous populations of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata within its native and introduced ranges. Ecological Entomology 34, 504-512.
doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2009.01096.x

Fournier D, Battaille G, Timmermans I, Aron S (2008a) Genetic diversity, worker size polymorphism and division of labour in the polyandrous ant Cataglyphis cursor. Animal Behaviour 75, 151-158.
doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.04.023

Fournier D, Dubois D, Aron S (2008b) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci from the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala. Molecular Ecology Resources 8, 919-922.
doi: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2008.02116.x

Timmermans I, Hefetz A, Fournier D, Aron S (2008) Population genetic structure, worker reproduction and thelytokous parthenogenesis in the desert ant Cataglyphis sabulosa. Heredity 101, 490-498.
doi: 10.1038/hdy.2008.72

Aron S, Fournier D (2007) L'énigme de l'altruisme. Science & Avenir - Hors-Série 152, 44-49.

Foucaud J, Fournier D, Orivel J, et al. (2007) Sex and clonality in the little fire ant. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24, 2465-2473.
doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm180

Fournier D, Aron S (2007) Le sexe, si nécessaire. Les Dossiers de La Recherche 27, 20-25.

Tripet F, Fournier D, Nonacs P, Keller L (2006) Kin recognition and the paradoxical patterns of aggression between colonies of a Mojave desert Pheidole ant. Insectes sociaux 53, 127-135.
doi: 10.1007/s00040-005-0846-5

de Menten L, Fournier D, Brent CS, et al. (2005b) Dual mechanism of queen influence over sex ratio in the ant Pheidole pallidula. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 58, 527-533.
doi: 10.1007/s00265-005-0964-0

Estoup A, Fournier D (2005) Guerre des sexes chez une fourmi : reproduction clonale des mâles et des reines. M/S Médecine Sciences 21, 907-909.

Fournier D, Estoup A, Orivel J, et al. (2005a) Clonal reproduction by males and females in the little fire ant. Nature 435, 1230-1234.
doi: 10.1038/nature03705

Fournier D, Foucaud J, Loiseau A, et al. (2005b) Characterization and PCR multiplexing of polymorphic microsatellite loci for the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata. Molecular Ecology Notes 5, 239-242.
doi: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2005.00889.x

Fournier D (2004) Population genetic structure, mating system and conflicts in Pheidole ants PhD thesis, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Fournier D, Aron S, Keller L (2004) Significant reproductive skew in the facultatively polygynous ant Pheidole pallidula. Molecular Ecology 13, 203-210.
doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294X.2003.02036.x

Helms KR, Fournier D, Keller L, Passera L, Aron S (2004) Colony sex ratios in the facultatively polygynous ant Pheidole pallidula: a reanalysis with new data. Evolution 58, 1141-1142.
doi: 10.1554/03-648

Fournier D, Keller L, Passera L, Aron S (2003) Colony sex ratios vary with breeding system but not relatedness asymmetry in the facultatively polygynous ant Pheidole pallidula. Evolution 57, 1336-1342.
doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2003.tb00341.x



PhD students


phone: +32 (0)2 650 22 67     e-mail: sihellem@ulb.ac.be


  1. Modalities of Asexual Queen Succession in the neotropical humivorous termite Cavitermes tuberosus and implications of reproductive organisation on alate sex ratio


phone: +32 (0)2 650 49 58     e-mail: romainmoerman@hotmail.com


  1. Multifactorial analyses of bumblebees decline

MSc students


  1. Social insects and biological invasions


  1. The impact of endosymbionts on the reproductive system and sex-ratio of the tropical humivorous termite Cavitermes tuberosus

Previous MSc and PhD students

Sophie DE LAET

  1. Genetic diversity, intraspecific chemical variations and nestmate recognition in the ant Pheidole pallidula


  1. Reversion to monogyny in cooperative foundations of the ant Lasius niger - Effects of queen phenotype and social environment


  1. Evolutionary origin of sexuals and sex-ratio in the termite Cavitermes tuberosus

María Luisa Martín Cerezo

  1. Predicting the invasion risk by the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata across the Galápagos Archipelago


  1. Invasive ant species and global warming - risk prediction using geospatial models


  1. Population genetics, chemical recognition and aggressive behaviours of the invasive ant Pheidole megacephala in its native range


  1. Impact of the invasive ant Solenopsis geminata on the endemic fauna of the Galápagos islands - Genetic and ecological context


BIOL-F-314   Recherche et communication scientifique

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Webmaster  -  Copyright ebe 2016

  1. Denis Fournier Group     Genetics, ecology and evolution of invasive social insects

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© Alex Wildhttp://www.alexanderwild.com/
© Alex Wildhttp://www.alexanderwild.com/

Biological invasions behaviour Pheidole Ants Dispersal strategies Solenopsis Native range Colony Molecular analyses Insects Reproductive strategies Nestmate recognition DNA Mating systems Ecology Evolution of sex Reproductive conflicts Population genetics Pest management Bombus Field Bees Evolutionary ecology Cataglyphis Cavitermes Chemical recognition     Wasmannia Biodiversity Kin composition Sampling Termites Linepithema Global warming Clonality...