Graduation work subjects

The purpose is not to provide an exhaustive overview of the topics. Contact Eric Parmentier for more details and redirection to the project managers. Other topics may be available within the laboratory, they are discussed in advance between the sponsor and the candidate.

Acoustic communication inn Holocentridae

As many other fish species, Holocentridae (squirrelfishes and soldierfishes) produce sounds to communicate with each other. Sounds are usually produced in different behavioral contexts (e.g. courtship, spawning, agonistic behavior, competitive feeding, and when disturbed). Composed of 91 known species, whose many live in sympatry, the interest of this study lies in the ability of the different species of this family to distinguish from each other. Several questions rise. Are sounds species-specific? How do the different species share the acoustic space? Did different populations develop dialects? In the same scheme, we aim to link the evolution of the sound-producing apparatus to the evolution of the signal. Therefore, we also investigate the phylogeny of the group and the morphology of the different genera using dissections, histology and 3D tomography. Finally, this project includes an “etho-acoustic” part, aiming to link sounds to the different observed behaviors. This integrative and multidisciplinary approach will for sure give some interesting results.

 

Structural characterization of Onuxodon fowleri (Carapidae) rocker bone

Fish of the genus Onuxodon (Carapidae) have a skeletal piece in their swim bladder responsible for producing sounds. Although this part is called "rockerbone", the preliminary results clearly indicate that it is not a bone and that this hard part would be the result of a stiffening of the swim bladder. The purpose of this work is to describe what is similar to a new type of skeletal structure and to understand how tissues could develop from the swim bladder. Similar work already done in another unrelated species may help to identify the subject. Parmentier et al. 2008. The rocker bone: a new kind of mineralised tissue? Cell and Tissue Research 334: 67-69.

 

Comparative study of the eco-morphological diversity of ichthyological lagoon communities of the Great Tulear Reef (Madagascar)

The Great Reef of Tulear (Madagascar) was known as one of the hotspots of marine diversity in the Indian Ocean during the 1970s and 1980s. However, anthropogenic pressure on this reef has been increasing over the past 40 years. Overfishing, for example, threatens fish stocks for artisanal fishing. In this context of global changes, this work will aim to compare the trophic and morphological diversity of several ichthyological lagoon communities of the Tulear Reef subjected to different levels of fishing pressure. The approach will be multiple, combining both isotopic and morphometric analyses. Several indices and various statistical methods will be applied to these data in order to best quantify the phenotypic diversity present within this disturbed ecosystem. The equipment necessary to carry out this work is already located in the Functional and Evolutive Morphology Laboratory, which ensures the feasibility of the project.

Morphological integration and modularity in damselfish fish (Pomacentridae)

Actinopterygian fish show extreme morphological disparity, particularly in their body shape. One hypothesis that could explain the diversity of their morphology is that it would be facilitated by a modular organization. According to this hypothesis, these "modules" would vary almost independently during ontogeny or evolution, facilitating the capacity for morphological diversification. The objective of this thesis will be to test this hypothesis in a family of teleosteal fish that have been highly successful in coral ecosystems: damselfish fish (Pomacentridae). The morphological diversity of these fish will be quantified using geometric morphometry at the family, population and ontogeny levels. Several tests and various statistical methods will be applied to verify the presence of such modules. The equipment necessary to carry out this work is already located in the Functional and Evolutive Morphology Laboratory, which ensures the feasibility of the project.

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