• About me

    I am a young ecological researcher who is passionate about the impacts of humans on interspecific interactions. This is probably my main area of expertise now, although to satisfy my (huge) scientific curiosity, my interests lie far beyond these questions. My research is thus mostly motivated by the understanding of how anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., urbanization) are impacting the relation between species, ranging from competitive interactions, predation, mating choice, and many more. I mainly studied ants, but also occasionally birds, domestic cats or large mammals. My research works mobilized landscape ecology and genetics as well as behavioral, molecular, and chemical ecology, and addressed issues of interspecific hybridization, biological invasions or biogeographical ranges.


    On a more "academic" view, I defended my PhD in 2018 in the LEHNA Lab, University of Lyon (France). My research interests focused on the impact of urbanization and climate changes on biological invasions and interspecific genetic exchanges within the Tetramorium caespitum ant species complex (Formicidae). In 2019, I worked in the ESE Lab., University Paris-Saclay (France). My main project aimed to study the biological invasions and competitive interactions within several native and invasive ant species. Now, thanks to a Research Fellowship provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, I pursue my work in the lab of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze, in Regensburg University (Germany), working on various Temnothorax ant species.


  • Research skills

    Invasive species - Climate changes - Urbanization

    Interspecific hybridization - Landscape genetics - Biogeography

    Chemical communication - Behavioural Ecology



    Main Technical Skills


    Analytical methods in landscape ecology or genetics

    Bayesian clustering algorithms, least cost path and circuit theory, multivariate spatial analyses, ordination under spatial constraint


    Molecular & chemical ecology techniques

    DNA extraction, mitochondrial DNA Sanger sequencing, microsatellite loci genotyping, cuticular lipid extraction, gas chromatography (GC-FID / GC-MS)


    Analyses and modelling of dynamic biological systems

    Generalized mixed models, binary data analyses, multivariate approaches, parametric and non-parametric tests, similarity analyses


    Wildlife monitoring in natural & laboratory environments

    Ants: Sampling (direct search, baits, pitfalls), behavioral surveys (foraging activities, aggressiveness), common garden (>6 months rearing)

    Birds: Behavioural survey in playback-response experiments, acoustic census (Common birds)

    Mammals: Behavioural survey of interference competition (large mammals), Sociological survey (Pet cat)
    Other: Shelters survey (reptiles), pop. displacements (Natterjack toad)


    Data processing / Specialized software

    Biostatistics: R, R Studio, PAST

    Informatics: MS Office, web, Inkscape

    GIS: ArcGis, QGis

    Genetic: Structure, Circuitscape, Genepop, Genemarker, NewHybrid, Seaview, Network, CodonCode Aligner, Clumpak, PopArt, GenAlex, Coancestry, PeakScanner…



    French: Native language

    English: Fluent written (scientific English), Occasional oral practice

    German: Basic

    Research axes


    AXIS 1 - Distribution patterns in anthropogenic landscapes


    Urbanization and climate changes drive the biological response of many species which shift their distributions ranges. Based on an individual-based sampling scheme of 1690 samples of Tetramorium ant species along a large-scale climatic gradient and 19 urban gradients in the Rhône valley (France), I gave a first description of the climatic niche of four Tetramorium species and I investigated how urbanization structured the distribution of these species at four spatial scales.


    More recently, I have started a new project whose aim is to decipher the anthropogenic drivers of ant species distribution. Based on a corpus of species from the Temnothorax genus living in different fragmented habitats, this project will allow to understand how spatial scales (from habitat to landscape) modulate the impacts of human in species distribution.

    AXIS 2 - Global changes and biological invasions

    Urbanization pomotes the introduction of non-indigenous species and expanding the habitats favourable to their establishment. Urban warming, through Urban Heat Island effects, may enhance biological responses similar to climate warming in rural areas. I tested this prediction for Tetramorium immigrans along latitudinal and urbanization gradients in the Rhône valley (France). I used a multidisciplinary comparative approach to investigate the geographic distribution, genetic diversity and structure of this species in the Rhône valley. I am now investigating deeply the impact of urbanization in the propagation of this species based on the measurement of behavioral and physiological impacts of different stresses such as light pollution, extreme temperatures or food fasting, using a comparative approach with a native species.


    I also collaborated to the Invacost project, whose aim is to estimate the economic costs relating to biological invasions at a global scale.

    AXIS 3 - Human-driven gene flows


    Biodiversity faces growing pressures from human actions, including habitat conversion, degradation, and fragmentation. In this context, my research purpose is to investigate how and in which direction human impact on landscape affects intra- and interspecific gene flow, mainly in ants. At an intraspecific level, I studied for instance population genetics and gene flow between isolated populations of the ant Temnothorax nigriceps at different spatial scales (collaboration with Abel Bernadou).


    But gene flows also act at an interspecific level. Hybridization between species has increased in recent years, often in association with anthropogenic environmental changes, sometimes resulting in the extirpation of one of the parental species or in the replacement of species pairs by hybrid swarms. I investigated the processes involved in establishing a hybridization zone between Tetramorium caespitum and T. immigrans. I combined approaches based on simulations with Bayesian and Maximum-likelihood genetic clustering to highlight the existence of backcrosses between hybrids and parental species, showing fertility of hybrids. I also used paternity analysis techniques to test the existence of pre- or post-mating sexual selection. Finally, I addressed the issue of inter-individual recognition mechanisms, mobilizing both behavioural biology and chemical ecology approaches. More recently, I have started a new project whose aim is to decipher the anthropogenic drivers of ant species hybridization. Based on a two Temnothorax species, this project will allow to understand how local human disturbances modulate the gene flows between species.


    AXIS 4 - Interspecific interactions in human-impacted ecosystems


    I firstly studied competitive interactions through collaborative research in large mammals communities of Sub-Saharan ecosystems (collaboration with Nicolas Ferry). Such researches focused on competition for access to good quality water in ecosystems where water is scarce and only maintained by humans during the dry season. These works were based on behavioral survey of large mammals around waterpoint and chemical approaches to measure the water quality.


    I then addressed questions on competitive interspecific interactions in the context of biological invasions in ants. Invasive ants cause significant disruption to native species communities, for example due to competition with local species. During the invasion process, the ability to acquire resources and the direct competitive interactions with other species play a key role. I investigated these factors through behavioral approach centered on the competitive interactions between different ant species of both native and invasive taxa.


    I am finally studying predation interactions in urbanized ecosystems. These researches investigate potential drivers of predation behavior by domestic cats, one of the most abundant predators and a serious threat to many wildlife species (collaboration with Emmanuelle Baudry). Based on 1,400 sociological surveys of cat owners, this work evidenced that the predation rates, regardless of the prey, were strongly influenced by the environment, especially by the factors relating to urbanization.

  • Education

    Academic curriculum


    2020: Qualification for Lecturer position in Population biology & Ecology (French CNU section 67)

    2019: Qualification for Lecturer position in Biology of Organisms (French CNU section 68)

    2018: PhD in Ecology (Univ. Lyon 1, France)

    2015: M. Sc Biodiversity, Ecology, Environment (University Joseph Fourier Grenoble, France) (1/8)

    2014: M. Sc Ecosystems bio-evaluation and expertise of biodiversity (Univ. Lyon 1, France) (1/18)

    2012: B. Sc Biology of Organisms and Populations (Univ. Lyon 1, France) (4/96)


    Research Experiences


    2021 - 2024, Von Humboldt Fellowship Postdoc., Lehrstuhl für Zoologie / Evolutionsbiologie, Univ. Regensburg, Germany

    Mentorship: Pr. Dr. J. Heinze

    Slow and enhanced gene flow within two sibling ant species

    • Environmental determinants of species occurrences and genetic patterns in fragmented habitats
    • Interspecific hybridization models between Temnothorax crassispinus and T. nylanderi in human-impacted landscapes
    • Colony fusion and reproductive system impacts on hybridization



    2020 - 2021, Teaching Postdoc., Lehrstuhl für Zoologie / Evolutionsbiologie, Univ. Regensburg, Germany

    Supervision: Pr. Dr. J. Heinze

    Genetic outline of a specialist species leaving in highly fragmented habitats

    • Genetic structure within colonies of the specialist ant species Temnothorax nigriceps
    • Population genetics and gene flow between isolated populations at different spatial scales



    2019 - 2020, CNRS Research Engineer, Research Lab UMR 8079 - Ecology Systematics and Evolution (ESE), France

    Supervision: F. Courchamp

    Biological invasions and competitive interactions within ant species

    • Study of competitive interactions through interference and exploitation in the context of invasive-invasive interactions and between invasive and native species
    • Role of aggression behaviour in direct competitive interactions



    2015 - 2018, PhD, Research Lab Ecology of Natural and Man-impacted Hydrosystems (LEHNA), France

    Supervision: G. Escarguel & B. Kaufmann

    Impacts of global changes on invasions and hybridization in Tetramorium ant species

    • Assessment of the relative effects of urbanization and climatic factors in the implementation of gene flows and hybridization patterns
    • Population genetics of an introduced species facing global changes
    • Study of the contribution of recognition and reproductive system on gene flows and hybridization


    2015, Internship (6 months), Research Lab Ecology of Natural and Man-impacts Hydrosystems (LEHNA), France

    Supervision: B. Kaufmann

    Impact of urbanization on gene flows: inter- and intra-specific consequences

    • Identification of species, definition of haplotypes and measurement of genetic structuring within species and hybridization between them
    • Analysis of habitats niches at different spatial scales
    • Implementation of innovative analytical methods of landscape genetics


    2014, Internship (8 months), Environmental consultancy, Ecosphère, France

    Supervision: J. Michelot

    Scientific evaluation of "Corridors of Life" project [ECONECT European Project]

    • Development of a methodology to assess the functionality of ecological corridors (crossing ability, spatial modeling, penetrability models) and the efficiency of wildlife passages
    • Project evaluation: achievement and relevance of actions, conflict resolution
    • Evaluation of the project sustainability: analyses of urban planning documents

  • Publications


    Peer reviewed publications

    1 - Cordonnier, M., Bellec, A., Dumet, A., Escarguel, G., Kaufmann, B. 2019. Range limits in sympatric cryptic species: a case study in Tetramorium pavement ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across a biogeographical boundary. Insect conservation and diversity, 12(2):109-120. doi.org/10.1111/icad.12316


    2 - Dutour, M., Cordonnier, M., Léna, J-P., Lengagne, T. 2019. Seasonal variation in mobbing behaviour of passerine birds. Journal of Ornithology, 160(2): 509-514. - doi.org/10.1007/s10336-019-01630-5


    3 - Cordonnier, M., Gayet, T., Escarguel, G., Kaufmann, B. 2019. From hybridization to introgression between two closely related sympatric ant species. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 57(4): 778-788 - doi.org/ 10.1111/jzs.12297


    4 - Cordonnier, M., Gibert, C., Bellec, A., Kaufmann, B., Escarguel, G. 2019. Multi-scale impacts of urbanization on species distribution within the genus Tetramorium. Landscape Ecology, 34(8): 1937-1948 - doi.org/ 10.1007/s10980-019-00842-7


    5 - Ferry, N., Cordonnier, M., F.D. Hulot, F. Dakwa, L. Sebele, S. Dray, H. Fritz, M. Valeix. 2019. Heterogeneity of water quality in artificial waterholes: do African herbivores show preferences and does it lead to interference competition? Journal of Arid Environments, 173: 104014 - doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019.104014


    6 - Cordonnier, M., Bellec, A., Escarguel, G., Kaufmann, B. Effect of the urbanization-climate interaction on the expansion of the pavement ant in South-eastern France. Basic and Applied Ecology, 44, 46-54 - doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2020.02.003


    7- Cordonnier, M., Escarguel, G., Dumet, A., Kaufmann, B. 2020. Multiple mating in the context of interspecific hybridization between two Tetramorium ant species. Heredity, 124, 675–684 - doi.org/10.1038/s41437-020-0310-3


    8- Cordonnier, M., Blight, O., Angulo, E., Courchamp, F. 2020. The native ant Lasius niger can limit the access to resources of the invasive Argentine ant. Animals, 10, 2451 - doi.org/10.3390/ani10122451


    9- Cordonnier, M., Kaufmann, B, Simon, L., Escarguel, G., Mondy, N. 2022. Discrimination of conspecifics from heterospecifics in a hybrid zone: from behavioral to chemical cues in ants. Insect Science, 29(1), 276-288 - doi.org/10.1111/1744-7917.12915


    10- Cordonnier, M., Ferry, N., Maurice, A-.C., Renaud, E., Bonnaud, E., Baudry, E. Drivers of predatory behavior of pet cats: environment overcomes predator’s intrinsic characteristics. Urban ecosystems, doi.org/10.1007/s11252-022-01231-w


    11- Angulo, E., Hoffmann, B.D., Ballesteros-Mejia, L., Taheri, A., Balzani, P., Renault, D., Cordonnier, M., Bellard, C., Diagne, C., Ahmed, D.A., Watari, Y., Courchamp, F. Economic costs of invasive alien ants worldwide. Biological Invasions, doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02791-w



    12- Dutour, M., Cordonnier, M. Number of callers influences recruitment to collective anti-predator events in a bird community. Sub. in Ibis.


    13- Cordonnier, M., Ridley, A., Lengagne, T., Dutour, M. The impact of high temperatures on bird responses to alarm calls. Submitted in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.


    14- Cordonnier, M., Felten, D., Heinze, J.*, Bernadou, A*. Absence of genetic isolation across highly fragmented landscape in the ant Temnothorax nigriceps. Submitted in BMC Ecology & Evolution.


    Open Science

    1- Cordonnier, M., Escarguel, G., Kaufmann, B. 2020. S’accoupler plusieurs fois et avec le premier venu : la clé du succès d’une invasion biologique chez les fourmis ? The conversation --> LIEN


    2- Cordonnier, M. 2020. Le genre Tetramorium en France - Synthèse. Dictionnaire amoureux des fourmis par Alain Lenoir --> LIEN


    3- Cordonnier, M. 2020. Les fourmis, espèces sentinelles de l’impact des changements globaux. Encyclopédie de l'environnement --> LIEN



  • Conferences



    Tours, France - 28th Congress IUSSI French Section (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Impacts of urbanization on gene flow: Intra and interspecific consequences

    Durham, UK - BES Symposium: the Macroecology of Alien Species (Poster presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. From species introduction to biological invasion: untangling two global changes interacting in a urban-rural ant species complex
    Paris, France - 29th Congress UIEIS French Section (Poster presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. De l'introduction d'espèce à l'invasion biologique : contribution de deux changements globaux en interaction au sein d'un complexe d’espèces du genre Tetramorium (Hymenoptera : Formicidae)
    Orléans, France - Conference: Species spread in a warmer and globalized world (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Biological invasions can be promoted by the interaction between urbanization and climate. A case study of the pavement ant Tetramorium immigrans

    Lyon, France - Rencontre DECRYPThèse (Poster presentation) [best poster award]

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Comment la fourmi des trottoirs exploite les villes et le réchauffement climatique pour coloniser de nouveaux territoires

    Lyon, France - Journée Ecologie Chimique (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Distinguer un individu conspécifique d’un individu hétérospécifique au sein d’une zone hybride : des preuves comportementales aux signaux chimiques.

    Rennes, France - Groupement de Recherche CNRS 3647 Invasions Biologiques (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. De l’invasion à l’hybridation : conséquences de l’introduction d’une espèce sur les échanges génétiques intra et interspécifiques
    Rennes, France - Sfecologie : International Conference On Ecological Sciences (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Spatial scaling of urbanization impacts on species distribution within the ant genus Tetramorium

    Rennes, France - Cinquièmes journées du GDR Mediatec (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Distinguer un individu conspécifique d’un individu hétérospécifique au sein d’une zone hybride : des preuves comportementales aux signaux chimiques.

    Orsay, France - Université Paris Sud - ESE (Invited seminar)

    Cordonnier, M. Impacts of global changes on biological invasions and interspecific hybridization within the Tetramorium caespitum ant species complex

    Grenoble, France - Université Grenoble Alpes - LECA (Invited seminar)

    Cordonnier, M. Impacts des changements globaux sur les invasions biologiques et l'hybridation interspécifique au sein du complexe d'espèces de fourmis Tetramorium caespitum



    Paris, France - UPMC, iEES Paris (Invited seminar)

    Cordonnier, M. Urbanisation, invasions biologiques et hybridation interspécifique - Quelques études chez les fourmis

    Gif-sur-Yvette, France - Colloque du Petit Pois Déridé (Oral presentation)

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Multiple mating and sexual selection in the context of interspecific hybridization between two ant species

    Avignon, France - 30th Congress UIEIS French Section (Oral presentation) [best talk award]

    Cordonnier, M., et al. Rôle des accouplement multiples et de la sélection sexuelle dans les patrons d'hybridation interspécifique au sein du genre Tetramorium, Formicidae

  • Teaching and research training


    Contractual teacher / vacations

    ----------Level-------------------Type ----------------------------Discipline-------------------Duration---------------- Place------------------------Year--------

    -------Grad.2nd yr. ---------- Lecture ----------------Populations management ---------- 1.5h --------------AgroParisTech --------------- 2019-------

    -------Grad.2nd yr. ---------- Lecture ----------------Populations management ---------- 1.5h -----------Univ. Grenoble Alpes----------2020-------

    -------Grad.1st yr. ----------- Lecture -------------------Population genetics --------------- 4.5h --------------- MNHN Paris --------------- 2019-20 ----

    -------Grad.1st yr. ----------- Lecture -------------Global changes & biodiversity ---------2.5h -----------Univ. Grenoble Alpes---------- 2018-------

    -------Grad.1st yr. -------- Practical work --------------Behavioural ecology ---------------18h ---------------Univ. Lyon 1 ----------------- 2018-------

    ---Undergrad.3rd yr. ---- Practical work ------Molecular ecology and evolution-------20h ----------- Univ. Regensburg-------------- 2021-------

    ---Undergrad.3rd yr. ---- Practical work ---------Identification of biodiversity ---------12h -------------- Univ. Lyon 1------------------ 2017-------

    ---Undergrad.2nd yr. -------Tutorial ------------------Sustainable development ---------18h ---------------Univ. Lyon 1-------------------2016------

    ---Undergrad.2nd yr. -------Lecture ---------------- Humans and biodiversity ------------1.5h------------Univ. Paris Saclay ------------- 2019------

    ---Undergrad.1st yr. -----Practical work---------------Organism biology -----------------136h ------------- Univ. Lyon 1----------------- 2016-18----

    ---Undergrad.1st yr. --------Tutorial---------------------Career guidance ------------------ 12h --------------Univ. Lyon 1--------------------2017-------

    ---Undergrad.1st yr.-----Practical work --------------Population genetics ----------------3h -------------Univ. Paris Saclay-------------- 2019-------


    Internship supervision


    S. Nottellet, Ecological Master’s Degree, University of Rennes 1 (3 months)

    Effects of urbanization on hybridization between two Tetramorium species of the caespitum / impurum complex (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

    H. Lepape, Ecological Master’s Degree, University of Grenoble (2 months)

    From the introduction of a species to hybridization: what consequences of urbanization? Case study in Tetramorium sp.

    E. Benezeth, Ecological Master’s Degree, University of Rennes 1 (2 months)

    Urbanization, a catalyst for biological invasions: Multi-scale comparison in two species of Tetramorium (Formicidae)

    M. Dumet, advanced laboratory technician's Degree, Anabiotec Saint-Genis Laval (1 month)

    Molecular tools used to study gene flows between five species of ants



    E. Lebecq, Ecological Master’s Degree, University of Lyon 1 (2 months)

    Contributions of behavioral traits of aggressiveness for understanding interspecies hybridization process and biological invasions in two species of Formicidae: Tetramorium sp.E and T. sp.U2

    F. Perruchet, Ecological Master’s Degree, University of Rennes 1 (2 months)

    Contribution of aggressive behavior to understand the phenomena of biological invasion and interspecific hybridization in two species of Formicidae: Tetramorium sp. E and T. sp. U2

    E. Vernay, M. Reina, L. Herpe, M. Dumet, C. Richalet, Tech. Degree, Anabiotec St-G. Laval (2 weeks)

    Optimization of a methodological protocol: genetic approach of ant reproduction



    Z. Simon, B. Dupont, 3rd-year undergraduate, University of Paris Sud (3 months)

    Biological invasions and competitive interactions within the Formicidae: how to disentangle the interference from the exploitation

    E. Mauduit, 1st-year of engineering school at ENSTA ParisTech (2 months)

    Operator internship - Improvement of ants' nests maintenance, experimental devices and ants marking methods



    T. Klaftenberger, Ecological Master’s Degree, Univ. of Lyon 1 (Co-supervision, 6 months)
    Database compilation and Species Distribution Models – Tetramorium species of France and Europe

    D. Felten, Ecological Bachelor’s Degree, Univ. of Regensburg (Co-supervision, 3 months)
    Gene flows in anthropogenic landscapes: a case study in ants

    A. Perrot, Ecological Master’s Degree, Univ. Paris-Saclay (Co-supervision, 1.5 months)
    Study of personality and predation in domestic cats

    E. Sapmaz, P. Scheel, Bachelor’s Degree, Univ. of Regensburg (1 month)

    Roles of small scale habitats in hybridization between Temnothorax crassispinus and T. nylanderi
    T. Lindner, Ecological Master’s Degree, Erlangen University (1.5 months)
    How large-scale landscape shape the distribution of Temnothorax species

    A. Matte, Ecological Bachelor’s Degree, University of Rennes 1 (1 month)
    Impacts of interspecific hybidization on the structure of colonies in two Temnothorax ant species


    Management, discovery of scientific research and environmental awareness

    2010 (1 month): Educational activities: Understanding & respecting ecosystems (ecology & trophic networks, general public)

    2011 (2 months): Training related to agriculture (ecological interests of sustainable agriculture, general public)

    2013 (2 weeks): Educational activities: What is biodiversity, and why is it important? (young public, 80 teaching hours)

    2017 (1 week): Supervision of middle school students - discovery of scientific research

    2018 (2 weeks): School intervention: scientific experimentation to determine arthropods' diet (1st - 2nd year elementary students)

    2018 (1 week): Supervision of high school students - discovery of scientific research (assoc. Un Peu de Bon Science)

    Administration experience

    2015 – 2016 - Symposium organisation

    Secretary of the organisation committee of the international Ecology and Behaviour meeting

    2016 (Lyon, France) gathering 100 participants from 9 countries

    2015 – 2018 - Doctoral representative

    Representative at the Pedagogical and Orientation Council of the doctoral school E2M2

    grouping 12 scientific laboratories (Lyon, France)

    2018 - Symposium organisation

    Member of the organisation committee of the annual Scientific Day Decrypthèse (Outreach

    lectures, Lyon, France) gathering 60 participants

    2019 - Symposium organisation
    Co-organizer of the Invacost Workshop (Paris Saclay, France) gathering 50 participants

    2021- Early Carrier Researcher representative

    Committee member of the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education

    (evaluation of doctoral schools)

    2022- Early Carrier Researcher representative

    Committee member of the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education

    (evaluation of doctoral college)

  • Main collaborations

    U. Regensburg, Zoology Dpt (DE)


    Current supervisor (Website)



    Research collaborator (Website)

    Univ. Paris Saclay, UMR 8079 (FR)


    Previous supervisor (Website)



    Research & teaching collab.(Ws)

    Main other current collaborators


    Bayer. Wald Nationalpark (DE)

    Research collaborator (Website)



    U. of Western Australia (AU)

    Research collaborator (Website)

    Univ. Lyon, UMR 5023 (FR)

    Thesis director (Website)


    Thesis co-director (Website)


    Research & teaching collab.(Ws)

    U. Grenoble Alpes, LECA (FR)


    Thesis examiner, teaching collab. (Website)


    University of Avignon (FR)

    Research collaborator (Website)



    Estación Biológica de Doñana (S)

    Research collaborator (Website)

  • Contact me: