Functional ecology of fish: current approaches and future challenges

Villeger et al. (2017) Aquatic Sciences 79: 783-801

Fish communities face increasing anthropogenic pressures in freshwater and marine ecosystems that modify their biodiversity and threaten the services they supply to human populations. To address these issues, stud- ies have been increasingly focusing on functions of  sh that are linked to their main ecological roles in aquatic ecosystems. Fish are indeed known to control other organ- isms through predation, mediate nutrient fluxes, and can act as ecosystem engineers. Here for each of the key functions played by  sh, we present the functional traits that have already been used to assess them. We include traits measurable from observations on living individuals, morphological features measured on preserved organisms or traits categorized using information from the literature, and we discuss their respective advantages and limitations. We then list future research directions to foster a more complete functional approach for  sh ecology that needs to incorporate functional traits describing, food provisioning and cultural services while accounting more frequently for intraspeci c variability. Finally, we highlight ecological and evolutionary questions that could be addressed using meta-analyses of large trait databases, and how a trait-based framework could provide valuable insights on the mechanistic links between global changes, functional diversity of  sh assemblages, and ecosystem services.

Chaumont Marc

Bibliography written the 27th of August 2018:

Marc Chaumont  is Assistant Professor, HDR Hors-Classe, at the LIRMM Montpellier, and does his teaching at the University of Nîmes.

Marc CHAUMONT ( was born in November 1976, in France. He received his Engineer Diploma in Computer Sciences at the INSA (National Institute of Applied Sciences) of Rennes, France in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Computer Sciences at the IRISA Rennes (INRIA, CNRS, University of Rennes 2, and INSA) in 2003. His Ph.D. thesis was about video object representations, with dynamic coding and scalability functionalities, in the video compression area. He has carried on for one year its research activity at the INRIA Rennes and for one another year at the University Technological Institute of Bayonne, France as a Visiting Assistant Professor. During this last year, he focused on face tracking using a deformable 3D face model. In September 2005, he joined the LIRMM (Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotic and Microelectronic) of Montpellier and the University of Nîmes as Assistant Professor.

Marc CHAUMONT is an assistant professor, "HDR - Hors-Classe" in Computer Science at the University of Montpellier and Nîmes, France, based in the LIRMM laboratory. He is an international expert in steganography and more generally in image and video processing which he applies to a wide range of domains such as multimedia security (steganography, digital forensics, watermarking, video & image compression), segmentation, and tracking in videos, life and environmental sciences. He obtained the "HDR" diploma (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches) in 2013. His collaborators in the security are academics and government agencies. His collaborators in the environment include The Marine Biodiversity Exploitation and Conservation Laboratory (MARBEC), Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), Astrophysics and Cosmology laboratory (Centre de physique des particules de Marseille), Montpellier Hydro Sciences Lab, and Berger-Levrault.

Since 2002, Marc CHAUMONT has published over 57 conference papers (in computer science, conferences are equivalent to a letter in a journal and are reviewed), 8 journal papers, and 4 open-access book chapters. He is in the International Advisory Committee of the open-access journal International Image Processing and Visual Communication, and a reviewer for more than 20 journals (e.g., IEEE Transaction on Image Forensics and Security, IS&T Journal of Electronic Imaging, IET Information Security Journal, EURASIP Journal On Information Security ...), and more than 10 conferences (e.g., IEEE WIFS, ACM IH&MMSec, IEEE ICIP, IEEE ICASSP, ...). Since 2007 he has reviewed more than 285 articles (conference or journal), which averages over the period from January 2007 to December 2017, to 28 papers reviewed per year.

Marc CHAUMONT is an elected member of the IEEE Signal Processing - Information Forensics Security - Technical Committee ( since 2015 from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has participated in 2 national and 1 European (PO FEDER-FSE) interdisciplinary projects in image processing and is at the moment in 1 European (FEAMP 2017), in 1 National (ANR-Astrid DGA 2018), and 1 Local project (MUSE 2018). He has supervised 7 Ph.D. and 2 engineers students, and currently supervising 5 Ph.D.

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Andrello Marco


My main research activities deal with connectivity and its implications for the conservation of marine biodiversity and management of marine resources. A prominent feature of seascapes, connectivity affects movement ecology, population dynamics, gene flow and evolution. I use modeling to quantify connectivity, understand its role in population dynamics and genetics and integrate it in conservation planning through the creation of marine protected areas.

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Loiseau Nicolas


I am an ecologist of marine communities. My primary research interests have been consistently focused on contributing to a better understanding of variability in coral reef fish biodiversity.  Specifically, my long-term research goal is to bring together innovative field-survey tools and computing methods in order to uncover the extent of marine diversity. Beyond these practical applications, my research has aimed to investigate theoretical questions regarding the properties and performance of diversity indices. In these ways, my research has centred on and continues to centre on a variety of themes, including: 

 -  the spatio-temporel patterns of coral reef fish communities

 - quantitative ecology

 - development of autonomous underwater video sampling​

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Schiettekatte Nina

PhD student at CRIOBE (Perpignan)

My research interests include macroecology, community ecology, functional ecology and conservation. During my PhD I will quantify ecosystem functions, provided by reef fish and investigate their effect on the resilience of coral reef ecosystems.

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Puebla Oscar

I am based at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany, and also affiliated to the University of Kiel and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Recent evolutionary radiations such as Darwin’s finches, East African cichlids or Heliconius butterflies have served as model systems to understand how novel variation and new species arise. These systems, clearly in the early stages of divergence, have stimulated research into the behavioral, ecological, and genetic bases of reproductive isolation that have arguably transformed our understanding of the origins of biodiversity. However, no analogous classic radiation comes to mind in the largest ecosystem on earth, the ocean. The overarching goal of our research is to develop the hamlets (Hypoplectrus spp, Serranidae, photographs below), simultaneously hermaphroditic reef fishes from the wider Caribbean, into a model system for the study of marine speciation.

The hamlets are diverse, with a variety of color patterns and geographic distributions that provide the opportunity to repeat comparisons both taxonomically and geographically. They encapsulate the entire spectrum of divergence, from genomic similarity to well-diverged species. Mate choice and spawning can be directly observed in the field throughout the year, providing a handle on reproductive isolation which surpasses nearly any other marine group for the sheer number and quality of behavioral observations that can be made in natural populations. Color pattern has been identified as an important ecological trait that is also used for mate choice, and specific hypotheses regarding the role played by natural and sexual selection in speciation have been developed. Finally, a number of genomic resources are available for the group.

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