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Mark Hewison (Directeur de Recherche)

Écologie comportementale des grands herbivores sauvages. Directeur du CEFS

A. J. Mark Hewison

CEFS (Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune Sauvage)

U.R. I.N.R.A. 0035
24 Chemin de Borde Rouge, Auzeville, CS 52627
31326 Castanet-Tolosan Cedex, France.

Tél.: 33(0) 5 61 28 51 23

E-mail: mark.hewison@inra.fr


Ph.D (1993) University of Southampton, UK

HDR (1999) Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

Current position: Research Director (DR1) at the CEFS (INRA, Toulouse)


Research questions

 I work on the behaviour and ecology of wild large herbivores and, in particular, on understanding inter-individual variation in life history tactics. In most of my research projects, I use the roe deer as the biological model species, but I’m more interested in testing novel questions in behavioural ecology than on describing a new natural history anecdote. The best answers to those questions are generally provided by long-term monitoring of individual animals, so I supervise a large-scale capture-mark-recapture programme of roe deer in a rural agricultural setting in south-west France. I also collaborate with others doing similar things in France, as well as across Europe more widely (see Eurodeer), so as to i/ be sure that our findings are repeatable, and ii/ explore how large-scale environmental gradients and, by extension, global change impact the behaviour and ecology of wild herbivores.


There are three main components to my research programmes:

 1. Sex allocation and sexual selection:

This is one of the first fields that I got interested in, exploring the link between sexual dimorphism, degree of polygyny and sex allocation tactics in wild large herbivores (Hewison & Gaillard 1999, Hewison et al. 2002). Most of the work was based on observation of birth sex ratios (Hewison & Gaillard 1996, Hewison et al. 1999) or post-natal growth (Hewison et al. 2005) in wild populations, but I did start some experimental work on captive roe deer, with promising results, which I would like to explore again sometime in the future in our dedicated roe deer enclosures.

Some key papers on this subject:

Hewison, A.J.M., Gaillard, J.M., Kjellander, P., Toïgo, C., Liberg, O. & Delorme, D. (2005) Big mothers invest more in daughters - reversed sex allocation in a weakly polygynous mammal. Ecology Letters, 8, 430-437.

Hewison, A.J.M., Gaillard, J.M., Festa-Bianchet, M. & Blanchard, P. (2002) Maternal age is not a predominant determinant of progeny sex ratio variation in ungulates. Oikos, 98, 334-339.

Hewison, A.J.M. & Gaillard, J.M. (1999) Successful sons or advantaged daughters? The Trivers-Willard model and sex-biased maternal investment in ungulates Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 14, 229-234.

Hewison, A.J.M., Andersen, R., Gaillard, J.M., Linnell, J. & Delorme, D. (1999) Contradictory findings in studies of sex-ratio variation in roe deer. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 45, 339-348.

Hewison, A.J.M. & Gaillard, J.M. (1996) Birth sex-ratios and local resource competition in roe deer. Behavioral Ecology, 7, 461-464.

 2. Life history traits and behavioural syndromes

 I have always been interested in inter-individual variation in life history tactics and the impact on population dynamics (e.g. Hewison et al. 2011, Gaillard, Hewison et al. 2013), including reproduction of both males (Vanpé et al 2008, 2009) and females (Hewison et al. 2001, Plard et al. 2014), but more recently my research in this area has moved on to explicitly integrate the notion of behavioural syndromes (aka personalities, temperaments, coping styles, or whatever else you want to call them...). For example, with three of my PhD students, we have recently shown that the dispersing segment of the population have inherently higher energy budgets and lower levels of neophobia than philopatric roe deer (Debeffe et al. 2014), and that individuals differ in how they manage the trade-off between risk and resource acquisition (Bonnot et al. 2015), with apparent consequences for their reproductive success (Monestier et al. in press). Future work will focus on how spatial variation in the fitness payoffs of given behavioural tactics constitutes an evolutionary mechanism that maintains inter-individual behavioural variation at the population level.

Some key papers on this subject:

Bonnot, N., Verheyden, H., Blanchard, P., Cote, J., Debeffe, L., Cargnelutti, B., Klein, F., Hewison, A.J.M. & Morellet, N. (2015) Interindividual variability in habitat use: evidence for a risk management syndrome in roe deer? Behavioural Ecology 26, 105-114.

Debeffe, L., Morellet, N., Bonnot, N., Gaillard, J.M., Cargnelutti, B., Verheyden, H., Vanpé, C., Coulon, A., Clobert, J., Bon, R. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2014) The link between behavioural type and natal dispersal propensity reveals a dispersal syndrome in a large herbivore. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0873.

Gaillard, J.M., Hewison, A.J.M., Klein, F., Plard, F., Douhard, M., Davison, R. & Bonenfant, C. (2013) How does climate change influence demographic processes of widespread species? Lessons from the comparative analysis of contrasted populations of roe deer. Ecology Letters 16, 48-57.

Hewison, A.J.M. & Gaillard, J.M. (2001) Phenotypic quality and senescence affect different components of reproductive output in roe deer. Journal of Animal Ecology, 70, 600-608.

Hewison, A.J.M., Gaillard, J.M., Delorme, D., Van Laere, G., Amblard, T. & Klein, F. (2011) Reproductive constraints, not environmental conditions, shape the ontogeny of sex-specific mass-size allometry in roe deer. Oikos 120, 1217-1226.

Monestier, C. Morellet, N., Gaillard, J.M., Cargnelutti, B., Vanpé, C. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2015) Is a proactive mum a good mum? A mother’s coping style influences early fawn survival in roe deer. Behavioural Ecology in press.

Plard, F., Gaillard, J.M., Coulson, T., Hewison, A.J.M., Delorme, D., Warnant, C., Nilsen, E.B. & Bonenfant, C. (2014) Long-lived and heavier females give birth earlier in roe deer. Ecograpy 37, 241-249.

Vanpé, C., Morellet, N., Kjellander, P., Goulard M., Liberg, O. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2009) Access to mates in a territorial ungulate is determined by the size of a male’s territory, but not by its habitat quality. Journal of Animal Ecology 78, 42-51.

Vanpé, C., Kjellander, P., Galan, M., Cosson, J.F., Aulagnier, S., Liberg, O. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2008) Mating system, sexual dimorphism and the opportunity for sexual selection in a territorial ungulate. Behavioural Ecology 19, 309-316.

 3. Behavioural plasticity in spatially heterogeneous environments:


Roe deer are eminently variable in their behaviour and ecology across the wide variety of landscapes they inhabit. Much of our team’s research over recent years has been focused on this spatial variation in behaviour (movement: Coulon et al. 2008, habitat selection: Morellet et al. 2011, feeding habits: Abbas et al. 2011, dispersal: Debeffe et al. 2012, etc), its link to landscape heterogeneity (Hewison et al. 2001) and human-based activities (hunting, agriculture, etc.: Bonnot et al. 2013, Padié et al. 2015), as well as the impact on population demography (growth, survival, reproduction: Hewison et al. 2009) and structure (Coulon et al. 2004, 2006). Based on this research and our comparative work with European colleagues (e.g. Cagnacci et al. 2011), we hope to construct models that predict how roe deer populations will respond to ongoing global change.

Some key papers on this subject:

Abbas F., Morellet, N., Hewison, A.J.M., Merlet J., Cargnelutti, B., Lourtet, B., Angibault, J.M., Daufresne, T., Aulagnier, S. & Verheyden, H. (2011) Landscape fragmentation generates spatial variation of diet composition and quality in a generalist herbivore. Oecologia 167, 401-411.

Bonnot, N., Morellet, N., Verheyden, H., Cargnelutti, B., Lourtet, B., Klein, F. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2013) Habitat use under predation risk: hunting, roads and human dwellings influence the spatial behaviour of roe deer. EuropeanJournal of Wildlife Research 59, 185-193.

Cagnacci, F., Focardi, S., Heurich, M., Stache, A., Hewison, A.J.M., Morellet, N., Kjellander, P., Linnell, J.D.C., Mysterud, A., Neteler, M., Delucchi, L. Ossi, F. & Urbano, F. (2011) Partial migration in roe deer : migratory and resident tactics are end points of a behavioural gradient determined by ecological factors. Oikos 120, 1790-1802.

Coulon A., Morellet, N., Goulard M., Cargnelutti B., Angibault J.M. & Hewison A.J.M. (2008) Inferring the effects of landscape structure on roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) movements using a step selection function. Landscape Ecology 23, 603-614.

Coulon A., Guillot G., Cosson J.-F., Angibault J.M., Aulagnier S., Cargnelutti B., Galan M. & Hewison A.J.M. (2006) Genetic structure is influenced by landscape features: empirical evidence from a roe deer population. Molecular Ecology, 15, 1669-1679.

Coulon, A., Cosson, J.F., Angibault, J.M., Cargnelutti, B., Galan, M., Morellet, N., Petit, E., Aulagnier, S. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2004) Landscape connectivity influences gene flow in a roe deer population inhabiting a fragmented landscape : an individual-based approach. Molecular Ecology, 13, 2841-2850.

Debeffe, L., Morellet, N., Cargnelutti, B., Lourtet, B., Bon, R., Gaillard, J.M. & Hewison, A.J.M. (2012) Condition-dependent natal dispersal in a large herbivore: heavier animals show a greater propensity to disperse and travel further. Journal of Animal Ecology 81, 1327-1337.

Hewison, A.J.M., Morellet, N., Verheyden, H., Daufresne, T., Angibault, J.M., Cargnelutti, B., Merlet, J., Picot, D., Rames, J.L., Joachim, J., Lourtet, B., Serrano, E., Bideau, E. & Cebe, N. (2009) Landscape fragmentation influences winter body mass of roe deer. Ecography 32, 1062-1070.

Hewison, A.J.M., Vincent, J.P., Joachim, J., Angibault, J.M., Cargnelutti, B. & Cibien, C. (2001) The effects of woodland fragmentation and human activity on roe deer distribution in agricultural landscapes. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 79, 679-689.

Morellet, N., Van Moorter, B., Cargnelutti, B., Angibault, J.M., Lourtet, B., Merlet, J., Ladet, S. & Hewison, A.J. M. (2011) Landscape composition influences roe deer habitat selection at both home range and landscape scales. Landscape Ecology 26, 999-1010.

Padié, S., Morellet, N., Hewison, A.J.M., Martin, J.L., Bonnot, N., Cargnelutti, B. & Chamaillé-Jammes, S. (in press) Roe deer responses to hunting risk at multiple scales. Oikos.