Directory Profiles

Dr. Marco Festa-Bianchet


Dr. Marco Festa-Bianchet’s research explores the links between individual reproductive strategy, population dynamics, and wildlife conservation. Based mostly upon long-term monitoring of individually marked mountain ungulates, his program seeks to understand how selection for a conservative maternal reproductive strategy and strongly age- and phenotype-dependent male reproductive strategies affect age-specific survival in populations living in different environments, with spatial and temporal changes in population density, weather, predation, and age-sex composition. Accurate long-term data on population dynamics are also used to analyze the effects of population density, weather, age structure, and other factors on population growth.

Evolutionary ecology plays a central role in our understanding of animal behaviour and population dynamics, yet its applications in wildlife management are seldom recognized. By underlining the importance of artificial selection (such as that caused by trophy hunting) and of natural selection (such as density-dependent changes in relative allocation to maintenance and reproduction in both sexes) upon changes in population dynamics and population genetics, this research program examines how we can best use our knowledge of evolutionary biology for the conservation of living resources.

Featured Research Summaries

Trophy Hunting linked to Smaller Horns for Mountain Sheep

Selected Publications

Maternal condition and previous reproduction interact to affect offspring sex in a wild mammal
Douhard M, M Festa-Bianchet & F Pelletier
Biology Letters 12(8):20160510 (Aug 2006)

Intense selective hunting leads to artificial evolution in horn size
Pigeon G, M Festa-Bianchet, DW Coltman & F Pelletier
Evolutionary Approaches 9:521–530 (Apr 2016)

Offspring sex in mountain goat varies with adult sex ratio but only for mothers in good condition
Hamel S, M Festa-Bianchet & SD Côté
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 70:132–132 (Jan 2016)

Age-specific reproductive success and cost in female Alpine ibex
Rughetti M, A Dematteis, PG Meneguz & M Festa-Bianchet
Oecologia 178:197–205 (May 2015)

Undesirable evolutionary consequences of trophy hunting
Coltman DW, P O’Donoghue, JT Jorgenson, JT Hogg, C Strobeck & M Festa-Bianchet
Nature 426:655–658 (Dec 2003)

Temporal variation in fitness components and population dynamics of large herbivores
Gaillard J-M, M Festa-Bianchet, NG Yoccoz, A Loison & C Toïgo
Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 31:367–393 (2000)

Population dynamics of large herbivores: variable recruitment with constant adult survival
Gaillard J-M, M Festa-Bianchet & NG Yoccoz
Trends in Ecology & Evolution 13:58–63 (Feb 1998)