The CEFS (Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune Sauvage) laboratory specialises in studies of the behaviour of large wild herbivores (cervids and bovids) and the ecological systems in which they participate as both consumer of vegetation, and prey for hunters and carnivores. We favour a long-term and individual-based approach, monitoring marked individuals from birth to death whenever possible.

Our studies are centered on the proximal mechanisms which drive individuals to behave the way they do, but include evolutionary considerations of the fitness consequences of particular behaviours. We are increasingly interested in how individuals differ in their behavioural phenotype (aka personalities or behavioural syndromes) and how this variation is maintained in the population. To answer specific questions, we use capture-mark-recapture, GPS telemetry, direct observation and genetic tools. As a model species, our current focus is mainly on roe deer, the most widely distributed large herbivore in Europe. We run a long-term monitoring programme of a wild population in south-west France and a large captive facility for fine-scale behavioural studies near the laboratory.

Our research has implications for the sustainable management of large herbivore populations and the ecosystems in which they live.  Our work contributes to the development of management tools for exploited populations (roe deer, red deer, mouflon, Pyrénean chamois) and to conservation guidelines for endangered populations (beira, Bawean hog deer, Pyrénean ibex).

Redactor: Mark Hewison