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

Abstract : Climate change, urbanization, biological invasions and interspecific hybridization are major current threats to biodiversity. The objective of this thesis was to assess their interactive effects in Tetramorium ant species from the Rhône-Saône valley in France. Using a broad array of tools from several fields of biology, I worked on almost two thousand colonies from five Tetramorium species including T. immigrans and T. caespitum. Both climate and urbanization limited the ranges of these species, and urbanization impacted their distributions simultaneously at several spatial scales. The occurrence probabilities of T. immigrans depended on the interaction between climatic and urban factors. Several introductions from external sources seemed to have given rise to four genetically distinct populations of T. immigrans, making it likely that it is not native to the northernmost urban areas. Hybridization and introgression between T. immigrans and T. caespitum was frequent in zones of sympatry, and the detection of nuclear DNA backcrosses and mitochondrial-nuclear DNA discordance between the two species suggested that hybridization lead to fertile offspring (i.e. introgression). Cuticular hydrocarbon profiles were clearly differentiated between the two species and were correlated to heightened interspecific aggression against heterospecifics. Both species presented a monogyne polyandrous mating system, in which hybrid queens but no hybrid fathers contributed to hybrid offspring. Few studies on interspecific hybridization have addressed global change or biological invasions. These concepts are infrequently studied together, and their interactive effects are overlooked in the current literature. Taking these interrelationships into account and exploring multiple scales are essential to better understand the processes that generate patterns of genetic exchange
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Marion Cordonnier. Impacts of global changes on biological invasions and interspecific hybridization within the Tetramorium caespitum ant species complex. Ecology, environment. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSE1243⟩. ⟨tel-02275797⟩

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