Anne-Sophie Lafuite

PhD student

Station d’Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS
09200 Moulis France


Research interests

Global environmental change is nowadays mainly driven by human actions. Land-use change, habitat destruction, and climate warming are such important drivers that species’ extinction rates are multiplied by 100 to 1000 compared to natural ones, eroding biodiversity all over the world, and threatening the stability and resilience of ecosystems. Catastrophic regime shifts in ecosystems have been observed in various habitats (Scheffer, 2001), and have be explained from a theoretical point of view by the existence of alternative stable states (Maler, 2003). This shift thus results from a progressive loss of resilience - the capacity of a system to absorb shocks and maintain function, through adaptation, reorganization and renewal (Folke, 2006) - and a change of basin of attraction. Consequenty, new states are often both less desirable and more resilient, which makes them almost irreversible due to hysteresis process.

As ecosystem provide essential services, such a rate of biodiversity erosion represents a major threat for human economies, and there is a urgent need for models and scenarios taking into account the various biodiversity feedbacks on social-ecological systems’ resilience, in order to implement efficient solutions for biodiversity conservation.

One of the characteristics of economic globalization is the increase in spatial flux (species, humans and commodities). On the ecological point of view, species dispersal directly influences the local specific diversity (species number), stability and productivity of ecosystems, and theoretical results show that they are maximized at intermediate dispersal rates (Loreau & Mouquet, 2003). As in human-dominated systems, species’ dispersal rates and competition between them are mainly driven by human decisions, other factors - economic, social - and scales (from local to regional) are to be taken into account in the study of social-ecological systems’ resilience.

The objective of my PhD is to model the spatial dynamics of coupled social-ecological systems, in order to study the effect of human behavior on the functioning and stability of such systems, at both local and global scales (in the context of international trade).



  • November 2013 - October 2016 :PhD in Theoretical Ecology and Environmental Economics at CBTM (USR-CNRS 2936, Moulis, France). Supervisor : Dr Michel Loreau
  • 2012 - 2013 :Master’s degree in Environmental Economics,2nd year(AgroParisTech, Paris)
  • 2011 - 2012 :Master’s degree in Theoretical Ecology and Modelling,2nd year(UPMC, Paris VI)
  • 2010 - 2011 :Master’s degree in Biosciences,1st year(Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon)
  • 2009 - 2010 :Bachelor’s degree in Fundamental Biology (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon)
  • 2007 - 2009 :BCPST Preparatory class


Previous research internships

  • April - July 2013 "Bio-economic modelling for biodiversity conservation". Supervisors : Michel Loreau (CBTM, USR-CNRS 2936) & François Salanié (Toulouse School of Economics, INRA)
  • February - June 2012 "Effect of nutrient cycling on the stability of trophic networks : a modelling approach". Supervisors : Sébastien Barot & Elisa Thébault (BIOEMCO, UMR-CNRS 7618, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris)
  • February - June 2011 "Population genetics and facial asymmetry of the Australian sea lion, neophoca cinerea". Supervisors : Adam Stow & Heidi Ahonen (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)



  • Lafuite A.-S. and Loreau M. (2017) — Time-delayed biodiversity feedbacks and the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Ecological Modelling. Download

  • Leroux S.J., Albert C.H., Lafuite A-S., Rayfield B., Wang S., Gravel D. (2016) — Structural uncertainty in models projecting the consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation on biodiversity. Ecography 40(1):36-47. Download



  • Scheffer et al. (2001) - Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems. Nature 413: 591-596
  • Maler et al. (2003) - The Economics of Shallow Lakes. Environmental and Resource Economics 26:603-624.
  • Folke (2006) - Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social-ecological systems analyses. Global Environmental Change 16 (3):253–267
  • Loreau M. and Mouquet (2003) - Biodiversity as spatial insurance in heterogeneous landscapes. PNAS 100 : 12765-12770