Welcome to the CEFE

The CEFE is currently the largest French research center in Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology. Our Mission: perform independent, fundamental scientific research on the dynamics of biodiversity, planetary environmental change, and sustainable development. The links between society and ecology is a theme of increasing importance in oour research.

If you are interested in who does what on a specific theme or topic at CEFE, please go to the WHO DOES WHAT tab and use the proposed tags. You will have direct access to the pages of the persons listed for a given tag.

If you are interested in what the different research Departments at cefe do and the focus of their respective teams, please go to the RESEARCH tab and navigate the Departments and their teams.

Seminars of ecology and evolution of Montpellier

  • Hanna Kokko

    2 juillet 2021, 11h30 (diffusion en visioconférence). Good reasons to live shorter lives

  • Rachel Germain

    25 juin 2021, 16h00 (diffusion en visioconférence). Matters of scale in the ecology and evolution of biodiversity

Julien Renoult

Chargé de Recherche CNRS - CNRS Research Scientist

I am a  visual ecologist and evolutionary biologist interested in the evolution of organic communication systems. My main interest lies in the role of animal perception as a selective agent of communicative traits

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Last update: January 11th 2017


Section 26 CNRS - Brain, Behavior & Cognition

email1: jurenoult[at]gmail[dot]com

email2: julien[dot]renoult[at]cefe[dot]cnrs[dot]fr




1919 route de Mende

34293 Montpellier 5



Research areas

- evolutionary & computational aesthetics (aesthetic theory of efficient processing applied to artworks, plants and animals)

- processing bias theory (sparse coding, efficient categorization)

- models of animal vision (colour vision, pattern recognition)

- linking sensory stimulation to preferences

- sexual selection (quantification of perceptual exploitation in the evolution of sexual signals)

- computer vision - deep neural networks


Studied models

- Primates (human, mandrills)

- Dragonflies (from French Guiana)

- Birds, fruit, flowers

- Artworks (physical and numeric) 


Ongoing research projects



RENOULT J.P. 2016 The evolution of aesthetics: a review of models. In Aesthetics and Neuroscience: Scientific and Artistic Perspectives, (KAPOULA Z. & VERNET M, ed.). pp. 271-300. Springer International Publishing.

RENOULT J.P., BOVET J., RAYMOND M. 2016. Beauty is in the efficient coding of the beholder. Royal Society Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160027

DOUTRELANT C., PAQUET M., RENOULT J.P., GREGOIRE A., CROCHET P.-A., COVAS R. 2016. Worldwide patterns of bird colouration on islands. Ecology Letters. 19: 537-545.

RENOULT J.P., KELBER A., SCHAEFER H.M. 2015. Colour spaces in ecology and evolutionary biology. Biological Reviews. DOI: 10.1111/brv.12230. PDF

RENOULT J.P., BLÜTHGEN N., BINKENSTEIN J., WEINER C.N., WERNER M., SCHAEFER H.M. 2015. Linking community to sensory ecology: the relative importance of color signaling for plant generalization in pollination networks. Oikos. 124: 347-354

RENOULT J.P., VALIDO P., JORDANO P., SCHAEFER M. 2014. Adaptation of flower and fruit colours to diversified mutualists. New Phytologist. 201: 678-686.

RENOULT J.P., COURTIOL A., SCHAEFER H.M. 2013. A novel framework to study colour signaling to multiple species. Functional Ecology. 27: 718-729.

RENOULT J.P., THOMANN M., SCHAEFER H.M., CHEPTOU P.-O. 2013. Selection on quantitative colour variation in Centaurea cyanus: the role of the pollinator’s visual system. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 26: 2415-2427.