Human-Animal Interactions



Lecturer / Maître de Conférences

Campus du CNRS
1919, route de Mende
34293 Montpellier 5

Tél. :     +33 (0)4 67 61 33 07

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I study the eco-evolutionary dynamics of social species (humans, wolves, horses and spotted hyenas), endangered species living in extreme environments (Svalbard polar bears), and species interactions in changing environments (host-parasite and predator-prey systems). My research also involves the use and development of forecasting models.




Research projects

  1. Mathematics of kinship demography,

    In social species, demographic processes are functions of cooperative and competitive interactions among individuals. In this project, we seek to understand the dynamic interplay between kinship interactions, population dynamics and evolution of life history traits by developing kin-structured population models, and applying them to multiple species including humans. This project is in collaboration with S. Pavard, Christophe Coste and Victor Ronget. More here.

  2.  Population dynamics of the polar bear in Svalbard

    We seek to understand the response of the Barents sea polar bear population to environmental changes using evolutionary demography.
    Together with my students and collaborators, we investigate reproductive strategies in female polar bears, survival rates of young and adults, in response to disappearing sea ice due to global warming. Our aim is to gain better knowledge of the species demography and provide demographic predictions of the population status for the future years. This project is a close collaboration with Jon Aars and Marie-Ann Blanchet from the Norwegian Polar Institute and PhD student Marwan NACIRI.
    More here.

  3. Consequences of environmental changes on a social carnivores, the Yellowstone wolves

    From 2012 to 2015, I worked as a postdoc with Tim Coulson (first year at the Imperial College of London then at the University of Oxford), in close collaboration with Douglas Smith and Daniel Stahler both in charge of the Yellowstone Wolf Project (and several other American biologists).
    In this project, I was trying to understand the ecological and evolutionary consequences of environmental changes (food availability, climate, intra- and inter-specific competition, disease outbreaks) on Yellowstone wolves. I used wolves as a study case to explore how individual traits (such as body weight, coloration, age, sex) can modulate disease dynamics and predator-prey interactions… more to come !
    More about this project here.

  4. The DISCAR (DIS = disturbance, CAR = carnivores) project led by Oliver Gimenez ans Sandrine Ruette

    The project aims at providing an operational framework with analytical tools for assessing the impacts or population consequences of human pressures, and showcasing it with case studies in applied conservation.
    In DISCAR, we will use small carnivores in French mainland and overseas territories as a case study to assess the population consequences or impacts of human pressures on animal populations. Why small carnivores? Because these species hold important roles in ecosystems, such as influencing ecosystem structure and providing numerous ecosystem services, including pest/disease control and seed dispersal. Small carnivore species also respond to ecosystem perturbation in a fast, measurable, and interpretable way and therefore can be used as sentinels of global change.
    More about this project here.



I am teaching population dynamics, life history evolution, wildlife management and statistics to master students at EPHE and University of Montpellier.

Together with O. Gimenez and A. Besnard, we are running an annual free and online international workshop on quantitative methods for population dynamics, all material is accessible here.



Couturier T, Bauduin S, Astruc G, Blanck A, Canonne C, Chambert T, Chiffard J, Cosquer A, Cubaynes S, Curtet L, Dortel E. Building spaces of interactions between researchers and managers: Case studies with wildlife monitoring and conservation in France. Ecological Solutions and Evidence. 2023 Apr;4(2):e12245

Cubaynes S, Brandell EE, Stahler DR, Smith DW, Almberg ES, Schindler S, Wayne RK, Dobson AP, VonHoldt BM, MacNulty DR, Cross PC. Disease outbreaks select for mate choice and coat color in wolves. Science. 2022 Oct 21;378(6617):300-3.
Naciri M, Aars J, Blanchet MA, Gimenez O, Cubaynes S. Reproductive senescence in polar bears in a variable environment. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 2022 Oct 5;10:920481.
Gicquel M, East ML, Hofer H, Cubaynes S, Benhaiem S. Climate change does not decouple interactions between a central‐place‐foraging predator and its migratory prey. Ecosphere. 2022 Apr;13(4):e4012.

Journé V, Cubaynes S, Papaïx J, Buoro M. Detection of Eco‐Evolutionary Processes in the Wild: Evolutionary Trade‐Offs Between Life History Traits. Statistical Approaches for Hidden Variables in Ecology. 2022 Mar 21:27-46.

Coste CF, Bienvenu F, Ronget V, Ramirez‐Loza JP, Cubaynes S, Pavard S. The kinship matrix: inferring the kinship structure of a population from its demography. Ecology Letters. 2021 Dec;24(12):2750-62.

Cubaynes S, Aars J, Yoccoz NG, Pradel R, Wiig Ø, Ims RA, Gimenez O. Modeling the demography of species providing extended parental care: A capture–recapture multievent model with a case study on polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Ecology and Evolution. 2021 Apr;11(7):3380-92.

Cubaynes S, Galas S, Richaud M, Sanz A, Pradel R, Tavecchia G, Colchero F, Roques S, Shefferson R, Camarda CG. Survival Analyses in Demographic Methods across the tree of Life, Cambridge University Press

Folio, D.M., Aars, J., Gimenez, O., Derocher, A.E., Wiig, Ø. and Cubaynes, S., 2019. How many cubs can a mum nurse? Maternal age and size influence litter size in polar bears. Biology letters15(5), p.20190070.

Deelen, J., Evans, D.S., Arking, D.E., Tesi, N., Nygaard, M., Liu, X., Wojczynski, M.K., Biggs, M.L., van Der Spek, A., Atzmon, G. […] Cubaynes S, […] and Ware, E.B., 2019. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies multiple longevity genes. Nature communications, 10.1-14.

Herr M, Jeune B, Fors S, Andersen-Ranberg K, Ankri J, Arai Y, Cubaynes S, […], Robine JM; 5-Coop Group. 2018. Frailty and associated factors among centenarians in the 5-COOP countries. Gerontology. 64:521-531.

Louvrier, J., Duchamp, C., Lauret, V., Marboutin, E., Cubaynes, S., Choquet, R., Miquel, C. and Gimenez, O., 2018. Mapping and explaining wolf recolonization in France using dynamic occupancy models and opportunistic data. Ecography, 41(4), pp.647-660.

Deere, J.A., Coulson, T., Cubaynes, S. and Smallegange, I.M., 2017. Unsuccessful dispersal affects life history characteristics of natal populations: The role of dispersal related variation in vital rates. Ecological Modelling, 366, pp.37-47.

Robine, J. M., and Cubaynes, S. Espérance de vie, espérance de santé : tendances convergentes ou divergentes sur le plan mondial? in: A.M. Guillemard, E. Mascova, S. Moulias ( dir) La Découverte, coll. Recherches, 2017, pp. 37-58

Robine, J. M., and Cubaynes, S. (2017). Worldwide demography of centenarians. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 165, pp.59-67.

Pozo, R., Schindler, S.,Cubaynes, S., Cusack, J., Coulson, T. and Malo, A. (2016). Modeling the impact of selective harvesting on red deer antlers. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 80, 978-989.

Cubaynes, S., MacNulty, D. R., Stahler, D. R., Quimby, K. A., Smith, D. W., and Coulson, T. (2014). Density-dependent intraspecific aggression regulates survival in northern Yellowstone wolves (Canis lupus). Journal of Animal Ecology, 83, 1344- 1356.

Desprez, M., Harcourt, R., Hindell, M. A., Cubaynes, S., Gimenez, O., and McMa- hon, C. R. (2014). Age-specific cost of first reproduction in female southern elephant seals. Biology Letters, 10, 20140264.

Cubaynes, S., Lavergne, C., and O. Gimenez. (2013) Fitting animal survival models with temporal random effects. Environmental and Ecological Statistics, 1-12.

Massey, J., Cubaynes, S., and T. Coulson. (2013) Will central Wyoming elk stop migrating to Yellowstone, and should we care? Ecology, 94, 1271-1274.

Bolker, B. M., Gardner, B., Maunder, M., Berg, C. W., Brooks, M., Comita, L., Crone, E., Cubaynes, S., et al. (2013) Strategies for fitting nonlinear ecological models in R, AD Model Builder, and BUGS. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4, 501–512.

Gimenez, O., Abadi, F., Barnagaud, J.Y., Blanc, L., Buoro, M., Cubaynes, S.,Desprez, M., Gamelon, M., Guilhaumon, F., Lagrange, P., Madon, B., Marescot, L., Papadatou, E., Papaix, J., Peron, G. and S. Servanty (2013). How can quantita- tive ecology be attractive to young scientists? Balancing computer/desk work with fieldwork. Animal Conservation, 16, 134-136.

Cubaynes, S., Lavergne, C., Marboutin, E., and Gimenez, O. (2012). Assessing in- dividual heterogeneity using model selection criteria: how many mixture components in capture–recapture models? Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3, 564-573.

Cubaynes, S., Doutrelant, C., Gregoire, A., Perret, P., Faivre, B. and O. Gimenez. (2012) Testing hypotheses in evolutionary ecology with imperfect detection: Struc- tural Equation Modeling of capture-recapture data. Ecology, 93,248-255.

Caniglia, Romolo, Fabbri, E., Cubaynes, S., Gimenez, O., Lebreton, J. D., and Randi, E. (2012). An improved procedure to estimate wolf abundance using non- invasive genetic sampling and capture–recapture mixture models." Conservation Genetics, 13,53-64.

Cubaynes, S., Doherty, P.F., Schreiber, E.A., Gimenez, O. (2011) To breed or not to breed: a seabird’s response to extreme climatic events. Biology Letters, 7,303-306.

Marescot, L., Pradel, R., Duchamp, C., Cubaynes, S., Marboutin, E., Choquet, R., Miquel, C. and Gimenez, O. (2011) Capture-recapture population growth rate as a robust tool against detection heterogeneity for population management. Ecological Applications, 21, 2898-2907

Cubaynes, S., Pradel, R., Choquet, R., Duchamp, C., Gaillard, J-M., Lebreton, J-D., Marboutin, E., Miquel, C., Reboulet, A., Poillot, C., Gimenez, O. (2010) Importance of accounting for detection heterogeneity when estimating abundance: the case of French wolves. Conservation Biology, 24, 621–626.

Papaix, J., Cubaynes, S., Buoro, M., Charmantier, A. Perret, P. and Gimenez, O. (2010) Combining capture–recapture data and pedigree information to assess heritability of demographic parameters in the wild.Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 23, 2176‚Äì2184.

Rouan, L., Cubaynes, S., C. Duchamp, C. Miquel, A.-M. Reboulet, O. Gimenez, J.-D. Lebreton, R. Choquet and R. Pradel (2008). Modèles de mélange en Capture- Recapture. Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Statistical Society, Marseille, France.