Ecologie Evolutive Empirique, Communication & Coopération

Nicolas Silva

moiNicolas Silva - PhD student 2020 / 2023

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Nicolas Silva
1919 Route de Mende
34293 Montpellier France

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  • Ongoing research:

Mate choice in a monomorphic dull bird social species: a role for behavior ?

The objective of my thesis is to understand the mate choice in a monomorphic dull bird social species (Sociable weavers, Philetairus socius), with no extra pair copulation and no divorce.  This research is supervised by Claire Doutrelant and Rita Covas (CIBIO, Porto, Portugal). The PhD is focusing on the potential role for sexual selection on the nest building behavior as well as the plumage. I analyse a large long term data rpoject dataset and also do a lot of field observations of the bird's behavior. My objectives are:

  • To estimate Bateman's gradient and the opportunity of the sexual selection among the indviduals of the different studied populations.
  • To analyse the force of the sexual selection for potential secondary sexual traits (the bib and the scaly feathers).
  • To evaluate the role for the sexual selection on the nest building behavior. The aim is to understand who built, where and when and to also evaluate the cost of this behavior as well as the effect of competition and audience on the bird's behavior.

The ecological problematics are not my only interest, as I a part of my research focuses on artificial intelligence (Deep learning) methods en ecology science. During my PhD, I will implement several neural networks in order to, first automate the data extraction on pictures of phenotypic traits (bib and scaly feathers) and second partly analyses the nest building behavior.

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Photos: Nicolas Silva


  • Publications:

On going and soon hopefully ...


  • Past research experience:
  • Feb - June 2020: Modelling the T cell receptor repertoire diversity and compartmentalization of T lymphocytes. Pitié-Salpétrière hospital / Sorbonne University - Inserm U959, Paris, France
  • Jan - June 2019: Testing the adaptive value of wing shape divergence across butterflies: kinematic analyses of flapping flight of Morpho butterflies. National Museum of Natural History - UMR 7205, Paris, France
  • April - Aug 2018: Characterisation of the reproductive habitat of the Tahiti petrel (Pseudobulweria rostrata) in New-Caledonia. Research Institute for Development - UMR 7263, Nouméa, New-Caledonia
  • Sept - Nov 2016: Phage therapy to inactivate a strain of Aeromonas hydrophila. Biology departement and CESAM, Aveiro, Portugal


  • Education:
  • 2019 - 2020: Master 2 Bioinformatics. Paris Diderot University, Paris, France
  • 2017 - 2019: Master Biodiversity, Ecology, Evolution. Paris-Sud Paris-Saclay University, Orsay, France
  • Jan - June 2017: Erasmus semester, Ecology and Northern Wild Life. Nordland University, Bodø, Norway
  • 2014 - 2017: Bachelor Frontiers of Life Sciences. Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, Paris, France