Dr. Alexandre Courtiol


Head of Modelling life history evolution
External position: Lecturer at Freie University

Department of Evolutionary Genetics


Tel: 0049 (0) 30 5168 - 331

Short curriculum vitae

I am an Evolutionary Biologist trained in Montpellier, France. After the completion of my Phd in 2009, I did a postdoc in Sheffield, UK as a fellow of the Khone foundation in the lab of Virpi Lummaa (2010-2011). I was then a Marie Currie fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, an institute for advanced study in Germany (2011-2012). Since 2012 I work at the Leibniz-IZW as a senior researcher.

The goal of my research is to understand the evolution of life history traits, with a particular focus on mammals. Specifically, I am interested in understanding (1) variation in life history traits between individuals, (2) how demography and selection interplay, and (3) the relationship between mate choice and sexual selection. My research heavily relies on advanced statistical methods and programming technics. I am thus also developing methods, which aim to study inter-individual differences quantitatively.

In this context, I am developing and contributing to the development of R packages to produce open source tools helping my colleagues to do their research.

Within the Leibniz-IZW, I am leading a small team called 'modeling life history evolution'. I am also providing supports for statistical analysis or other projects in R. I also teach statistics and R programming for universities (mostly the Freie University, but also Potsdam), summer schools and workshops, as well as for private companies.
Research interests
  • Life history
  • Mate choice
  • Demography
  • Evolution
  • Behaviour
  • R
Selected publications
Radchuk V, …, Courtiol A, Kramer-Schadt S (2019): Adaptive responses of animals to climate change are most likely insufficient. Nature Communication 10, 3109 (co-last author).
Corbett S, Courtiol A, Lummaa V, Moorad J, Stearns S (2018): The transition to modernity and chronic disease: mismatch and natural selection NAT REV GENET 19, 419-430 (all authors contributed equally).
Lahdenperä M, U. Mar K, Courtiol A & Lummaa V (2018): Differences in age-specific mortality between wild-caught and captive-born Asian elephants. Nature Communications 9, 3023 (all authors contributed equally).
Vullioud C, Davidian E, Wachter B, Rousset F, Courtiol A, Höner OP (2018): Social support drives female dominance in the spotted hyaena. Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, 71–76 (all authors contributed equally).
Courtiol A, Etienne L, Feron R, Godelle B, Rousset F (2016): The evolution of mutual mate choice under direct benefits. The American Naturalist 188 (5) (co-first author).
Courtiol A, Tropf FC, Mills M (2016): When genes and environment disagree: making sense of trends in recent human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (28), 7693-7695 (all authors contributed equally).
Last updated on January 11th, 2021.