Mélissa Peignier, MSc


Curriculum Vitae

Mélissa Peignier gained her Bachelor degree in Biology and Environmental studies from the University of Lorraine, France, in July 2016. After that she completed her Master degree in Behavioural Ecology and Wildlife Management from the University of Burgundy, France, in September 2018. During her Bachelor degree she took several courses on animal communication and did a 2-months internship at the AFPA lab in France, studying the personality traits of early life stage pikeperch and the morphological profile of cannibals and cannibalized individuals. 

This internship led her to take a keen interest in the study of sociality and personality. During her first year of Master degree, she did a 3-months internship at the WEEL lab in Canada, studying the seasonal variation in sociality and gregariousness in caribou. 

Finally, during her second year of Master degree, she did a 6-months internship in the ESB group in Finland, studying larval hunger signalling in ants.

Since October 2018, she is working at the Messerli Research Institute on the project "The interplay between animal personality and sexual selection", supervised by Dr. Eva Ringler. This project aims at investigating how personality differences are reflected in behaviours such as male-male competition, space use, mate choice, and parental care. It will also investigate how this differences ultimately affect an individual's survival and reproductive performance, focusing on Allobates femoralis, a neotropical poison frog. 


Main Fields of Research

animal personality and it's influence on sexual selection

the evolution of sociality and group decisions

factors driving space use


Research Projects

  •  The study of the interplay between animal personality and sexual selection, through male-male competition, mate choice, space use and parental care



Peignier, M., Webber, Q. M., Koen, E. L., Laforge, M. P., Robitaille, A. L., & Vander Wal, E. (2019). Space use and social association in a gregarious ungulate: Testing the conspecific attraction and resource dispersion hypotheses. Ecology and Evolution.