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Leader: Dr. Sylvain Giroud


Hibernation has long been regarded as an adaptation to survive periods of energy scarcity – during winter in the northern hemisphere and the dry season in the southern hemisphere. It consists of successive episodes of torpor, an active and drastic suppression of the metabolism, and arousal to euthermia. This decrease in energy demand (about 85% compared to euthermia;) allows them to remain hidden in protected places for several months. Thus, hibernation is associated with higher survival rate than during the active season and the evolution of slow life history traits. The objective of my thesis is to better understand the adaptive role of hibernation and its influence on the evolution of hibernators life history traits.

The research of this PhD project is articulated around three main questions:

Part 1: Identifying the ultimate causes of hibernation phenology and their consequences on the longevity of hibernators.

Part 2: Testing the influence of hibernation characteristics on reproduction and ageing

Part 3: Using inter-individual variations in early life to test the Pace of life hypothesis in a short-lived hibernator: the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus)



Constant, T., Giroud, S., Viblanc, V. A., Tissier, M. L., Bergeron, P., Dobson, F. S., & Habold, C. (2020). Integrating Mortality Risk and the Adaptiveness of Hibernation. Frontiers in physiology, 11, 706 [DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00706]


Funding sources:

French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI)

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)



PhD student: MSc. Théo Constant

UMR 7178 CNRS, Pluridisciplinary Institute Hubert-Curien (IPHC), Department of Ecology Physiology Ethology (DEPE), University of Strasbourg, France

PhD supervisors:

Dr. Caroline Habold (IPHC-DEPE CNRS Strasbourg)

Dr. Sylvain Giroud (FIWI, Vetmeduni Vienna)