About me

Graduated with a PhD in community ecology, I am currently an assistant professor in applied entomology and crop protection at the Toulouse Engineering Faculty of Life Sciences (INP-ENSAT, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse). Since September 2020, I am also involved in The “Dynamics and ecology of agro-forested landscape” Lab (Dynafor: INRAE- Toulouse INP).

Research interest


​My reasearch focuses on the caracterization and understanding of species interactions in order to promote ecosystem services.

During my PhD, I developped an innovative approach based on ecological network analysis to support the selection of biocontrol agents against the invasive weed, Sonchus oleraceus. I was also interested in understanding the eco-evolutionnary processes involved in S. oleraceus invasion in Australia, via the description of its natural enemy comunity in ranges of origin and invasion.

To revel interactions and caracterise arthropod biodiversity, I combine high throughput technologies, i.e. next geration sequencing (NGS) and metabarcoding (CO1, 16S) and morphological identifications.

Today, the project I am involved in aims at building a barcode reference database dedicated to wild bees. These pollinators and the pollination service they provide are severely endangered. This project is the prerequisite basis for further research on their population dynamics in context of landscape fragmentation and global change and will ultimately improve their protection.

Key words: Ecological interaction network, phytophagous arthropods, barcoding, introduction biological control, conservation biological control, pollination



Avril 2017 – Juin 2020

PhD in community ecology, graduated from Montpellier SupAgro,
Doctoral School GAIA (n°584)

Lab: Centre for Biology and Management of Populations (CBGP) & CSIRO European laboratory, Montpellier (FR)

2012 – 2016

Master degree in agronomy, Engineer diploma from the “grande école” AgroCampus Ouest Rennes (FR)
Major: Plant protection, entomology & Environment,
Minor: agronomy, pedology

2010 – 2012

Technological University degree in Biology, University Institute of Technology,
La Roche sur Yon (FR)

Major: Biology

Minor: Environment & Ecology


Research experience

PhD project (2017-2020)

‘Introduction biological control against Sonchus oleraceus - An integrative approach to question the invasion process and to contribute to the selection of biocontrol agents via ecological networks analyses’.

Key words: biological invasions, classical biological control, host range, ecological networks, metabarcoding, Common Sowthistle.

A collaborative project between Montpellier SupAgro (FR), CSIRO European laboratory (FR) and CSIRO Ecosciences Precinct (Brisbane, AUS).

Direction: M.-S. Tixier, J. F. Martin

> Read the abstract & access the thesis

Master project (2016)
‘Conception of morphological and molecular diagnosis tools, in order to identify oilseed rape weevils and their parasitoids’.

Key words: oilseed rape, weevils, parasitoids, molecular identification, digital key


Lab: Centre for Biology and Management of Populations (CBGP-INRAE)

Direction: J.-C. Streito, J-Y. Rasplus

> Read the abstract & access the manuscript


Previous projects joined:


2015 (3 mths): ‘Understanding FgTom1 function in Fusarium graminearum infection of wheat through various virulence assays’.
Lab: CSIRO, Bioscience Precinct (Brisbane, AUS). Dir.: J. Carere, D. Gardiner


2015 (6 mths): ‘Characterization of weed community in citrus orchards of Reunion Island, and assessment of plant species ability to support conservation biological control, based on functional traits’. Lab: CIRAD, la Réunion. Dir.: F. Le Bellec

2014 (3 mths): ‘Study of Osmoderma eremita population dynamic in Cévennes National Parc, and characterization of species richness of saproxylic beetles in French forests.’ Lab: National Forests Office (LNEF). Dir.: T. Barnouin, F. Soldati

2012 (3 mths): ‘Assessment of salmon sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, resistance to pesticides.’ Lab: Marine Environmental Research Laboratory (SCO). Dir.: Bill Roy


Teaching experience

Assistant professor (September 2020 to date)


At the Toulouse Engineering Faculty of Life Sciences (ENSAT)

Load: 192h annually, from bachelor to second year master degree in agronomy.

Fields: entomology, plant-pollinator interactions, biological control strategies, population genetics, plant breeding & genetics, epidemiology, elementary statistics.

Teaching assistant during the PhD (2017 - 2020)

At the French National Institute of Higher Education in Agricultural Sciences - South of France (Montpellier SupAgro).

Load: 62h in 2017 & 2018, 10h in 2019, from bachelor to first year master degree in agronomy.


Fields: entomology, practical work in biological control of mites, lectures in plant-insect interactions, elementary statistics.

Master students supervison (2018)

F. Bénetière (2nd year Master)

M. Corbin (1st year Master)

M. Labouyrie (Master gap year)


Publications & Communications

In preparation


Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Tavoillot J., Bénetière F., Tixier M.S., Martin J.F. Metabarcoding and trophic interaction networks for selecting candidate biological control agents. In revision in Journal of Applied Ecology.

Ollivier M., Gauthier P., Lesieur V., Thomann T., Jourdan M., Bon M. C., Sheppard A., Raghu S., Tixier M. S., Martin J.-F. Using karyotyping and achene morphology to accurately identify Sonchus oleraceus (Asteraceae) in the context of its biological control. Preprint on bioRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.26.965863

Ollivier M., Labouyrie M., Raghu S., Tavoillot J., Tixier MS., Martin JF. and Lesieur V. What can we learn for biological control by sampling the invasive range of a weed? The case study of Sonchus oleraceus (Asteraceae) in Australia. In prep. for Austral Entomolgy.

Published in peer-reviewed journals

Lesieur V., Thomann T., Ollivier M., Raghu S. (2020). Making host specificity testing more efficient: Exploring the use of abridged test plant lists. Applied Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/jen.12760

Ollivier M., Kazakou E., Corbin M., Sartori K., Lesieur V., Thomann T., Martin J.-F., Tixier M.S. (2020). Trait differentiation between native and introduced populations of the invasive plant Sonchus oleraceus L. (Asteraceae). NeoBiota. 55: 85–115. DOI: 10.3897/neobiota.55.49158

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Martin J-F., Raghu S. (2020). Characterising ecological interaction networks to support risk assessment in classical biological control of weeds. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 38: 40–47. DOI: 10.1016/j.cois.2019.12.002


Carere J., Benfield A.H., Ollivier M., et al (2017) A tomatinase-like enzyme acts as a virulence factor in the wheat pathogen Fusarium graminearum. Fungal Genet Biol, 100:33–41. DOI: 10.1016/j.fgb.2017.01.007


Published in non peer-reviewed journals

Robert C., Bothorel S., Luce S., Lauvernay A., Leflon M., Delvare G., Streito J.C., Pierre E., Cruaud P., Ollivier M., Genson G., Cruaud A., Rasplus J.Y. (2019). COLEOTOOL -Développement d’outils moléculaires en vue d’identifier les principaux charançons ravageurs du colza et leurs auxiliaires parasitoïdes. Innovations Agronomiques. 71: 181-200. DOI:10.15454/pvluwh

Website and polytomous identification keys conception

COLEOTOOL, a collaboative project Terres Inovia - INRAE - CIRAD (2016):
> Access the project website

> Access polytomous key for oilseed rape weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

> Access polytomous key for parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonoidea & Chalcidoidea)

Oral communications

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Sheppard A., Martin J.-F., Tixier M. S. Determining ecological interaction networks to assess risks and potential changes induced by importation biological control of weeds. 4th symposium on ecological network (Paris, FRANCE, 2019-09-09/12)

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Jourdan M., Thomann T., Raghu S., Morin L., Sheppard A., Martin J.-F., Tixier M. S. How the study of interaction networks in native range helps the selection of biocontrol agents for the control of Sonchus oleraceus in Australia? 19ème colloque de biologie de l'insecte (Albi, FRANCE, 2019-06-26/28)

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Jourdan M., Thomann T., Raghu S., Morin L., Sheppard A., Martin J.-F., Tixier M. S. Molecular analysis of ecological interactions for optimizing biocontrol of the invasive weed Sonchus oleraceus L. (Asteraceae) in Australia. 21st Australian Weed Conference (Sydney, AUSTRALIA, 2018-09-11/13)

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Jourdan M., Thomann T., Raghu S., Morin L., Sheppard A., Martin J.-F., Tixier M. S. Molecular analysis of ecological interactions for optimizing biocontrol of the invasive weed Sonchus oleraceus L. (Asteraceae) in Australia. 15th International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds (ISBCW) (Engelberg, SUISSE, 2018-08-26/31)

Poster communication

Ollivier M., Lesieur V., Jourdan M., Thomann T., Raghu S., Morin L., Sheppard A., Martin J.-F., Tixier M. S. Food web study, a community approach for biological control of the weed Sonchus oleraceus L. 5th International Symposium: Weeds and Invasive Plants (Chios, GRECE, 2017-10-10/14)

> View poster



Analysis of the PhD thesis published by Académie d'Agriculture de France

This initiatve aims at promoting research that represents a particular interest in agronomy.

Analysis written by Charles Vincent, PhD, Agriculture and Agri-food, Canada (2020).

> Read the analysis

Best student presentation

at 21st Australian Weed Conference (2018)

> View presentation


Science popularization

Scientific animation proposed to understand the complex interactions occuring between plants and arthropods in agro-ecosytems and gardens.

This animation called “Conservation biological control, who eats whom?"
has been carried out for several events:

- Salon de l’environnement de Montpellier (34, FR) (2019-03-02)
- Association Les Ecologistes de l’Euzière, Prades-le-Lez (34, FR) (2019-03-26)
- Comming events: Troc aux plantes (Ronel, 81, FR) (2021)

Other popularization events joined to share the interest of research in ecology and discuss about jobs in science with childrens and students:


- Carascience, discussions with families, Clapiers (34, FR) (2018-12-12)

- Opération DECLIC: visit in the college Françoise Combes (Montpellier, FR) (2019-12-19)

© 2021 By Melodie Ollivier. Created with Wix.com

Phd in community ecology

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