Thierry Dutoit is a research director at the CNRS within the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et Ecologie (IMBE), of which he is deputy director. His research focuses on coexistence processes and assembly rules in Mediterranean herbaceous plant communities.
Thierry Dutoit is particularly interested in the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances over the very long term via approaches that combine paleoecology and historical ecology. The results of his work are applied to ecological restoration or ecosystem rehabilitation, particularly via bio-inspiration, which involves the management of certain key species known as "ecosystem engineers", from bacteria to large herbivores.
Contribution to Biomim'week 2020 :
Restoring nature: an ant's work!
In August 2009, a ruptured oil pipeline in the Crau plain in the Bouches-du-Rhône department caused hydrocarbon pollution in the heart of a national nature reserve. There, for the first time in the world, we experimented with the transplantation of harvester ant founding queens to accelerate the restoration of the soil and vegetation on the land that had been rehabilitated. Eight years later, our results show that this operation has really made it possible to increase soil fertility and accelerate the return of the steppe-like vegetation, unique in the world, which pre-existed where ant nests are present, thus making it possible to validate this bio-inspired process on an operational ecological engineering scale.
Useful resources and links :
- Report in the series Nature=Future / "Agronomic ants" / December 2019 /
- Radio Télévision Suisse / Program CQFD / 28 April 2020 / Quarantine also for ants.
- CD 13 / 10 October 2019 / Report made during the awarding of the "Grand Prix" of the 4th edition of the Research Prize in Provence,
- Radio France Internationale / Around the Question / 28 January 2013 / " What if we use nature to repair nature?
- France Inter / Les Savanturiers / 24 June 2012 / "Thierry Dutoit and ecological engineering.
- France Inter / La Tête au Carré / 31 May 2012 / "Nature is good for us!
- France 3 Provence-Alpes / 10 February 2020 / Oil pollution, how ants have brought the Crau plain back to life
- France 3 Provence-Alpes / 27 May 2014 / "La crau: ants to the rescue of scientists."
- FutureMag ARTE / 21 June 2014 / Restoring nature through nature.
- Ministry of Ecological Transition and Solidarity, National Museum of Natural History / Paris, 10 December 2012 / Bio-inspired research conference - Round table 1: What bio-inspired research for the ecological transition?
- CNAM / Paris, 22 November 2012 / Using nature to repair nature. Conferences and debates - Dialogues - Keys to understanding.