General presentation


I am an evolutionary biologist currently in my third year of PhD in Montpellier, at ISEM (Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier)

I graduated from both the Master Biosciences, in Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and from the Master Erasmus Mundus in Evolutionary Biology (MEME). The MEME is jointly organised by several European universities: Uppsala, Montpellier, Groningen and Munich.

Institutional webpage

Research interests

I am interested in many subjects at the border between ecology and evolution: adaptation, mating systems evolution, plant/insects interactions, speciation, and coevolution.

During my PhD, I focused on the evolution of mating system, adaptation and the mutual influences of both processes. I have been studying different aspects of this interaction using a hypertolerant, hyperaccumulator plant species, Noccaea caerulescens. This species grows on former mines and non-contaminated soils in Europe and in particularly in the Cévennes, and it is an excellent model to study the interaction of local adaptation in a heterogeneous environment and mating system.

Firstly, I finely characterized N. caerulescens mating system in natural population, and see how metal pollution affects the variation of mating system in the Cévennes region. I showed that contrary to a couple of classical results (Antonovics 1968), in this system, metallicolous populations have lower self-fertilization rates than nonmetallicolous populations (article submitted).

The story of Noccaea caerulescens sexual life coming out soon!

I then tested our best potential factor potentially explaining the variation of mating system in natural populations: plant density. In two different measures, with two different methods, density seems to have no or only a weak effect on self-fertilization rates in Noccaea caerulescens (article in prep).

In a second project, I test the interaction between inbreeding depression, stress and the history of adaptation to a given environment using Noccaea caerulescens. Inbreeding depression is known to vary with environment and, sometimes, stress. Both experimental data (Long et al 2013) and theoretical models (Ronce et al 2009) stress the importance of the effect of the history of selection and adaptation in populations on the magnitude of inbreeding depression. Since we have populations of Noccaea caerulescens adapted to different levels of pollution, that a different levels of pollution impose stress on ecotype (at lest, strong polution is not good for nonmetallicolous plants) and the species is self-compatible, this seems like an excellent system to test predictions on the interaction of inbreeding depression and mating system.

Results coming soon!

Finally, I study how temporal variation in mating system affects the probability of adaptation of a population facing an environmental change using simulations. This work is inspired by models by Glémin & Ronfort 2013, and Peischl & Kirkpatrick 2012.


I teach practical sessions in Organism Biology (first year of Bachelor, mostly genetics, a bit of developmental biology and life cycle), Introduction to Ecology (Second year of Bachelor) and Population Genetics (Master 1) at the University of Montpellier


Sletvold, N., Mousset, M., Hagenblad, J., Hansson, B. and Ågren, J. (2013), Strong inbreeding depression in two Scandinavian populations of the self-incompatible perennial herb Arabidopsis lyrata. Evolution, 67: 2876–2888. doi: 10.1111/evo.12174

Arthaud, F., Mousset, M., Vallod, D., Robin, J., Wezel, A. and Bornette, G. (2012), Effect of light stress from phytoplankton on the relationship between aquatic vegetation and the propagule bank in shallow lakes. Freshwater Biology, 57: 666–675. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02730.x

Mousset, M., Flaven, F., Justy, F., Pouzadoux, J., Gode, C., Pauwels, M. and Gonneau, C. (in-press), Characterization and multiplexing of 21 microsatellites markers for the herb Noccaea caerulescens (Brassicaceae). Applications in Plant Sciences

Other interests

When I am not in the working, I am probably reading, making improv theatre, doodling, hiking, taking weird pictures and drinking tea.