Life is plastic: How phenotypic plasticity makes us rethink central problems in biology

Roscoff (Bretagne), France, June 17-21, 2024

Deadline for application: March 21, 2024

Chairperson: Luis-Miguel CHEVIN
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE), Campus du CNRS, 1919 route de Mende,
34293 Montpellier Cedex 5 France
Phone: +33 (0)4 67 61 32 11 

Vice-chairperson: Cameron GHALAMBOR
Department of Biology, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (CBD), Norwegian University of Science
and Technology (NTNU), N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
Phone: + 47 73591969 

The role of the environment in the development and expression of phenotypes has long been recognized, but such phenotypic plasticity is currently gaining a pivotal role in biology owing to the particular space it occupies, at the intersection between molecular & cellular biology, genetics, development, physiology, behaviour, and evolution. This compels biologists to reconsider classic perspectives in their fields, by engaging in crosstalk between the environment and biological processes at different levels. This is an opportunity to build new bridges between different subfields of biology, towards tackling major unsolved questions, such as structure and evolution of the genotype-phenotype map, as well issues with important applied spin-offs, such as biological responses to climate change. The conference “Life is plastic: How phenotypic plasticity makes us rethink central problems in biology” will be a unique forum to identify areas where most progress can be made by embracing the roles of the environment in producing phenotypes, and the consequences for individuals, populations and communities. The conference will gather scientists working with a diversity of approaches and model organisms, and will cover 4 main scientific axes:

(1) Molecular and cellular mechanisms of plasticity, and the genotype-environment-phenotype map

(2) Timing of within- and trans-generational plasticity

(3) Ecology of plasticity

(4) Interplay between plasticity and evolution.

Invited speakers

(provisional titles)

Jill ANDERSON (University of Georgia, Athens, USA)
Climate change induces maladaptive plasticity in phenological and functional traits in trailing edge populations of Boechera stricta (Brassicaeae)


Alison BELL (University of Illinois, Urbana, USA)
Transgenerational behavioral plasticity: Lessons from sticklebacks


Christian BRAENDLE (IBV, CNRS Nice, France)
Molecular basis of natural variation in nematode phenotypic plasticity


Jon BRIDLE (University College London, United Kingdom)
Understanding the evolution of plasticity in response to novel environments


Luis-Miguel CHEVIN (CEFE, CNRS Montpellier, France)
Evolution of plasticity in randomly fluctuating environments: from theory to experimental evolution


Sigurd EINUM (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
Rates of phenotypic plasticity: Why and how should we measure it?


Cameron GHALAMBOR (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)
The influence of time on the relationship between plasticity and evolution


Patricia GIBERT (LBBE, CNRS Lyon, France)
How to survive in a changing world? Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive responses of insects to environmental changes


Jarrod HADFIELD (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom)
Adaptation versus Plasticity in Response to Spatial Variation: Empirical patterns and the importance of temporal variation for explaining them


Joel KINGSOLVER (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA)
Thermal reaction norms, thermal mismatch, and ecological responses of insects to climate change


Arnaud LE ROUZIC (EGCE, CNRS Paris Sud, France)
Theoretical and empirical insights on the evolution of gene expression plasticity


Delphine LEGRAND (SETE, CNRS Moulis, France)
The multiple facets of phenotypic plasticity in ciliates


Nicholas A. LEVIS (Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)
Uncovering the mechanisms of plasticity-led evolution


Laurent LOISON (IHPST, CNRS Paris, France)
Plasticity in Darwinian evolution. A view from History


Emilien LUQUET (LEHNA, Université Lyon 1, France)
Transgenerational plasticity in the context of predator-prey interactions: dynamics, evolution and mechanisms


Antonia MONTEIRO (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Evolution of a mechanism for eyespot size plasticity in satyrid butterflies


Elisa SCHAUM (University of Hamburg, Germany)
In stranger worlds: phenotypic plasticity across timescales and environmental conditions in microphytoplankton


Arnaud SENTIS (RECOVER, INRAE Aix-en-Provence, France)
Plastic responses to temperature: consequences for fitness, population dynamics and species interactions


Lisa SHAMA (Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Sylt, Germany)
Windows of opportunity: within and transgenerational plasticity to ocean warming in marine stickleback


Emilie SNELL-ROOD (University of Minnesota, St. Paul, USA)
Costs and benefits of variability in gene expression as a mechanism underlying developmental plasticity


Mar SOBRAL (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
Evolutionary implications of transgenerational subindividual plasticity


Sonia SULTAN (Wesleyan University, Middletown (CT), USA)
Transgenerational plant plasticity and multi-generation GxE interaction


Céline TEPLITSKY (CEFE, CNRS Montpellier, France)
Birds' responses to climate change: the role of plasticity and microevolution


Tobias ULLER (Lund University, Sweden)
Plasticity, evolvability and their co-evolution


Chris WHEAT (Stockholm University, Sweden)
Using plasticity in alternative splicing to explore intra-locus conflict


Deadline for application: March 11, 2024

Registration fee (including board and lodging)

510 € for PhD students

740 € for other participants

Application for registration

The total number of participants is limited to 115 and all participants are expected to attend for the whole duration of the conference. Selection is made on the basis of the affinity of potential participants with the topics of the conference. Scientists and PhD Students interested in the meeting should deposit online before the deadline.

  • their curriculum vitae
  • the proof of their student status
  • the list of their main publications for the 3 last years
  • the abstract of their presentation:

The abstract must respect the following template:

  • First line: title
  • Second line: list of authors
  • Third line: author's addresses
  • Fourth line: e-mail of the presenting author

Abstract should not exceed 600 words. No figures.

After the deadline, the organizers will select the participants. Except in some particular cases approved by the Chairperson, it is recommended that all selected participants present their work during the conference, either in poster form or by a brief in- session talk. The organizers choose the form in which the presentations are made. No payment will be sent with application. Information on how and when to pay will be mailed in due time to those selected.