Fabien Aubret

Fabien with turtle

Position: Post-Doc
Year: 2006 - 2008
Phone: N/A
Fax: N/A
Location: N/A



I was born and raised in a small town of the French Atlantic coast (La Chaume sur Mer) and by the age of five was catching my first reptiles. I do not remember my mum loving it but it never stopped from there…

I am interested in many aspects of the ecology and behaviour of reptiles, but lately have been working on phenotypic plasticity and its role in speciation processes.

I am currently a post doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney, funded by the Australian Research Council.

Does adaptive plasticity play a significant role in the initial colonisation of novel habitats?


Evolution occurs rapidly in small populations exposed to novel selective pressures, providing a uniquely powerful opportunity to understand the nature of evolutionary divergence. Tiger snakes (Notechis sp.) were isolated on many offshore islands by sea level rise, with consequent rapid divergence from their mainland progenitors in body size, relative head size and dietary habits. My project will clarify the role of plasticity in facilitating phenotypic modifications that allow successful colonisation of the new habitat, especially during the early stages of traditional adaptive (genetically-based) modifications of the fledgling population, using comparative analyses based on a comprehensive intra-specific phylogeny with a timeframe for isolation events.



Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Lourdais, O. and Naulleau, G. Déterminants de l'accouplement chezVipera aspis: Approche expérimentale. 27ème congrès annuel de la Société Herpétologique de France.

Bonnet, X., Aubret, F., Naulleau, G. and Lourdais, O. Activité et vulnérabilité de la couleuvre verte et jaune à la circulation routière. 27ème congrès annuel de la Société Herpétologique de France.

Lourdais, O., Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Shine, R. Dimorphisme sexuel: un problème d'aménagement intérieur chez les serpents. 27ème congrès annuel de la Société Herpétologique de France.


Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Shine, R. and Maumelat, S. Costs and benefits of brooding behaviour in the ball python,Python regius. Australian Society of Herpetologists, 29th general meeting, Birrigai, ACT.


Aubret, F. and Bonnet, X. State-dependent “decision”: body reserves, predator avoidance and foraging in immature tiger snakes. Australian Society of Herpetologists, 30th general meeting. Darwin, NT.


Aubret, F. Influence de la plasticité phénotypique sur des traits d’histoire de vie. Exemple de deux populations de serpents tigres (Notechis scutatus). Soutenance de Thèse de Doctorat, CEBC-CNRS, Villiers en Bois, France.



Peer-Reviewed Articles

Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Shine, R. 2002. Fat is sexy for females, but not males: the influence of body reserves on reproduction in snakes (Vipera aspis, Viperidae).Hormones and Behavior 42:135-147.
Bonnet, X.,Aubret, F.and Ladyman, M. 2003. Water, food and energy: plasticity on islands.Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 134A: S127.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Shine, R. and Maumelat, S. 2003. Clutch size manipulation, hatching success and offspring phenotype in the ball python (Python regius).Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 78:263-272.
Aubret, F.2004. Aquatic locomotion and behaviour in two disjunct populations of Western Australian tiger snakes,Notechis ater occidentalis.Australian Journal of Zoology 52:357-368.
Aubret, F., Shine, R. and Bonnet, X. 2004. Adaptive developmental plasticity in snakes.Nature 43:261-262.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Maumelat, S., Bradshaw, D. and Schwaner, T. 2004. Diet divergence, jaw size and scale counts in two neighbouring populations of tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus).Amphibia-Reptilia 25:9-17.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Shine, R. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Why do female ball pythons (Python regius) coil so tightly around their eggs?Evolutionary Ecology Research 7:743-758.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Harris, M. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Sex differences in body size and ectoparasite load in the ball python,Python regius.Journal of Herpetology 39:315-320.
Bonnet, X.,Aubret, F., Lourdais, O., Ladyman, M., Bradshaw, D. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Do “quiet” places make animals placid? Island versus mainland tiger snakes.Ethology 111:573-592.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Shine, R. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Energy expenditure for parental care may be trivial for brooding pythons,Python regius.Animal Behaviour 69:1043-1053.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Shine, R. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Swimming and pregnancy in tiger snakes,Notechis scutatus.Amphibia-Reptilia 26:396-400.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Pearson, D. and Shine, R. 2005. How can blind tigersnakes (Notechis scutatus) forage successfully?Australian Journal of Zoology 53:283-288.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Maumelat, S. 2005. Tail amputation, body condition and swimming performances in tiger snakes,Notechis scutatus.Journal of Experimental Zoology 303:894-903.
Aubret, F.and Bonnet, X. 2005. Influence of body reserves and eye-opacity on foraging behaviours of tiger snakes.Journal of Experimental Zoology 303:1075-1084.
Aubret, F.2006.Aipysurus pooleorum(Shark Bay sea snake): avian predation.Herpotological Review 37:93.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X., Maumelat, S., Burghardt, G. and Bradshaw, D. 2006. Feeding preferences in two disjunct populations of tiger snakes,Notechis scutatus.Behavioral Ecology 17:716-725.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Bradshaw, D. 2007. Food versus risk: foraging decision in young Tiger snakes,Notechis scutatus.Amphibia-Reptilia 28:304-308.
Aubret, F., and Shine, R.  2007.  Rapid prey-induced shift in body size in an isolated snake population (Notechisscutatus, Elapidae). Austral Ecology 32:889-899.
Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Shine, R. 2007. The role of adaptive plasticity in a major evolutionary transition: early aquatic experience affects locomotor performance of terrestrial snakes.Functional Ecology 21:1154-1161.
Aubret, F.2007.Notechis scutatus(Australian Tiger snake). Cannibalism.Herpetological Review 38:341.
Aubret, F., and Shine, R.  2008.  The origin of evolutionary innovations:locomotor consequences of tail shape in aquatic snakes. Functional Ecology:in press.
Aubret, F., and Shine, R.2008.  Early experience influences both habitat choice and locomotor performance in tigersnakes.American Naturalist:in press.
Aubret, F.,and Shine, R. 2008. Causes and consequences of aggregation by neonatal Tigersnakes (Notechisscutatus, Elapidae).Austral Ecology:in press.


Popular Science Articles

Aubret, F., Bonnet, X. and Maumelat, S. 2000. La ponte des pythons: Pourquoi les animaux adultes prennent soin de leurs œufs.Pour la Science 274.
Aubret, F., Maumelat, S. and Bonnet, X. 2001. Les tiques des pythons.Pour la Science 279.
Aubret, F., Maumelat, S., Bonnet, X. and Bradshaw, D. 2003. Ecailles et taille des proies.Pour la science 311.