Olivier Blight

Assistant professor

Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et Continentale (IMBE)
IUT Avignon, Site Agroparc BP 61207
337 chemin des Meinajaries
84911 Avignon cedex 09

Tel : +33(0)


Research Interests and experiences

Research Interests

Ecology of native and invasive invertebrates
Effects of environmental change on insect populations and communities
Biotic interactions involving ants
Role of species’ traits in determining ecological functions
Restoration ecology and Agroecology

My research focuses on the effects of environmental change on arthropod populations and communities and their restoration. I am particularly interested (i) in the role of invertebrates as ecosystem engineers and their use in restoration ecology, (ii) in the restoration of arthropod specific and functional diversity in agrosystems, and (iii) in the dynamics of invasive species and their effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Over the last few years....

Education and professional experience

2015- current : Assistant professor, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (UMR CNRS 7263 - IRD 237, Avignon University). Team : Restoration Ecology of Natural Environment.

2014– 2015 : Post-doctoral researcher : Laboratory of Ecology, Systematics and Evolution (Univ. Paris-Sud, France). Invasive ants and Global change. Grant : ANR Biodiversa. Supervisor : Dr Franck Courchamp.

2013– 2014 : Post-doctoral researcher : Estación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC), Sevilla, Spain. Personality in ants : colony performance and biological invasions. Grant : Fyssen foundation. Supervisor : Dr. Xim Cerdà.

2012–2013 : Teaching assistant : IMBE–UMR CNRS 7263 - IRD 237, university of Aix-Marseille.

2011 : Post-doctoral researcher : Understand the structure, composition and sensibility of ant communities in urban context. Grant : ANR (French National Research Agency) Green and Blue Infrastructures (IMBE–UMR CNRS 7263 - IRD 237, Marseille).

2007–2010 : PhD. Thesis IMBE–UMR CNRS 7263 - IRD 237, Aix Marseille university. « Extent and ecological consequences of the invasion of the Corsican coast by the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile, Mayr). » Supervisors : Dr J. Orgeas, Dr E. Provost.

Ongoing projects

- VineAdapt (2020-2025, Life project, PI Anita Kirmer, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, co-responsible of one action)

- SCALED (2020 - 2025, ERC project, PI Cécile Albert, IMBE, co-responsible of a task)

- INNERMINE (2019-2022, CNRT project, PI Freddy Rey, INRAE)

- Biogeography of ants on small Mediterranean islands (2021 - 2024, PACA Region, Port-Cros National Parc, OEC, PI : Olivier Blight & Elise Buisson IMBE)

Expertise for the European Union

- Ant prevention plan (2021, UICN-framework contract with EU, DG ENV)

- IAS Priority Species Risk Assessments (2017, 2018, 2019, 2022, Cost-Action project, PI Helen Roy & Wolfgang Rabitsch)

PhD students


- Romane Blaya (2021 - , co-direction with Elise Buisson)
- Emile Melloul (2021 - , co- direction with Armin Bischoff)
- Léo Rocher (2021 - , co- direction with Armin Bischoff)


- Chloé Blaise (2017 - 2021, co-direction with Philippe Ponel)
- Tania De Almeida (2017-2020, co-direction with François Mesléard and Thierry Dutoit)


- Blaise C., Mazzia C., Bischoff A., Millon A., Ponel P., Blight O. (2022) Vegetation increases abundances of ground and canopy arthropods in Mediterranean vineyards. Scientific Reports, 12:3680, DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-07529-1

- Centanni J., Kaufmann B., Blatrix R., Blight O., Dumet A., Jay-Robert P., Vergnes A. (2022) High resolution mapping in Southern France reveals distributions of supercolonial and monodomous species in the Tapinoma nigerrimum complex (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) are related to sensitivity to urbanization. Myrmecol. News, doi : 10.25849/myrmecol.news_032:041

- Rabitsch, W. and Blight O. (2021) The threat posed by alien ants to EU agriculture and the potential for phytosanitary measures to prevent importation. Technical note prepared by IUCN for the European Commission.

- Castro-Cabo S., Blight O., Espadaler X., Angulo E. (2021) Long-term spread of Argentine ant (Hymenoptera : Formicidae) European supercolonies on three Mediterranean islands. DOI : 10.25849/myrmecol.news_031:185

- Blaise C., Mazzia C., Bischoff A., Millon A., Ponel P., Blight O. (2021) The key role of inter-row vegetation and ants on predation in Mediterranean organic vineyards. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment. DOI : 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107327

- Blight O. (2020) Risk assessment of Wasmannia auropunctata for the European Union. https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/3b8cdf6d-6e48-11ea-b735-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search

- Cordonnier M., Blight O., Angulo E., Courchamp F. (2020) The Native Ant Lasius niger Can Limit the Access to Resources of the Invasive Argentine Ant. Animals 10(12):2451, doi : 10.3390/ani10122451

- Buisson E., De Almeida T., Durbecq A., Arruda A., Vidaller C., Alignan J-F., Shizen T., Hess M., Pavon D., Isselin‐Nondedeu F., Jaunatre R., Moinardeau C., Young T., Mesléard F., Dutoit T., Blight O., Bischoff A. (2020) Key issues in North‐western Mediterranean dry grassland restoration. Restoration Ecology. DOI : 10.1111/rec.13258

- De Almeida T., Mesleard F., Santonja M., Gros R., Dutoit T., Blight O. (2020) Above- and below-ground effects of an ecosystem engineer ant in Mediterranean dry grasslands. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.1840.

- Booy O., Robertson P. A., Moore N., Ward J., Roy H., Adriaens T., Shaw R., Van Valkenburg J., Wyn G., Bertolino S., Blight O., et al (2020) Using structured eradication feasibility assessment to prioritize the management of new and emerging invasive alien species in Europe. Global Change Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15280

- De Almeida T., Blight O., Mesléard F., Bulot A., Provost E., Dutoit T. (2020) Harvester ants as ecological engineers for Mediterranean grassland restoration : Impacts on soil and vegetation. Biological Conservation. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108547

- Blight O. (2019) Risk assessment of Solenopsis richteri for the European Union. https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/f15625e3-2053-11e9-8d04-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search

- Blight O. (2019) Risk assessment of Solenopsis geminata for the European Union. https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/f15625e3-2053-11e9-8d04-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search

- Blight O., Orgeas J., Le Menn A., Provost E. (2018) Interaction between a threatened endemic plant (Anchusa crispa) and the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile). Arthropod-Plant Interactions. DOI:10.1007/s11829-018-9619-8

- Blight O., Josens R., Bertelsmeier C., Abril S., Boulay R., Cerda X. (2017) Differences in behavioural traits among native and introduced colonies of an invasive ant. Biological invasions, 19:1389-1398.

- Blight O., Villalta I, Cerdà X, Boulay R. (2016) Personality traits are associated with colony productivity in the gypsy ant Aphaenogaster senilis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70:2203-22099

- Villata I., Blight O., Angulo E., Cerdá X. Boulay R. (2016) Early developmental processes limit socially mediated phenotypic plasticity in an ant. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70:285-291.

- Bertelsmeier C., Ollier S., Avril A., Blight O., Jourdan H., Courchamp F. (2016) Colony-colony interactions between highly invasive ants. Basic and Applied Ecology, 17:106-114.

- Blight O., Albet Diaz-Meriblanca G., Cerdà X., Boulay R. (2016) A proactive-reactive syndrome affects group success in an ant species. Behavioral ecology, 27:118-125.

- Bertelsmeier C., Blight O. and Courchamp F. (2016) Invasions of ants (Hymenoptera/ Formicidae) in the light of global climate change. Myrmecological News, 22:25-42.

- Berville L., Santelli C., Reybaud J., Renucci M., Ponel P., Blight O. (2016) Suivi d’un site atelier dans le golfe de Fos : Une diversité myrmécologique insoupçonnée. Etudes vauclusiennes, 82:71-78.

- Bertelsmeier C., Avril A., Blight O., Jourdan H., Courchamp F. (2015) Discovery–dominance trade-off among widespread invasive ant species. Ecology and Evolution, 5:2673-2683.

- Bertelsmeier C., Avril A., Blight O., Confais A., Diez L., Jourdan H., Orivel J., Saint Germès N., Courchamp F. (2015) Different behavioural strategies among seven highly invasive ant species. Biological invasions, 17:2491-2503.

- Blight O., Orgeas J., Torre F. and Provost E. (2014) Competitive dominance in Mediterranean ant communities. Ecological Entomology. 39:595-602.

- Ponel P., Perez C., Blight O. (2014) Cnemeplatia atropos A. Costa, 1847 : présence en France continentale et nouvelle capture en Corse (Coleoptera Tenebrionidae Pimeliinae). L’entomologiste.

- Blight O., Berville L., Hefetz A., Renucci M., and Provost E. (2013) A peaceful zone bordering between two Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) supercolonies. Chemoecology. 23:213-218.

- Berville L., Hefetz A., Espadaler X., Lenoir A., Renucci M., Blight O., Provost E. (2013). Differentiation of the ant genus Tapinoma from the Mediterranean Basin by morphological analyses and species-specific cuticular hydrocarbon profiles. Myrmecological News. 1877-1892.

- Deschamps-Cottin M., Barthélémy C., Bertaudière-Montes V., Blight O. et al (2013) « Natures urbaines à Marseille : quels possibles pour une trame verte ? », in Clergeau P., Blanc N. (dir.). Trames vertes urbaines, De la recherche scientifique au projet urbain. Paris, Editions le Moniteur : 47-74.

- Blight O., Berville L., Vogel V., Orgeas J., Provost E., and Keller L. (2012) Variation in the level of aggression, chemical and genetic distance among three supercolonies of the Argentine ant in Europe. Molecular Ecology. 21:4106-4121.

- Blight O., Orgeas J., Renucci M. and Provost E. (2011) Imidacloprid gel bait effective in Argentine ant control at nest scale. Sociobiology. 58:23-30.

- Blight O., Fadda S. et al. (2011) Using stone cover patches and grazing exclusion to restore ground-active beetle communities in a pseudo-steppe. Journal of Insect Conservation. 4:561-572.

- Blight O., Orgeas J. et al. (2010) A native ant armed to limit the spread of the Argentine ant. Biological Invasions. 12:3785-3795.

- Blight O., Renucci M., et al. (2010) A new colony structure of the invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) in Southern Europe. Biological Invasions 12:1491–1497.

- Blight O., Orgeas J. et al. (2009) Where and how the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) spreads in Corsica ? Comptes Rendus Biologies. 332:747-751.

- Provost E., Blight O. et al. (2008) Hydrocarbons and insects’ social physiology. In « Insect Physiology : New Research » (Rayan P. Maes Editor, Novascience Publishers) pp 19-72.

Avignon university

- Elected member of the research commission (2020 - )
- Elected member of the academic council (2020 - )
- Elected member and vice-President of the disciplinary commission (2021 - )


- Responsible of the PhD students’ commission (2019 - )
- Member of the Laboratory Consultative Committee (2019 - )