Dr Lucille Chretien

Dr Lucille Chretien

Research Fellow in Chemical Ecology

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

March 2019 - present, Postdoctoral fellow in chemical ecology of plant-animal interactions


September 2015 – February 2019, PhD project "Defending flowers against multiple attack: from phytohormnes to plant ecology", co-directed project at the Laboratory of Entomology of Wageningen University and Research centre (WUR), The Netherlands, and at the Insect Biology Research Institute (IRBI), University François-Rabelais, Tours, France.

September 2011 – July 2015, BSc and MSc at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of Lyon, France.
September 2008 - June 2011, Preparatory school BCPST in Tours, France. //Preparatory school for competitive entrance to enter higher education schools for teaching, engineering, and research training (Equivalent to a BSc)

Teaching interests

I have supervised several Bachelor and Master theses addressing ecological and chemical aspects of plant-insect and plant-bacteria interactions. Most work produced by my students was eventually included in scientific publications. I will be happy to discuss potential projects with anyone interested in diving into the fascinating world of plant defenses and plant-animal interactions! During my PhD,I also orginased short research projects for groups of Master students on plant-insect interactions and ecological aspects of bio-interactions.

Research interests

I have always been curious to understand forces that shape ecological interactions, especially regarding plants and “invertebrates” that fascinate me. I am particularly keen on studying chemical and ecological aspects of plant defences strategies against phytophagous attackers. My current research focuses on geographical patterns in defence strategies of plants in the seedling stage. The main goal is to test biogeographic theories on the evolution of plant defences using latitudinal and altitudinal gradients of biotic and abiotic stresses. Results will provide further understanding of the evolution of plant defences and plant chemical diversity. This project includes testing defensive volatile emission by seedling, the production of secondary metabolites, and ability to tolerate damage by attackers, using snails as major threat to seedlings. The research is performed in collaboration with the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany. For my PhD project, I investigated how plants in the flowering stage defend their flowers while maintaining their reproductive success. I focused on resistance and tolerance strategies of plants against herbivorous insects and phytopathogenic bacteria that attack flowers. For this, I aimed at identifying phytohormonal, phytochemical, and ecological changes that contribute to the defence of plants against multiple attack to flowers. This PhD research project was a follow up of previous research work performed during my BSc and MSc degrees on chemical and ecological aspects of interactions between plants, herbivorous insects, carnivorous insects (natural enemies), and pollinators.

Grants & contracts

Scholarships French governmental scholarship granted by the ENS of Lyon to fund my PhD project, 2015-2018 

French governmental scholarship obtained to enter the ENS of Lyon as a civil servant, 2011 - 2014 
Travel grants Landbouw Export Bureau fund, 2017 
Uyttenboogaart-Eliasen Stichting fund, 2017


Joo, Y., Goldberg, J.-K., Chrétien, L.T.S., Kim, S.-G., Baldwin, I.T., Schuman, M.C. (2019), The circadian clock contributes to diurnal patterns of plant indirect defense in nature. J of Integr Plant Biol, in press. doi : 10.1111/jipb.12725

Chrétien, L. T. S., David, A., Daikou, E., Boland, W., Gershenzon, J., Giron, D., Dicke, M. and Lucas-Barbosa, D. (2018), Caterpillars induce jasmonates in flowers and alter plant responses to a second attacker. New Phytol, 217(3): 1279-1291. doi : 10.1111/nph.14904 

Stam, J. M., Chrétien, L., Dicke, M. and Poelman, E. H. (2017), Response of Brassica oleracea to temporal variation in attack by two herbivores affects preference and performance of a third herbivore. Ecol Entomol, 42(6): 803–815. doi : 10.1111/een.12455