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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Physiology of Adaptation, Health and Welfare

Some activities of the Adaptation team

Context and ambition

Improving the rearing conditions of animals and their ability toadaptto changing and stressful farm conditions is a challenge for the development of sustainable pig production systems, which are expected to preserve health, welfare and also the ability for the animal to express its performance potential while reducing the utilization of medication such as antibiotics

In this context, our group focuses on the adaptive responses of pigs to rearing conditions (e.g., low hygiene, housing …) and farming practices (e.g., weaning, castration …) known to modify the physiology of the animal and, for some of these, to induce adverse effects on pig health. Adaptive responses are studied using various approaches. The first approach corresponds to animal performance, nutrition and metabolism. The second approach corresponds to physiology of adaptation through the immune, neuroendocrine and oxidative stress responses from the gene to the animal level.

Our ambitions are to:

  • Identify animal responses that insure a high level of health and welfare
  • Determine the nutritional cost of those responses
  • Identify internal (genetic traits determining robustness for example) and external (environment and management) factors that minimize those costs


  • study and quantifynutrient partitioningbetween “productive” (growth) and “non-productive” (e.g. defence, immune system) functions
  • identify the physiological mechanisms underlying nutrient partitioning and the adaptive responses of pigs to farm conditions

Expertise and skills

Our team has complementary scientific expertise on animal science, nutrition and metabolism, immunology and physiology of stress.

Methodological skills
  • Cell culture
  • Molecular biology, including transcriptomics
  • Metabolite and hormone quantifications
  • Modelling of growth and feed intake
  • Tracer methodology


Members of the Adaptation team
Resp. Adaptation
Élodie Merlot

Leader of the "Physiology of Adaptation, Health and Welfare" team

Phone: (+33) 2 23 48 70 55
Mail: Élodie Merlot


Caroline Clouard
Nathalie Le Floc’h
Élodie Merlot
Lucile Montagne


Raphaël Comte
Laurence Le Normand
Françoise Thomas

PhD students

Mariana Mescouto Lopes
Alicia Zem Fraga (subject of thesis)

Formers members :

Arnaud Buchet (subject of thesis ; PhD defended in 2018)
Alexandra Chatelet (subject of thesis)
Francis Aman Eugenio (subject of thesis ; PhD defended in 2022)
Hélène Pastorelli (post-doc)
Séverine Parois (subject  of thesis ; PhD defended in 2016)
Armelle Prunier
Rémi Resmond