Dominique Roche


I am interested in how biotic and abiotic stressors affect animal behaviour
and performance. Biophysical interactions (effect of temperature, water flow,
etc. on species) and biotic interactions (competition, predation, parasitism)
have broad implications for understanding how species persist in their
natural habitat, particularly in the face of environmental change.

My PhD research focused on fish locomotion and the morphological and
physiological adaptations that allow species to respond and adjust to
environmental stressors. I try to understand how the individual performance
of temperate and tropical fishes affects broad-scale ecological patterns
such as population structure and species’ distributions.

My research interests are broad, and include studies on energetics
(metabolism) and performance (kinematics), ecomorphology, behavioural
and physiological ecology, and invasive species in fishes, crabs, and other
aquatic organisms. I like to combine laboratory experiments with field
observations to relate quantitative experimental data with ecological outcomes.
I am also interested in science policy and the open science movement.

In July 2014, I joined the Eco-Ethology lab as a postdoc and I am now
working with Redouan Bshary on the application of biological market theory
to coral reef fishes.

Project outline: Advances in our understanding of ultimate explanations for
the evolution of cooperation have not been matched by similar progress in
understanding proximate mechanisms that underlie cooperative behaviour.
For example, stylised game theoretic models can help us identify which
conditions are necessary for cooperation to evolve but they fail to explain
frequent variation in levels of cooperation seen in nature. We plan to examine
proximate causes of variation in cooperation levels using the client-cleaner
wrasse mutualism, where “client” fishes visit cleaners to have their ecto-
parasites removed. Conflicts of interest arise because cleaners prefer to
eat the protective client mucus rather than the harmful ectoparasites.
The objectives are to (1) identify the relative importance of mechanisms
underlying variation in cooperation, and (2) examine how these
mechanisms interact with changes in service supply to test biological
market theory. 

Ongoing research:

  • Effect of waves on the fast-start performance of juvenile coral
    reef fishes

  • Policies and practices surrounding data archiving and sharing
    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
    Dr. Robert Lanfear, Macquarie University
    Prof. Loeske Kruuk, University of Edinburgh
  • Personality, aerobic capacity and physiological stress
    responses of Japanese flounder in different salinities

    Emmanuel Rupia MSc, Shanghai Ocean University
    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
    Prof. Weiqun Lu, Shanghai Ocean University
  • Fast-start performance of cleaner and facultative-cleaner
    wrasse species

    Simon Gingins MSc, Université de Neuchâtel
    Prof. Redouan Bshary, Université de Neuchâtel
  • Importance of escape performance for mouth cleaning by
    cleaner fish

    Dr. Alexander Vail, Cambridge University
    Simon Gingins MSc, Université de Neuchâtel
    Prof. Redouan Bshary, Université de Neuchâtel
  • Direct and indirect estimates of maximum metabolic rates
    in fishes

    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
    Dr. Timothy Clark, Australian Institute of Marine Science
    Dr. Brian Leung, McGill University
  • A comparison of methods for estimating metabolic rates
    in fishes

    Dr. Jodie Rummer, James Cook University
    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
    Dr. Jacob Johansen, James Cook University
  • Effects of waves and exercise training on aerobic and
    anaerobic performance in fishes

    Dr. Jodie Rummer, James Cook University
    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
  • Description of the monogenean parasite fauna in damselfishes
    of the Great Barrier Reef

    Dr. Sandra Binning, Université de Neuchâtel
    Dr. Edgar Fernando Mendoza Franco, Universidad Autónoma de
    Campeche Mexico


Google scholar profile


† denotes shared first authorship

35. Binning SA, Roche DG, Grutter A, Colosio S, Sun D,
Miest J, Bshary R (2018)
Cleaner wrasse indirectly affect the cognitive performance
of a damselfish through ectoparasite removal.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20172447

34. Jutfelt F, Norin T, Ern R, Overgaard J, Wang T, McKenzie DJ,
Lefevre S, Nilsson GE, Metcalfe NB, Hickey AJR, Brijs J, Speers-Roesch B,
Roche DG, Gamperl AK, Raby G, Morgan R, Esbaugh AJ, Gräns A,
Axelsson M, Ekström A, Sandblom E, Binning SA, Hicks JW, Seebacher F,
Jørgensen C, Clark TD (2018)
Oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance: blurring ecology
and physiology.
Journal of Experimental Biology 221: jeb169615

33. Steinegger M†, Roche DG†, Bshary R (2018)
Simple decision rules underlie collaborative hunting in yellow saddle goatfish.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 2017248833.

32. Roche DG (2017)
Evaluating Science’s open-data policy.
Science 357: 654

31. Clark TD, Roche DG, Binning SA, Speers-Roesch B, Sundin J (2017)
Maximum thermal limits of coral reef damselfishes are size dependent and resilient to near-future ocean acidification.
Journal of Experimental Biology, 220 (Pt 19): 3519-3526, doi: 10.1242/jeb.162529

30. Mendoza-Franco EF, Binning SA, Roche DG (2017)
New and previously described species of Dactylogyridae (Monogenoidea) and the first report of gastrocotylinean pre-adult (Heteronchoinea) forms on the gills of perciform fishes (Caesionidae and Pomacentridae) from Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
Acta Parasitologica 62: 688–698

29. Binning SA, Shaw AK, Roche DG (2017)
Parasites and host performance: incorporating infection into our understanding of animal movement.
Integrative and Comparative Biology 57: 267-280

28. Gingins S, Roche DG†, Bshary R† (2017)
Mutualistic cleaner fish maintains high escape performance despite
privileged relationship with predators.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
284: 20162469 

27. Roche DG, Careau V and Binning SA (2016)
Demystifying animal personality (or not): why individual variation matters
to experimental biologists.

Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 3832-3843

26. Roche DG (2016)
Open data: policies need policing.
Nature 538: 41

25. Clark TD, Binning SA, Raby GD, Speers-Roesch B, Sundin J, Jutfelt F,
Roche DG (2016)
Scientific misconduct: the elephant in the lab.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31: 899-900

24. Rupia EJ†, Binning SA†, Roche DG†, Lu W (2016) 
Fight-flight or freeze-hide? Personality and metabolic phenotype
mediate physiological defence responses in flatfish.
Journal of Animal Ecology
85: 927–937

23. Rummer JL, Binning SA, Roche DG, Johansen JL (2016)
Method matters: Considering locomotory mode and respirometry
technique when estimating metabolic rates of fishes.
Conservation Physiology 
4: doi:10.1093/conphys/cow008​

22. Wagner ELE†, Roche DG†, Binning SA†, Wismer S,
Bshary R (2015)
Temporal comparison and predictors of fish species abundance
and richness on undisturbed coral reef patches.
PeerJ 3:e1459

21. Roche DG, Kruuk LEB, Lanfear R, Binning SA (2015)
Public data archiving in ecology and evolution: how well are we doing?
PLOS Biology 13: e1002295

20. Jornod M and Roche DG (2015)
Inter- vs intra-individual variation and temporal repeatability of
escape responses in the coral reef fish Amblyglyphidodon curacao.
Biology Open 4: 1387 - 1394 doi:10.1242/bio.013508

19. Binning SA. Ros AFH, Nusbaumer D and Roche DG (2015)
Physiological plasticity to water flow habitat in the damselfish,
Acanthochromis polyacanthus: linking phenotype to performance.
PLOS ONE 10: e0121983

18. Binning SA and Roche DG (2015)
Water flow and fin shape polymorphism in coral reef fishes.
Ecology doi:10.1890/14-0426.1 

17. Binning SA, Barnes JI, Davies JN, Backwell PRY, Keogh JS,
Roche DG (2014)
Ectoparasites modify escape behaviour, but not performance,
in a coral reef fish.
Animal Behaviour 93: 1-7.

16. Roche DG, Lanfear R, Binning SA, Haff TM, Schwanz LE,
Cain KE, Kokko H, Jennions MD, Kruuk LEB (2014)
Troubleshooting public data archiving: suggestions to increase
PLOS Biology 12: e1001779.

15. Roche DG, Taylor MK, Binning SA, Johansen JL, Domenici P,
Steffensen JF (2014)
Unsteady water flow affects swimming energetics in a labriform fish
(Cymatogaster aggregata).
Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 414-422.

14. Binning SA, Roche DG, Fulton CJ (2014)
Localised intraspecific variation in the swimming phenotype of a
coral reef fish across different wave exposures.
Oecologia 174: 623-630. 

13. Roche DG, Jennions MD, Binning SA (2013)
Data deposition: Fees could damage public data archives.
Nature 502: 171

12. Roche DG, Binning SA, Strong LE, Davies JN, Jennions MD (2013)
Increased behavioural lateralization in parasitized coral reef fish.
Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 1339-1344.

11. Roche DG, Binning SA, Bosiger Y, Johansen JL, Rummer JL (2013)
Finding the best estimates of metabolic rates in a coral reef fish.
Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 2103-2110.

10. Binning SA, Roche DG, Layton C (2013)
Ectoparasites increase swimming costs in a coral reef fish.
Biology Letters 9: 20120927.

9. Roche DG, Strong LE, Binning SA (2013)
Prevalence of the parasitic cymothoid isopod Anilocra nemipteri on
its fish host at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef.
Australian Journal of Zoology 60: 330–333.

8. Ménard A, Turgeon K, Roche DG, Binning SA, Kramer DL (2012)
Shelters and their use by fishes on fringing coral reefs.
PLoS ONE 7: e38450.

7. KamY, Schlöder C, Roche DG, Torchin ME (2011)
The Iraqi crab, Elamenopsis kempi in the Panama Canal: distribution,
abundance and interactions with the exotic North American crab,
Rhithropanopeus harrisii.
Aquatic Invasions 6: 439-445.

6. Roche DG, Leung B, Mendoza Franco EF, Torchin ME (2010)
Higher parasite richness, abundance and impact in native versus
introduced cichlid fishes.
International Journal for Parasitology 40: 1525-1530.

5. Mendoza Franco EF, Violante-González J, Roche DG (2009)
Interoceanic occurrence of species of Aristocleidus Mueller, 1936
(Monogenoidea: Dactylogyridae) parasitizing the gills of gerreid
fishes in the Neotropics.
Parasitology Research 105: 703-708. 

4. Oestreicher JS, Benessaiah K, Ruiz-Jaen MC, Sloan S, Turner K,
Pelletier J, Guay B, Clark KE, Roche DG, Meiners M, Potvin C (2009)
Avoiding deforestation in Panamanian protected areas: an analysis of
protection effectiveness and implications for reducing emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation.
Global Environmental Change 19: 279-291.

3. Roche DG, Torchin ME, Leung B, Binning SA (2009)
Localized invasion of the North American Harris mud crab,
Rhithropanopeus harrisii, in the Panama Canal: implications
for eradication and spread.
Biological Invasions 11: 983-993.

2. Mendoza Franco EF, Roche DG, Torchin ME (2008)
New species of Diplectanum (Monogenoidea: Diplectanidae), and proposal
of a new genus of the Dactylogyridae from the gills of gerreid fishes
(Teleostei) from Mexico and Panama.
Folia Parasitologica 55: 171-179.

1. Roche DG and Torchin ME (2007)
Established population of the North American Harris mud crab,
Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould 1841) (Crustacea: Brachyura: Xanthidae)
in the Panama Canal.
Aquatic Invasions 2: 155-161.


since 2014

FQRNT Post-Doctoral Fellow  
Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Collaborators: Prof. Redouan Bshary

2014 Post-Doctoral researcher
Australian National University
Collaborator: Prof. Loeske Kruuk

Ph.D. (Ecology )
Australian Research Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Australian National University, Australia

Advisor: Prof. Michael D. Jennions
Thesis: Effects of biotic and physical factors on fish swimming performance and behaviour


M.Sc. (Neotropical Environment Option)  
McGill University, Canada
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Advisor: A. Prof. Brian Leung
Thesis: Discovery, distribution and eradication potential of the
introduced mud crab, Rhithropanopeus harrisii, in the Panama Canal


B.Sc. (Biology) 
McGill University, Canada

Advisor: Prof Donald L. Kramer
Thesis: Actibity budget and home range use of two small Caribbean
predatory fishes


Link to personal webpage

Dominique Roche

Assistant post-doctorant






Room: D 104


Université de Neuchâtel
Institut de Biologie
Rue Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel

Tel. +41 32 718 31 20
Fax +41 32 718 30 01



shoaling fish


Dom in the lab


Dom on the boat