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Lek Sovan


Professor, University Toulouse

Icone contact Email

Icone telephone +33 (0)5 61 55 86 87

Icone blog Personal website

Research interests

My research is mainly in Fish Community Ecology and Ecological Modelling.

In Fish Community Ecology, my research concerns the biodiversity and the spatial distribution of fish according to the environmental characteristics and the response of fish community to the human disturbances, especially land-use, hydromorphology, climate warming. The distribution of fish is considered according to the scale of variation, varying from local to regional and global scales, in relationship with the environmental variables.
In Ecological Modelling, I am mainly interested in the use of Machine learning techniques using especially Artificial Neural Networks, decision tree … to model ecological data. However, I am also familiar for the uses of classical modelling techniques, like classical statistic methods (multiple linear regression, multi-variate analyses, …) and modern statistical methods (CART, GAM, PLS, …).

One of my favorite papers is Application of neural network for nonlinear modeling in ecology (Ecological Modelling1996, 90 : 39-52), which concerns a comparison of Artificial Neural Networks and classical statistcs to model ecological data. My second favorite paper is Energy availability and habitat heterogeneity predict global riverine fish diversity (Nature 1998, 391  : 382-384), which applied the artificial neural networks to predict the species richness of fish in the world. (See my Publications for a complete list of publications)

My research topics included :

  • Fish Ecology & Biology
  • Modelling Ecological data
  • Environmental Alteration, Native and Non-Native Fish Species
  • Impacts of Dams, land-cover and climate changes on Fish Assemblages
  • Biological Invasions in Freshwater Systems
  • Fish Community Spatial & Temporal Organisation in Temperate Lakes
  • Statistical Techniques and Their Application in Ecology


Community dynamics, food-web structure, trophic subsidies, biological invasions, stable isotope analyses, freshwater fishes, inter-individual variability.

Publications & Teaching See personal website for details.

Some recent publications :

  • Comte L, Lek S, de Deckere E, de Zwart D, Gevrey M, 2010 Assessment of stream biological responses under multiple-stress conditions. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH 17(8) : 1469-1478.
  • Yongfeng HE, Jianwei WANG, Sovan LEK, Wenxuan CAO, Sithan LEK-ANG, 2010 Structure of endemic fish assemblages in the upper Yangtze River basin. River Research and Applications, 408(19) : 4211-4220.
  • Ans M. Mouton, Andy P. Dedecker, Sovan Lek and Peter L. M. Goethals 2010 Selecting Variables for Habitat Suitability of Asellus (Crustacea, Isopoda) by Applying Input Variable Contribution Methods to Artificial Neural Network Models. Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 15(1) : 65-79.
  • Tan XC, Li XH, Lek S, Li YF, Wang C, Li J, Luo JR Annual dynamics of the abundance of fish larvae and its relationship with hydrological variation in the Pearl River. ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OF FISHES 88(3) : 217-225
  • Tisseuil C, Vrac M, Lek S, Wade AJ Statistical downscaling of river flows ; JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY 385 (1-4) : 279-291
  • Faggiano L, de Zwart D, Garcia-Berthou E, Lek S, Gevrey M Patterning ecological risk of pesticide contamination at the river basin scale. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT 408 (11) : 2319-2326
  • Blanchet S, Rey O, Etienne R, Lek S, Loot G Species-specific responses to landscape fragmentation : implications for management strategies. EVOLUTIONARY APPLICATIONS 3(3) : 291-304
  • Jutagate T, Sawusdee A, Thapanand-Chaidee T, Lek S, Grenouillet G, Thongkhoa S, Chotipuntu P Effects of an anti-salt intrusion dam on tropical fish assemblages. MARINE AND FRESHWATER RESEARCH 61(3) : 288-301
  • Buisson L, Thuiller W, Casajus N, Lek S, Grenouillet G 2010 Uncertainty in ensemble forecasting of species distribution. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY 16(4) : 1145-1157