Rassim Khelifa

Research Interests

Species distributions along latitudinal and elevational gradients tend to remain stable over time. Ecological conditions change sharply with elevation; 10 m of elevational range retreat is equivalent to 10 km latitudinal retreat. I study community structure over an elevational gradient in the Swiss Alps and determine factors limiting the distribution of species. The organisms I study are Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), a group of aquatic insects with quite high abilities to fly from one water body to another. In a metapopulation context, it is of interest to discover whether extremely high elevation ponds play a role of sink supplied through dispersal by lower elevation source ponds. I also study the adaptations of species at high elevations and the tradeoff between survival and reproductive success. I am using the CSCF database of Swiss odonate records (since 1970) to assess potential shifts in distribution range of species due to climate change.


Education and Professional Positions

2013 - 2016 Ph.D. Student, Graduate Program Evolutionary Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2009 - 2012 Master (Magister) of Ecology, University of Guelma, Algeria
2004 - 2009 Bachelor (Ingénieur) of Ecology, University of Guelma, Algeria

Selected Publications

  • Khelifa, R., Zebsa, R., Kahalerras, A., Mahdjoub, H., Moussaoui, A. (2013). Niche partitioning in three sympatric congeneric species of dragonfly (Orthetrum chrysostigma, O. coerulescens, and O. nitidinerve – Libellulidae: Odonata): importance of microhabitat. Journal of insect science 13:71.
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Amari H., Mellal MK. (2013). Does wind affect emergence site selection in odonata? African Entomology 21(2):383-387.
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Sekrane N., Youcefi A., Bensouilah S., Amari H. (2013). Long range movements of an endangered endemic damselfly Calopteryx exul Selys, 1853 (Calopterygidae: Odonata). African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12107
  • Khelifa R., Zebsa R., Kahalerras A., Laouar A., Mahdjoub H., Houhamdi M. (in press). Description of the final instar exuvia of Urothemis edwardsii Selys (Odonata: Liballulidae) with reference to its emergence site selection. Entomologia Generalis.
  • Khelifa R., Mahdjoub H., Zebsa R., Kahalerras A., Houhamdi M. (2013). Aspects of reproductive biology and behaviour of the regional critically endangered Urothemis edwardsii (Odonata: Libellulidae) of Lake Bleu (Algeria). Zoology and Ecology. DOI: 10.1080/21658005.2013.837265