Organismal evolution is deeply influenced by abiotic and biotic (interspecific) interactions. Such interactions operate at various levels : the level of organisms, the level of populations and resulting species, and the level of interspecific assemblages (symbioses in particular). By studying these various levels of interactions, our team investigates the diversity and evolutionary history of Embryophyta (the land plants) and Eumycota (the ‘true’ fungi). Our team also concentrates on interactions linking these two groups : beyond cases of parasitism or endophytism, we focus on mycorrhizae, a trophic symbiosis between plant roots and soil fungi that emerged multiple times during evolution.
We consider interactions and evolution at three nested scales :
- Organisms/environment interactions and adaptive evolution : we focus on traits related to morphology, physiology and ecophysiology of land plants and fungi. The role of the extended phenotype is acknowledged, especially with the mycorrhizal interaction. We study the ecological roles and potential adaptive dimension of these traits for our model taxa.
- The evolutionary result is studied in terms of speciation : our population analyses, with the help of previous investigations, aim to delineate species and to understand the role of geographic or ecological isolation, of hybridization and of introgression in speciation. At this scale, we combine population genetics and phylogenetic reconstructions.
- At a larger scale, we concentrate on macroevolution : we integrate ecological and phylogenetic approaches to provide scenarios of evolution and spatiotemporal diversification for our model taxa. This includes the assembling of communities of land plants and/or fungi, but also biogeography and coevolution (e.g. of mycorrhizal symbiosis).
Our approach is deliberately functional and naturalistic and is based on strong expertise in botany and mycology (including taxonomy). We also have an experimental approach (experimental disturbance, studies in common gardens or in micro- or mesocosms), and we valorise the resources of the Paris National Herbarium (Herbarium Parisiense). We share common tools : study of (micro)morphology, architectural analysis and modelling, molecular markers, population genetics, phylogenetic reconstruction and use of stable isotopes as markers of metabolism.
We want to increase knowledge of botanical (sensu lato) diversity and the biology of interactions in the context of a growing biological crisis, in order to provide tools to "taxonomy users" and managers of natural environments (ecologists, conservation biologists, reserve managers, etc.). We also interact with students by way of our numerous teaching courses, and we are engaged in introducing science to wider audiences.
Main models : Mosses and Hepatics ; Ferns and Lycophytes ; Angiosperms (Orchids and Ericaceae mainly) ; Basidiomycetes (Cantharellales, Russulales and Sebacinales mainly, genus Laccaria) ; Ascomycetes (genus Tuber).
Main geographic zones : Malagasy region ; Africa ; New Caledonia ; Caribbean islands, French Guyana and tropical Brazil ; paleo-temperate zone and Mediterranean Basin.