Fluctuating Evolution

I’m am currently working with Luis-Miguel Chevin on his ERC project on evolution in fluctuating environment, i.e. evolution happening in a context of spatio-temporally fluctuating selection. During this post-doc, I am in charge of two different projects.

Population genomics of Dunaliella sanila

As part of the project, samples of the halophile micro-algae Dunaliella salina were collected in the natural population of the saline marsh of Aigues Mortes, along a gradient of salinity. I will use Whole-Genome Pool Sequencing to analyse the genomes of these populations to:

  • Study demographic and genetic (gene flow, diversity, etc.) aspects of these populations
  • Investigate areas of the genome which could be involved in the adaptation to salinity
  • Possibly (genomic data from clones might be needed for that), study the clonality and sexual reproduction of this micro-algae.
Comparative analysis of fluctuating selection in the wild

In a large cooperative effort, I will gather a large number of datasets on wild populations monitored for several years, with information on a phenological trait and individual (female) fitness. The aim is:

  • to ask whether temporal variation in selection can be attributed to movements of an optimum phenotype (as assumed by most theoretical models, but rarely estimated directly); and,
  • to estimate the variance and temporal auto-correlation of this optimum when it exists (or of directional selection gradients when an optimum is not supported by the data), which directly relates to theoretical predictions about expected rate of adaptation and maladaptation in a fluctuating environment.

Previous post-doc in New Zealand: Predicting the adaptive potential of the hihi

Male HIhi

Male Hihi

A previous research project, in collaboration with Anna Santure and Patricia Brekke, on a New Zealand endemic passerine bird named Hihi (or Stitchbird, or Notiomystis cincta).

Hihi were once found over the whole North Island in New Zealand, but are now confined to a single island named Little Barrier. This surviving population was used as a source population for reintroduction in several predator-free reserves, among which is Tiritiri Matangi Island.

The aim of our project was to use long-term pedigree and high-throughput genomic information information available on the birds of Tiritiri Matangi to evaluate the evolutionary constraints weighting on the population, as well as its adaptive potential, especially in regards to climate change.

Publications are on their way.