DIversité - Adaptation - DEveloppement des plantes

Evolution and adaptation of tropical trees to environmental stress                                            

Tropical forests are increasingly exposed to new environmental constraints due to the current climate change (increase of mean temperatures, modification of precipitation patterns, increased incidence and length of drought periods). Understanding potential adaptation of forest tropical species to climate change remains a major challenging issue for biodiversity preservation of natural ecosystems. However, it remains difficult to foresee the consequences of climate change and to predict its effect on plant species and populations without a detailed knowledge of their mechanisms of stress response and adaptation in changing environments. We are currently carrying out different projects which address these issues though integrative approaches.

Genome structure and functioning

The recent increase in knowledge of tropical plant species genomes and high-throughput transcriptome sequencing has allowed a more in-depth and global analysis of mechanisms of plant adaptation to their environment. We have multiple projects that study the difference of gene expression as a source of phenotypic variation in the context of polyploidy and interspecific hybridisation.                                                                                                                                            

Metabolism, physiology and ecology of tropical seeds

In most flowering plant species, seeds are in a dry quiescent state at maturity, which enables them to survive adverse environmental conditions after dispersal and long-term storage in seed banks. However, numerous tropical plants produce non-orthodox seeds, i.e. short-lived desiccation-sensitive seeds. These are major constraints for small-scale farmers, seed companies and genebanks in charge of the maintenance of the genetic resources of these species which comprise numerous tropical crops that play a major economic and social role in both Western and developing countries. Furthermore, in the context of climate change, seed desiccation sensitivity is a key functional trait that may affect plant survival and, therefore, vegetation composition in perturbed ecosystems.

Our research projects aims at deciphering seed maturation program and metabolism in those species and identifying the molecular bases of seed desiccation sensitivity. We are also interested in the ecological consequences of seed desiccation sensitivity.

Research programs since 2015

CafeDiv - Genetic, chemical and functional diversity of Coffea mauritiana in Reunion Island. Funding FEDER (UE, Région Réunion) et MESR.

˜GenomeHarvest - Mobilizing biomathematics/bioinformatics and genomics/genetics to decipher genome organization and dynamics as pathways to crop improvement. Funding ANR.

˜Matura - Functional plasticity associated with polyploidy. Genomic study of seed maturation processes in an allo-tetraploid species (Coffea arabica). Funding IRD.

˜PalmOmix - Decoupling the roles of pre-Colombian human impacts and adaptation to natural climatic variations in driving evolution of hyperdominant Palms in Amazonia: a historical genOmics test-of-concept. Funding IRD et Agropolis.

˜CoffeeSeedNet - Genomic study of seed dessiccation tolerance. Funding IRD et EMBO.

˜Dessical - Seed desiccation sensitivity among New-Caledonian endemic flora. Funding GOPS et MOM.

˜QuerMed - Functional diversity of Mediterranean oak seeds and adaptation to environmental stress. Funding INRGREF (Tunisie) et IRD.

˜GermPalm - Conservation biology and germination of oil palm seeds. Funding PalmElit SAS.

˜CryoPalm - Cryopreservation of oil palm genetic resources. Funding PalmElit SAS.

˜Argan  - Lipid metabolism in argan oilseeds. Funding Université d’Oran et IRD.

˜VitaPalm - Molecular determinants of vitamin E and provitamin A contents in palm oil. Funding PalmElit SAS.


Analytical chemistry: Among the Genetrop technical platform shared between DIADE and IPME research units, the team is in charge of methods and instruments dedicated to lipid chemistry.

˜Centre ARCAD (Agropolis Resource Center for Crop Conservation, Adaptation and Diversity): Our team is involved in the ARCAD technological platform dedicated to cryopreservation of genetic resources. (ARCAD Project Website)

˜CRB Coffea : Our team is involved in the conservation of Coffea biodiversity and is in charge of the Biological Resources Center for Coffea species. (CRB Coffea Website)


UMRs AGAP AMAP CEFE  LEEISA PVBMT, Montpellier Guyana La Réunion

Institut National des Recherches Agricoles (INRAB), Bénin

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones de Café (Cénicafé), Colombia

Groupement d'Intérêt Public Cyclotron Réunion Océan Indien (CYROI), La Réunion

Institut Agronomique néo Calédonien (IAC), New Caledonia

Université d’Oran, Algéria

Institut National de Recherches en Génie Rural, Eaux et Forêts (INRGREF), Tunisia



Research from the team
ADVENS team publications
Team members
Permanent and temporary staff