Diversification and adaptation in the islands of the Indian Ocean
Displaying large environmental gradients at small spatial scale, oceanic islands of the Indian Ocean appear as exceptional systems for understanding processes of plant diversification and adaptation. By studying several tree species of these islands, including Coffea mauritiana endemic to Reunion island, we intend to: (i) investigate population divergence and local adaptation processes; (ii) assess the impact of past climatic events on the tree species demography and their ecological niche, and (iii) predict the response of tree populations to environmental change.
Seed maturation and drying tolerance
Using system biology approaches, we aim at deciphering the maturation program of coffee and palm seeds. The combination of multilevel Omics approaches we master (allele-specific expression, gene co-expression networks, coupled transcript-metabolite analyses) and of those we are currently implementing (analysis of alternative splicing and protein variants) will enable to get a precise picture of regulatory mechanisms governing key traits such as seed chemical content and seed desiccation tolerance.
Underexplored chemical diversity
We also dedicate our research activities to the study of underutilized Tropical and Mediterranean tree resources, e.g. therapeutic isoprenoid biosynthesis in Coffea mauritiana seeds and leaves, lipid metabolism in developing argan seeds, mannan accumulation in coffee seeds.
Coffea Biological Resource Center & technological platforms
In addition to the above research activities, the team is in charge of the Biological Resources Centre for Coffea species, as well as of the analytical chemistry platform shared between DIADE and PHIM units. We also pursues applied research on seed conservation technologies and is involved in the ARCAD technological platform dedicated to cryopreservation of genetic resources.
Research programs since 2015
Dormpalm - Deciphering the dormancy of palm seeds. Funding PalmElit Ltd.
CafeDiv - Genetic, chemical and functional diversity of Coffea mauritiana in Reunion Island. Funding FEDER (UE, Région Réunion) & 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.
CoffeeSeedNet - Genomic study of seed dessiccation tolerance. Funding IRD & EMBO.
Dessical - Seed desiccation sensitivity among New-Caledonian endemic flora. Funding GOPS & MOM.
QuerMed - Functional diversity of Mediterranean oak seeds and adaptation to environmental stress. Funding INRGREF (Tunisie) & IRD.
GermPalm - Conservation biology and germination of oil palm seeds. Funding PalmElit Ltd.
CryoPalm - Cryopreservation of oil palm genetic resources. Funding PalmElit Ltd.
Argan - Lipid metabolism in argan oilseeds. Funding Université d’Oran & IRD.
VitaPalm - Molecular determinants of vitamin E and provitamin A contents in palm oil. Funding PalmElit Ltd.
Analytical chemistry: Among the Genetrop technical platform shared between DIADE and PHIM 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)
Groupement d'Intérêt Public Cyclotron Réunion Océan Indien (CYROI), La Réunion
Institut National de Recherches en Génie Rural, Eaux et Forêts (INRGREF), Tunisia
Institut National des Recherches Agricoles (INRAB), Benin
PalmElit Ltd, France
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE), Ecuador.
Université de La Réunion, Cirad La Réunion
Université d’Oran, Algeria