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Franco-Chilean International Joint Unit on marine algae biodiversity

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A Franco-Chiliean Research Lab on Marine Algae Biodiversity

The CNRS, UPMC and two Chilean universities signed an agreement on March 17, 2014 creating a joint international unit (IMU)1 that will strengthen their cooperation in the field of ecology and evolutionary marine biology. Called EBEA, for "Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae", this new structure is centered on ecology, evolution and genomics of marine algae.

Part of the Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) of the CNRS and UPMC, EBEA is based at the Biological Station of Roscoff2 with mirror sites in two Chilean partner universities: the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUCCH)3 and Southern University of Chile (UACH)4. This is the third research unit established between the CNRS and Chile, EBEA builds on solid scientific collaboration that was initiated in 1997, and favored the emergence of a true "French school" in Chile on the ecology and evolutionary genetics of marine organisms.

From the Brittany coast to Chilean shores, the EBEA UMI's objective is to document the biodiversity of marine algae and to understand the ecological and evolutionary adaptation algae constraints. This will be done through examination of their modes of reproduction, genetic structure, and speciation processes, while taking into account the influence of the environment and human activities, particularly in the domestication of algae. The multidisciplinary approach will bring together researchers in ecology, evolution, population genetics, oceanography and phycology.

There are three areas of research defined between the Franco-Chilean partners:

- "Evolution of sexual reproduction and its consequences" will studied the influence of habitat heterogeneity on the evolution of reproductive mode, while theoretical models and experimental evolution approaches will examine the interaction between genetic factor and ecological evolution of the haploid and diploid phases of the algae lifecycle.

- "Speciation and adaptation: ecological and evolutionary aspects" focuses on the role of the reproductive system in the processes of adaptation and speciation. The genomics of population approaches will be implemented to test the predictions of speciation models.

- "Domestication, genetic resource management and environmental impacts" establishes the link with human activities, in a context of strong demand from the aquaculture sector.

In addition to improving the knowledge of marine ecology and evolutionary biology, the results will be useful for the management and conservation of biodiversity in coastal marine environments as well as in the development of aquaculture of algae.

The research unit will consist of 10 permanent staff , 6 PhD students and 4 postdocs.

It should be noted that in addition to numerous exchanges of students, researchers and academics, as well as co-publications and co-supervised theses, this Franco-Chilean cooperation will also have shared teaching between PUCCH and UPMC in the field biology and marine biodiversity.

The institutional cooperation for 20 years with Chile, and in particular with the CONICYT (National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research) who are the Chilean partners with the CNRS, has yeilded quality results of international standing. Co-publications, the number of theses in co-supervision, 3 PICS International Projects for Scientific Cooperation, the GDRI (international research groups) in Marine Biology, 3 LIA (international laboratory partnerships) and finally 3 joint internationa research units (IMU) also reflect the evolution of this cooperation and its structure.


1 Signatories: Alain Fuchs (Chairman of the CNRS), Jean Chambaz (UPMC President), Ignacio Sánchez Díaz (Rector of the PUCCH ) and Víctor Cubillos Godoy (Rector UACH).

2 EBEA UMI (Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae, CNRS/UPMC/PUCCH/UACH) Roscoff Biological Station, http://www.sb-roscoff.fr/Nouvelle fenêtre. CNRS and UPMC are part of Sorbonne University http://www.sorbonne-universites.fr/Nouvelle fenêtre

3 Sylvain Faugeron's Team

4 Marie -Laure Guillemin's Team


Researcher Contacts

CNRS l Myriam Valero, director of EBEA l Tel +33 2 98 29 23 28 l valero@sb-roscoff.fr

CNRS Press contact l Tel +33 1 44 96 51 51 l presse@cnrs-dir.fr

UPMC Press contact l Claire de Thoisy-Méchin l Tel: +33 1 44 27 23 34 l claire.de_thoisy-mechin@upmc.fr