Biodiversity patterns in Mediterranean coralligenous outcrops


Jean-Baptiste Ledoux

Jean-Baptiste Ledoux is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut de Ciencies del Mar. During his PhD thesis, he took part in the conservation biology of the shallow populations of the Mediterranean red coral, Corallium rubrum. Fascinated by evolutionary biology, he developed an approach combining population genetics and experimental ecology to address three main issues. First, he described the pattern of neutral genetic diversity over the Western Mediterranean Basin showing that these populations are structured through isolation by distance. Then, he focused on the population biology of the species demonstrating that reproductive units are spatially restricted and composed by kin related individuals. The last part of his thesis was focused on the impact of divergent selection on the diversity of the red coral. Using reciprocal transplant and in situ common garden experiments, he showed that populations could be adapted to their local environment. In the context of Mediterranean warming, these results provided original tools and data to improve conservation and management plans of the red coral. Moreover, Jean-Baptiste’s thesis contributes to improve our knowledge regarding the biology of marine sessile species with larval phase. 
Collaborating with different members of the team, Jean-Baptiste is currently involved in various projects focused on the conservation and ecology of gorgonians species. These projects range from inferences of demographic parameters through the study neutral genetic variations to characterization of genotype by environment interactions to look for selective processes at stake in these organisms.