The Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS-UT3 ” Evolution & Biological Diversity” (EDB) was created in 2003 and is today an internationally recognised group of excellence in both fundamental and applied aspects of biodiversity research, and the study of ecology and evolution of biodiversity is its central theme of research. It was awarded the highest grade in the CNRS Research Assessment in 2002, 2006, and again in 2010 (A+). EDB is part of the Faculty of Sciences within the University of Toulouse 3. This Faculty comprises several major institutes and centres that are affiliated to CNRS, INRA, and INSERM and form one of the main training centres for biological and ecological sciences in France. Research in units that are affiliated to research organizations is supported financially by core budgets from these organisations and by additional grants from France and EU government bodies, industry and charities. The University of Toulouse 3 has important links with other European universities and industry. Worldwide research contacts and overseas partnerships have led to UT3’s international reputation for world-class research and teaching. EDB has active molecular, ecological, and population genetics groups, and it aims collectively to describe and quantify observed biodiversity patterns, to explain the underlying ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that lead to the origination and maintenance of biological diversity, and to predict the consequences of global change on these mechanisms using a combination of field and laboratory studies. Specifically, EDB conducts biodiversity inventories from the level of clades to populations within biodiversity hotspots (including Madagascar, Réunion Island, and surrounding islands), performs studies combining phylogenetic reconstruction and evolutionary ecology to study adaptive radiations and to
understand how the environment has shaped species assemblages through time, and phylogeographic studies to interpret the history of populations. EDB has active collaborations in Europe and the USA and participates to European projects. It has also set up agreements for research and training with Universities in Madagascar, Brazil, Réunion, Cambodia, China and the US (Berkeley).
Christophe Thébaud, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UT3 since 2000, is Deputy-Director of EDB. Christophe has published 31 papers in ISI recognized journals including 2 in Science and 1 in PNAS. He was nominated to the CNRS Panel 29 in 2008 and is President of the French Ecological Society since 2009.
OTHER TEAM MEMBERS
Jérôme Chave currently leads the research group “Evolutionary and Ecological Diversification” consisting of three Professors, including C.Thébaud, 11 lecturers, three CNRS researchers, two postdoctoral researchers and nine PhD students. Jérôme Chave has published more than 70 papers in ISI recognized journals, including 5 in Nature and Science. He is Associate Editor of Ecology Letters, was awarded the Bronze Medal of the CNRS (awarded to ca. 30 outstanding young CNRS scientists yearly), and iscurrently the Scientific Director of the CNRS Nouragues (French Guyane) Research Station.
At the heart of Christophe and Jérôme’s research interest is an understanding of how ecological and evolutionary processes combine to determine the changes in biodiversity through space and time. Five outstanding questions they seek to answer are: (i) Why do some geographical regions contain many more species than others? (ii) Why do some lineages of organisms contain more species than others? (iii) How do species originate in regions rich in species? (iv) Are cryptic species (i.e. species that impossible to disinguish morphologically), more common than currently thought? (v) How does such cryptic or ‘hidden’ biodiversity affect conservation priorities?