The laboratory of “Ecology, Evolution, Symbiosis”, UMR 6556) located at the University of Poitiers is linked to the departments “Environment and Sustainable Development” (Environnement et Développement Durable) and “Life Sciences” (Sciences de la Vie) of the CNRS. The research activites of the laboratory are evaluated by Section 29 “Biodiversity, Evolution and Biological adaptations: from Macromolecules to Communities” (Biodiversité, Evolution et Adaptations Biologiques : des Macromolécules aux Communautés) of the National Committee of the CNRS. Research activities in our laboratory revolve around the general theme of host-parasite associations and, more specifically, we study interactions between isopod crustaceans and their intracellular bacteria Wolbachia.

The isopod A. vulgareWolbachia in oocyte cytoplasmA. vulgare nurse cells around an oocyteWolbachia bacteria are sometimes referred to as reproductive parasites because they are responsible for the feminization of their crustacean hosts, that is they are able to transform genetic males into functional females. Our laboratory develops an integrated analysis of the consequences of this phenomenon at functional, population and evolutionary levels. We coordinate the program EndoSymbArt “EndoSymbiosis in Arthropods” funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), which aims at deciphering the genetic, molecular and cellular bases that govern the dynamics and evolution of symbiosis. The laboratory is also involved in the program “Immune Genomics in Invertebrate Endosymbiosis” funded by the Centre National de Séquençage (Génoscope), which aims at identifying common and specific bases involved in the immune response of the host to transient or permanent microorganisms.

The laboratory also develops research projects on the use of crustaceans as bioindicators of the quality of continental environments (freshwaters, meadows, forests). We are involved in the European program of rural development Leader Plus, which aims at evaluating the quality of water and habitats in streams inhabited by white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes in western France. We also coordinate the european thematic network CRAYNET which aims at managing the european native crayfishes. These activities are funded by the Contrat de Projet Etat-Région 2007-2013 and, more specifically, is part of sections “Soil Functioning and Management”, “Biological Transformations”, “Quality of Water Resources” and “Superficial Waters”.

White-clawed crayfish

The isopod A. vulgare: T. Rigaud.
Wolbachia: UMR 6556.
White-clawed crayfish: D. Mertens in “Atlas préliminaire des Crustacés Décapodes d’eau douce de France”, Vigneux et al. eds. 1993.


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