1 : Is there a hybrid zone between the bats Myotis crypticus and M. nattereri in Switzerland ?

Manuel Ruedi

Topic :

  • Speciation
  • Phylogeography

Summary :

The bat Myotis nattereri in Europe has been shown to be a complex of several independent species. One of these cryptic lineages was described as a new species (M. crypticus) with a presumed distribution centred on Western Europe. More recent studies suggest that this new taxon and M. nattereri might hybridize in the parts of this range, including Switzerland, but no firm data confirm this interpretation. Using a series of various nuclear DNA markers in areas of potential sympatry of these two taxa, we aim to clarify this taxonomic situation by quantifying the level of gene flow between those two bats.

 

2 : Systematics of the Lepidoptera, Pyralidae, Crambinae, Argyriini using morphology and DNA barcoding. Is Urola Walker a valid genus ?

Bernard Landry

Topic :

  • Phylogenetics
  • Taxonomy

Summary :

The Argyriini is a New World group comprising 41 species in two genera, Argyria (38 species) and Urola (3 species). The project would consist in examining the phylogenetic relationships of some of the species of the two genera using morphological and DNA barcode data. New species will need to be described.

 

3 : Diversity and phylogenetics of microphallid trematodes of birds from Iran.

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Biodiversity
  • Evolution

Summary :

The goal is to identify the species of microphallids present in this birds and describe the species that are new to science using molecular, morphological and ecological approaches.

 

4 : What’s the impact of hermaphroditism? Infrapopulation genetic diversity of helminthes.

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Evolutionary ecology

Summary :

Our understanding of the frequency of outcrossing versus self-fertilisation in populations of hermaphroditic parasites is mostly abstent despite they include medically important parasites. The aim of this project is to shade the first light by using wide genomic data.

 

5 : Diversity, life cycles and distribution of trematodes of snails in Swiss lakes.

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecology

Summary :

The goal of this project is to characterise with molecular and morphological data the diversity and distribution of larval stages of trematodes in selected Swiss lakes. This project is part of a wider European initiative to set baseline data to monitore changes in parasite communites due to climate change.

 

6 : Do small hydropower plants alter host-parasite dynamics and parasite genetic diversity in alpine streams ?

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Molecular ecology

Summary :

The objective is to evaluate how interrupted connectivity between populations of hosts in small alpine streams affects the population dynamics and genetic structure of parasite populations. This project will be run in collaboration with scientists at the institute EAWAG.

 

7 : Parasites as food: the role of mussels as cleaners of free-living parasite stages in lakes.

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Ecology

Summary :

Larval parasite stages represent a large biomass in freshwater ecosystems which turns into food for non-host organisms. This project will evaluate the power of mussels as potential biocontrol organisms of blooms of parasite larvae in the water.

 

8 : Ecosystem health indicators: parasite community ecology of the Eurasian minow and/or European bullhead in streams.

Isabel Blasco-Costa

Topic :

  • Ecology

Summary :

A healthy ecosystem is the one with a high diversity of species which interactions autoregulate their populations. Parasites contribute to such diversity and autoregulation by mediating the interactions among free-living species. The project will characterise the parasite populations in two sentinel fish species that are common in our rivers to establish their use as monitoring tools.

 

9 : Phylogeography and evolution of the threatened hygrophilous beetle Carabus variolosus in western Europe.

Emmanuel Toussaint

Topic :

  • Phylogeography

Summary :

Among the hyperdiverse genus Carabus (>1000 species), one species is particularly remarkable because it is the only hygophilous lineage in the group. This beetle is found along pristine streams and rivers where it hunts, reproduces and hide and its habitat is currently under considerable threat due to antrhopogenic activities. The geographical and genetic structure of this species across its distribution range in Europe (France to Ukraine) are of prime interest to understand the evolutionary history of this species but also establish a conservation policy to ensure the survival of populations across Europe. The goal of this study is to produce maps of distribution, use niche modelling to understand past, current and future available niches for this species in Europe, and investigate the level of genetic structure among populations using capture methods allowing to produce genomic data from museum collection specimens.

 

10 : Phylogeography and evolution of east African highland plateau Calosoma (Carabophanus) ground beetles.

Emmanuel Toussaint

Topic :

  • Phylogeography

Summary :

The subgenus Calosoma (Carabophanus) comprises four species endemic to the Ethiopian highland plateaus. These species are morphologically highly derived and their evolutionary ties within the genus Calosoma are unknown. We propose to study the phylogeography of these species using capture methods allowing to use both fresh material but also museum collection specimens to build a comprehensive genomic dataset. This data will be used to test species boundaries, investigate population structure and phylogeographical patterns across the rugged landscapes of east African mountains.

 

11 : Phylogeography and evolution of alpine Carabus (Platycarabus) ground beetles.

Emmanuel Toussaint

Topic :

  • Phylogeography

Summary :

The subgenus Carabus (Platycarabus) comprises fives species distributed across the Alps with one ultra-endemic species in Piemont and one widespread species found across Europe. We propose to study the speciation processes in this group in link with glaciation periods and in the context of mountain phylogeography. A comprehensive genomic dataset will be assembled to conduct species delimitation anlayses in a coalescent framework. We will study the genomic structure of populations within these lineages and test for the potential signature of glaciation periods at the population level.

 

12 : New fossils of coelacanths from the Cretaceous of Lebanon: implication for understanding the evolutionary history of these “living fossil” fishes.

Lionel Cavin

Topic :

  • Paleontology

Summary :

The objectives are 1) to study a couple of rare fossils of coelacanths discovered in the Cretaceous of Lebanon; 2) to resolve the phylogenetic position of this species among actinistans and; 3) to understand its impact in the evolutionary history of the clade.

 

13 : Taxonomy and phylogeny of genus Megarthrus (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae Proteininae) from the Nyungwe Forest, Rwanda

Giulio Cuccodoro & Emmanuel Toussaint

Topic :

  • Biodiversity
  • Evolution

Summary :

The Museum’s collection contains 12 species of Megarthrus collected from the Nyungwe Forest (Rwanda), seven of which are new to science. The masters’ project consists of describing them (morphological approach) and identifying their systematic position within a broader phylogeny of the genus (molecular approach).

 

14 : Molecular systematics of the Crimson-crowned Fruit-dove.

Alice Cibois

Topic :

  • Evolution
  • Biogeography
  • Phylogenetics

Summary :

A previous study showed that one species of tropical fruit-dove endemic to the Pacific Ocean, the Crimson-crowned Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus), might not be monophyletic in its current definition. The goal of the study is to decipher the phylogenetic relationships of the different populations using additional samples and new molecular characters.

 

15 : Identification of the dark biodiversity along the Alpine altitudinal gradient using metagenomic approaches: the case of Collembola and Mites.

Nadir Alvarez

Topic :

  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Biodiversity

Summary :

Soil organisms play a fundamental role in the functioning of ecosystems by participating in the recycling of organic matter. More difficult to identify than surface organisms, underground biota are still largely unknown, and many species remain to be discovered, earning them the name dark biodiversity. While a decline in species richness along the altitude has been observed in a majority of taxa living above or on the soil surface, recent studies indicate that the response of some soil organisms, notably nematodes, is following an inverse trend. However, altitudinal biodiversity gradients remain totally unexplored for some groups that make up dark biodiversity, such as springtails and mites. Using metagenomic tools, this project aims to characterize the taxonomic composition of subterranean communities on multiple altitudinal gradients across the Alpine arc, and to understand how environmental gradients contribute to the structuring and diversification of dark biodiversity at the landscape scale. Study of the dark biodiversity along the Alpine altitudinal gradient using metagenomic approaches: the case of Collembola and Mites.

In co-supervision with Camille Pitteloud.

 

16 : Population dynamics of three species of insects bioindicators from aquatic environments throughout the 20th century in Switzerland, based on museomics applied to collection specimens.

Nadir Alvarez

Topic :

  • Population Genomics
  • Museomics

Summary :

Insect species belonging to the orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera are known to be bioindicators of aquatic environments, commonly known by the abbreviation EPT. During the 20th century, anthropic activities have particularly impacted these habitats: destruction of natural river beds, pollution, temperature change, etc. These rapid changes have certainly had an impact on the insect populations associated with these environments. Thanks to new DNA capture methods (e.g. HyRAD) it is now possible to access genetic information from historical specimens sampled since the beginning of the 20th century and preserved in museum collections. The study of these samples at the scale of Switzerland, in 3 EPT species that are particularly well represented in terms of spatial and temporal series, will make it possible to directly trace back the dynamics of their populations, quantifying the decline in their genetic diversity, the size of their effective population and estimating the evolution of their genetic structure over time.

In co-supervision with Jeremy Gauthier and Inés Carrasquer.

 

17 : Genetic structuring and dispersal in three species of Lycaenid butterflies associated with ants, at different spatial scales.

Nadir Alvarez

Topic :

  • Population Genomics
  • Phylogeography

Summary :

A large number of species of butterflies in the family Lycaenidae have the particularity of being associated with ants. Their caterpillars are taken over by the ants, taken to the nest where they are fed or where they do feed directly from the brood. The dispersal capacities of these species can be linked to different factors such as the presence of the environment to which they are associated and the presence of their specific ants. The aim of the project is to compare different species of Lycaenidae, with different dependency levels to ants, and to study whether this association implies constraints in terms of dispersal and isolation. This study will be carried out on two scales: (i) on a European scale by comparing 10 species of Lycaenidae using phylogeographic approaches and (ii) on a local scale for 3 rare species of the genus Phengaris, in order to finely assess the genetic structuring and gene flows between different localities.

In co-supervision with Jeremy Gauthier.

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