Theme SYSTE - Plant systematics and biogeography


Successful preservation depends on a good knowledge of biodiversity. Our work concerns the systematics and distribution of botanical species. We focus on mega-diversified tropical and Mediterranean regions under strong human pressure. Thanks to its overseas departments and territories, France hosts a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity, and has an obligation to know and protect it. Thanks to its geopolitical history, France also has strong experience in tropical and Mediterranean botany and has an obligation to transmit it to her foreign partners.

Scientific objectives

  •  To supply local partners with a better knowledge of their floras for their improved management;
  •  To search for the origins and diversification processes of the flora concerned;
  •  To develop methods and local expertise for the in situ and ex situ (seed bank, shadehouses) preservation of rare or threatened species;
  •  To train local staff in research and naturalistic expertise (trainer training, co-supervision of students, etc.).


Acquiring knowledge on floras and their origin at different geographical sites in Africa (the south Mediterranean rim and Central Africa), South-East Asia (Laos, Indonesia), North Africa and the Middle East, South America (French Guiana) and the Pacific (New Caledonia). Modern systematics (integrated morphometry and molecular approach) can also be applied here for the description of taxa, the study of their distribution, and the evaluation of their conservation status. We develop tools for the management of botanical data as well as for species identification (Pl@ntnet project) and a more fundamental biogeographical approach to the understanding of the origin of the floras. This research relies mainly on herbarium collections in Cayenne (CAY), Nouméa (NOU) and Montpellier (MPU).

Expected results

Our research produces new knowledge for the users and administrators of the floras concerned. Some groups (Alliaceae, Cupressaceae, Fabaceae, Hyacinthaceae, Lamiaceae, Lauraceae, Orchidaceae, Rubiaceae, Sapindaceae, Sapotaceae) are both particularly problematic and important for these regions.

Scientific projects

Acronym Title Duration
CHRONICKLe chrome et le nickel dans les sols de Nouvelle-Calédonie: Influence des forçages environnementaux et humains sur la biodisponibilité et la mobilité vers la ressource en eau2019 - 2022
MIKOKOMikoko: Conservation and resilience of Kenya’s mangrove forests2019 - 2021
SAOTHREATFLORACharacterization of the Threatened Flora of São Tomé and Príncipe2019 - 2021
ERMINESEspèces végétales Rares et Menacées des sites miniers2019 - 2022
COMALOLong-term conservation of the most threatened Malagasy orchids2019 - 2020
IDROPimagerie Intelligente par DRone pour la gestion des écosystèmes forestiers trOPicaux2018 - 2021
FUNBIOMEPlant FUNctional BIOgeography in the MEditerranean2017 - 2019
OSSICULUMOssiculum, a monotypic flagship genus for orchid conservation in Central Africa2017 - 2018
CONAFRO IIIDéveloppement d'un Centre régional de formation et mise en place d’une banque de graines à l'Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroun2017 - 2017
CURCOLEC-ACCuration, gestion et développement des collections écologiques liées au réseau de parcelles permanentes d'Afrique centrale2017 - 2019
NC-LAURACSystematics of New Caledonian Lauraceae2016 - 2020
CONAFROComparative seed biology and the conservation of Central African orchids in Cameroon2015 - 2016
CONAFRO IIComparative seed biology and the future of orchid conservation in Central Africa, with a particular emphasis on the genus Cyrtorchis Schltr. 2014 - 2018
PHYLOGUIANASBiogeography and pace of diversification in the Guiana Shield2013 - 2016
E-RECOLNATValorisation de 350 ans de collections d'histoire naturelle : une plateforme numérique pour l'environnement et la société2013 - 2019
AFRANGROTaxonomic revision and phylogenetic analysis of continental African angraecoid Orchidaceae2011 - 2016
SSP-SAPINDSystematics of South Pacific Sapindaceae2009 - 2019

Major publications

All major publications 2019
  • Delprete, P. G., 2015. Typification and etymology of Aublet’s Rubiaceae names. Taxon, 64 (3) : 595-624. [Editor link]
  • Martin R., Véla E., Ouni R., 2015. Orchidées de Tunisie. Bulletin de la Société Botanique du Centre-Ouest, n° spécial 44 : 159 p.
  • Sonké B., Bidault E., Droissart V., 2015. Taxonomic revision of the genus Massularia (Rubiaceae, Gardenieae), with a new species from Central Africa. Phytotaxa, 203 (3) : 263-270. [Editor link]
  • Pierre, A.-H., Le Moguédec, G., Lowry II, P.P., Munzinger, J., 2014. Multivariate morphometric analysis and species delimitation in the endemic New Caledonian genus Storthocalyx (Sapindaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 176 (2) : 127-146. [Editor link]
  • Munzinger, J., Lowry II, P.P., Callmander, M. W., Buerki, S., 2013. A taxonomic revision of the endemic New Caledonian genus Podonephelium Baill. (Sapindaceae). Systematic Botany, 38 (4) : 1105-1124. [Editor link]

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