SYSTE - Systematics and biogeography of extant and fossil plants


Our work aims to inventory extant and fossil plant biodiversity, to understand the underlying processes at its origin, and to help preserve biodiversity in a global change perspective.

Our work consists in (i) documenting taxa characteristic of areas and time periods of high ecological or evolutionary interest, (ii) defining their morpho-anatomical and ecological characteristics, (iii) identifying their biogeographical origin, and (iv) researching the processes underlying current and past plant biodiversity. For extant floras, the main families studied are Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae, Eriocaulaceae, Lauraceae, Orchidaceae, Piperaceae, Poaceae, Rhizophoraceae, Rubiaceae, Sapindaceae, Sapotaceae, and Urticaceae. This work tries to have an integrative approach, combining morphology, anatomy, architecture, phenology, ecology, distribution, and to rely on methods of numerical taxonomy, molecular biology, and niche modelling. Knowledge of the ecology and distribution of taxa enables the prediction of future distributions in response to ongoing climate change. Work on fossil plants focuses both on pre-angiosperm floras during warm periods in Earth's history (Paleozoic and early Mesozoic) and on the origin of extant vegetation (Cenozoic), with a focus on poorly sampled geographical areas.

Our work benefits from research infrastructures such as the herbaria (notably CAY, NOU curated by AMAP), the palaeobotanical collection of the University of Montpellier, and AMAP's histology technical platform (extant & fossil). The main geographical sites are the Mediterranean region, South America, Central Africa, Kenya and Madagascar, and New Caledonia for the current floras; North Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and New Caledonia for the fossil floras. The work is based on the exploitation of pre-existing collections, field missions to acquire additional material (naturalist expeditions, fossil deposit excavations) or databases of species occurrences, possibly coming from citizen sciences (see for example Pl@ntNet).

Acronym Title Duration
DECAQuelles modalités de récupération post crise Dévonien-Carbonifère ?
Project PI: Anne-Laure DECOMBEIX 
2021 - 2023
DiosAdaptÉvolution, adaptation et diversification des Diospyros de Nouvelle-Calédonie
Project PI: Ovidiu PAUN (Univ. Vienna)  
2022 - 2026
DOPAMICSDomestication and adaptation in Neotropical palms – a microevolutionary history
Project PI: Louise BROUSSEAU 
2022 - 2027
ERMinesEspèces végétales Rares et Menacées des sites miniers
Project PI: Gildas GATEBLE (IAC)  / David BRUY 
2019 - 2022
LWILife Without Ice
Project PI: Olivier DANGLES (IRD, UR 072)  / Sophie CAUVY-FRAUNIE (INRAE)  
2020 - 2026
NC-LauracSystematics of New Caledonian Lauraceae
Project PI: Jérôme MUNZINGER 
2016 - 2023
PaleoPARADEPaleozoic Tropical Plants from Ireland and France
Project PI: Anne-Laure DECOMBEIX / J. HARPER Carla (Trinity College Dublin)  
2021 - 2022
StRONgSaving threatened Rubiaceae and Orchidaceae from mining activities in the Ngovayang Massif Area (Southern Cameroon)
Project PI: Bonaventure SONKE (Université de Yaoundé 1 – LaBosystE)  
2021 - 2023
  • Germany : Université de Munich
  • Algéria : ENSA d’Alger ; Universités de Annaba, de Batna, de Béjaia, de M’Sila, de Mostaganem, de Tiaret, Tlemcen
  • Australia : Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation ; Sustainable Minerals Institute; Université du Queensland
  • Belgique : Institut Royal Sciences Naturelles ; Université Libre de Bruxelles, de Liège
  • Cameroon : Université de Yaoundé I
  • Spain : UICN-Méditerranée (Malaga) ; Université de Zaragosa
  • France : IMBE, univ. Aix-Marseille ; Institut Agronomique néo-Calédonien
  • Irak : Université de Duhok (Kurdistan)
  • Kenya : Kenya Forest Service ; Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute ; Musée national de Nairobi ; Université de Nairobi
  • United Kingdom : Kew Botanical Garden
  • Swenden : Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • Tunisia : INAT Tunis ; Université de Monastir
  • USA : Missouri Botanical Garden ; Université du Kansas