Laurent Vuataz

<i>Research interests</i> | PhD Project | <i>Curriculum Vitae</i>

<i>Research interests</i>

I am particularly attracted to the study of freshwater ecosystems, one of the most threatened natural resources on Earth.

PhD Project

The goal of my PhD research is to test different DNA-based methods of species delimitation using a newly created database of specimens and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences of ca. 1800 individuals of 50 species of mayflies (Insecta: Ephemeroptera). As a result, a consistent, accurate and stable taxonomy of two different mayfly faunas from contrasting biogeographical regions will be obtained: the Rhithrogena of the Alps and multiple genera of Heptageniidae of Madagascar.
  • The Rhithrogena of the Alps is a highly diverse (ca. 30 species) and quite recent fauna that is thought to have underwent speciation during the recolonisation of the Alps after the last glaciation. They have been morphologically well studied but the delimitation of the species is still very problematic.
  • The Heptageniidae of Madagascar are virtually unknown. Compared with the Alps, this is a very old fauna that has probably evolved in isolation for million years.

The sequence database will constitute our reference taxonomic system on which different grouping methods will be applied to delineate putative species. The ability of the process to recover the species will be tested by examining congruence with morphological and geographical data from the described Rhithrogena species, including type localities. Hence we propose an alternative to DNA barcoding in which a priori (and potentially incorrect) entities represent the reference taxonomic system with which short mitochondrial sequences are compared.
Once collected, our data will be applied to a comprehensive study of mayfly macroecology, population genetics and speciation to identify key species and habitats for conservation.


<i>Curriculum Vitae</i>

Born on July 07, 1980 in Vevey, Switzerland.

2007 - 

PhD Thesis «Large-Scale DNA sequencing in taxonomy and conservation: a case study with the mayfly family Heptageniidae (Ephemeroptera) in the Alps and Madagascar» under the supervision of Dr. Michel Sartori (Museum of Zoology, Lausanne, Switzerland) in collaboration with Dr. Luca Fumagalli (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) and Dr Michael T. Monaghan (Natural History Museum, London, UK).

Diploma thesis «Asynchronisme du cycle de vie d'Ecdyonurus helveticus Aeton (Ephemeroptera:Heptageniidae)» under the supervision of Dr. Olivier Glaizot (Museum of Zoology, Lausanne, Switzerland).

2000 - 2004

Undergraduate studies in Biology with specialisation in zoology, ecology and botany, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


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Member of Fumagalli group
Under the supervision of Dr. Michel Sartori, director of the Museum of zoology, Lausanne