My research focuses on mycorrhizal interaction, a symbiosis between the roots of over 90% plants and soil fungi. I use methods from molecular biology to study microbial populations and mycorrhizal communities, which are largely dominated by non-cultivable species.
The molecular identification of microorganisms has revolutionised our understanding of the diversity and evolution of these symbioses.
In addition, isotopic methods (natural abundance of the stable isotopes 13C and 15N) provide valuable markers for studying the nutrition of organisms, and more particularly the exchanges between plants and fungi in situ.
My work includes naturalist activity and expertise (botany, mycology). In studying mycorrhizal interaction, my collaborators and I address general questions about the ecology and evolution of symbioses, in particular those that create networks between individuals and different species.
Four major themes can be distinguished:
- Population genetics of mycorrhizal fungi (1994 - present), from the local (forest) to the global (inter-continental) scale; especially on the genus Laccaria, and more recently on species of the genera Amanita and Tuber.
- Ectomycorrhizal communities in Mediterranean and temperate forests (1998 - present), with a particular interest in their responses to climatic and anthropogenic disturbances, not only in taxonomic terms, but also more functionally, by measuring excreted enzymatic activities.
- Mycoheterotrophy (2000 - present), i.e. the biology of plants that use their mycorrhizal fungi as a source of carbon, either exclusively (complete mycoheterotrophy) or as a complement to their photosynthesis (so-called 'mixotrophic' green species). The identity of the associated fungi and the ecophysiology of these plants are studied in temperate and tropical regions, and interpreted in an evolutionary perspective.
- Mycorrhizae of orchids (2000 - present), in particular the nature of fungal partners (diversity, coevolution), the anatomy of the interaction and plant metabolism (see point 3), in tropical and temperate regions.
I am more generally interested in symbioses and their evolution in general, with a penchant for certain models, such as the hyper-diversity of the Sebacinales, or the Neottieae, a tribe of orchids with fascinating albino individuals. My research has recently focused on the Truffle, Tuber melanosporum.
But the adventure is collective - you will see in the authors of my articles the many collaborators without whom I could not work!
I am the editor of New Phytologist and associate editor of Symbiosis and Botany Letters and Ecology Letters but also to the magazine Species. I am a corresponding member of the French Academy of Agriculture.
I am President of the Botanical Society of France and Vice-President of theInternational Society for Symbiosis
I participate in the scientific committees of the French Orchid Society and Tela Botanica.
I actively teach at the Muséum and in various universities and grandes écoles AgroParisTech, Ecoles Normales supérieures de la rue d'Ulm (Paris) and Lyon. My courses cover plants, algae and fungi (from biology to ecology), interaction biology, and evolution - in the field as often as possible. In particular, I teach future teachers in biology-geology, especially in the preparation of ENS/ParisXI/MNHN. Finally, I am very involved in popularisation, through conferences, field trips, articles (see below), and books (below)
"La symbiose" Structures and functions, Ecological and evolutionary role (Editions Vuibert 2000).
"Never Alone", Marc-André Selosse, Francis Hallé, post-author (Actes sud nature)
"The Tastes and Colours of the World", Marc-André Selosse, Arnaud Rafaelian, illustrator (Actes sud nature)