Thierry Robert

Position: Lecturer
Detailed position: U-PSUD Lecturer

Team: Plant diversity and evolution

Contact details:
Laboratoire Écologie, Systématique et Évolution – IDEEV
Bureau 2224 Bât. 680 – 12, route 128
91190 Gif Sur Yvette

Tel: +33 (0)1 69 15 79 89

Fax:  +33 (0)1 69 15 46 97

Email: thierry.robert (at)

Laboratoire Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution

Research interests

My research interests focus on genetic bases and evolutionary drivers of plant adaptation to local environment. African domesticated crops, wild species in the Kerguelen Archipelago (Ranunculus sp. and Lyallia kerguelensis) and in the Alps (Juniper) are the plant models I study. The approaches I used are population genetics and quantitative genetics methods in an interdisciplinary framework (collaboration with anthropologists, geographers, glaciologists, microbiologists)

Current researches

–  I examine the relationships between global changes and crop diversity, with a special focus on pearl millet and Bambara ground nut in the Sahelian region. Global changes lead to a modification of farming practices in extensive agricultural systems in Sahel. This situation raises fundamental issues on how these changes affect patterns and evolutionary dynamics of genetic variability, and how it may fuel thoughts about conservation of plant genetics resources at the farm level. More recently we revealed a relationship between ethno-linguistic diversity on the west side Lake Chad Basin and patterns of pearl millet and Bambara groundnut genetic variability. Efficient seed flow between ethno-linguistic groups is limited because of the strong attachment to their own varieties.

– How microevolutionary processes may promote ecological speciation? This major issue is studied on two closely related Ranunculus species in the Kerguelen islands, which offer a wide range of environmental conditions. Population genetic structure of these two species is assessed in order to infer their demographic history taking into account hypotheses on the recent past dynamics of ice coverage on the archipelago. The occurrence of genetic introgression between both species will be tested using NGS-derived markers. The contribution of environmental variables (including microorganisms communities involved in nitrogen and phosphorous cycles) to limiting gene flow between populations will be estimated as a first step to evaluate the possibility of on-going ecological speciation.


  • Plant population genetics
  • interdisciplinarity
  • Demographic history
  • Ecological speciation
  • Sahelian region ; Kerguelen archipelago