From left to right: Olivier Mazet, Lounès Chikhi, Guillaume Besnard and Ute Radespiel.

The project  involves four European Institutions:

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC)
, Oeiras, Portugal – PI: Lounès Chikhi

The project coordinator, Lounès Chikhi, is a senior researcher (Directeur de Recherche) at the CNRS. He is PI of the Population and Conservation Genetics group at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) since 2005 and member of the EDB (Evolution & Diversité Biologique) lab, where he teaches a Masters course since 2002. He has played a significant role in setting up a research structure (LIA, International Associated Laboratory) between the IGC and EDB, hence favouring exchange of students and setting up collaborations. He has collaborated with UR for over ten years and with GB and OM for over three years, co-supervising several Masters and a PhD student. He has been working in Madagascar since 2005 collaborating with the Universities of Antananarivo, Mahajanga and Antsiranana developing collaboration protocols with all three Universities. He has trained eight Malagasy Masters students, one of which obtained a Masters degree in Toulouse and an internship in the IGC. This student is now doing a PhD in the Comoros. He spends one month every year in Madagascar since 2008.


IGC Team members:

  • Gabriele  Sgarlata (PhD Student)
  • Barbara Le Pors (Field Technician)
  • Adam Marques (Laboratory Technician)
  • Barbara Parreira (Post-Doc)
  • Simon Boitard (Researcher – Collaborator)


Institute of Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine (TiHo), Hannover, Germany – PI: Prof. Ute Radespiel

Ute Radespiel is a senior lecturer (Außerplanmäßige Professorin) at the Institute of Zoology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, Germany (TiHo Hanover). She has a 22-year working experience on lemurs in Madagascar with particular emphasis on questions of their behavioural ecology, conservation genetics, and biogeography. She is heading the genetics lab in Hanover and has a long-term collaboration with many Malagasy partners (since 1995) and with the coordinator (since 2003). The Malagasy partner from the University of Mahajanga (Dr. Romule Rakotondravony) is also acting as sub-contractor in this project. The collaboration with the Malagasy partners is formalized in an official collaboration agreement between the TiHo, two Malagasy Universities (Antananarivo, Mahajanga) and the Malagasy authority for the management of national parks (MNP). Further relevant collaboration partners include Prof. Elke Zimmermann, Prof. Klaus Jung, and Dr. Julia Metzger from the TiHo Hannover, Shawn Lehman PhD (University of Toronto, Canada), Prof. Hermann Behling (Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany), Planet Madagascar, and Operation Wallacea.


TiHo Team members:

  • Frederik Kiene (PhD Student)
  • Malcolm Ramsay (PhD Student)
  • Bertrand Andriatsitohaina (PhD Student)
  • Helena Teixeira (PhD Student)
  • Sebastian Wöhle (Technician)


Evolution et Diversité Biologique laboratoire (EDB), Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France – PI: Guillaume Besnard

Guillaume Besnard is a senior researcher (Chargé de Recherche 1st class) at the CNRS, in the EDB Lab (Evolution & Diversité Biologique, Toulouse University). He has worked on plant phylogeny and plant population genetics for 20 years (especially on the olive domestication and phylogeography, and C3-C4 photosynthetic transitions in grasses), and since five years he started some projects on the Malagasy flora (i.e. radiation of Noronhia in Madagascar, origins of Malagasy grasslands) in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden (contribution to the PhD thesis of C. Hong-Wa), Kew-Madagascar and the Parc Zoologique et Botanique de Tzimbazaza (Antananarivo). With the Genopole of Toulouse, he recently developed new genomic methods to characterize organellar and ribosomal DNAs of modern and ancient specimens (including plants, birds, tortoises and nematodes).


EDB Team members:

  • Christophe Thébaud (Professor)
  • Sophie Manzi (Laboratory Technician)


Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse (IMT), Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France – PI: Olivier Mazet

Olivier Mazet is a Lecturer at the IMT (Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse, France), and teaches at INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées) Toulouse, an engineer school training engineers working in both applied and theoretical mathematics and statistics (from aeronautics and finance to stochastic and evolutionary modelling). He is a probabilist working on stochastic models, with a particular interest in models of molecular evolution. He has been increasingly interested in the coalescent theory which describes the properties of gene trees within populations. He co-supervised a PhD student, W. Rodriguez, with the PI, on the use of genomic data for demographic inference.


IMT Team members:

  • Simona Grusea (Associate Professor)