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Post-doctoral researcher

phone: +32 (0)2 650 45 14

e-mail: jeremy.migliore@ulb.ac.be


French post-doctoral researcher (born the 15/08/1984 at Toulon), I have studied in Toulon and Aix Marseille University. My professional objective is to provide scientific knowledge to societal actors in the field of biodiversity evolution for a sustainable conservation of life beings and their habitats. I am an ecological scientist with background in environmental sciences, including genetics and paleosciences, through an interdisciplinary approach (phylogeography, population genetics, ecology, population biology, field experiments, paleoecology and bioclimatic modelling). I am studying the origin, evolution, and persistence of plant biodiversity, from molecular biology to spatialized meta-analyses and from populations to biomes. During my PhD thesis and my postdoctoral fellowship, I have developed my research on the imprint left by past environmental changes on the evolutionary history of numerous plant populations in the Mediterranean and Sahara (Mercurialis, Myrtus, Nerium, Globularia, Fritillaria, Pinguicula). Now, I am participating to the research of the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology group in Brussels on the genetic and paleoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics. I have participated to the publication of 5 articles in international journals, to more than 35 conferences, to 500 hours of teaching and to several activities promoting the life of research and science dissemination.

Areas of interest

Biogeography, phylogeography, population genetics, multilocus genotyping, next generation sequencing, genomics, plant ecology, paleosciences, interdisciplinary approach, global environmental changes, conservation biology.

Current Postdoctoral Research

New genomic tools for studying the phylogeography of African rainforests

Supervisor: Olivier Hardy, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Current projects

Tropical rainforests are the terrestrial biome with the greatest diversity of plant and animal species. Long-term stability has been considered for long as a prime cause of this remarkable biodiversity. However, paleoecological evidence of substantial change in the vegetation of tropical regions resulting from global climate fluctuation during the Quaternary, as well as evidence of significant ecological perturbation by humans in the last few thousand years, call for a reassessment of the temporal dynamics of biodiversity in tropical rainforests, and how this may influence their resilience and/or adaptation to rapidly accelerating human impact.

The general objective of our research aims to better understand how past environmental changes have shaped the current distribution and composition of African rainforests and the genetic diversity of their constituent tree species.

This knowledge is essential for forecasting how the forest will respond to current and future environmental impacts, because the way tropical forests have responded to past climatic and human perturbation reveals their resilience, or innate adaptive capacity, to current and future perturbations resulting from massive on-going deforestation, forest degradation and anthropogenic climate change.

More specifically, we aim to understand the processes leading to the diversification/differentiation of African rainforest tree biodiversity at inter-specific and intra-specific levels, in particular the respective roles of (i) past population fragmentation and the associated genetic drift (neutral stochastic process) and (ii) differential selection leading to adaptation to different habitats along environmental gradients (deterministic process).

In this context, we are developing next generation sequencing tools to analyze the genetic polymorphism of representative African rainforest trees, in close collaboration with UMR DIADE (team DYNADIV / IRD Montpellier). Three main methodological challenges are currently addressed:

  1. 1. The plastidial captures to sequence the whole chloroplast genome of key Annonaceae and Fabaceae trees, towards a better resolution of phylogenetic and phylogeographic inferences;

  2. 2. The design of microsatellite markers using genomic libraries, to perform population genetic analyses and better evaluating scenarii of evolution of populations;

  3. 3. The sequencing of microsatellite regions to integrate SNPs and SSRs variations, multiplexing a high number of individuals.

Finally, to reach a reliable view of the evolutionary history of forest-dwelling trees belonging to different functional groups, the phylogeography of the pioneer tree Musanga cecropioides (Urticaceae) will be undertaken.

AFRIFORD program

Research program: BELSPO (European program BRAIN-be / 2014-2018) AFRIFORD program “Genetic and paleoecological signatures of African rainforest dynamics: pre-adapted to change?”

AFRIFORD is a multi-disciplinary project integrating paleoecological analyses (palynology, anthracology) on lake and soil sediments, dendrochronology, vegetation modelling and population genetics. The project is structured in 8 work packages (WP). Three WP’s will valorise existing data sets and acquire complementary data on Population dynamics (WP1: tree dispersal, age structure), Evolution (WP2: phylogeny, phylogeography, divergence dating), and Paleoenvironments (WP3: palynology, anthracology, stable-isotope dendroclimatology). WP4 will provide a projective tool through vegetation modelling. The specific objectives will be reached within the integrative WP5 in which data and tools from WP’s 1 to 4 will be combined. Implications of our research for the maintenance of rainforest ecosystem services and strategic policy for biodiversity conservation will be addressed in WP6. Finally, two transversal WP’s are dedicated to project coordination (WP7) and the diffusion of results (WP8).

AFRIFORD partners: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB - Evolutionary Biology and Ecology unit), Universiteit Gent (UGent - Limnology Unit), Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA – Laboratory of Wood Biology), Université de Liège (ULg – Climate Modelling and Biogeochemical cycles unit / Behavioural Biology Unit / Topoclimatology unit), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC – Laboratory of Oceanography and Climate), University of Bern (UBern – Terrestrial Paleoecology Unit)

AFRIFORD website: http://afriford.ulb.ac.be

Project description, work packages and new scientific insights in
palaeoecology, population dynamics, evolution,
vegetation modelling and conservation.

Previous Postdoctoral Research

Genetic spatialization and phylogeography of endemic species, towards a transfrontaliar conservation of biodiversity in Southern Alps

Supervisors: Frédéric Médail and Alex Baumel, Aix-Marseille Université, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE UMR CNRS/IRD), France

Research program and partners: ALCOTRA European program BIODIVAM "Biodiversity in the Alps of the Sea”, with the French Mediterranean Botanical Conservatory CBNMED of Porquerolles and the University of Genova – DISTAV

One part of the partners analyzed the species distribution and location of patrimonial plant species from the Rhone river to Genova, and until Grenoble in the North, in order to pinpoint key areas for taxonomic richness and endemism. Our main objective was the analysis and comparison of available molecular data in the Southern Alps hotspot of biodiversity. A spatialized genetic database was implemented using all the genetic quantitative data published in the scientific literature on plants, aquatic and terrestrial fauna. New plant models have been added, through an extensive BIODIVAM-sampling and the development of novel phylogeographical analyses: Fritillaria involucrata (Liliaceae) and Pinguicula reichenbachiana (Lentibulariaceae). Then, we used GIS tools to better estimate the analysis pressure in the S. Alps (sampling, taxa, endemism, biogeographical affinity, molecular markers) and the patterns of genetic originality (private markers) and diversity (several indices from population genetics) in the studied area. All these levels of organization of biodiversity are currently confronted to examine their congruency and the effectiveness of the conservation areas.

PhD Research

Imprints of environmental changes on the phylogeography of the genus Myrtus in the Mediterranean and Sahara

Supervisors: Frédéric Médail and Alex Baumel, Aix-Marseille Université, Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE UMR CNRS/IRD), France

Research program and partners: Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, French Botanical Conservatory of Corsica, Mediterranean Botanical Conservatory of Porquerolles, INRA Avignon.

A better understanding of the origin and evolution of the diversity of life requires the development of biogeographical approaches. This PhD thesis considered the phylogeography of the Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis L., Myrtaceae), a characteristic and common plant of the Mediterranean matorral, and its relationship with the Nivelle Myrtle (Myrtus nivellei Batt. & Trab.), endemic to the central Saharan mountains. An objective was also to examine especially the influence of paleogeography and climate changes on the genetic diversity of these two taxa. Our approach aimed at being integrative, combining paleobotanical data, genetic data (sequencing, multilocus genotyping and microsatellites), modelling of molecular evolution, polymorphism and heritability of the growth in controlled conditions, and modelling of bioclimatic niche. The analysis of 173 populations of the Common Myrtle and 23 populations of the Nivelle Myrtle revealed a strong phylogeographical signal, whose spatio-temporal framework was provided by the dating of divergences and the reconstruction of ancestral areas within the molecular phylogenies using Bayesian analytical methods. Three main results can be highlighted. (i) With an origin dated to the early Miocene, the history of M. communis can be summarized by two periods of diversification associated with the environmental changes occurring in the Miocene/Pliocene transition and in the Pleistocene. A vicariance phenomenon has induced the isolation of an eastern Mediterranean lineage. Recent diversification events have also been detected in the western part of the Mediterranean Basin, with in-return migration to the eastern Mediterranean, and also dispersal to the Azores and Madeira islands, and to the Sahara. (ii) Within the refugia-mountains of the Central Sahara, the alternation of wet and dry periods seems to have induced the isolation of the populations of M. nivellei per mountain range, with genetic erosion. In parallel to this high regional differentiation, gene flows within these mountain ranges and vegetative multiplication have been detected. (iii) Finally, the absence of divergence of Mediterranean insular populations of M. communis contrasts with the long-term persistence of Myrtle lineages restricted to the Azores and Madeira islands, and to the speciation of M. nivellei in the Sahara. The discussion of these results provides new perspectives on comparative phylogeography, genomics and conservation biogeography.


Migliore J, Baumel A, Juin M, Duong N, Fady B, Roig A, Médail F (2013) Surviving in mountain climate refugia: new insights from the genetic structure and diversity of the relict shrub Myrtus nivellei (Myrtaceae) in the Sahara desert. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e73795.

Pouget M, Youssef S, Migliore J, Juin M, Médail F, Baumel A (2013) Phylogeography shed light on the central-marginal hypothesis in a Mediterranean narrow endemic plant. Annals of Botany, 112 (7), 1409-1420.

Migliore J, Baumel A, Juin M, Médail F (2012) From Mediterranean shores to central Saharan mountains: key phylogeographical insights from the genus Myrtus. Journal of Biogeography, 39, 5, 942-956.

Migliore J, Baumel A, Juin M, Diadema K, Hugot L, Verlaque R, Médail F (2011) Genetic diversity and structure of a Mediterranean endemic plant in Corsica (Mercurialis corsica, Euphorbiaceae). Population Ecology, 53, 4, 573-586.

Benslama M, Andrieu-Ponel V, Guiter F, Reille M, De Beaulieu J-L, Migliore J, Djamali M (2010) Pollen analysis from two littoral marshes (Bourdim and Garaat El-Ouez) in the El-Kala wet complex (North-East Algeria). Lateglacial and Holocene history of Algerian vegetation. Comptes Rendus Biologies, 333, 10, 744-754.

Several articles to come…

Implication in Research life

Teaching activities: Teaching assistant during 5 years and courses in BSc and Msc in Aix, Marseille and Toulon universities (CM/TD/TP): Plant biology and reproduction; Population genetics; Mediterranean ecosystems: specificities, dynamics and constraints; Biogeography; Systematics and Phylogenetics; Plant physiology; Evolutionary biogeography and paleoenvironments; Phylogeography; Adaptive ecology of plants

Administrative tasks: Co-coordination program BELSPO AFRIFORD (with O. Hardy), Elected representative of PhD students in the Advisory Council of IMBE (2007-2012), Scientific animation, Research supervision of 5 students, Participation of the writing of 7 research projects

Organization of conferences: (i) “The Sahara, impacts of extreme environment changes on biodiversity” (Aix-en-Provence, 200 people, 28-29/11/2013); (ii) Help to the organization of 35th meeting of the French Group of Population Genetics and Biology (Marseille, 100 people, 27-30/08/2013); (iii) Congress of PhD student in Environmental Sciences Aix / Marseille / Toulon / Avignon (Cassis, 200 people, 29-30/04/2010)

High implication in 12 scientific dissemination activities: development of outdoor activities for a large audience and schools (Fête de la Science, Fête de la Nature…) in close collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Aix-en-Provence, public conferences, video documentary

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  1. Jérémy Migliore