Yanis Bouchenak-Khelladi

Yanis Bouchenak-Khelladi, Dr.


Tel.: +41 (0)44 634 8410


Curriculum vitae

2013: Postdoctoral Fellow -Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2010: Postdoctoral Fellow- Department of Botany, University of Sevilla, Spain
2008: Smuts Botanical Postdoctoral Fellow - Department of Botany, University of Cape Town, South Africa
2007: PhD “A phylogenetic approach to the study of grass (Poaceae) diversification and evolution”, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
2002: MSc “Biosciences, Marine Environment”, Université Aix-Marseille II, France.
2000: BSc in Marine Biology, Eckerd College, Florida, USA.

Research Interests:

  • Ancestral reconstructions using phylogenies to identify plausible evolutionary scenarios explaining present-day geographical distribution and ecologies
  • Study of character evolution and species diversification using phylogenetic inferences at family, species and sub-species levels for the evaluation and the understanding of shifts in diversification rates
  • Use of an integrative approach including anatomical, ecological and paleo-geological data to reveal evolutionary patterns and processes

Linking phylogenetic reconstructions with functional trait change constitute a very interesting methodological backbone to reveal evolutionary and/or ecological processes shaping the present day diversity and distribution of plants under the context of Global Change. Using (i) large molecular datasets, (ii) climatic and geological data, and (iii) physiological and morphological data, one could identify ecological and/or biological innovations in relation with environmental factors. I am particularly interested in understanding the evolution of African biomes. From the tremendous diversity found under Mediterranean climates (such as the CFR and North African Atlas), tropical savannas and tropical forests, one can reconstruct ancestral ecologies of dominant plant lineages to help evaluate the role of plant adaptation with environmental changes. Also, such approach could even be a platform for the development of an integrative framework, from population to species assemblages and, in fine, the inference of biomes evolution along environmental gradients. I feel that it is possible to use the tremendous amount of data available in a phylogenetic context to better understand the macro- and micro-evolutionary history of plant lineages.