I am very much interested in the evolution of seed plants and especially in the origin of the flower and the transition towards angiospermy.
I started with practical studies in modeling plant architecture using Monte Carlo Markov’s Chains, first in the genus Cupressus to study the correlation between branching pattern plasticity and genetic diversity. Later I was involved in a large project to study the correlation between plant development and photosynthetic performances in different species of tropical trees in French Guyana.
Shortly after that, I moved on from axes and leaves towards a PhD project supervised by Peter Endress on the evolution of the flower and gynoecium (the female part of the flower) in the Mango’s and the Frankincense’s families, two families which sister relationship in Sapindales has only been recently supported by molecular phylogenetic studies.
Before I finished my PhD, molecular phylogenetic studies on Sapindales also showed that the genus Kirkia did not belong to the Simaroubaceae in Sapindales but was sister to the clade of Anacardiaceae and Burseraceae, and I thus included the first comparative study on the floral structure and development of Kirkiaceae in my doctoral thesis.
Similarly, advances in the molecular systematics of Sapindales circumscribed another new family of three genera, referred to as the Nitrariaceae, and I also conducted the first comparative study of their floral structure and development.
Whereas I am still very interested in studying more families of Sapindales, it seemed natural for my postdoc to move towards the embryology and reproductive biology of the early diverging lineages of flowering plants with Ned Friedman, and I am already looking forward to the next step.