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Hélène Morlon

Institut de Biologie, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France


Seminar 24/11/2017

“Macroevolution in the ocean: diatoms as a case study”


Short Profile

Prof. Hélène Morlon is research director at the ENS institute of Biology. She combine mathematics, bioinformatics and fieldwork developing a very multidisciplinary work. Her research questions can be resumed in three main fields: macroevolution, macroecology and biogeography.

1- Macroevolution

What is the evolutionary history of species diversity on this planet, and where is it headed? To test hypotheses on the long-term dynamics of biodiversity, Prof. Morlon’s lab develops models of cladogenesis, and apply these models to a wide variety of empirical phylogenies.


What are the processes underlying current biodiversity patterns? To understand the distribution and abundance of species, they study three of the most general patterns in ecology: the distribution of abundances among species, the increase in the observed number of species with increasing sample area, and the decay in community similarity with geographic distance. They also develop theory to understand the spatial distribution of phylogenetic diversity, in order to move beyond species and take into account their evolutionary history.

3-Microbial biogeography

Most biodiversity on Earth is microbial, yet very little is known about the spatial distribution of microorganisms. They are interested in the global biogeography of microorganisms and how it compares to that of macroorganisms. They are currently working on applying macroevolutionary approaches to the microbial world.



Selected Publications


Manceau, M., Lambert, A., & Morlon, H. (2016). A unifying comparative phylogenetic framework including traits coevolving across interacting lineages. Systematic Biology, syw115.


Drury, J., Clavel, J., Manceau, M., & Morlon, H. (2016). Estimating the Effect of Competition on Trait Evolution Using Maximum Likelihood Inference. Systematic Biology, 65(4), 700–710.


OKMorlon, H., Schwilk, D. W., Bryant, J. A., Marquet, P. A., Rebelo, A. G., Tauss, C., … Green, J. L. (2011). Spatial patterns of phylogenetic diversity. Ecology Letters, 14(2), 141–149.


Morlon, H., Chuyong, G., Condit, R., Hubbell, S., Kenfack, D., Thomas, D., … Green, J. L. (2008). A general framework for the distance-decay of similarity in ecological communities. Ecology Letters, 11(9), 904–917.


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