M.C. (Michael C.) Fontaine, PhD

Assistant Professor

M.C. (Michael C.) Fontaine, PhD
m.c.fontaine rug.nl


Research units:

Research interests

Short version

My research aims to better understand the processes of adaptation and speciation using population genetics. I use computational approaches and genomic data to test hypotheses about how natural populations evolve.

Longer version

I am interested in how natural populations evolve and adapt at the genomic level. I am particularly interested in the process of adaptation and speciation, through which clusters of individual genotypes become distinct and persist over time. This is the fundamental process that underlies the evolution and diversification of life.

How, when, and why did distinct populations or species split? What are the evolutionary footprints left in their genomes? What is the role of natural selection in shaping the diversity of natural populations and species? When sexual species hybridize and share genetic material, why don't they eventually collapse into a single species? What are the consequences of the exchanges of genetic material between species, and how often is this process beneficial? These are some of the questions I work on.

I have been working on a broad range of organisms during my career, from marine mammals to plant pathogens, and mosquitoes. Since 2012, my interest has focused increasingly towards the diverse and highly adaptable Anopheles mosquitoes, well known for being vectors of the deadly Plasmodium parasites responsible of malaria. Most anopheles species are complex of closely related species with races with distinct ecology ("ecotypes") that hybridize in the wild.

My overall goal is to improve our understanding of speciation and adaptation by testing hypotheses about the mechanics of these processes. By better understanding the pattern of diversity, introgression, and adaptation, my work also contributes to design and assess the feasibility and impacts of new vector control strategies. I use genome sequencing of natural populations combined with both descriptive and model-based computational approaches, most of which are rooted in population-genetic theory. I am interested in developing creative ways of working with genomic data, so that we can get the most out of this tremendous resource.

  1. Genome variation and population structure among 1142 mosquitoes of the African malaria vector species Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii

    Anopheles Gambiae 1000 Genomes, Oct-2020, In : Genome Research. 30, 10, p. 1533-1546 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Selection on ancestral genetic variation fuels parallel ecotype formation in bottlenose dolphins

    Louis, M., Galimberti, M., Archer, E., Berrow, S., Brownlow, A., Fallon, R., Nykänen, M., OBrian, J., Robertson, K. M., Rosel, P. E., Simon-Bouhet, B., Wegmann, D., Fontaine, M. C., Foote, A. D. & Gaggiotti, O. E., 7-Oct-2020, (Submitted) In : bioRxiv. 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

  3. The rise of the three-spined stickleback – eco-evolutionary consequences of a mesopredator release

    Eriksson, B. K., Yanos, C., Bourlat, S., Donadi, S., Fontaine, M. C., Hansen, J. P., Jakubavičiūtė, E., Kiragosyan, K., Maan, M. E., Merilä, J., Austin, Å. N., Olsson, J., Reiss, K., Sundblad, G., Bergström, U. & Eklöf, J. S., 10-May-2020, (Submitted) In : bioRxiv.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

  4. Europe as a bridgehead in the worldwide invasion history of grapevine downy mildew, Plasmopara viticola

    Fontaine, M. C., Labbé, F., Dussert, Y., Delière, L., Richart-Cervera, S., Giraud, T. & Delmotte, F., 22-Sep-2020, In : bioRxiv.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

  5. Radiation with reticulation marks the origin of a major malaria vector

    Small, S. T., Labbé, F., Lobo, N. F., Koekemoer, L. L., Sikaala, C. H., Neafsey, D. E., Hahn, M. W., Fontaine, M. C. & Besansky, N. J., 1-Dec-2020, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117, 48, 8 p., 2018142117.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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  1. Data from: Patterns of divergence across the geographic and genomic landscape of a butterfly hybrid zone associated with a climatic gradient

    Ryan, S. (Creator), Fontaine, M. (Creator), Scriber, M. (Creator), Pfrender, M. (Creator), O'Neil, S. (Creator) & Hellmann, J. (Creator), University of Groningen, 20-Jun-2017


  2. Data from: Postglacial climate changes and rise of three ecotypes of harbor porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, in western Palearctic waters

    Fontaine, M. (Creator), Roland, K. (Creator), Calves, I. (Creator), Austerlitz, F. (Creator), Palstra, F. P. (Creator), Tolley, K. A. (Creator), Ryan, S. (Creator), Ferreira, M. (Creator), Jauniaux, T. (Creator), Llavona, A. (Creator), Öztürk, B. (Creator), Öztürk, A. A. (Creator), Ridoux, V. (Creator), Rogan, E. (Creator), Sequeira, M. (Creator), Siebert, U. (Creator), Vikingsson, G. A. (Creator), Borrell, A. (Creator), Michaux, J. R. (Creator) & Aguilar, A. (Creator), University of Groningen, 3-Jun-2014


  3. Data from: Chromosomal inversions and ecotypic differentiation in Anopheles gambiae: the perspective from whole-genome sequencing

    Love, R. R. (Creator), Steele, A. (Creator), Coulibaly, M. B. (Creator), Traore, S. F. (Creator), Emrich, S. J. (Creator), Besansky, N. J. (Creator) & Fontaine, M. (Creator), University of Groningen, 17-Oct-2016


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  1. Nominee of the Omenn Prize 2014

    Fontaine, Michael (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Other distinctionAcademic

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  1. Genetic evidences of population decline in the harbour porpoise from Iberia waters over the last 30 years

    Tjibbe Stelwagen (Speaker), Hedi Ben Chehida (Speaker), Julie Thumloup (Speaker), Marisa Ferreira (Speaker) & Michael Christophe Fontaine (Speaker)


    Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic

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Press / Media
  1. Mercury contamination found in Everglades dolphins

    Michael Fontaine


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: ResearchAcademic

  2. L’évolution « récente » des grands dauphins mieux comprise

    Michael Fontaine


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: ResearchAcademic

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