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

Assistant Professor

Research

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.

Publications
  1. Evolutionary history of the porpoise family (Phocoenidae): A perspective from mitogenomes

    Ben Chehida, Y., Aguilar, A. A., Borrell, A., Ferreira, M., Taylor, B. L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Robertson, K., Thumloup, J., Schumacher, C., Vikingsson, G. A., Morin, P. A. & Fontaine, M. C. 6-Jun-2017

    Research output: ScientificOther

  2. Evolutionary history of the porpoise family (Phocoenidae): A perspective from mitogenomes

    Ben Chehida, Y., Aguilar, A. A., Borrell, A., Ferreira, M., Taylor, B. L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Robertson, K., Thumloup, J., Schumacher, C., Vikingsson, G. A., Morin, P. A. & Fontaine, M. C. 21-Nov-2017

    Research output: ScientificOther

  3. Evolutionary history of the porpoise family (Phocoenidae): A perspective from mitogenomes

    Ben Chehida, H., Aguilar, A., Borrell, A., Ferreira, M., Taylor, B. L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Robertson, K. M., Thumloup, J., Vikingsson, G. A., Schumacher, C., Morin, P. A. & Fontaine, M. C. 10-Feb-2018

    Research output: ScientificPoster

  4. Evolutionary history of the porpoise family (Phocoenidae): A perspective from mitogenomes

    Ben Chehida, Y., Aguilar, A. A., Borrell, A., Ferreira, M., Taylor, B. L., Rojas-Bracho, L., Robertson, K., Thumloup, J., Schumacher, C., Vikingsson, G. A., Morin, P. A. & Fontaine, M. C. 2017

    Research output: ScientificPoster

View all (53) »

Press / Media
  1. Mercury contamination found in Everglades dolphins

    Michael Fontaine

    29/11/2016

    1 item of media coverage

    Press / Media: Research

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

    Michael Fontaine

    30/03/2015

    1 item of media coverage

    Press / Media: Research

View all (4) »

Activities
  1. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (External organisation)

    Fontaine, M. (Member)
    2014 → …

    Activity: ScientificMembership of committee

View all (4) »

Prizes
  1. Nominee of the Omenn Prize 2014

    Michael Fontaine (Recipient), 2014

    Prize: Other distinction

View all (1) »

View graph of relations

ID: 13553602