SURVIVORS — budding student researchers analyze their first results !

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On Thursday, January 28, SURVIVORS project team members met on-site with middle-school students at the Collège d’Einville au Jars.

SURVIVORS, a participatory research project :

Two years ago, 80 middle-school students at the collège d’Einville au Jars began their “Survivors” adventure : an original participatory research project was launched by a team of INRA researchers (the Joint Research Unit for Forest Ecology and Ecophysiology – UMR EEF) with support from LabEx ARBRE and the Nancy-Champenoux Center for Environmental Initiatives (CPIE). Accompanied by their teachers and researchers, these students actively participated in an experiment conducted in a Champenoux nursery aimed at understanding how young beech trees survive when faced with significant changes in their water-carbon-nitrogen functioning. To do this, each student became a sponsor for their own beech tree which they carefully defoliated (up to 75%) by following precise experimentation protocol.

Prior to their visit in January, the researchers provided the students, currently in their 3rd class, growth data of the beech trees that they had each sponsored. Each student had calculated the growth in diameter and height, the surface and the number of leaves on their trees which had been subjected to defoliation. Each of the three classes built models of allometric relationships with all of the sponsored trees. In class this last Thursday the project team tested the college students on their appropriation of the scientific approach. The researchers then presented other sets of results and discussed them with the students drawing specific attention to related mathematical concepts. The students completed a questionnaire in their research notebooks and will continue their analysis with their life Sciences teachers. The next meeting between these budding scientists and project researchers is set to take place in Champenoux, late May 2016.

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ARBRE Conference — Jérôme Salse

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Jérôme Salse
Friday, 26 February
13h30 —
Main conference room, INRA Champenoux

On Friday, February 26, Jérôme Salse, Research Director for the Paleogenomics and Evolution (PaleoEvo) team with the Joint Research Unit on the Genetics, Diversity and Ecophysiology of Cereals (GDEC) – INRA, Clermont-Ferrand, and a specialist on the organization and evolution of plant genomes, will present a conference entitled: “Reconstruction of end uses of ancestral genomes of extinct plant and animal species”

Abstract :
In an attempt to unravel the structure and evolution of the cereal ancestor genome we have re-assed the synteny and duplications of the wheat, barley, rice, maize, Brachypodium and sorghum genomes to to identify and characterize shared duplications. We combined the data on the intra-genomic duplications with those on the colinear blocks and found duplicated segments that have been conserved at orthologous positions since the divergence of cereals. By conducting detailed analysis of the length, composition, and divergence time of the conserved duplications we identified common and lineage-specific patterns of conservation between the different genomes that allowed us to propose a model in which the grass genomes have evolved from a common ancestor with a basic number of five chromosomes (90 MYA) and then twelve chromosomes (60 MYA) through whole genome duplications (tetraploidization) and translocations followed by lineage specific segmental duplications, chromosome fusions and translocations (Salse et al. 2008, 2009; Abrouk et al. 2010; Murat et al. 2010). 

Follow this link to learn more about the PaleoEvo team  —  GDEC (PaléoEvo)

Click here for a complete list of Jérôme Salse’s publications : Publications

IURFRO 2016 — International Conference on Genomics and Forest Tree Genetics

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30 May – 2 June 2016
Palais des Congrès
Arachon, France


INRA is organizing a two-day international conference on the theme Genomics and Forest Tree Genetics. Researchers are invited to  present and discuss new scientific findings in the area of population, quantitative and evolutionary genetics and how they can be applied to genetic resource conservation and breeding. Participants are invited to submit contributions from empirical, experimental and theoretical works which address leading scientific and applied issues.

A decade after the first forest tree whole-genome sequencing was released and published (for the black cottonwood in 2006), rapidly advancing sequencing technology in ‘omics’ (which permits scientists to study populations without sacrificing the ability to analyze any individual component) and bioinformatics (the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes) have significantly improved our understanding on several fronts: (i) tree growth and development, (ii) the response of trees to intrinsic and extrinsic factors, the remarkable capacity buffering capacity of trees enabling them to cope with chronic stresses and extreme events, and (iii) the molecular basis of genetic variation within and between species, and how variation has been shaped by evolutionary forces and how that relates to phenotypic variation and adaptation.

Genomics is sure to play a major role in upcoming decades by furthering our understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in the evolution and adaptation of these organisms, and contributing to developing and implementing innovations in management and policy actions aimed at preserving the adaptability of natural forests and intensively managed plantations. Knowledge acquired through the use of ‘omics’ technologies holds tremendous potential and could significantly impact how we help forests adapt to major future challenges (e.g. increases in wood demand, pressure to conserve forested areas, climate changes and associated threats).

For more information —

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ARBRE Interview — Joël Hamada

profile Joel 1_edited-1Joël Hamada is a PhD student working with two ARBRE labs, the Research Unit for the Study and Research of Wood Materials (LERMAB) at the University of Lorraine, and the Joint Research Unit for Forest and Wood Resource Studies (LERFOB). He is currently participating in the EVAQBT2 project. The topic of his research is “Effects of the natural variability of wood on the reactions of thermo-degradation involved in the heat treatment of wood in order to better control the process and the quality of the material obtained”.

Joël talked with us recently about his personal path as a researcher, where and when his interest in forest sciences began, and what brought him to study thermal wood treatment. Interestingly, Joël has the advantage of having worked in the forest products sector, which brings valuable perspective to his research. He is also fluent in Italian.

Follow this link to read the full interview.
ARBRE Interview — Joël Hamada

Publication on pre-existing forests as sources of pathogens

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Pre-existing forests as sources of pathogens? The emergence of Armillaria ostoyae in a recently planted pine forest

To meet increasing demand for wood around the world, land dedicated to forest plantations are on the rise. These new plantings, usually carried out over large areas, use a single tree species, and sometimes single tree clones. Such highly homogeneous ecosystems, from an ecological and genetic point of view, have proved to be more vulnerable and particularly susceptible to attack by a number of bio-aggressors, both endemic and introduced (bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes, etc.). In a publication published on December 1, 2015 in Forest Ecology and Management, researchers at INRA Bordeaux-Aquitaine (UMR BIOGECO) and INRA Nancy-Lorraine (UMR EEF and IAM), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (Department of the Forest Health), describe how they used maps from the 18th century to highlight the role formerly forested areas play as sources of disease, specifically in maritime-pine plantations in the Landes forest in France planted at the end of the 19th century, the largest maritime-mine forest in Europe.

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For more information ..

Read the INRA press release (in French)
Read the abstract on Science Direct 


High densities of Armillaria are indicated in red, lower densities in green. Pre-existing forests are marked in blue. © Inra, Frédéric Labbé

A new project launch in Indonesia

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In Bogor, Indonesia on September 15 of this year, a new project was launched within the BIO-Asia 2015 framework. Supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI) and by LabEx ARBRE, this project entitled “Extraction, characterization and exploitation of bio-molecules from Asian wood sector by-products”, brings together partners across Asia including the Department of Forestry Products at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia (IPB), the Forest Biotechnology Laboratory at the University Putra in Malaysia (UPM), and the joint research unit UMR 241 EOI at the University of French Polynesia. Two key partners from the Lorraine region are the Joint Research Unit for Tress/Microorganism Interactions (UMR 1136 – IAM) and as project lead, the Research Unit for the Study and Research of Wood Materials (EA 4370 – LERMAB).

BIO-Asia is a regional program and a French initiative directed at Asia aimed at strengthening high-level scientific collaboration and developing a research network for French and regional academic communities in the fields of biodiversity and biotechnology studies, ranging from the study of natural substances to their applications in agronomy, forestry, health, etc.

Contact Philippe Gérardin, Professeur, Directeur LERMAB

The ARBRE PhD & Postdoc Day — a success!

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The annual ARBRE PhD & Postdoc Day is designed to highlight the work of young and upcoming researchers; doctoral and postdoctoral students working within eight LabEx partner research units. The range of subjects fall under the four ARBRE thematic areas; integrative biology, functional ecology, wood material and forest economy. Organized by the PhD and postdoctoral students themselves, this event aims to give those working in different disciplines and research areas a chance to share the focus and dynamics of their own projects and to learn about projects happening in other labs — the challenge lies in how to bring that all together for a one-day event.

This year’s team of organizers, representing three different labs were Pierre-Antoine Chuste (EEF), Erwin Sentausa (IAM), Yohann Daguerre (IAM), Joël Hamada (LERMAB), succeeded with flying colors. They managed to plan a full and engaging day including project presentations, a poster exhibit and a key-note speaker (Joey Spatafora) who presented his work on the international ‘1000 Fungal Genomes Project’ — all started off with something new : Science Speed Dating. With the help of Nathalie Carol (who initiated and animated this brilliant idea), participants were each given a short “Pick up My Project” questionnaire form, asked to pair off with a partner and at the sound of the gong, explain their projects in 3 minutes. The gong sounds again and they switch roles, the partner explains their own project — each then has one minute to fill out the questionnaire. Everyone then switches partners and meets someone new and learns about a new project.  At the end of the day, questions and responses for each ‘project’ were posted in large format for everyone to see the results. Not only did it break the ice for the day, it proved to be an interesting tool to illustrate, in a fun way, the importance (and challenge) of explaining research projects to non-specialists.  And how collaborative research projects might begin to take shape.

Feedback from the day was universally positive. We want to congratulate the organizers for their initiative, creativity and professionalism. And above all, for their good sense of fun — Bravo!


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The organizing team : Joël Hamada (LERMAB), Yohann Daguerre (IAM), Pierre-Antoine Chuste (EEF) and Erwin Sentausa (IAM).


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“Pick up my project”
Science Speed Dating
An effective and fun tool for explaining and learning about ongoing projects in neighboring labs. The challenge? Explaining your science to non-specialists .. and fast.






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Keynote speaker Joey Spatafora
Professor with the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University currently on sabbatical working with Francis Martin and the IAM team at INRA, Champenoux. Learn more about the Joey Spatafora Lab and the ‘1000 Fungal Genomes Project’.

LabEx ARBRE PhD & Postdoc Day

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This year’s PhD & Postdoc Day will take place on 16 November 2015 at the INRA center in Champenoux.


The annual ARBRE PhD & Postdoc Day is designed to highlight the work of young and upcoming researchers; doctoral and postdoctoral students currently working within eight LabEx partner research units. Organized by the PhD and postdoctoral students themselves, this event aims to give those working in different disciplines and research areas a chance to share the focus and dynamics of their own projects and to learn about projects happening in other labs — to set the stage for a constructive and creative exchange of ideas via a series of presentations, discussions, and a scientific poster exhibit!

For the detailed program, please visit the ARBRE PhD & Postdoc Day homepage.