My research works focus on the biomineralization processes and ecophysiology of marine mollusc over the development. The Mollusca represent key members of many benthic ecosystems displaying a pelago-benthic life cycle with free planktonic larvae being responsible for dispersion and population distribution. They are among the most diversified metazoan, of ecological and commercial relevance, and their evolutionary success can be in part attributed to the adaptive capacity of the carbonated shell.
Our research objectives are:
The work is based on the European abalone Haliotis tuberculata, a marine gastropod of commercial interest for aquaculture. Our collaboration since 2005 with the French abalone farm France-Haliotis (Dr. Sylvain Huchette) allows to access the various developmental stages (larval, juveniles, adults) of the abalone life-cycle. The combination of structural and biological approaches allowed to characterize abalone shell microstructure and composition over abalone development and to identify some matrix proteins and enzymes involved in the biological control of shell morphogenesis (Auzoux-Bordenave et al. 2010, Gaume et al., 2011, 2014, Jardillier et al. 2008). I have also developed primary cell cultures to design new biotechnological assays for further studies on abalone pathology, ecotoxicology and shell mineralization (Gaume et al. 2012; O Neill et al. 2013, Pichon et al. 2013). The expression of biomineralization genes is being studied in vivo over the development and in vitro in primary mantle cell cultures of the European abalone.
In the context of climate change, I develop since 2012 pilot experiments to measure the impacts of ocean acidification and warming on the development and shell calcification of marine molluscs. Using the European abalone as model organism, the goals of the project are to investigate the interactive effects of pH and temperature changes on larval morphology and shell formation by combining structural, physiological and molecular approaches. Controlled experiments are underway to check the development of larval shells under decreased pH values, in order to obtain the expression pattern of molecular shell markers and analyse the physical properties of the growing shell.
An ecophysiological approach is being developed in collaboration with the Marine Biology Laboratory (Université Libre de Bruxelles Pr. P. Dubois) in order to evaluate the potential effects of pH and temperature changes on acid-base balance and metabolic parameters.
As an associate professor at the University Paris VI (UPMC) I give annually 192h of teaching in animal biology, physiology and cell biology.
I supervise a course “Biomineralisations” within the Master of Science and Technology (UPMC and MNHN).