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Quentin Blandenier

Environmental barcoding studies are showing that microbial Eukaryotes represent a large part of the world diversity. The phylogenetic position of deep and ultradiverse phyla is becoming gradually clarified. However, the diversity at a fine taxonomical level (i.e. species level) is poorly documented in most groups. This is mainly caused by the use of universal marker (e.g. 18S), which are useful for inferring general phylogenetic relationships but are not variable enough for species resolution. This is a major burden for our understanding of protists macroecology and biogeography that typically require data with species level resolution. Consequently the patterns that govern protists distribution are still poorly understood.

In my PhD project, my general goal is to assess if macroecological paradigms initially developed for macroscopic organisms also apply to the distribution of three clades of hyalospheniid testate amoeba (Amoebozoa; Arcellinida) from the regional (e.g. a peatland) to the continental scale (e.g. latitudinal study in Chile). We will follow a metabarcoding approach, which consist in analyzing DNA fragments from the environment by high throughput sequencing (Illumina) and processing the data using bioinformatics tools. We aim to use others molecular marker (i.e. COX), proven to be more adapted for this resolution level, in order to solve the low taxonomic resolution limitation of current approaches.

I started my PhD in February 2016 under the joint supervision of Dr. Enrique Lara and Prof. Edward Mitchell in the Laboratory of Soil Biodiveristy that I joined in 2012 (while still a bachelor student).

Education

2016 -

PhD: Macroecology and biogeography of hyalospheniid testate amoebae (Amoebozoa; Arcellinida) from regional to global scales following a metabarcoding approach (Laboratory of Soil bioDiversity, University of Neuchâtel).

2013 - 2015

Master thesis in Biogeosciences: Design and evaluation of a new mitochondrial marker for Arcellinida (Amoebozoa) (Laboratory of soil Biology, Universities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne).

2010 - 2013

Bachelor in Biology in Neuchâtel University.