El Mahdi Bendif

Postdoctoral Research Assistant
I have been fascinated for quite a long time by the hows and the whys microscopic life evolved expressing diverse and creative shapes (and colours!) while becoming one of the most significant geological force sustaining the biosphere. Another part of this captivation lies in the compounded nature of life that breaks all the frames in which we try to lock it up.

With favourable winds and currents, I drifted along questions of evolutionary scales in ecologically relevant micro-eukaryotes. Due to their long-term role in carbon cycle, I mainly focussed on biomineralizing coccolithophores as models. Thanks to their nearly complete fossil records, coccolithophores are also excellent candidates for a fine understanding of micro- and macroevolutionary patterns from both palaeontological and genetic perspectives. My past research led me to look at their diversity from a naturalist perspective, while integrating different concepts to resolve ecological and evolutionary issues. Actually, with attempts to integrate diversification process and climatic feedback, I am using comparative genomics to decipher the underlying genetic basis of their adaptation and speciation.
With other on-going projects, I aim to dive further into the relation between phytoplankton populations and their environments, notably through the evolution of their natural requirements in essential elements, and through the development of general and specific markers to track their genetic imprints across modern and past oceans with metagenomic methods.