Physiology and Biochemistry

Composition de l'équipe

Directeur de recherche

   -   Dr Sylvie TAMBUTTÉ

Chargé(e) de Recherche

   -   Dr Philippe GANOT    -   Dr Éric TAMBUTTÉ    -   Dr Alexander VENN    -   Dr Didier ZOCCOLA

Chercheur Postdoctoral

   -   Dr Benoît CHATIN


   -   M. Guillaume LOENTGEN


   -   M. Lucas CROVETTO    -   Mlle Clémence FORIN

Technicien(ne) Supérieur(e)

   -   Mme Natacha SEGONDS    -   Mme Nathalie TÉCHER


   -   M. Dominique DESGRE    -   M. Eric ELIA


Research theme

The main research theme of the Physiology / Biochemistry team is the study of biomineralisation in corals; the process underlying the formation of the coral skeleton. Our research addresses three major questions:

  • A physiological question: what are the mechanisms involved in the control of biomineralisation?
  • An evolutionary question: does the biomineralisation process require the development of a specific set of biological tools and/or does it utilize ancestral characteristics shared between distantly related organisms? 
  • An environmental question: how and why do corals respond to climate change and why are certain coral species more resistant than others?

Study models

Our main models are the tropical reef-building coral, Stylophora pistillata and the Mediterranean Red Coral, Corallium rubrum, on which we have conducted research for over 30 years. These corals belong to the subclasses Hexacorallia and Octocorallia respectively, two groups that acquired the ability to biomineralise independently in their evolutionary history. Among the Hexacorallia, we also study other symbiotic (Acropora sp., Pocillopora sp.) and non-symbiotic (Tubastrea sp.) corals. Our comparative studies concern a range of biological organisation, from the scale of whole organisms to the scale of genes, via tissues, cells and molecules.

Techniques used

Most of our experiments are conducted in the laboratory under controlled conditions utilizing a wide range of complementary techniques:

  • Physiology: isotopic kinetics, pharmacology, microelectrodes in-vivo.
  • Optical and electronic microscopy for ultrastructural studies.
  • In-vivo cell imaging including confocal microscopy.
  • Biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and genomics.

Our collaborations

We work in collaboration with:

  • The other teams at the CSM,
  • International teams (France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, USA ...).