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Welcome Lucie Zinger

A newly recruited Assistant Professor (Maitre de Conférences) in Ecology, specialized in Environmental Genomics and Community Ecology.


I was actually far from thinking that my initial interests – plant ecophysiology – would bring me to consider elusive organisms in their whole biotic and abiotic context. I have received a Master in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution at the University Joseph Fourier (now University Grenoble Alpes) in 2005 where I had a fairly broad training in botany, community and functional ecology, and management of natural habitats. At that time, I got interested in plant-soil feedbacks and completed a PhD in 2009 at the Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine (LECA, Grenoble) with Roberto Geremia, Christiane Gallet and Philippe Choler on the spatio-temporal dynamics of microbial communities in link with plant cover composition. Between plant-soil interactions and community assembly processes, I felt that I needed first to go more into the latter and had the chance to join the Max Plank Institute of Marine Microbiology in 2009 as a post-doc, where I worked on the global-scale patterns of marine bacterial diversity and their drivers under the supervision of Antje Boetius and Alban Ramette.

Understanding complex assemblages of elusive organisms

Since then, my main research question is how complex assemblages of elusive organisms, such as microbes or even invertebrates, do respond to – or interact with – their biotic and abiotic environment. More recently, I became also interested in their link with ecosystems functioning. To address these questions, I use both in situ and experimental approaches to study a diversity of systems, ranging from host-associated microbial communities to the whole soil biota. Addressing many different fields of ecology, I do not follow this road alone and benefit from great collaborations with Pierre Taberlet, Eric Coissac, and Jerôme Chave, who hosted me as a post-doctoral associate at LECA and at the Laboratoire Evolution & Diversité (EDB, Toulouse) between 2011 and 2017, as well as with Heidy Schimann, Wilfried Thuiller, David Duneau, Julien Cote and Christophe Duplais. As most of my research activity focuses on environmental genomics, I am interested in the wide array of applications of environmental DNA to study ecological phenomena (e.g. past communities dynamics, pollination or trophic networks) as well as how one can improve the inferences made from environmental DNA at molecular, bioinformatics and conceptual levels. Finally, I am also an associate editor in Molecular Ecology Resources and Molecular Ecology.

Since September 2017, I joined the Ecole normale supérieure as an assistant professor where I organise and teach courses in ecology, environmental genomics and now statistics to License 3 and Master 1 students. To develop my future research activity, I have joined the group of Chris Bowler here at IBENS where, beside pursuing my other research interests, I contribute to the team’s work on diatoms by developing research on the macro-ecological patterns of marine protists from TARA data.


Selected publications

Taberlet, P., Bonin, A., Zinger, L., Coissac, E. ENVIRONMENTAL DNA for biodiversity research and monitoring, Oxford University Press. (in press)

Bestion, E., Jacob, S., Zinger, L., Di Gesu, L., Richard, M., White, J., & Cote, J. (2017). Climate warming reduces gut microbiota diversity in a vertebrate ectotherm. Nature Ecology Evolution, 1(6), 161.

Zinger, L., Taberlet T, Schimann S, Bonin A, Boyer F, De Barba M, Gaucher P, Gielly L, Giguet-Covex C, Iribar A, Réjou-Méchain M, Rayé G, Rioux D, Schilling V, Tymen B, Viers J, Zouiten C, Thuiller W, Coissac E, Chave J (2017). Soil community assembly varies across body sizes in a tropical forest, BioRxiv 154278

Zinger, L., Boetius, A., & Ramette, A. (2014). Bacterial taxa–area and distance–decay relationships in marine environments. Molecular Ecology, 23(4), 954-964.

Zinger, L., Gobet, A., & Pommier, T. (2012). Two decades of describing the unseen majority of aquatic microbial diversity. Molecular Ecology, 21(8), 1878-1896.

Zinger, L., Lejon, D. P., Baptist, F., Bouasria, A., Aubert, S., Geremia, R. A., & Choler, P. (2011). Contrasting diversity patterns of crenarchaeal, bacterial and fungal soil communities in an alpine landscape. PLoS One, 6(5), e19950.

Zinger, L., Amaral-Zettler, L. A., Fuhrman, J. A., Horner-Devine, M. C., Huse, S. M., Welch, D. B. M., Martiny, J.B.H., Sogin, M., Boetius, A., Ramette, A. (2011). Global patterns of bacterial beta-diversity in seafloor and seawater ecosystems. PLoS One, 6(9), e24570.

Zinger, L., Shahnavaz, B., Baptist, F., Geremia, R. A., & Choler, P. (2009). Microbial diversity in alpine tundra soils correlates with snow cover dynamics. The ISME journal, 3(7), 850.