I am an evolutionary biologist broadly interested in ecology, biogeography and evolution of insects. In particular, I am interested in the pattern and process of speciation, and the factors leading to speciations. Most of my research has involved the use of molecular data but also, to a lesser extent, morphological data. Thus, using phylogenetic reconstructions based on DNA sequences, I performed a biogeographic study of an Holarctic species complex of alpine butterflies and proposed a scenario of speciations, directed by the glacial and interglacial phases of the Quaternary (PhD). More recently, I studied the molecular changes potentially involved in the speciation of cryptic and sympatric species of leafroller moths, that can be identified so far only using the sex pheromone composition of the females (Postdoc). Using transcriptomic, genomic and gene expression (qRT-PCR) data, I identified the desaturase gene families as the key enzymes involved in these speciation events. Indeed, through species-specific gene regulation systems, the desaturases are differently expressed, resulting in the production of species-specific blends of sex pheromones. So far, I was mainly focused on the Lepidoptera of the temperate areas, but my wish is still to study tropical species.
2009-2012, Postdoctoral fellow - "The molecular basis of speciation in native New Zealand leafroller moths", The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (New Zealand).
2004-2008, PhD in Phylogenetics and Evolution - "The Erebia tyndarus species group (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae): biogeography and evolution", University of Toulouse III.
1999-2003, Master - "Animal and Plant Systematics", National Museum of Natural History of Paris (France)
2001-2002, D.E.S.U.P.S Superior Study Diploma of the University Paul Sabatier - "Study of two types of Araceae-insects relationships: Pollination of Arum italicum and Parasitism of Philodendron solimoesense", University of Toulouse III.
1996-1999, Bachelor - "Biology of Organisms: Evolution, Animal Physiology, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Zoology and Botany", University of Bordeaux I (France).
2014 - Hagström A.K., , Tooman L.K., Thirmawithana A.H., Corcoran J., Löfstedt C. and Newcomb R.D. A novel Fatty Acyl Desaturase from the pheromone glands of Ctenopseustis obliquana and C. herana with specific Z5-desaturase activity on myristic acid. Journal of Chemical Ecology 40: 63-70.
2014 - Legal L., Dorado O., Machkour-M'Rabet S., Leberger R., , Mariano N.A. and Gers C. Ecological constraints and distribution of the primitive and enigmatic endemic Mexican butterfly Baronia brevicornis (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). The Canadian Entomologist In Press.
2013 - , Steinwender B. and Newcomb R.D. The evolution of desaturase gene regulation involved in sex pheromone production in leafroller moths of the genus Planotortrix. Journal of Heredity 104: 627-638.
2012 - , Liénard M., Sirey T., Schmidt S., Tooman L.K., Carraher C., Greenwood D., Löfstedt C. and Newcomb R.D. Sex pheromone evolution is associated with differential regulation of the same desaturase gene in two genera of leafroller moths. PloS Genetics 8: e1002489.
2010 - Quilichini A., Macquart D., Barabé D., and Gibernau M. Reproduction of the West Mediterranean endemic Arum pictum (Araceae) on Corsica. Plant Systematics and Evolution 287: 179-187.
2008 - , Gers C. and Legal L. Molecular phylogeny of the Erebia tyndarus (Lepidoptera, Rhopalocera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae) species group combining CoxII and ND5 mitochondrial genes: a case study of a recent radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47: 196-210.
2008 - , Gers C. and Legal L. Taxonomic notes on the Erebia tyndarus species group (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae). Lépidoptères 39: 12-28.
2008 - and Gibernau M. Reproductive biology of Arum italicum (Araceae) in the south of France. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 156: 43-49.
2008 - Gibernau M. and Size variations of flowering characters in Arum italicum (Araceae). Aroideana 31: 101-106.
2007 - Legal L., , Mariano A. and Dorado O. Aspectos ecologicos de la distribucion localizado de la mariposa primitiva Baronia brevicomis. Mesoamericana 11: 129.
2003 - , Quilichini A. and Gibernau M. Pollination ecology of Arum italicum (Araceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141: 205-214.
2002 - Gibernau M., , Dejean A. and Barabé D. Seed predation in Philodendron solimoesense (Araceae) by chalcid wasps. International Journal of Plant Sciences 163: 1017-1023.
11/2010 - , Liénard M., Sirey T. and Newcomb R.D. The genetic bases of sex pheromone differences in endemic New Zealand leafroller moths. The XIII New Zealand Molecular Ecology Meeting. Waiwera, New Zealand.
06/2010 - and Newcomb R.D. The genetic bases of speciation in the native leafrollers Planotortrix and Ctenopseustis (Tortricidae). The NZ Invertebrate Molecular Biology Workshop. Taranaki, New Zealand.
06/2007 - , Gers C. and Legal L. Warm period refuge theory: Why Pleistocene inter-glaciations were increasing biodiversity? International Symposium of Systematics and Evolution. Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
07/2006 - y Legal L. Filogenia molecular de Erebia tyndarus (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae), un grupo largamente discutido. Invited conference at CEAMISH-UAEM. Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
11/2004 - et Legal L. Utilisation des hydrocarbures cuticulaires comme marqueur phylogénétique chez le genre Erebia (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae, Satyrinae), un grupo largamente discutido. 1st meeting of the Research Group in Chemical Ecology (GDR 2877). Montpellier, France.
07/2006, Morelos (Mexico) - Ecology and population biology of Baronia brevicomis (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae), a Mexican endemic species.
2003/2004, Andorra - Inventory of the Rhopalocera of the Madriu valley (World Heritage List).
07/2002, Catalogne (Spain) - Impact of forest parceling on the diversity and abundance of Mediterranean Rhopalocera (with Dr. G. Chust, University Paul Sabatier).
2001-2003, Pyrenees Mts. (France) - Inventory and cartography of the Pyrenean Rhopalocera of the region Midi-Pyrénées.
10/2001, Corsica (France) - Reproductive biology of Arum pictum (Araceae), an endemic species.
07/2000, Landes Forest (France) - Kairomonal attraction of the predators of Matsucoccus feytaudi (Coccoidea, Margarodidae), a pest of Pinus pinaster (with Dr. H. Jactel, INRA of Cestas-Pierroton).
07/1999, Landes Forest (France) - Ecology and reproduction of Dioryctria sylvestrella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a pest of Pinus pinaster (with Dr. H. Jactel, INRA of Cestas-Pierroton).
Molecular Biology - Extractions (DNA and RNA), PCR, cDNA synthesis, qRT-PCR, RACE PCRs, genome walking, ISSRs, gas chromatography (basic).
Ecology - Inventories (Lepidoptera), pheromone tracking, rearing (Lepidoptera), dissections, field missions (alpine area and sub-tropics), plant phenology monitoring.
Softwares (PC) - Word, Excel, Geneious, PAUP, Mr. Bayes, Modeltest, Photoshop, Mapinfo (basic), PHP/Mysql.
Languages - English, Spanish (reading and speaking), French (native).