Marylaure de La Harpe, MSc

PhD student

e-mail: marylaure.delaharpe[@]
Phone: +43 1 4277 54134
address: Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
University of Vienna, Faculty of Life Sciences
Rennweg 14, Room 216
A-1030 Vienna, Austria

Research Interests

PhD thesis title: “Testing the drivers and limits of plant species radiations using population genomics”.

My PhD thesis is embedded within a larger research program (SNF Sinergia Consortium POPCORN) on the drivers and limits of species radiations in Neotropical mountains across a range of different spatial, temporal, and taxonomic scales. This Swiss-funded project involves the research groups of Michael Kessler (UZurich), Christian Lexer (UVienna and UFribourg), and Nicolas Salamin (ULausanne) and numerous collaborators in Meso- and South America, the USA, and Europe.

Within this larger research program, I study evolutionary processes in plant species complexes using the tools of population genomics and comparative genomics. Towards this  goal, we sampled species-rich genera of bromeliads (Bromeliaceae; pineapple family) and palms (Arecaceae), with a focus on Tillandsia in bromeliads and Geonoma in palms. For Tillandsia, I also had the opportunity to sample the excellent living collections available at the University of Vienna Botanical Garden and elsewhere in Europe. I use these taxa and samples to study the genomic substrate of adaptive radiation in tillandsioid bromeliads and the genetic mechanisms of population divergence in Geonoma palms. This research involves a variety of NGS-based techniques, including RNA sequencing, whole genome sequencing, and target capture sequencing. I implement this research in close collaboration with Margot Paris, a postdoctoral researcher in our group.

Short CV

2014 (ongoing) PhD student in the Lexer Lab, University of Fribourg Switzerland and University of Vienna, Austria

2013 - 2015 Committee member of the training course for field botany, Botanical Garden and University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

2013 - 2014 Internship and scientific collaborator at the Federal Office for Environment, Section Species and Natural Habitats, Switzerland

2012 - Winter semester. Internship at the Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, Surrey, U.K, with Sven Büerki

2010-2012 Master thesis in Biogeosciences, University of Lausanne and Neuchâtel, Switzerland, with Nadir Alvarez and Nils Arrigo


Marylaure de La Harpe, Margot Paris, Dirk N. Karger, Jonathan Rolland, Michael Kessler, Nicolas Salamin, Christian Lexer (2017) Molecular ecology studies of species radiations: current research gaps, opportunities, and challenge. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.14110

Arrigo N., de La Harpe M., Litsios G., Zozomová-Lihová J., Spaniel S., Marhold K., Barker M.S., Alvarez N. (2016) Is hybridization driving the evolution of climatic niche in Alyssum montanum. American Journal of Botany 103(7):1348-1357.

Lexer C, Marthaler F, Humbert S, Barbará T, de La Harpe M, Bossolini E, Paris M, Martinelli G & Versieux LM. (2016) Gene flow and diversification in a species complex of Alcantarea inselberg bromeliads. Bot J. Linnean Society 181:505-520.

de La Harpe M. (2013) Relevés floristiques et typologie de 20 stations d’étude en milieu urbain et périurbain, Bulletin de la Société Neuchâteloise des Sciences Naturelles, 133:105-132.

Conference presentations

2015 Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB). "Towards testing drivers and limits of radiations using population genomics". Poster presentation of main chapters composing the PhD Project. University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

2015 Annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE), Hofburg, Vienna, Austria. "Towards testing drivers and limits of radiations using population genomics". Poster presentation of main chapters composing the PhD Project.

2015 1st World Congress on Bromeliaceae Evolution. "Genomics of speciation and species cohesion among Tillandsioids (Bromeliaceae) in Neotropical mountains". Oral presentation of chosen chapter of the PhD project. Recife, Brazil.

2012 Young Systematists' Forum. "Biogeography of Alyssum montanum (Brassicaceae) polyploid complex in Western Europe". Oral presentation of the Master’s thesis. Natural History Museum, London, UK.