Sex in the rockpools, uncovering the private life of seaweeds
Abstract: The brown algae (brown seaweeds) are fascinating organisms that evolved complex multicellularity independently of animals and plants. Over the last few years, they have emerged as a highly valuable group to study the evolution of sex chromosomes and reproductive systems. I will describe how our lab has been using seaweeds to gain novel insights into the mechanisms and evolutionary trajectories of sex chromosomes and to reveal the functional and evolutionary interactions between the sex determination and key reproductive and life cycle traits.
Biosketch: Susana Coelho was born in Portugal and completed her PhD at the Marine Biological Association in the laboratory of Colin Brownlee (Plymouth, UK). She worked at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Roscoff (France) from 2006 where her lab focused in life cycle and reproduction of brown algae, and she had a key role in the establishment of the brown algae Ectocarpus as a model organism in evolutionary research. Between 2010 and 2020, she co-led the Algae Genetics Group in Roscoff, and was appointed Research Director at the CNRS in 2015. In 2020, she moved to Tubingen, Germany, where she is Director of the Algal Development and Evolution Department at the Max Planck Institute for Biology. Susana has led a number of large-scale research projects on the evolution and development of brown algae, including two ERC grants (SEXSEA and TETHYS), and she was awarded several prizes including the bronze medal of the CNRS (2015), the Trogoboff Prize of the French National Academy of Sciences (2017) and the Bettencourt Prize Coup d’Elan (2020).
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