MNHN coelacanths expedition in Sodwana Bay, South Africa

I’ve been involved, as a specialist in trace and degraded DNA, in an international project about the biology of the coelacanth led by my colleague paleontologist Gael Clement from the French Museum of Natural History (MNHN, Paris).
This interdisciplinary projects embrasses a wide-scope ecological survey (with variou telemetry tools), the analysis of the functional anatomy (locomotion and manducation in particular), and also a molecular analysis of the diversity of South African coelacanths of Isimangaliso Reserve (on the northeastern coast of South Africa), hence promoting the acquisition of new data that will be useful to improve the management of the populations of this endangered animal. I’ve been leading the molecular side of the project which most novel aspect lies in the development of two novel non-invasive sampling procedures to recover coelacanth DNA.

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