José-Luis Blanco Pastor

José-Luis Blanco Pastor

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2015

Receiving laboratory: P3F Multidisciplinary Research Unit for Grasslands and Forage Crops, Poitou Charentes

Country of origin : Sweden




Mobility project

Boosting the genomic adaptation to anthropogenic climate change in a European grassland species

Grasslands represent the most widespread agricultural land-use over Europe. They are the basic source of feed for livestock and provide essential ecological services. Modern breeding has only taken advantage of a limited part of the potentially useful genetic variations existing in nature. This natural diversity still represents an essential genetic resource for breeding to improve forage production or adaptation to environmental constraints. Grassland species are indeed adapted to their local environment, but there is a risk that local populations will often lack sufficient variation to adapt rapid climatic shifts. Our project will focus on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), which is a major grass species naturally distributed over Europe and surroundings. We will implement the latest developments in Landscape Genomics to discover genetic variability involved in climatic adaptation using high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping in a wide collection of natural populations. In addition, we will validate adaptive alleles/genotypes and phenotypes with fitness data. On the basis of these results, we will assess potential changes in the spatial distribution of adaptive diversity caused by climatic disruptions and we will design a number of genetic pools expected to provide adaptation to future regional climatic conditions in Europe.

Biography & research interests

I have an Msc in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology and a PhD in Plant Evolution. I obtained the maximum qualification for my PhD and it was awarded with an “Extraordinary PhD Thesis Award”, at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville, Spain). During and after my PhD I completed three short stays in different research centres (Sweden, Spain and USA). I have complemented my education with seven postgraduate courses: three on phylogenetics (two of them held in Spain and one in Sweden), two on landscape genetics (held in France and USA) and two courses on bioinformatics (held in Sweden). Shortly after my thesis dissertation I was awarded a 2-years Marie Skłodowska-Curie Intra-European Fellowship (Gothenburg University, Sweden) and shortly after I was awarded a 3-years Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND AgreenSkills Fellowship (INRA, France). My research is focused on plant ecology and evolution in general terms. Specifically I am interested on the effect of past Quaternary climatic oscillations on plant evolution, gene flow and adaptation to environmental factors. I am particularly interested in the use of this information to help plant species to adapt future climatic conditions.

Selected publications

*2017 – Eriksson, J.S, Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Sousa, F., Bertrand, Y.J.K. and Pfeil, B.E. Cryptic speciation, polyploidy and hybridisation in Medicago prostrata (Fabaceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107, 367-381. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.11.020;
2015 – Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Ornosa, C., Romero, D., Liberal, I., Gómez, J.M. & Vargas, P. Bees explain floral variation in a recent radiation of Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 28 (4): 851–863. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12609;
2014 – Vargas, P., Valente, L.M., Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Liberal, I., Guzmán, B., Cano, E., Forrest, A. & Fernández-Mazuecos, M. Testing biogeographic congruence of palaeofloras using molecular phylogenetics: snapdragons and the Madrean-Tethyan flora. Journal of Biogeography, 41 (5): 932-943. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12253;
2013 – Fernández-Mazuecos, M., Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Gómez, J.M. & Vargas, P. Corolla morphology influences diversification rates in bifid toadflaxes (Linaria Versicolores). Annals of Botany, 112 (9): 1705-1722. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mct214;
*2013 – Blanco-Pastor, J.L. & Vargas, P. Autecological traits determined two evolutionary strategies in Mediterranean plants during the Quaternary: low differentiation and range expansion versus geographical speciation in Linaria. Molecular Ecology 22, 5651–5668. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12518;
*2013 – Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Fernández-Mazuecos, M., & Vargas, P. Past and future demographic dynamics of alpine species: limited genetic consequences despite dramatic range contraction in a plant from the Spanish Sierra Nevada. Molecular Ecology 22, 4177–4195. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12383;
2013 – Fernández-Mazuecos, M.*, Blanco-Pastor, J.L.* & Vargas, P. A Phylogeny of toadflaxes (Linaria) based on Nuclear Internal Transcribed Spacer sequences: systematic and evolutionary consequences. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 174, 234-249. (*Equal contribution). DOI: 10.1086/668790;
*2012 – Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Vargas, P. & Pfeil, B.E. Coalescent simulations reveal hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting in Mediterranean Linaria. PLoS ONE, 7 (6), e39089. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0039089;
2011 – Rumeu, B., Caujapé-Castells, J., Blanco-Pastor, J.L., Jaén-Molina, R., Nogales, M., Rui Bento, E. & Vargas, P. The colonization history of Juniperus brevifolia(Cupressaceae) in the Azores islands. PLoS ONE, 6 (11), e27697. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0027697.

Awards & patents

Extraordinary PhD Thesis Award, in its call 2013-2014. Pablo de Olavide University. Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Engineering.