Pierre Raoul de Wit

Senior Lecturer

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences
Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 7 B
41390 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 463
40530 Göteborg

About Pierre Raoul de Wit

I am interested in the study of evolution at all levels, from adaptations to local environments and population genetics to how species form and to try to elucidate the history of life on earth, as well as to make predictions for the future.

I work with genetic methods to study differences in DNA sequences between populations and species of marine organisms. The goal of my current work is to find out how marine animals are affected genetically when they are exposed to environmental changes such as ocean acidification or changes in salinity, which will hopefully allow us to identify genotypes tolerant to the predicted environment. In addition, barriers to gene flow in the marine environment can allow populations to become locally adapted to specific environments, which might give them better chances to tackle climate change. However, lack of connectivity along a species range also causes fragmentation of populations, making them more sensitive to stress. The balance between these two processes has important implications for management of marine species. I therefore use genetic tools to understand where barriers to gene flow are locates, how this translates into genetic patterns and what the implications are for their sensitivity to environmental change.

I am currently a steering committee member for the Linnaeus Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology, which connects researchers throughout Europe and beyond in research on evolution of marine organisms.

My current research projects include:

  • I also work in several research projects aiming at improving a sustainable management of the marine environment across borders in the Kattegat and Skagerrak seas, by including data about biodiversity, connectivity and trophic interactions. These include the Nordic Council of Ministers-funded project SAMSKAG, the InterReg-funded BlueBioClimate, and the Horizon Europe-funded project MARHAB.

Previous projects that I have been involved in include studies of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea, effects of ocean acidification on Copepods and Pacific oysters, genetic variation in natural populations of abalone along the California coast, including the effects of algal bloom-induced mass mortality events, and also bioinformatic work, both construction of data analysis pipelines for large data sets, and for data mining of public databases. My PhD thesis dealt with phylogeny reconstruction and cryptic speciation patterns in marine clitellate worms (Annelida). I am also currently involved in several collaborative efforts continuing both of these lines of research.