When the disinterest attracted by a scientific subject leads to validating a major hypothesis.
By Philippe Borsa, population geneticist and marine biologist at ENTROPIE
Having come to study the biology of anchovies around New Caledonia, the population geneticist and marine biologist Philippe Borsa encountered a certain lack of interest in the subject. Although essential in the marine food chain, this small pelagic fish is invisible during recreational dives in the lagoon and absolutely not prized by consumers who prefer large carnivorous fish: his project has met with very little echo in terms of local research funding …
Never mind, he reoriented his work on a fish very popular with all, divers and gourmets and therefore also donors, the white hunchback. ” And we discovered that, despite its commercial importance, this subfamily, the Monotaxinae, remains largely unknown scientifically, he explains. Thus of the five species present around the Caillou, three had no name and two of them had never been reported. »With his Taiwanese accomplice Wei-Jen Chen, phylogeneticist, they described and genetically characterized these species. Then embarking on a study of the subfamily at the scale of the Indo-Pacific basin, they confirmed the existence of eight species, new to science if not new to fishermen and consumers!
Thanks to the very comprehensive material gathered for this study, covering the genetic diversity of the white hunchbacks of this vast ocean basin1, they were able to establish their phylogeny and thus test the hypotheses on the biogeography of reef species in the Indo-Pacific.