Thomas Bourguignon

Thomas Bourguignon
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology | OIST · Evolutionary Genomics Unit

PhD

About

179
Publications
42,579
Reads
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2,109
Citations
Citations since 2016
93 Research Items
1735 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
20162017201820192020202120220100200300
Introduction
Thomas Bourguignon currently works at the Evolutionary Genomics Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. Thomas does research in Ecology and Evolution of insects.
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
May 2017 - present
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
May 2015 - April 2017
The University of Sydney
Position
  • Research Associate
November 2012 - April 2015
National University of Singapore
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
October 2006 - October 2010
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Field of study
  • Biological Sciences

Publications

Publications (179)
Article
Full-text available
Recent attempts to explain the evolutionary prevalence of same-sex sexual behavior (SSB) have focused on the role of indiscriminate mating. However, in many cases, SSB may be more complex than simple mistaken identity, instead involving mutual interactions and successful pairing between partners who can detect each other's sex. Behavioral plasticit...
Article
Full-text available
Group‐living animals coordinate their movements via local interactions, which can be mediated by visual, tactile, and chemical communication channels. Termite mating pairs form tandems with one male imago following one female imago in a synchronised way to explore the environment and search for a nesting site. Imagoes are the only developmental sta...
Article
Full-text available
The long-term coevolution between insects and their obligate endosymbionts is accompanied by increasing levels of genome integration, sometimes to the point that metabolic pathways require enzymes encoded in two genomes, which we refer to as “collaborative pathways”. To date, collaborative pathways have only been reported from sap-feeding insects.
Preprint
Termites (Blattodea: Isoptera) have evolved specialized defensive strategies for colony protection. Alarm communication enables workers to escape threats while soldiers are recruited to the source of disturbance. Here, we studied the vibroacoustic and chemical alarm communication in the wood roach Cryptocercus and in 20 termite species including se...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent attempts to explain the evolutionary prevalence of same-sex sexual behaviour (SSB) have focused on the role of indiscriminate mating. However, in many cases, SSB involves plastically adjusting sex roles to achieve successful courtship or pairing. To evaluate this overlooked factor, we tested whether ancestral sex-role plasticity facilitated...
Article
Full-text available
Background Termites primarily feed on lignocellulose or soil in association with specific gut microbes. The functioning of the termite gut microbiota is partly understood in a handful of wood-feeding pest species but remains largely unknown in other taxa. We intend to fill this gap and provide a global understanding of the functional evolution of t...
Article
The phylogenetic history of termites has been investigated using mitochondrial genomes and transcriptomes. However, both sets of markers have specific limitations. Mitochondrial genomes represent a single genetic marker likely to yield phylogenetic trees presenting incongruences with species trees, and transcriptomes can only be obtained from well-...
Article
Full-text available
Termites feed on vegetal matter at various stages of decomposition. Lineages of wood- and soil-feeding termites are distributed across terrestrial ecosystems located between 45°N and 45°S of latitude, a distribution they acquired through many transoceanic dispersal events. While wood-feeding termites often live in the wood on which they feed and ar...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are major decomposers in terrestrial ecosystems and the second most diverse lineage of social insects. The Kalotermitidae form the second-largest termite family and are distributed across tropical and subtropical ecosystems, where they typically live in small colonies confined to single wood items inhabited by individuals with no foraging...
Article
Termites are social cockroaches distributed throughout warm temperate and tropical ecosystems. The ancestor of modern termites roamed the earth during the early Cretaceous, suggesting that both vicariance and overseas dispersal may have shaped the distribution of early diverging termites. We investigate the historical biogeography of three early di...
Article
Machadotermes is one of the basal Apicotermitinae genera, living in tropical West Africa. Old observations suggested the presence of a new gland, the intramandibular gland, in Machadotermes soldiers. Here, by combining micro-computed tomography, optical and electron microscopy, we showed that the gland exists in Machadotermes soldiers only as an ac...
Article
Full-text available
Colonies of social insects contain large amounts of resources often exploited by specialized social parasites. While some termite species host numerous parasitic arthropod species, called termitophiles, others host none. The reason for this large variability remains unknown. Here we report that the evolution of termitophily in rove beetles is linke...
Preprint
Full-text available
The phylogenetic history of termites has been investigated using mitochondrial genomes and transcriptomes. However, both sets of markers have limitations. Mitochondrial genomes represent a single genetic marker likely to yield phylogenetic trees presenting incongruences with species trees, and transcriptomes can only be obtained from well-preserved...
Preprint
Full-text available
Madagascar is home to many endemic plant and animal species owing to its ancient isolation from other landmasses. This unique fauna includes several lineages of termites, a group of insects known for their key role in organic matter decomposition in many terrestrial ecosystems. How and when termites colonised Madagascar remains unknown. In this stu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites primarily feed on lignocellulose or soil in association with specific gut microbes. The functioning of the termite gut microbiota is partly understood in a handful of wood-feeding pest species, but remains largely unknown in other taxa. We intend to feel this gap and provide a global understanding of the functional evolution of termite gut...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites are social cockroaches distributed throughout warm temperate and tropical ecosystems. The ancestor of modern termites (crown-Isoptera) occurred during the earliest Cretaceous, approximately 140 million years ago, suggesting that both vicariance through continental drift and overseas dispersal may have shaped the distribution of early diver...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are social cockroaches. Because non-termite cockroaches are larger than basal termite lineages, which themselves include large termite species, it has been proposed that termites experienced a unidirectional body size reduction since they evolved eusociality. However, the validity of this hypothesis remains untested in a phylogenetic frame...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites are social cockroaches. Because non-termite cockroaches are larger than basal termite lineages, which themselves include large termite species, it has been proposed that termites experienced a unidirectional body size reduction since they evolved eusociality. However, the validity of this hypothesis remains untested in a phylogenetic frame...
Preprint
Full-text available
Termites are major decomposers of organic matter in terrestrial ecosystems and the second most diverse lineage of social insects. The Kalotermitidae, the second-largest termite family, are widely distributed across tropical and subtropical ecosystems, where they typically live in small colonies confined to single wood items inhabited by individuals...
Article
Cryptocercus Scudder, a genus of wingless, subsocial cockroaches, has low vagility but exhibits a disjunct distribution in eastern and western North America, and in China, South Korea and the Russian Far East. This distribution provides an ideal model for testing hypotheses of vicariance through plate tectonics or other natural barriers versus tran...
Article
Soil-feeding termites are abundant in tropical regions and play an important role in soil bioturbation and in the organic matter cycle. The Apicotermitinae are arguably the most diverse lineage of soil-feeding termites, but they are also the most understudied, probably because many species are soldierless, which makes identification difficult. Alth...
Article
Full-text available
Intracellular endosymbionts have reduced genomes that progressively lose genes at a timescale of tens of million years. We previously reported that gene loss rate is linked to mutation rate in Blattabacterium, however, the mechanisms causing gene loss are not yet fully understood. Here, we carried out comparative genomic analyses on the complete ge...
Article
Soil‐burrowing cockroaches (Blaberidae: Geoscapheinae) are large insects endemic to Australia. Originally thought to represent a monophyletic group, these enigmatic species have in fact evolved burrowing behaviour, associated fossorial morphological modifications, and dietary transitions to dry leaf litter feeding multiple times from the wood‐feedi...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are a clade of eusocial wood-feeding roaches with > 3000 described species. Eusociality emerged ~ 150 million years ago in the ancestor of modern termites, which, since then, have acquired and sometimes lost a series of adaptive traits defining of their evolution. Termites primarily feed on wood, and digest cellulose in association with th...
Article
Full-text available
The Neotropical family Serritermitidae is a monophyletic group of termites including two genera, Serritermes and Glossotermes, with different way-of-life, the former being the sole obligatory inquiline among “lower” termites, while the latter is a single-site nester feeding on dry rotten red wood. Like the most advanced termite’s family, the Termit...
Article
An iconic group of arid‐adapted insects is the Australian soil‐burrowing cockroaches (Blaberidae: Geoscapheinae), large, wingless insects that evolved burrowing behaviour and associated forms in parallel from wood feeding ancestors in the subfamily Panesthiinae. A particularly problematic taxon within the Geoscapheinae is Geoscapheus dilatatus (Sau...
Article
All termites have established a wide range of associations with symbiotic microbes in their guts. Some termite species are also associated with microbes that grow in their nests, but the prevalence of these associations remains largely unknown. Here, we studied the bacterial communities associated with the termites and galleries of three wood-feedi...
Article
Full-text available
Despite their ecological importance, nothing is known about the diversity and abundance of RNA viruses in termites (Termitoidae). We used a metatranscriptomics approach to determine the RNA virome structure of 50 diverse species of termite that differ in both phylogenetic position and colony composition. From these samples, we identified 67 novel R...
Article
Termites are important plant biomass decomposers. Their digestive activity typically relies on pro-karyotes and protozoa present in their guts. In some cases, such as in fungus-growing termites, digestion also relies on ectosymbiosis with specific fungal taxa. To date, the mycobiome of termites has yet to be investigated in detail. We evaluated the...
Article
The evolutionary processes that drive variation in genome size across the tree of life remain unresolved. Effective population size (Ne) is thought to play an important role in shaping genome size [1, 2, 3]—a key example being the reduced genomes of insect endosymbionts, which undergo population bottlenecks during transmission [4]. However, the exi...
Article
Full-text available
Oceans host communities of plankton composed of relatively few abundant species and many rare species. The number of rare protist species in these communities, as estimated in metagenomic studies, decays as a steep power law of their abundance. The ecological factors at the origin of this pattern remain elusive. We propose that chaotic advection by...
Article
Full-text available
Animal collective behaviors give rise to various spatial patterns, such as the nests of social insects. These structures are built by individuals following a simple set of rules, slightly varying within and among species, to produce a large diversity of shapes. However, little is known about the origin and evolution of the behavioral mechanisms reg...
Article
Full-text available
Trail-following behavior is a key to ecological success of termites, allowing them to orient themselves between the nesting and foraging sites. This behavior is controlled by specific trail-following pheromones produced by the abdominal sternal gland occurring in all termite species and developmental stages. Trail-following communication has been s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Oceans host communities of plankton composed of relatively few abundant species and many rare species. The number of rare protists species in these communities, as esti- mated in metagenomic studies, decays as a steep power law of their abundance. The ecological factors at the origin of this pattern remain elusive. We propose that oceanic currents...
Article
Full-text available
Bacterial endosymbionts evolve under strong host-driven selection. Factors influencing host evolution might affect symbionts in similar ways, potentially leading to correlations between the molecular evolutionary rates of hosts and symbionts. Although there is evidence of rate correlations between mitochondrial and nuclear genes, similar investigat...
Article
Full-text available
Thousands of eukaryotes transcriptomes have been generated, mainly to investigate nuclear genes expression, and the amount of available data is constantly increasing. A neglected but promising use of this large amount of data is to assemble organelle genomes. To assess the reliability of this approach, we attempted to reconstruct complete mitochond...
Article
Termitidae comprises ∼80% of all termite species [1] that play dominant decomposer roles in tropical ecosystems [2, 3]. Two major events during termite evolution were the loss of cellulolytic gut protozoans in the ancestor of Termitidae and the subsequent gain in the termitid subfamily Macrotermitinae of fungal symbionts cultivated externally in "c...
Article
Full-text available
Most people consider cockroaches to be quintessential urban pests, even though very few of the 5000 cockroach species live in urban areas. The German cockroach is the most widespread and common cockroach in urban areas, however how this invasive species has spread globally is poorly understood. We reviewed the published and grey literatures, and mu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Bacterial endosymbionts evolve under strong host-driven selection. Factors influencing host evolution might affect symbionts in similar ways, potentially leading to correlations between the molecular evolutionary rates of hosts and symbionts. Although there is evidence of rate correlations between mitochondrial and nuclear genes, similar investigat...
Article
Full-text available
Termites have evolved diverse defence strategies to protect themselves against predators, including a complex alarm communication system based on vibroacoustic and/or chemical signals. In reaction to alarm signals, workers and other vulnerable castes flee away while soldiers, the specialized colony defenders, actively move toward the alarm source....
Article
Termites are the principal decomposers in tropical and subtropical ecosystems around the world. Time-calibrated molecular phylogenies show that some lineages of Neoisoptera diversified during the Oligocene and Miocene, and acquired their pantropical distribution through transoceanic dispersal events, probably by rafting in wood. In this paper, we i...
Article
Full-text available
Termites have developed a wide array of defensive mechanisms. One of them is the mandibulate soldier caste that crushes or pierces their enemies. However, in several lineages of Termitinae, soldiers have long and slender mandibles that cannot bite but, instead, snap and deliver powerful strikes to their opponents. Here, we use morphological and mol...
Article
Full-text available
Almost all examined cockroaches harbor an obligate intracellular endosymbiont, Blattabacterium cuenoti. On the basis of genome content, Blattabacterium has been inferred to recycle nitrogen wastes and provide amino acids and cofactors for its hosts. Most Blattabacterium strains sequenced to date harbor a genome of ∼630kbp, with the exception of the...
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1970s Southeast Asian peat swamp forests have been increasingly threatened by anthropogenic disturbance. Peat swamps act as refuge for many endangered species, and they may turn into a net producer of CO2 and greatly contribute to climate change if cleared and drained. As one of the main invertebrate decomposers in the tropics, termites a...
Article
Full-text available
Termites are eusocial insects currently classified into nine families, of which only Stylotermitidae has never been subjected to any molecular phylogenetic analysis. Stylotermitids present remarkable morphology and have the unique habit of feeding on living trees. We sequenced mitogenomes of five stylotermitid samples from China and Taiwan to recon...
Article
Abstract The evolutionary success of termites has been driven largely by a complex communication system operated by a rich set of exocrine glands. As many as 20 different exocrine organs are known in termites. While some of these organs are relatively well known, only anecdotal observations exist for others. One of the exocrine organs that has rece...
Article
Full-text available
Following the acceptance of plate tectonics theory in the latter half of the 20th century, vicariance became the dominant explanation for the distributions of many plant and animal groups. In recent years, however, molecular-clock analyses have challenged a number of well-accepted hypotheses of vicariance. As a widespread group of insects with a fo...
Article
The gut microbiota of animals exert major effects on host biology [1]. Although horizontal transfer is generally considered the prevalent route for the acquisition of gut bacteria in mammals [2], some bacterial lineages have co-speciated with their hosts on timescales of several million years [3]. Termites harbor a complex gut microbiota, and their...
Article
Full-text available
Previous observations have noted that in some species of higher termites the soldier caste lacks pigmented particles in its gut and, instead, is fed worker saliva that imparts a whitish coloration to the abdomen. In order to investigate the occurrence of this trait more thoroughly, we surveyed a broad diversity of termite specimens and taxonomic de...
Article
Full-text available
The conservation of tropical rainforest biodiversity is a pressing issue, due to the rapid rate of deforestation. Secondary forests may provide a useful alternative to old growth forests, as they often contain a substantial proportion of the original biodiversity. In this study, we investigate species richness, density and composition of ants and t...
Article
Full-text available
In ants, dispersal strategies and morphology of female sexuals are generally linked to the mode of colony founding. In species using long-range dispersal tactics, queen/worker dimorphism is generally high and young queens are able to initiate new colonies by themselves , using their metabolic reserves. By contrast, in species using short-range disp...
Data
Independent foundation and propagules development in C. pygmaea. (XLS)
Data
Morphometric data for nanitic workers in C. pygmaea. (XLSX)