The Center for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (CR2P) is a laboratory completely devoted to palaeontology s.l.. It aims at elucidating the phylogenetic patterns and evolutionary history of living organisms, through the fossil record and the environments of the past. It is supported by the MNHN (National Museum of Natural History), the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and the Pierre-et-Marie Curie University (UPMC-Paris 6).
Our laboratory has a long history, enriched during the past ten years through the interaction of all the Paris palaeontologists within a common structure. The diversity of our current research topics ranges from comparative anatomy or palaeohistology to theoretical systematics; from palaeobotany to historical biogeography or to the analysis of environmental stress during major biotic crises, and from early hominid environments to exceptional soft tissue preservations in fossils. Our expertise includes a large spectrum of fossil animal and plant groups, from very primitive Precambrian forms of life up to hominids, from infinitesimally small organisms to giant vertebrates.
As of January, 1st, 2017, we are 38 scientists belonging to MNHN, UPMC, CNRS and EPHE, with 27 technical staff.
Our laboratory is structured into three teams:
- PACE (Palaeoecosystems: Analysis, Comprehension, Evolution), leaded by Silvia Gardin, with three projects focused on ecosystem evolution and environmental changes at different scales of time and space (16 scientists);
- HDV (History of Life), leaded by Michel Laurin, with two projects about organism studies in taxonomic, palaeogeographic, ecological and temporal contexts (11 scientists);
- 2F (Forms and Functions), leaded by Nathalie Bardet, with three projects addressing the environmental context of the adaptations of fossil organisms, as well as their functional, physiological and ontogenetic characteristics based on inferences from extant proxies (10 scientists).
We have transverse workgroups. The "Pakistan" workgroup draws together research on recovery time after the Cretaceous / Palaeogene event and the effects of the PETM (Palaeocene – Eocene Thermal Maximum) on biodiversity. In the second workgroup "Morocco", we continue to study the Maastrichtian – Palaeogene vertebrates of the Oulad Abdoun and Ganntour basins, Jurassic dinosaurs and Early Cretaceous tetrapods of the High Atlas, primitive amniotes of Argana, and Kem-Kem Cenomanian exceptional preservation deposits. A "micropalaeontology – invertebrate" section will be added by research development on the Rif pelagic series during the Late Jurassic – Early Cretaceous.
Our laboratory is very attached to geological heritage.
Throughout French territory , thousands of sites and geological objects are used to reconstruct geological history over more than 2 billion years. This heritage constitutes a privileged link between researchers and the social, economic and cultural environment . The activity of the Museum and CR2P concerning geological heritage lies in three major key points : 1 ) assuming the scientific responsibility of the national inventory of Geological Heritage, including the National validation of the data transmitted by the regions, via CSRPN (Regional Scientific Councils for the Protection of Nature ), 2) coordination and publication of books on geological heritage through collections " Stratotypes " and " Balades géologiques " , 3) participation in national and international expertise committees.
CR2P research is backed by the national collections of the Palaeontology of Earth History Department of the National Museum of Natural History and has to close relationships with collections of other departments and UPMC.
The technical team of CR2P helps in logistics during fieldwork, ensures the preparation of fossils of all sizes and origins and provides chemical and sedimentological analyses, as well as photographic and graphic support for publications. The 3D digital reconstruction workshop facilitates the exploitation of images acquired by microtomography.
Scientific staff belong to different institutions, UPMC, MNHN and CNRS. This diversity provides a strong presence of palaeontology with students from the first year of license through to masters level, in particular SEP (Systematics, Evolution, Palaeobiodiversity) in Masters SUDEE and Evolution, Natural Heritage and Society, and expert assessment on national collections. The entire lab is deeply involved in dissemination to a general audience