Chris Bowler is the CNRS Director of Research at the Institut de Biologie de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Using genomics approaches, he studies the biology of plants and a group of marine phytoplankton known as diatoms. He is a scientific coordinator of the Tara Oceans expedition, performing a worldwide analysis of plankton in the global ocean using high-throughput DNA sequencing and cellular imaging approaches. The project has generated the most complete picture to date of plankton species diversity and function in today’s global ocean.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Bowler is exploring ancient DNA from diatoms in sediments accumulated over the millenia on the seafloor. From such studies, he hopes to learn how diatoms were affected by past environments, thus helping to understand how they will be affected by climate change in the future.
Bowler completed his PhD at the Ghent University, in Belgium, followed by postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller University, in New York. In 1994, he established his own research group working on higher plants and marine diatoms at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, in Naples, Italy, and in 2002, he took up his current position in Paris. He has been an EMBO member since 1995 and was the recipient of a CNRS Silver Medal in 2010, an ERC Advanced Grant in 2011, and a Fondation Louis D. Grand Prix from the Institut de France in 2015.