I am a paleobotanist working on the systematic and functional diversity of fossil plants. I am currently studying anatomically preserved Paleozoic (-400 to -250 millions years) plants from Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. I am especially interested by morpho-anatomical characters that provide insights into the functioning of fossil plants and allow us to reconstruct different aspects of their biology, such as their growth habit, sprouting ability, hydraulic and mechanical properties, etc. Since 2011, I am a permanent C.N.R.S. Research Scientist in the department “Botany and Modeling of Plant Architecture“, in Montpellier, France.

Je suis une paléobotaniste qui travaille sur la diversité systématique et fonctionnelle des plantes fossiles. J’étudie actuellement des plantes anatomiquement conservées du Paléozoïque (-400 à -250 millions d’années) d’Europe, d’Australie et d’Antarctique. Je suis particulièrement intéressée par les caractères morpho-anatomiques qui donnent un aperçu du fonctionnement des plantes fossiles et nous permettent de reconstruire différents aspects de leur biologie, tels que leur croissance, leur port, leurs propriétés hydrauliques et mécaniques, etc. Depuis 2011, je suis Chargée de Recherche au CNRS dans l’UMR “Botanique et Bio-Informatique de l’Architecture des Plantes” de Montpellier.


Current position & selected responsabilities

Research Scientist/Chargée de Recherche | 2011-…
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
UMR AMAP (Botany and Modelling of Plant Architecture and Vegetation), Montpellier.
Research Associate (adjunct) The University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute   | 2015-
Elected member comité de section 67-68 Université de Montpellier | 2014-
Co-coordinator, Master CEPAGE-Chrono-environments & Paleoecology, Université de Montpellier| 2015
Associate editor American Journal of Botany, IAWA Journal Editorial board member Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology


Taxonomic and functionnal diversity of plants during the Paleozoic and early Mesozoic.

The general aim of my research is to document plant diversity in the fossil record and to investigate the factors underlying this diversity. To do this I study the anatomy and morphology of fossil plants to:

    • document past plant systematic diversity and understand the origin and diversification of key groups of plants.
    • document the biology of fossil plants by reconstructing different functionnal traits (growth habit, architecture, sprouting ability, hydraulic and mechanical properties, etc.)
    •  investigate the impact of evolutionnary and paleoenvironmental factors (climate, geography, biological crises, …) on plant systematic & functionnal diversity through time.

I work on pre-angiosperm floras  from the Paleozoic and early Mesozoic (-400 to -200 millions years ago), with a special interest for fossil trees. My research can be divided in three interelated themes:


This research is part of the theme Paléo and the team Architecture, functioning and evolution of plants at UMR AMAP.

Continue reading “Research”


*corresponding author (usually the 1st author); (co)-advised students; i invited commentaries.

Edited special issue

coverDecombeix A-L, Boucher L, Wheeler E A & Baas P. 2019. Plant Hydraulic Architecture through Geological Time. IAWA Journal 40 (3): 381-640. [Editor link]

Peer reviewed articles and book chapters


[52] *Champreux A, Meyer-Berthaud B & Decombeix A-L (accepted). Keraphyton gen. nov., a new Late Devonian fern-like plant from Australia. PeerJ

[51] *Decombeix A-L, , Durieux T, Harper CJ, Serbet R & Taylor EL (accepted). A Permian nurse log and evidence for facilitation in high-latitude Glossopteris forests. Lethaia [editor link]


[50] *Decombeix A-L, Boura A & Tomescu AMF. 2019. Plant hydraulic architecture through time: lessons and questions on the evolution of vascular systems. IAWA Journal 40: 387-420 [Editor link] [.pdf (low resolution plates)]

[49]*Tanrattana M, Barczi J-F, Decombeix A-L, Meyer-Berthaud B & Wilson JP. 2019. A new approach for modelling water transport in fossil plants. IAWA Journal 40: 466– 487 [Editor link]

[48] Terreaux de Félice H, *Decombeix A-L & Galtier J. 2019. Anatomy, affinities, and evolutionary implications of new silicified stems of Sphenophyllum from the early Carboniferous (Mississippian) of France and Germany. Geodiversitas 41 (14): 587-599 [Editor link (open access)]

[47] *Decombeix A-L, Galtier J, McLoughlin S, Meyer-Berthaud B, Webb GE & Blake PR. 2019. Early Carboniferous lignophyte tree diversity in Australia: woods from the Drummond and Yarrol Basins, Queensland. Review of Paleobotany and Palynology 263: 47-64 [editor link]

[46] *Tanrattana M, Meyer-Berthaud B & Decombeix A-L. 2019. Callixylon wendtii nov., a new species of archaeopteridalean progymnosperm from the Late Devonian of Anti-Atlas, Morocco. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 108: 373-385  [Editor link]


Continue reading “Publications”


Recent talks (2019-2020)

Decombeix A-L, Galtier J, Meyer-Berthaud B, Prestianni C, Rowe NP, Harper CJ. 2020. A review of the Early Mississippian anatomically preserved flora from Montagne Noire, France. Botany 2020 Virtual Botany Conference, 16-30/07/2020. (abstract)

Decombeix A-L. 2020. Reconstructing the biology of Paleozoic trees. 2nd Palaeontological Virtual Congress, 1-15/04/2020 (keynote)

Decombeix A-L. 2020. Trees at the pole: the Permian forests of Antarctica. Laboratoire Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, France, 10/03/2020 (invited seminar)

Decombeix A-L, Galtier J & Broutin J. 2019. Evolution des flores européennes de la fin du Carbonifère à la fin du Permien. Journées spécialisées de la Société Géologique de France-Histoire Carbonifère Permien du domaine intertropical : couplage cycles externes et internes,  Rennes, France, 28-29/11/2019 (invited talk)

Decombeix A-L, Meyer-Berthaud B, Barczi J-F, Dambreville A & Tanrattana M. 2019. Using modeling to investigate the biology of fossil trees. Séminaires Models in Ecology and Evolution, Montpellier, France. 24-25/10/2019 (keynote)

Decombeix A-L, Meyer-Berthaud B & Galtier J. 2019. Secondary vascular growth in Paleozoic plants: some advances and future directions. Jahrestagung der Paläontologischen Gesellschaft, Munich, Germany, 15-19/09/2019 (contributed talk)

Decombeix A-L, Galtier J, Meyer-Berthaud B., Prestianni C, Harper CJ & Terreaux de Félice H. 2019. Anatomically preserved plants from the Tournaisian of the Montagne Noire (France): an exceptional window into Early Mississippian floras.19th International Congress on the Carboniferous and Permian, Cologne, Germany, 28/07-2/08/2019 (contributed talk)

Decombeix A-L, Ryberg PE, Serbet R & Taylor EL. 2019. Permian silicified trunks from Mt Sirius, Central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica. Agora Paleobotanica meeting, Lille, France. 11-13/7/2019 (contributed talk) Continue reading “Communications”