Simon Boivins

PhD Student

13 rue des Maraîchers, office 309

+41 (0)223793193

My Research


The history of life is punctuated by major macro-evolutionary events. Mass extinction crises are very famous and intensely studied, however, post-extinction recoveries and evolutionary radiations are equally interesting and help us understand the renewal of biodiversity and the reaction of ecosystems to severe environmental changes.

The scleractinian corals – the main pillar of reef ecosystems in Triassic – are strongly impacted by the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction crisis. During the two first stages of the Jurassic – the Hettangian and Sinemurian- the coral reefs were very rare and the few exceptions are either isolated or integrated into reefs dominated by other reef-building organisms (e.g. algae, sponges, microproblematica). Our knowledge of Hettangian and Sinemurian corals is poor due to the scarcity of specimens, their limited geographic spread and their poor preservation as result of their aragonite composition.

The main goal of my research project is to investigate the recovery of coral biodiversity after the Triassic-Jurassic boundary. The aim of this research is (1) to systematically improve the taxonomy of Hettangian and Sinemurian scleractininan coral, including (2) understanding their evolutionary history and (3) their ecological role in Jurassic reefs.

Our work is based on a macro- and micro-palaeontological approache as well as determining the depositional environment and palaeoecology of the reef settings. Previous studies conducted by Mélanie Gretz in the frame of the REEFCADE Project found interesting results on corals of the North Tethyan margin (see Mélanie Gretz’s webpage for publications and more details). Now, we further direct our studies (through my PhD thesis) on Hettangian and Sinemurian reefs of Morocco (High Atlas) and Paris basin (Burgundy and Luxembourg).  We also intend to re-study classic museum collections using new palaeontological methods like geometric morphometry analysis to ensure a systematic coverage of Early Jurassic scleractinian corals.


My PhD research is a part of the REEFCADE Project, and is conducted by Rossana Martini with the collaboration of Bernard Lathuilière (Université de Lorraine).


Research Interests

  • Early Jurassic scleractinian corals palaeontology
  • Macroevolution
  • Carbonate reef palaeoecology, sedimentology and micropalaeontology
  • Biometric, geometric morphometric and statistical palaeontological approaches

Lecturer Assistant

  • Palaeontology and Palaeobiology for Bachelor Students
  • (R)amène ta science!”: Science outreach program of UNIGE for secondary school.




Other publications


Jebel Serdrar

Jebel Serdrar, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco 

Collecting samples_Boivin_Simon

Collecting Samples

Silicified phaceloid coral form Lower Jurassic of Morocco

Silicified phaceloid coral form Lower Jurassic of Morocco



Cerioid coral from Lower Jurassic of Morocco (thin section)

Cerioid coral from Lower Jurassic of Morocco (thin section)