Current Research Projects
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS AND SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL RESILIENCE. Partially protected areas as buffers to increase the linked social-ecological resilience (BUFFER [link]) (Principal Investigator). Coastal zones are complex social-ecological systems playing a crucial role in the economic, social and political development of many countries. However, they are amongst the areas of the world experiencing the highest rates of pressures. Recently, some studies showed the potential of multiple-use (or partially protected) areas (PPAs) to sustain higher rates of uses and economic revenues than surrounding areas, and buffer against human-induced pressures. Within BUFFER, our main objective is the identification of drivers of resilience in PPAs that are keys to sustain, adapt or transform derived goods and services necessary for human welfare in a context of multiple pressures. Our case studies include marine and freshwater partially protected areas in Europe, spanning across different ecological systems and a diverse array of socio-cultural contexts in order to increase the robustness, generalization, applicability, and transferability to decision-makers of our results. BUFFER total cost is 1 529 390 euros and funded for 1 125 316 euros. BUFFER is funded under the FP7 ERA-Net scheme, BiodivERsA ([link]), with the support of the respective national funding agencies ANR (France), FCT (Portugal), FORMAS (Sweden) and RCN (Norway), as part of the 2012 BiodivERsA call for research proposals. The BUFFER consortium is composed by the following institutions: National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France -- coordination), Centre of Marine Sciences of the University of Algarve (CCMAR, Portugal), Department of Economy, Technology and Society, Luleň University (ETS, Sweden), Institute of Marine Research (IMR, Norway), Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada (ISPA, Portugal), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources, Institute of Marine Research, Lysekil (Sweden), Centre for the Law and Economics of the Sea (France).
LINKED SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS. Modeling of human-nature interactions within coastal complex social-ecological systems (INTHENSE) (Principal Investigator). This project is supported by the Fondation de France (128 572 euros). Biodiversity is integral part of complex social-ecological systems (CSESs), at the interface of natural, social, economic, and law sciences. So far, no general approach has embraced the multidisciplinary facets of CSESs. Our goal is to model the inter-relationships of CSES functional responses, following current and forecasted trends of pressures, and under different scenarios of policy decisions and management actions. Modeled functional attributes of CSESs will be natural, social, economic, legal and political. Our objectives are to: (1) develop a trans-disciplinary methodological framework of knowledge gathering, transfer, and elaboration; (2) characterize the multidisciplinary functional attributes of CSESs; (3) quantify the relationships between those functional attributes under current states of regional to global stressors; and (4) model the trajectories of CSES indicators of goods and services under forecasted evolution of pressures and different ranges of policy and management scenarios. We will gather information into a database from temperate and tropical sites distributed across the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, including the Mediterranean Sea, covering a wide range of the functional attributes of CSESs. This modeling approach could have strong implications to guide the adaptability and/or transformability of uses of coastal biodiversity to sustainably derive goods and services in face of regional and global changes.
GLOBAL CHANGE AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES. Ecosystem services from coral reefs : public policy tools for decision-making in New Caledonia and French Polynesia (CORAL REEF IN A CHANGING WORLD) (Work package Leader). This project is supported by the European Community. In a context of global change (demographic and climate change), its aims is to provide a set of methods to evaluate ecosystem services from coral reefs for public policy decision making for the present and the future. The action's goal is to understand today the relationships between four ecosystem services (Protection and habitat, Production services, Cultural services, Regulating services) in order to anticipate future decisions through scenarios of governance. For each ecosystem services, the program will be able to propose a reference method to compare and evaluate the advantages and the limits (both biological, economic, anthropological and political) of the valuation method used. The theories and methods proposed will be tested on two case studies in the European OCTs of the Pacific. Thanks to the results from case studies, the program will produce a set of valuation methods useful for decision making. Stakeholders (public and private) will be engaged to discuss modelisations and scenarios proposed to manage present and future marine areas for sustainable development. It is a major contribution to the science-policy interface and for evaluating implemented or planned public policies in a context of global change.
GLOBAL CHANGE AND ECOSYSTEM RESILIENCE. Global and regional changes and effects on coral reef biodiversity and resilience (LIVE AND LET DIE) (Work package Leader). This project is supported by the French National Agency for Research (ANR). Firstly, we aim to understand the effects of regional and global stressors on the mechanisms and processes that are important for biodiversity (i.e. habitat selection, recruitment and life history traits) using a combination of laboratory and in situ experiments. Secondly, we propose to measure the effects of regional and global stressors on biodiversity itself, as well as measure their concomitant effects on resilience, again using a combination of laboratory and in situ experiments. In addition, we will evaluate historical resilience and regime shifts in coral, fish and invertebrate communities using a long term (30 year) ecological dataset. Finally, we will assess the potential of marine protected areas to increase the resilience of coral reefs and the adaptability and/or transformability of human uses of coral reef resources in face of regional and global change.
COASTAL MANAGEMENT AND MARINE PROTECTED AREAS. Towards coast to coast networks of marine protected areas coupled with sea-based wind energy potential (COCONET [link]) (Tasks Leader). This project is supported by the European Community. The Project will identify groups of putatively interconnected MPAs in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, shifting from local (single MPA) to regional (Networks of MPAs) and basin (network of networks) scales. The identification of physical and biological connections with clear the proceses that govern patterns of biodiversity distribution. This will enhance policies of effective environmental management, also to ascertain if the existing MPAs are sufficient for ecological networking and to suggest how to design further protection schemes based on effective exchanges between protected areas. The coastal focus will be widened to off shore and deep sea habitats, comprising them in MPAs Networks. These activities will also individuate areas where Offshore Wind Farms migth become established, avoiding too sensitive habitats but acting as stepping stones through MPAs. Socioeconomic studies will integrate to knowledge-based environmental management aiming at both environmental protection (MPAs) and clean energy production (OFW). Current legistations are crucial to provide guidelines to find legal solutions to problems on the use of maritime space. Two pilot project (one in the Mediterranean Sea and one in the Black Sea) will test in the field the assumptions of theoretical appproaches. The Project covers a high number of Countries and involves researchers covering a vast array of subjects, developing a timely holistic approach and integrating the Mediterranean and Black Seas scientific communities through intense collective activities and a strong communication line with stakeholders and the public at large.
Past Research Projects
THREATS ON COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS. Resistance and resilience of coastal biodiversity to synergistic effects of global and local environmental changes (BIORES) (Participant). This project is supported by the Italian Ministry of Research. In this project we will examine the synergistic effects of global vs. local disturbances on the ability of two key coastal systems - subtidal rocky reefs and coastal dunes - to resist to and to recover from perturbations. Using a combination of correlative and experimental approaches we will establish quantitative relationships between the resistance/resilience of these ecosystems and the degree of variability of environmental driving forces. Marine and terrestrial assemblages will be exposed to series of spatially autocorrelated and spatially independent disturbances to reflect large-scale (low frequency) disturbances and abrupt (high frequency) environmental changes, respectively. In doing so, we expect to identify general principles that govern the response of assemblages to increasing environmental fluctuations, independently of the identity of the environmental drivers of change. This project is expected to originate the necessary scientific understanding to anticipate the consequences of environmental variation on biodiversity, to provide managers with better tools to halt species extinctions and to guarantee long-term ecosystem functioning in the face of increasing climate variability.
COASTAL MANAGEMENT AND MARINE PROTECTED AREAS. Experimental quantification of the effects of anthropogenic disturbance in costal areas on fish and benthos species (INTERREG Italia-Albania [link]) (Participant). This project is supported by the European Community. The objectives are (1) to quantify human impacts on coastal species; and (2) to establish a network of MPAs.
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS. Marine protected areas as tools for fisheries management and conservation (EMPAFISH [link]) (Work package scientific leader). This project is supported by the European Community. The objectives of EMPAFISH are: (1) to investigate the potential of different regimes of MPAs in Europe as measures to protect sensitive and endangered species, habitats and ecosystems from the effects of fishing; (2) to develop quantitative methods to assess the effects of marine protected areas; and (3) to provide EU with a set of integrated measures and policy proposals for the implementation of MPAs as fisheries and ecosystem management tools.
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS. LITEAU project. This multidisciplinary project is supported by the French Ministry of Environement (Participant). This project aims to develop useful management tools from statistic and mathematical models, intended to asses MPAs. The project, participated in by scientists (biomathematics, biostatistics, ecology, economics, and geography) and managers, is based on various study cases in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Pacific.
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS. Assessment of biomass export from marine protected areas and its impact on fisheries in the western Mediterranean Sea (BIOMEX [link]) (Participant). This project is supported by the European Community. The main objective was to assess the export of fisheries-related biomass from MPAs to surrounding areas by considering: (1) the exportation of adult fishes; (2) the pelagic export of larvae; and (3) the contribution of adult fish export to fisheries.
INTEGRATED COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT. Coastal and lagoon systems (SYSCOLAG [link]). This multidisciplinary project was supported by the French Region Languedoc-Roussillon and by the IFREMER (Work package Leader). This programme's main objectives were: (1) to mobilise and share the available knowledge between different partners, involving ecologists, economists, political scientists, geographers and geologists; (2) to facilitate an interdisciplinary and integrated approach, offering relevant indicators which study the milieu and usage; and (3) to evaluate current conservation policies regarding natural coastal marine resources then in proposing, through statistical modelling, appropriate responses for sustainable management of resources.