Sustainable coastal Systems

Scientific Context

Coastal systems have long provided human societies with a multitude of services: maritime transport and trade, fossil and renewable energies, tourism and buffering of land against hazards such as floods and storms. At the same time, coasts are among the most heterogeneous, dynamic and fragile environments on Earth.

Coastal vulnerability is partly related to physical forcings such as meteorological hazards, sediment budget and transport processes in the coastal zone, or sea level rise related to climate change. However, coastal vulnerability is also directly related to human settlement on coastal territories and watersheds, which acts as “human forcing”. The growing social and economic activities due to coastal urbanization and the emerging blue economy are accompanied by new anthropogenic forcings such as pollution and habitat loss.

This Theme will tackle the so-called “coastal challenge”, which aims at developing coherent and long- term strategies for integrated coastal zone management. It relies on experience in interdisciplinary projects from geomorphology to psychology (ANR Cocorisco, LabexMER axis 5), expertise in wave- structure interactions, mechanical design and durability of naval structures (LabexMER axis 7 and Gustave Zédé laboratory between French groups DCNS and IRDL); leadership in E.U. projects (IMCORE, Innovative management for Europe’s changing coastal resource). It will benefit from collaborations with private partners (in remote sensing and marine energies), government agencies (CEREMA, SHOM) and the Copernicus
Marine services to improve coastal monitoring and forecasting.

Specific Objectives

This Theme projects will include:

• Describing and understanding the kinematics of shoreline morphodynamics, including impacts of natural hazards and artificial structures: from the effects of transient hydrodynamic processes on sea level changes (setup, runup) and sediment fluxes in the swash zone, to the reliability, durability and life cycle of floating or immersed structures, and the impacts of these structures 3 Ui30 on coastal functions.

• Combining physics, chemistry, biology, économies and law to characterize
the impacts of emerging pollutants (microplastics, chemicals, etc.) and
habitat degradation on coastal ecosystems and human welfare, as well as
studying options to manage these impacts.

• Understanding the emergence and evolution of new human activities in the coastal zone (e.g. marine renewable energies) taking into account
economic factors, regulations, environmental responsibility and human
behaviour, by combining geomatics, environmental modelling and social
science studies.

• Implementing an interdisciplinary coastal risk observatory for erosion,
flooding and pollution hazards, integrating the societal dimensions (cost,
governance, human perception) for mitigation and adaptation of coastal
vulnerability in order to implement integrated coastal zone management.