The living ocean and ecosystem services

Scientific Context

The ocean hosts some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, supporting multiple ecosystem services. Among these is the provision of food for human consumption with the associated benefits for human health and nutrition, economic returns and coastal livelihoods, but several other marine bioresources and ecosystem services have yet to be fully-described and quantified. Human activities increasingly impact marine ecosystems and their ability to sustain functions, processes and their direct and indirect effects on ecosystem services.

This Theme proposes fully integrative approaches in marine biology and
biotechnology, evolutionary ecology, ecological economics, maritime law and politics, geography and modelling. It relies on LabexMER axes 6 (Evolution of marine habitats and adaptation of populations) and 8 (Management of socialecological systems), CNRS and IRD international laboratories (BeBEST, DISCOH, ECLAIRS), as well as several H2020 and ANR projects (ResponSEAble, SUCCESS, Vivaldi…), cutting edge facilities (biodimar, lipidocean, PSO, Genomer, Epigen-Brest…) and infrastructures (e.g. “OceanoLab” with the Brest aquarium Oceanopolis, and Ifremer infrastructures in Argenton and Brest), as well as a highly favourable socioeconomic environment (the Brittany territory was recently ranked 3rd French region in terms of Biotechnology, with more than 120 businesses related to marine biosciences).

Specific Objectives

Interdisciplinary projects in this theme will address critical science priorities, namely:

• Understanding the consequences of ecosystem changes on marine organisms and populations, to develop new pertinent indicators of ecosystem health;

• Characterizing ecological support systems (from genomic observation to the understanding of food webs and physical-biological coupling) and
improving the knowledge of how these are linked to the provision of goods
and services which benefit, and are utilized by humans;

• Developing marine biotechnology to give access to sustainably produced
and renewable biomass to face a growing demand spanning from protein
sources to bioremediation and novel industrial processes, based on marine
organisms and chemical ecology;

• Identifying the drivers and assessing the conséquences of ecosystem changes for economies/societies, identifying the associated risks, investigating and developing mitigation and/or adaptation options;

• Developing new methods to assess and monitor marine and coastal ecosystem services.

• Evaluating the advantages and limitations of alternative ecosystem
conservation policies, including the use of economic incentives and
governance arrangements.