Improving ocean resource management


The ‘Oceans: climate and resources’ department takes an integrated approach to mobilise knowledge and know-how as it researches issues surrounding the development of the oceans and the processes that affect the intertropical zone, working in partnership with communities from the Global South. 

This approach focuses on a number of scientific goals:

It brings together IRD’s oceanographers specialising in different disciplines: physicians, chemists, bio-geochemists, biologists, ecologists and fisheries scientists. 

  1. SDG 14 — Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 

Key figures

Flagship projects

A different future for corals

Coral reefs are reservoirs of biodiversity but are under major threat from human activities and climate change. There are frequent forewarnings of their extinction. The picture painted by IRD researchers and their partners is less bleak, however, as they do not believe that the planet’s reefs are destined to disappear. However, they will take on a very different form. Other, more resistant fauna species, able to withstand the higher temperatures, will take over.

When tropical fish colonise the Mediterranean

Since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, many fish species from the Indo-Pacific basin have invaded the Mediterranean. A third of them have colonised waters that are cooler than those of their original habitat, thus extending their climatic niche. These results come from the research conducted by an international team from IRD and the CRIOBE (Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory) and suggest that the expansion of species in the marine environment in response to climate change has so far been underestimated.

Ocean acidification reduces shellfish size

An international study, coordinated by IRD and Paleosofia APEMA (Italy) in 2015, showed that the reduction in size observed in certain marine organisms during mass extinctions in the past could be the result of ocean acidification. The smaller size would have helped the species to survive in higher concentrations of CO2, a phenomenon which may reoccur in the future with global warming.

2015 Highlights
  • Findings from the CHARC programme

    The CHARC programme was the first scientific study conducted on coastal sharks off Reunion Island and helped identify certain key factors influencing the presence and spatial distribution of bull sharks around the island.

    For more information
  • Creation of two new research units

    MARBEC — Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation, and ENTROPIE — Tropical marine ecology in the Pacific and Indian Oceans: http://​www​.umr​-marbec​.fr/fr/

    For more information

And in the future?

IRD will endeavour to encourage the emergence of multidisciplinary projects that tackle scientific development issues and goals related to the oceans and consistent with the SDGs. It will put the priority on integrated research into measures designed to adapt to climate change and will promote an ecosystem approach to marine environments and their exploitation. The Oceans department will help construct evolution scenarios for socio-ecosystems, taking into account climatic and environmental risks and pressures on renewable resources. It will support the modelling work being done at the interface between physical, ecological, economic and social sciences to assess the evolution of marine ecosystems and their exploitation against a background of global change. A new ICL will be founded in Vietnam in 2016 to study relationships between the environment and communities (SEDES – Services from delta coastal waters and their sustainability).