Sustainable management of Ocean resources


The “Oceans: Climate and Resources” (Oceans) department brings together IRD’s oceanographers specialising in different disciplines: physicians, chemists, bio-geochemists, biologists, ecologists and fisheries scientists. It takes an integrated approach to addressing questions of research for development regarding the ocean, with a focus on the processes that affect the intertropical zone.

The research is organised into two main scientific areas:

The issue: how do the physical and ecological changes in the ocean impact on populations in the Global South in particular?

The Oceans department also provides support for observation and modelling systems at the interface between the physical, ecological, economic and social sciences, and participation in the construction of scenarios in the framework of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Department’s research units position themselves in national, European and international programmes (Operational oceanography, Research infrastructures and Data centres).

The Oceans Department leads the interdisciplinary and partnership-based structural programme, “Vulnerability of coastal zones in a context of global change”, in close collaboration with the “Societies and Globalisation” and “Internal and Surface Dynamics of Continents” departments.

Key figures

Flagship projects

Upwelling and coastal fishing in Senegal

Senegal’s coastal waters are made rich by an unusual coastal phenomenon, according to a study published in 2017. Research on the oceanic and atmospheric mechanisms involved provide the knowledge we need for sustainable management of this indispensable resource for Senegalese food security.

Improving understanding of coral reefs and the effects of global changes on these environments

IRD researchers and their partners have studied the mechanisms for adaptation to extreme conditions (temperature, CO2 and O2 levels) developed by corals in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

Launch of the PADDLE European research project

The European commission has just announced funding for the international research project PADDLE, under the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme.

Global issues: marine protected areas in the spotlight

Several studies were conducted in 2017 by IRD researchers and their partners, on the role and efficacy of Marine Protected Areas.


  • Our oceans, our future

    The high-level Conference of United Nations for the sustainable management of the oceans (SDG 14) took place in New York from 5 till 9 June 2017. IRD researchers participated in several conferences.

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  • “L’océan à découvert”

    The ocean represents a crucial stake for the balance of the climate, the biosphere and the sustainability of socioeconomic activities. A collective work of French specialists of the subject, supported by ALLENVI, was published in 2017.

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And in the future?

The oceans are a key component in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. They are central to two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 13 on action to combat climate change and its impacts and SDG 14 on the oceans, seas and marine resources. As a priority, the OCEANS department will back integrated projects combining environmental concerns with societal and economic issues, with the aim of conserving and exploiting marine resources in high-sea and coastal areas and in small, developing island nations. It will promote studies on interactions and retroactions between the climate, the ocean, its ecosystems and governance methods in Exclusive Economic Zones and beyond national jurisdictions.

2018 is the International year of coral reefs. The Institute will be involved in several actions to educate populations about these ecosystems, their essential role in the marine environment and the impact of climate change.

The dynamic begun under the PSIP “Vulnerability of coastal zones in a context of global change” will continue, to identify and implement global approaches for shared geographic zones, support the reflection on the training component, and increase researcher participation in major international events on coastal issues.