Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale IMBE - Marseille [FR]

Sunday 16 March 2014
by  Jean-Pierre FERAL
popularity : 14%

The Mediterranean Institute of marine and terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE, UMR Aix-Marseille University / CNRS 7263 / IRD 237 / Univ. Avignon) has been launched on Jan 1, 2012. IMBE originates from the fusion of the two institutes IMEP and DIMAR, with the addition of a research team (EA 1784) studying environment and health issues.
IMBE studies biological systems on land and in the ocean, with a particular interest in biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems. The main goal is to improve conservation as well as the management of natural resources in the light of global change. IMBE’s more than 200 environmental scientists cover key areas of biodiversity, evolution, ecology, paleoecology and the human-environment relation (global ecology). Researchers use and develop approaches in basic and applied biology, including molecular biology and model development.

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Didier Aurelle Assistant Professor Aix Marseille University. His themes of researches are focused on the evolution and the genetics of the populations of the marine organisms. The objective is to understand which factors influence the genetic structuring of the marine species. Didier Aurelle presently works on the adaptive processes which shape the structure of the populations in various environmental conditions and are potentially impacted by climate change. His main models are chosen among Octocorallia: Corallium rubrum, Paramuricea clavata, Eunicella cavolinii and E. verrucosa in the Mediterranean Sea. He also needs to work on other species, in different oceans, including the Southern Ocean, to infer phylogenies and to understand phylogeography of that clade.

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Gérard Bellan Emeritus Research Director CNRS is doctor in Natural Sciences (1964). He is interested in Systematic and Ecology of Polychaeta. He has long experience in evaluation of human action disturbances on benthic marine communities, mainly in Mediterranean, and management of coastal environments including ecological engineering. Former chairman of “Fight against marine pollutions” Committee of ICSEM and ERMS Expert (Polychaeta), he is also expert for the establishment of EUNIS (European Agency of Environment and French Ministry of Ecology), and has multiple implications in the frame of NATURA 2000, EU Directives, Marine Protected Areas, Marine Parks, new “Parc National terrestre et marin des Calanques” (Marseilles and vicinities). His bibliography sums more than 260 publications and articles in scientific Journals, books, encyclopaedias, etc.

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Denise Bellan-Santini Emeritus Research Director CNRS studies benthic community ecology and conservative biology as well as taxonomy, ecology, phylogeography and phylogenetics of Amphipoda (Crustacea). She is President or Administrator of several Scientific Committees in international, national and regional protected areas and public management structures. Direction of Regional “ZNIEFF?-mer” and Natura 2000 Programs and Former Chairwoman of Benthos Committee of CIESM, Expert ERMS (Amphipoda), she has more than 290 publications, at different levels (peer reviewed revues, books, Fauna…). She was Member of the National Committee of the Scientific Research from 1968 to 1980.

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Anne Chenuil, Researcher CNRS, is an evolutionary biologist specialized in marine population genetics, phylogeography, and phylogenetics. After working with continental organisms at the beginning of her carrier (plants, ants, freshwater fish) she mainly worked on several groups of marine invertebrates (mostly echinoderms, but also bivalves...) from both the Atlanto-Mediterrean region, and the Southern ocean. She has a strong interest the development of molecular tools for non model species. She revealed several complexes marine cryptic species and is interested in studying whether such sibling species are ecologically differentiated. She worked on inter-specific hybridizations, and she is interested in local adaptation. She is developing barcoding aspects and meta-community analyses in addition to phylogeography and population genetics of coralline algae and coralligenous dwelling invertebrates in the SeasEra project CIGESMED.

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Jean-Pierre Féral Emeritus Research Director CNRS, co-coordinator of PROTEKER, made a PhD of biological oceanography and is Docteur ès Sciences Naturelles (ecophysiology). He is Director of research at CNRS, head of the transversal theme Management of biodiversity and natural spaces of the IMBE (axis 7) and co-director of the Human-Environment Observatory_Mediterranean Littoral [OHM-LM] , Marseille. His current research interests are: (i) the study of the origin, the maintenance and the erosion of biological diversity according to the environmental conditions and the dispersal capacities of the organisms, in continuous and insular marine ecosystems, (ii) to build hypotheses on processes of speciation in relation to the modes of development, thanks to population genetics, (iii) the phylogeography and phylogenetics, associated with the history of the oceanic basins which make it possible to test models of speciation and to propose scenarios of evolution of the biodiversity, on various time scales.
He participates to the FP7 program DEVOTES (Ocean good environment status) in which he is in charge of the deployment of ARMS boxes. He is in charge for France (CNRS-INEE) of the descriptor 4 (trophic webs) for the MSFD and he leads the SeasEra project CIGESMED.
He is trained for scientific diving (CPS CNRS scientific diving chief), member of the French national committee for scientific diving - CNPS in which he represents the French Polar Institute and also representative of France in the Marine Board European Scientific Diving Panel - ESDP.
CV | Google Scholar | Research Gate |

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Christian Marschal, Engineer at CNRS, is graduated at the Practical School of Advanced Studies (EPHE). He was professional (offshore) scaphander before to enter in the world of scientific research. He is in charge of the underwater installation of temperature loggers and of colonization plates. C. Marschal also teach these techniques.
He has also an important role filming seascapes and organisms underwater, then editing clips and short documentaries.


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Caroline Rocher, Engineer at CNRS was first working in the private sector as a technician in biochemistry (microbiological quality control). She integrated the CNRS in 2003, in molecular biology. She installed the molecular biology service of DIMAR and then of the IMBE. She is also involved in the training of MSc and PhD students as well as researchers who wants to use molecular biology techniques. She developed several protocols for marine organisms: DNA extractions, cloning, in situ hybridization, barcoding, etc...


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Marjorie Selva is Technician at CNRS for molecular biology. She joined Molecular Biology (MB) service at IMBE in 2012.
She is a molecular biology technician and has skills in extraction of DNA, PCR, cloning and microbiology.
She is also involved in the training of Master and PhD students as well as researchers who wants to use MB



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Jean Vacelet, Emeritus Research Director at CNRS, is specialist of marine sponges (Porifera). His main interests in biology and ecology of this phylum are phylogeny, reproduction, cytology, skeletogenesis, symbiosis with micro-organisms, research of bioactive molecules and chemotaxonomy. He is a sponge taxonomist world recognized and participated to the description of a lot of new taxa and of the phenomenon of carnivory in a deep-sea sponge. In 1991 he has been honored with the Prince Albert 1st medal and is Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Ancona (Italy) since 2001. Jean Vacelet collaborate with chemists on the research of activities of therapeutic or industrial interest issued of molecules synthetized by marine sponges.


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