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M3-HAB Ostreopsis

Project in brief
Blooms of Ostreopsis in coastal areas are a topic of increasing interest, mainly in the Mediterranean Sea, due to the potential hazards that this species of algae might cause to human health and the consequent negative effects on tourism, fishery and aquaculture businesses. In the last 15 years, blooms of toxic ‘dinoflagellates’ (harmful water microorganisms) belonging to the genus Ostreopsis were observed in temperate and tropical coastal waters in both the northern and southern hemispheres. In the Mediterranean region, blooms of Ostreopsis have taken place with increasing frequency, intensity and distribution: human mass intoxications have been recorded for the first time in Catalonia (Spain) in 2004, in Genoa (Italy) at the end of July 2005 and more recently along the Tunisian coasts. The M3-HABs project answers to the need of understanding and predicting toxic microalgae blooms occurrence through the performance of common monitoring procedures and protocols making the process cost and time effective and increasing at the same time the knowledge on environmental drivers affecting harmful algal blooms.

National Interuniversity Consortium for Marine Sciences - CoNISMa (Italy, Lazio)

1. Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council - CNR-IBF (Italy, Liguria)
2. Regional Agency for Ligurian Environment Protection - ARPAL (Italy, Liguria)
3. University Pierre and Marie Curie, Oceanographic Laboratory of Villefranche (France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
4. University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) - contact Luisa Mangialajo ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ), Anna Fricke
5. National Institute of Marines Sciences and Technologies - INSTM (Tunisia, Tunis)
6. National Council for Scientific Research - CNRS (Lebanon, Beirut)
7. On Air (Italy, Liguria)
8. DHI Italy (Italy, Piemonte)

Specific objective

To provide and test a common pan-Mediterranean strategy for monitoring benthic toxic microalgae, through technological improvements in sampling design, data analysis and modelling in order to prevent and reduce risk factors for the environment, human health and economic activities related to the coastal environment.

Expected results

• Appropriate caution measures diffused
• Common monitoring protocols of toxic algal blooms established
• New technologies for species-specific identification and counting developed
• Common and effective prediction models of algae blooms produced
• Increased awareness of the risks associated to algal blooms

Main activities
• Establishment of an Ostreopsis network at Mediterranean level
• Organization of two summer schools in Tunisia and Lebanon focusing on Ostreopsis
modelling and prediction
• Doctoral or post-Doctoral co-tutorial fellowships
• Set-up of a database of historical and new records concerning bloom events
• Development of an opto-electronic system to perform advanced three dimensional acquisition of marine samples and creation of a software for cells segmentation, classification and identification
• Development, testing and validation of a predictive tool for Ostreopsis blooms
• Optimization of Ostreopsis sampling and counting techniques
• Drafting and dissemination of guidelines on risk management of toxic algal blooms

Target groups
• Environmental local agencies
• Municipalities
• Research institutions

Final beneficiaries
• People using the coastal environment for both recreational and economic purposes:
beaches and rocky shore visiting, swimming, sailing, fishery, aquaculture
• Beach concession holders
• Hotel managers
• Local touristic agencies and tourist information offices

Duration: 24 months (January 2014 - December 2015)


The Coconet Project (http://www.coconet-fp7.eu/) will identify groups of putatively interconnected MPAs in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, shifting from local (single MPA) to regional (Networks of MPAs) and basin (network of networks) scales. The identification of physical and biological connections with clear the proceses that govern patterns of biodiversity distribution. This will enhance policies of effective environmental management, also to ascertain if the existing MPAs are sufficient for ecological networking and to suggest how to design further protection schemes based on effective exchanges between protected areas. The coastal focus will be widened to off shore and deep sea habitats, comprising them in MPAs Networks. These activities will also individuate areas where Offshore Wind Farms migth become established, avoiding too sensitive habitats but acting as stepping stones through MPAs. Socioeconomic studies will integrate to knowledge-based environmental management aiming at both environmental protection(MPAs) and clean energy production(OFW). Current legistations are crucial to provide guidelines to find legal solutions to problems on the use of maritime space. Two pilot project (one in the Mediterranean Sea and one in the Black Sea) will test in the field the assumptions of theoretical appproaches. The Project covers a high number of Countries and involves researchers covering a vast array of subjects, developing a timely holistic approach and integrating the Mediterranean and Black Seas scientific communities through intense collective activities and a strong communication line with stakeholders and the public at large.

The project will produce the guidelines to design, manage and monitor network of MPAs, and an enriched wind atlas for both the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, creating a permanent network of excellent researchers (e.g. with summer schools) that will work together also in the future, making their expertise available to their countries and to the European Union.

Luisa Mangialajo, Paolo Guidetti, Lorraine Bottin and Patrice Francour are involved in different workpacages

Mis à jour (Dimanche, 15 Juin 2014 15:17)



The Training Network for Monitoring Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MMMPA) is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (Call FP7-PEOPLE-2011-ITN), funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Programme and has started on January 1, 2012.

MMMPA aims to train the next generation of MPA scientists and managers, equipping them with a flexible set of skills essential within a wide range of professional environments, including public administration, local authorities, industry and academia. They will focus on the most important aspects that need adequate conservation. In particular, researchers will maturate the experience to: identify species listed in the Barcelona Convention (Protocol ASPIM, Annex II); monitor their distribution and health state; follow adequate experimental designs; evidence spill-over effects; develop fishery management at the local level, develop management guidelines, engage with stakeholders and the society at large. These experiences will stem from a highly interdisciplinary network, leading in taxonomy, ecology, biology conservation, bio-cartography, and socio-economy. Furthermore, they will be trained in a range of soft skills including science communication/outreach, as it is essential at the delicate interface between science, the management of natural assets and the public at large. Training and hands-on experiences will be delivered by a strong network of world-class experts in MPA management which will provide a highly focused learning environment. The consortium includes 7 Full (5 Universities, 1 Research centre, 1 SME) and 6 Associated partners (5MPAs, 2 SMEs), and will recruit 10 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and 4 Experienced Researchers (ERs). Both Full and Associated partners have strong collaborative links with other (MPAs) scientists, professionals and managers and are, therefore, well placed to deliver a comprehensive training network. The planned rotation will expose ESR/ERs to each partner, enhancing intersectoral exchanges and strengthening the Mediterranean Research Area by developing an exciting programme that is attractive to the global research community.

Luisa Mangialajo and Patrice Francour are involved in this programme.

Giulia Prato and Fabrizio Gianni have been appointed as PhD students in 2012/09

Fabrizio Bartolini has been appointed as Post-doc researcher from 2012/09 to 2013/01

Mis à jour (Dimanche, 15 Juin 2014 15:18)


Le Fond Européen pour la Pêche cofinance un projet du laboratoire

Création d’un réseau de suivi des biocénoses marines et des peuplements de poissons pour la mise en place d’une pêche durable le long du littoral varois (Méditerranée occidentale, France).

"Connaître les ressources pour mieux les gérer". Ainsi peut se résumer ce projet co-financé par le FEP (Fond Européen pour la Pêche). En effet la gestion des ressources halieutiques passe par une connaissance approfondie de la richesse des peuplements de poissons.

Le projet se découpe en trois parties. Une évaluation des biocénoses (Herbier à Posidonia oceanica et fonds coralligènes) permettra tout d'abord de faire un état des lieux du milieu. Les peuplements de poissons seront échantillonnés par la suite au moyen d'une méthode de comptage visuel mise au point au laboratoire et appelée (FAST : Fish Assemblage Sampling Technique). Cette technique, basée sur l'identification de la présence et/ou de l'absence d'espèces cibles, est une technique simple et peu coûteuse  permettant d'obtenir rapidement une image du peuplement en place. Enfin une troisième partie permettra d'évaluer les pressions (pêche amateur, pêche sous-marine, pêche professionnelle et plongée sous-marine) exercées sur ces peuplements de poissons.

Ce projet a débuté en 2011. Quatre sites d’importance, car classés en zone Natura 2000, du littoral varois seront étudiés : la zone des Embiez, la presqu’île de Giens, la zone des 3 Caps et le Dramont.

Les retombées attendues à l'issue de ce projet seront : une connaissance de l'état du milieu, de la diversité en espèces, de la quantité des ressources disponibles et de l'importance de la pêche amateur.

Le principe du réseau de suivi repose sur la transmission aux structures en place dans les sites étudiés de méthodes leur permettant d’assurer un suivi à long terme de l’état des peuplements de poissons et des pressions dans le but d’une gestion durable de la zone côtière.

Pour plus de renseignements, vous pouvez contacter : Pascaline Bodilis ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ) ou Patrice Francour ( Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. ).



Programme européen : NanoReTox

NanoReTox (The Reactivity and Toxicity of Engineered Nanoparticles: Risks to the Environment and Human Health) is an international, integrated, interdisciplinary, strategic program, addressing the environmental and human implications of exposure to engineered metal nanoparticles.

This programme includes 12 participants, the ecotoxicological team of ECOMERS is partner 4 of this programme and works in the workpackage 4 “Cellular/molecular mechanisms using aquatic species” which addresses the question whether nanoparticles induce responses that are indicative of a bioactive or potentially toxic material after the particle is taken into the cell of an organism. NanoReTox compares animal models that are likely to be sensitive to nano-materials: animals that pump vast quantities of water across their gills (bivalves) or burrow through sediments where nanomaterials are likely to accumulate. As for metal nanoparticles oxidative stress is expected, our team will consider the biochemical responses to oxidative stress in the chosen aquatic models (the burrowing bivalve Scrobicularia plana and the endobenthic worm Nereis diversicolor). A comparison will be made between different responses studied by other partners in human cells, mammalian cells, cell lines and invertebrate cells or whole organisms to investigate in vitro uptake and reactivity of nanoparticles and to discover putative mechanisms of toxicity.
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