Effects of global change on the Mediterranean coralligenous ecosystem

CNRS / LOV, Villefranche-sur-Mer (France)


Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)


  • LOV (Oceanographic Laboratory of Villefranche)



Steeve Comeau, Frédéric Gazeau, CNRS, Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche



Global change, due to anthropogenic activities, is threatening all marine ecosystems. The effects of global warming are already visible in the Mediterranean Sea where mortality events of coastal organisms have been reported during heat waves. The acidification of the Mediterranean Sea is an ongoing process that is detectable and its effects on marine organisms will likely show in the coming decades. Of particular concern is the fate of the charismatic Mediterranean coralligenous ecosystem. This ecosystem is of particular interest because it is highly diverse and prevails in the Mediterranean Sea at depth between ~30 and 120 m. However, global warming and ocean acidification are expected to particularly affect coralline algae that are keystone species of this unique ecosystem.



In the present immersion project, we propose to study a critical question: Can keystone organisms (here coralline algae) acclimate to global change? To respond to this question we propose to maintain coralline algae under future scenarios of temperature and pH over several generations. So far, this has not been done in laboratory for large organisms because it involves running experiments over very long period of time. Coralline algae provide the ideal marine “lab rats” to study acclimation because they can be grown for multiple generations over relatively short durations (i.e. several generations per year). For this project, the student will be responsible of setting-up, running, and monitoring this unique long term experiment that will take place in the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche sur Mer.


Universite Cote d'Azur