During the 20th century, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle wanted to extend its sea-related research activities and equipped itself with some coastline by establishing two marine stations, one at Dinard (1935 then 2008 on a new site) and the other following the Collège de France at Concarneau (1996). These stations are centres for research into the biology of marine organisms and the ecology of marine biocenoses; they are platforms for observing, performing experiments in situ and in controlled environments, analysing and monitoring marine ecosystems.
Cutting edge research
Researchers in these two stations work in synergy to acquire knowledge about the evolution of biological diversity and marine habitats in the waters of the English Channel and the North-East Atlantic. This research work is supported by the simultaneous capacity for observation (scientific diving and research vessels), experimentation in both controlled environments (technical platforms for breeding and marine mesocosms including the biggest hydrodynamic canal dedicated to the study of larval transport in Europe) and natural environments (benthic covers, telemetry), and analysis (molecular biology and sclerochronology in particular). These resources make it possible for original scientific activities to be carried out based on complementary approaches ranging from the natural environment to experiments in controlled environments.
The Muséum’s marine station service
At a time when both our land and sea environment is feeling the knock-on effects of two centuries of industrial development, these two marine stations offer scientific, technological and cultural potential which should be developed on a national and international level. To do so, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle has created the Marine Station Service, bringing its two stations together. Partnerships with Ifremer have been established in these two stations, with a physical installation within the stations, as well as enhanced regional collaboration.
The BOREA joint research unit (Biology of Aquatic Organisms and Ecosystems) and the Muséum’s department of "Aquatic Environments and Populations" on which it depends, are currently the two scientific coordinators of these stations. This coordination could be extended in the future to the Muséum’s other units in the framework of a transversal service. The UMR BOREA has 4 regulators: the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, the CNRS, the IRD and the Pierre et Marie Curie University. The exploration of biodiversity, the ecology of marine organisms and the ecology of populations in coastal environments are mainly studied by researchers located in the stations.
A strong partnership with Ifremer
Following the wishes of the Muséum and Ifremer,these two stations would like to develop their collaboration in research and expertise activities like:
- a specific programme in each station based on the researchers’ skills and centred on the specific characteristics of local habitats and environments
- a programme linking the two stations on the coupling between benthic and pelagic habitats on the one hand, and on the other the coupling between coastal and inshore habitats, especially through the ecology of highly mobile species like the fish of the continental shelf, particularly in coastal areas.