A descendant of the Muséum’s first marine biology station set up on the island of Tatihou in 1882, Dinard Marine Biology Station has won fame through over 130 years of research on knowledge, the diversity of organisms and the functioning of coastal marine ecosystems. Under the influence of Commander Charcot, it moved to Saint Servan in 1923. In 1935, it moved into the "Bric à Brac" villa in Dinard. In 2008, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and Ifremer joined forces to create the Centre for Research into and Study of Coastal Systems (CRESCO).

The Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle Dinard Marine Biology Station specialises in exploring marine ecosystems in order to understand the relationship between biodiversity, the functioning of the ecosystems and the environmental pressures in the context of global change. From 1850 onwards, the Dinard Marine Biology Station was devoted to the inventories of biodiversity in coastal marine environments. The work done by renowned scientists such as Edouard Fisher-Piette, Roger Heim or Robert Lami and Claude Levi is still a benchmark in the field of flora and fauna inventories. In particular, an algae collection of over 350 species, today kept at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, is an international reference for taxonomists. By founding the marine biocoenosis in the 1940s, researchers at the Dinard Marine Biology Station, such as Professor J.M. Peres, were among the pioneers of modern marine ecology. Following the construction of the Rance Dam, intensive research was able to work out, for the first time, the colonisation mechanisms of a marine natural environment after a major disruption.

Since the 1970s, the marine biology station has won renown for its research on the ecological functioning of Mont Saint-Michel Bay and its drainage basins. The work was gradually extended to the entire Normano-Breton Gulf in order to understand the importance of specific habitats such as the salt marshes, the macroalgae in rocky environments, the "hermelles" reefs and Lanice conchylega (sea worms) reefs for the upper trophic levels like fish or even birds. The impact of biological invasions (slipper limpet), shellfish farming and sea pollution from the drainage basins receives particular attention, so responding to society’s demand for expertise and sustainable development in marine resources.

Since the 2000s, the station has been focussing on a new area - migratory fish, especially diadromous fish whose marine habitats are better known thanks to an extensive national programme combining the observation of estuary migration, the modelling of habitats, acoustic and satellite telemetry, otolithometry and population genetics.

In order to understand the complex relationships between the characteristics of marine habitats (benthic in particular), mobile species (especially migratory fish) and the functioning of coastal systems, various models are being studied in closer detail:

  • the benthos of soft habitats (flora and fauna living on sandy and muddy seabeds) in collaboration with Ifremer
  • the biocoenoses of rocky habitats
  • the communities of coastal-dependent migratory fish (bass, mullet, sand-eel, goby, etc.)
  • the communities of diadromous migratory fish (eel, lamprey, shad, salmon) in collaboration with Inra

The work is mainly centred on the Normano-Breton Gulf – in collaboration with Ifremer – and specifically on Mont Saint-Michel Bay, the Chausey archipelago and the Rance tidal basin, as well as the estuaries in Brittany and Western France (Loire, Seine). The expertise also extends to tropical and polar ecosystems.

The CRESCO scientists are internationally recognised and remain in tune with the field as the knowledge acquired helps local communities, elected representatives, administrative bodies, etc. with their decision-making.The CRESCO teams work together for the national implementation of European framework directives in particular. For the Water Framework Directive, Ifremer and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle work together to coordinate the monitoring and analysis of the benthos of coastal water bodies in the region (from Mont Saint-Michel Bay to the Belgian border). The Muséum is nationally responsible for implementing biodiversity monitoring on behalf of the Ministry of Ecology under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

As for education, the CRESCO hosts field placements every year, on foot or by scuba diving, for discovering the diversity of the coastal habitats and the societal challenges in the Dinard region. In this respect, the CRESCO is stepping up its involvement in the Muséum’s Master’s in Evolution, natural heritage and societies. It hosts teaching placements in partnership with the University of Rennes-I, the Higher Institute of Agronomy and La Rochelle University. The CRESCO has also set itself the goal of raising the general public’s awareness of the coastline, its resources and its preservation issues. To this end, the Dinard Marine Biology Station is jointly developing a participatory science programme on coastal biology - BIOLIT - together with the Planète mer association. This participatory science programme is in line with the Muséum’s Vigie-Nature programme. Finally, the researchers are involved in training through research as they mentor many students on Master’s 1 and 2 and PhD courses.


CRESCO - Dinard Marine Biology Station
38, rue du Port Blanc - BP 70134
35800 Dinard

CRESCO switchboard: 02 23 18 58 75
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle/Dinard Biology Station switchboard: 02 23 18 58 88
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle/Dinard Biology Station fax: 02 23 18 58 80