Scientific investigations on the topic of Biodiversity primarily address the functional role of biodiversity in tropical and Mediterranean ecosystems. Research in this area is carried out on different scales via long-term observational studies, experiments and modelling.

It examines the interactions between habitats, living organisms and their environments from the angles of :

  • the functioning of continental ecosystems and the services they provide to communities,
  • the adaptation of continental ecosystems to global changes (land use and climate),
  • the protection of diversity,
  • their resilience to global and demographic changes,
  • feedback loops from continental systems to the climate system.

This research contributes to attaining the development targets set under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This work tackles the global issues mentioned in :

  • the Climate Convention (UNFCCC), particularly in the areas of mitigation and adaptation of continental ecosystems,
  • the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) whose aim is to achieve "land degradation neutrality",
  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as its access and inventory.
  • Four major goals
    • to develop a global vision for the protection of natural resources (soil, plant, microbial and animal biodiversity) of continental ecosystems,
    • to characterise ecosystem dynamics in the context of global changes (climate, demography) and predict how they will adapt to these changes, for the purpose of sustainable management,
    • to recommend indicators for predicting the dynamics of ecosystems and the services they provide to communities, in order to avoid reaching cutoff points,
    • to put forth innovative practices for shoring up productive and resilient ecosystems, in order to address key social issues such as food security.
  • Specific issues
    • combating the degradation of natural environments,
    • rational management and promotion of biodiversity (wild and domestic) and of terrestrial and aquatic resources (fresh water),    
    • intensification of production methods and their ecological transition
    • closing the core biogeochemical cycles (carbon, nutrients),
    • environmental forcing factors and feedback loops,
    • varietal improvement,
    • development of innovative plant and microbial technologies,
    • study of the conditions for the emergence of new pathogens, aggressive bio-agents,
    • adaptation (acclimatisation) and resilience of functioning continental ecosystems,
    • development of methods for assessing the state of continental ecosystems and their functioning,
    • development of integrative and modelling approaches to investigate the biology of populations and how they interact with their environment.

Diversity of continental ecosystems

The topic of Biodiversity subject brings together experts from the main fields of life and environmental sciences and the sub-fields of agronomy, ecology and the environment. These scientific communities work on all the biomes, terrestrial and aquatic, natural and anthropised, that make up the continental ecosystems of the Mediterranean and tropical regions.