The Ocean Resources research teams take an integrated approach to marine development research, particularly focussing on processes that affect the intertropical zone.

The oceans are at the heart of the sustainable development agenda, coming under two of the 17 goals: SDG13 on combating climate change, and SDG14 on aquatic life. The units thus participate in building scenarios for changing socio-ecosystems that take into account climate risks, environmental hazards and pressures on renewable resources.


Four areas for action


  • Understanding and predicting the role of the oceans in climate variability and global climate change
    • the ocean as a measure and regulator of climate change (rise in average sea level)
    • the ocean as the planet’s carbon sink
    • acidification as a "chemical mirror" of CO2 absorption by the oceans and de-oxygenation of productive areas
    • the ocean as the main driver of the global water cycle and as a key player in climate variability
    • understanding ocean circulation at large scale and regional scale, as well as air/sea exchanges, continent/sea exchanges, and coupled physical/biogeochemistry processes
    • environmental impacts of climate risks and extreme events (including coastal impacts and risks)
    • in what ways do physical changes in the oceans particularly affect populations in countries of the Global South?
  • Understanding how marine ecosystems (offshore, nearshore and shoreline) function and how they vary at different scales (temporally and spatially)
    • the interconnectedness of marine ecosystems, particularly the estuary – coast – offshore continuum
    • the vulnerability of estuarine environments and mangroves, which are vital to many exploited marine populations
    • coral ecosystems, one of IRD's priorities in Overseas France
    • in what ways do ecological changes in the oceans particularly affect populations in countries of the Global South?
  • Seeking a balance between exploitation of resources and protection of biodiversity
    • food/food security and economic development in countries of the Global South
    • balancing the uses our Global South partners make of marine and coastal areas (Marine protected areas, no-take or controlled areas, marine spatial planning)
    • offering solutions to the issues of overuse and overcapacity
    • seeking new governance in areas outside national jurisdictions
    • strengthening the position of countries of the Global South regarding globalisation of markets for marine resources and governance of their exploitation
  • Studying the impact of pollution on nearshore and offshore ecosystems
    • contaminants of all types: plastic, metals, petroleum, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Multidisciplinary oceanography

This topic brings together a wide spectrum of IRD oceanographers: physicists, chemists, biogeochemists, biologists, ecologists and fisheries scientists. Scientists are engaged in modelling work at the crossroads of various science disciplines – physical, ecological, economic and social sciences – to assess the evolution of marine ecosystems and their exploitation in a context of global change.