Updated 20/07/23

The Reunion office supports an intensive scientific activity around various topics, linked to the issues of sustainable development:


Sampling of coral reef in Mayotte.

© IRD - Pascale Chabanet

The oceans are infinite research topics. In Reunion, scientific projects mainly focus on two themes:

  • Exploited marine ecosystems

Scientists analyse the relationships between fishing catches, environmental characteristics and the impacts of global change on marine ecosystems.

  • Coral reefs and their ecosystems

Researchers are gaining knowledge in order to diagnose the health of coral reefs and mangroves in the South-Western Indian Ocean region, that are highly threatened by natural and human-made changes. The objective of this research is to promote sustainable management of coral ecosystems and associated marine resources.

Ecosystems and biodiversity

Coffee tree in Reunion.

© Guillaume Villegier

Scientists based in Reunion study biodiversity through plant genetics.

Pointed Bourbon is a variety of the Coffea arabica species which appeared by mutation in La Réunion at the end of the 18th century.

This high-end variety, known for its taste qualities and its low caffeine content, explains the development of research on this topic. The IRD has set up ex situ collections for the conservation of biodiversity in La Reunion.

Health and societies

Research on emerging diseases.

© Guillaume Villegier

Infectious diseases remain a major public health issue and new pathologies are still emerging following environmental, climatic and societal changes.

The scientists’ mission is to better understand the mechanisms of reproduction and transmission of infectious agents in order to better control them. One of the vectors of these diseases, mosquitoes are targeted through the development of an alternative to the use of insecticide: a control technique based on the release of sterile males. 

Continental dynamics

Cyclone in French Polynesia

© IRD - Bruno Marty

Innovative methodologies for the growth of spatial knowledge are driven by satellite observations (remote sensing), coupled with field surveys, for the purpose of the territories’ sustainable development.

Societies and globalisation

The growing population in Reunion is an asset for the island's economic development.

© IRD - Samuel Nativel

The approach in this area is interdisciplinary. It mainly includes demography, geography, sociology and anthropology in partnership with research teams from the South. In La Réunion, scientists focus on the theme of sustainable development and spatial planning on the island, demographic dynamics and the socio-economic implications of an aging population. Research is conducted in partnership with the environmental scientists to address ecotourism and biodiversity.



Find out more on the ongoing projects in the French version of this page.