INNOVATION, RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AXIS – OCEAN WEEK

by Silvana Rivella MONACO. In the occasion of the  2nd MONACO OCEAN WEEK  from 8 to 14 April 2018, the Principality of Monaco will, once again, actively support ocean conservation. The Principality of Monaco’s commitment to marine ecosystem conservation is deeply rooted in its history: from the inauguration of the Institute of Oceanography by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1911, to the more recently created Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006. The aim to raise awareness of environmental dangers to our planet, and especially our oceans, is once again a priority on the second edition of the Monaco Ocean Week agenda. The network now includes: The Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI), 8 and 9 April in Edinburgh (Scotland), with 3 main themes: synergies between aquaculture and Marine Protected Areas; the relation between Marine Protected Areas and climate change; new blue economy perspectives in the northern seas. As for Monaco, some of the events will be open to the public and to schoolchildren: at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, at the Yacht Club Monaco, at the Oceanographic  Institute,  in the Hercule Harbor, and at Stars’N’Bars, with the aim of raising public awareness by explaining the challenges we all face in preserving oceans. The 2nd Monaco Ocean Week, in partnership with Rolex will provide the perfect opportunity for local actors and Monaco-based international organisations to share their experiences and reflect on marine conservation and “blue” economy sustainable development. 

As for the RAMPAM (Network of Marine Protected Areas of the Alpes Maritimes and Monaco) project it is particularly interesting for the Mediterranean coastal zone of the Principality of Monaco. The RAMPAM  Project aims to promote the networking of small marine urban protected areas in order to develop a genuine integrated tool in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Principality of Monaco. Relevant and sustainable management of the coastal zone, marine biodiversity and Coastal landscapes are part of our Mediterranean heritage. The development of human activities and urbanization have often undermined them during the last 50 to 100 years. Their protection is necessary but it must be done by reconciling environment and economic development. This is the major challenge of integrated coastal zone management. Work carried out around the world or by the ECOMERS  laboratory shows that this properly managed marine biodiversity can also be a source of economic income: the blue economy!

The unmissable Oceanographic Museum of Monaco-Montecarlo

But can environmental management be carried out in the vicinity of urban centers or along a concreted and highly man-made coast? The richness of the Côte d’Azur’s seabed, the will of lovers of the environment or of economic actors and the policy of preservation of the environment of the communities have allowed the creation of several MPAs during the last 40 years. However, due to their small size, lack of human and material resources and lack of regular scientific monitoring, these MPAs have not achieved all their objectives. The work carried out over many years by ECOMERS and its partners clearly shows that networking is the only credible alternative for a rational management of biodiversity. The project is to accompany the managers of small MPAs on the Côte d’Azur and the Principality of Monaco to pool follow-up protocols and boost scientific research, establish a permanent dialogue between managers, reinforce the notion of appropriation of marine space (Professional fishermen, diving clubs, tourism sector, etc.) to promote participatory science and finally to develop a model of an urban network of small marine protected areas that can be transposed elsewhere in the Mediterranean. The preservation of the natural heritage, biodiversity and landscapes, requires an integrated, intelligent and coordinated management of the coastal zone. The dialogue between the managers and the appropriation by the economic actors and the general public of this management are the indispensable keys of the success.

 

Marine protected areas are recognized worldwide as effective tools for environmental management. Small-scale MPAs, close to urban centers, can play very important roles if they work in a network. The challenge for the region (Alpes-Maritimes and Monaco) is to establish an operational network to mobilize actors on a larger scale and to put in place a reasoned management of marine biodiversity. Academic skills exist in the ECOMERS laboratory, economic and institutional partners are already sensitized and the managers adhere to the project. Three years will therefore be sufficient to launch a genuine operational management network and to sustain it. The funding will allow the recruitment of a scientist in charge of network animation. Regarding Ecosystems Marine Coastlines and Responses to Stress or ECOMERS, the laboratory specializes in marine ecology, eco-toxicology and pollution chemistry. Most of the work is carried out in the Mediterranean and covers both theoretical fields (environment functioning, biology and ecology of species, in particular macro-phytes and fish, modification of fauna and flora under the influence of change Biological impacts of pollutants at sea, behavior of pollutants in sediments, quantification of the ecological status of a coastal system) and applied (management of human activities in coastal areas, ecotoxicological bio-surveillance, Followed). Research themes and main scientific findings are: fish population ecology – dynamics of fish populations within marine protected areas (connectivity, export of biomass to unprotected peripheral areas); inventory and follow-up of faunal modifications in the Mediterranean Sea (including arrival of new species from the Atlantic or the Red Sea); role of high-level predators in population control (top-down control); optimization of the implementation of marine protected areas and biodiversity management measures in coastal zones (Natura 2000 zones, ZNIEFF zones, artificial reefs, artisanal and amateur fisheries). The latest scientific results have been obtained on the dynamics of stand development within marine protected areas and on the processes of connectivity between these areas: Macrophyte ecology: ecology and conservation of Cystoseira (Fucales, Phaeophycae) populations in the Mediterranean; analysis of the population structure of Cystoseira amentacea (population dynamics and population genetics); development of an operational mapping tool to characterize the ecological status of water bodies (European Water Framework Directive); ecological restoration (transplantation). The latest scientific results have been obtained on the assessment of the status of populations of the Cystoseira genus on the French coasts of the Mediterranean and on the improvement of restoration techniques: Eco-toxicology: development and validation of new biomarkers of exposure and effect in aquatic organisms exposed to chemical stress (nanoparticles, endocrine disrupters); evaluation of the effects of chemical contamination of the marine environment on organisms using biological markers (e.g. physiological, biochemical, molecular markers) and bios indicators (e.g. benthic and pelagic animal species); validation of a new stress indicator in fish, by measuring the impact of stress in terms of induction of fluctuating asymmetry. Chemistry of Pollution: assessment of the bioavailability of chemical contaminants (heavy metals, LAS) in sediments and water by chemical analysis on sentinel organisms; Dynamics of pollutants in sediments; analysis of the possibilities in situ trapping of pollutants in sediments (capping technique). Databases Biodiversity: creation of databases on biodiversity and natural environments in a collaborative environment on the internet, with the participation of students from the University of Nice (http://www.idbio.org). The potential applications of such audioguides on smartphones are numerous: description of landscapes and walks, natural heritage, contextual information on biological, geological, historical objects, etc., comments on exhibitions, aquariums, etc. Scientific areas are Ecology, Ichthyology, Algology, Population genetics, Eco-toxicology, Pollution chemistry, Integrated coastal zone management, Protected marine areas, Restoration of habitats, Bio-indicators, Biomarkers, Climate change, Invasive species, . Besides that in several cities in France, the scientific partners are in the most important European Universities, in North Africa, in Australia and in the United States.

 

The institutional partners are: the Rhone-Mediterranean-Corsica Water Agency, IRSTEA (former CEMAGREF), BGRM, the Ministry of the Environment (Scientific Council Liteau), IFREMER, Natural History Museum of Paris, Pôle mer PACA, Botanical Garden of the City of Nice and Villa Thuret (INRA of Antibes), Environment and Natural Risks Department of the City of Nice, Haroun Tazieff Center in Auvergne, General Council 06, Porquerolles Botanical Conservatory, Parks Mercantour and Port-Cros National Reserves, Scandola and Bonifacio Mines Natural Reserves, IUCN, MedPAN. Industrial partners or assimilated partners are: ACRI-ST (Sophia Antipolis), Andra, Veolia Environnement, Total Foundation, Lafarge. Within the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNS), it is necessary to recall the central service of the university attached to the Director General of the Services and placed under the political leadership of the Vice-President of the Research Commission, Directorate for Research, Valorisation and Doctoral Studies (DiRVED). The DiRVED is composed of 3 departments: Research and Doctoral Studies; Contracts and Valuation; Help with the assembly of Projects. The DiRVED ensures the organization and administrative management of the Research Committee (CR) and its valorization processes, as well as the College of Doctoral Studies (CED). It is the privileged interlocutor of the 51 research units of the UNS and maintains an interface with public and institutional partners (research organizations, ministries, local authorities, ANR, European Commission, competitiveness clusters, SATT …) and Actors in the socio-economic world for all issues related to research policy and management. It is also the point of entry for the 6 Doctoral Schools for questions related to the doctoral training policy and the support of doctoral students from their enrollment to the thesis defense (in connection with the continuing education service of the HRD For vocational training). The main tasks of the DiRVED are to: Implement the research and valorization policy and the doctoral studies of the institution (execution of the decisions of the bodies, preparation and follow-up of the execution of the contract of establishment and the research indicators …); To ensure the allocation to the laboratories of the means voted by the RC, and to the Doctoral Schools that of the means voted by the EC; To support the scientific community of the UNS in its various administrative procedures; Monitor and disseminate information on sources of funding and provide the necessary support and expertise for researchers to set up research projects (including responses to internal, regional and national calls for projects And international); To advise researchers and other services of the UNS (including DAF) on the modalities of project implementation and justification of expenditure; To encourage the development of scientific partnerships in research (participation in research groups, international laboratories, etc.) and to assist laboratories in the negotiation of research agreements (collaborative research, research services, expertise, etc.); To support and co-ordinate actions to disseminate the valorisation of work carried out by laboratories (publications, patents, operating licenses, creation of a company, etc.) and to be the privileged interlocutor of the SATT; To support the development and to manage the doctoral studies and the programs of training and insertion to the accompaniment of the PhD students.

 

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