Claire Hellio, awarded the CNRS Innovation Medal

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Congratulations to our colleague Claire HELLIO, who has been awarded the 2023 CNRS Innovation Medal!

Claire, a University Professor at UBO, is in charge of the BIODIMAR platform. The platform is dedicated to biotechnology research, and develops solutions for producing more environmentally-friendly products, mainly from molecules of marine origin.

Extract from the CNRS press release:

Claire Hellio, drawing inspiration from natural molecules for environmentally-friendly products

Claire Hellio develops innovative bioinspired solutions based on active molecules produced by algae and microorganisms. Conducted at the Laboratoire des sciences de l’environnement marin, this work, at the interface between chemistry, biology, biochemistry and ecology, is carried out via the Biodimar bioprospecting platform, which this professor heads up.

Her team responds to the problems and R&D needs of manufacturers, developing specific biotests and innovative biotechnological solutions based on natural substances of marine origin. Applications are mainly in the fields of cosmetics (antioxidants and preservatives) and antifouling coatings (protection of boat hulls against colonization). These solutions are made as environmentally-friendly as possible. This collaboration with companies has, for example, taken the form of a joint laboratory called BiotechALg in partnership with Green Sea, the European leader in microalgae production.

A look back at the DRASTIC low-carbon oceanographic cruise

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A “low-carbon” oceanographic cruise aboard an old sailing ship off the coast of Norway.

At the Arctic Circle, where the waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic meet, LEMAR scientists from the European Institute for the Sea in Brest (IUEM) are studying silicon, an essential nutrient for marine micro-organisms such as diatoms and radiolarians. The latter are at the base of the marine food chain. They also play a key role in producing the oxygen we breathe and in sequestering atmospheric carbon.

The project aims to gain a better understanding of marine environmental changes at high latitudes and their consequences for the fate of planktonic siliceous organisms.

Scientists were the first to warn of climate change and now want to show the way to mitigate and reduce carbon emissions. The research was therefore carried out from a sailing boat. The boat’s equipment was also carbon-free: the main winch used to send the scientific equipment to a depth of 1,000 metres was powered solely by human energy, with the scientists transformed into cyclists! This low-tech ‘velotreuil’ proved its effectiveness and gave the scientists a chance to do a bit of sport. Compared with conventional oceanographic vessels, the campaign’s carbon footprint was reduced by 70 tonnes of CO2 (the annual emissions of 11 Norwegians).As the cost of the campaign was also lower, this means that the reduction in carbon emissions saved money. Indeed, the cost of CO2 abatement for the mission is estimated at around €1,000 per tonne. The 20-metre sailing boat was the LUN II, a superb wooden vessel built in Norway (around Alesund) in 1914. It is mainly used as a sailing cargo ship, under the direction of its captain Ulysse Buquen, and has been used to set up laboratories for water filtration and microscopic observations.

The scientific team was intergenerational (ranging from 29 to 58 years old), international (with researchers from Brest, British, and American universities), gender-balanced, and led by women. It consisted of 9 individuals, including several current or former members of LEMAR (links to their profiles): Aude Leynaert, Lucie Cassarino, Matthieu Civel-Mazens, Natalia Llopis-Monferrer, Nicolas Djeghri, Jean Luc Baradat, Oscar Chuberre (photographer), Ulysse Buquen (the captain), and Magnus Brask Nordfonn (sailor).

During their journey, they gave lectures at the universities of Tromsøe, Bodø, and Bergen, and met with Norwegian scientists to promote future collaboration and student exchanges.

The expedition was primarily funded by the French public sector, including the École Universitaire de Recherche Isblue, the ANR (Agence Nationale pour la Recherche), the CNRS, the Brittany region, and the LEMAR laboratory of the IUEM.


Phycotox 2023 : Annual conference GdR Phycotox – GIS Cyanobacteria 2023


This year, the GdR phycotox, co-directed by Hélène Hégaret (CNRS, LEMAR) and Philipp Hess (Ifremer-Nantes), is organizing its annual meeting jointly with the GIS Cyanobacteria, around a scientific conference that will take place face-to-face at Ifremer Nantes from May 23 to 25, 2023.

The GdR PHYCOTOX was created in 2013 to bring together actors from the scientific community specializing in toxic and harmful microalgae and their impacts on human and environmental health. It was renewed in 2018 for 5 years in order to continue the collaborative work with the aim of addressing fundamental societal issues and helping sectors affected by these phenomena (aquaculture, fisheries, tourism etc.) and risk assessors and managers

8th European Phycological Congress

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After Zagreb in 2019, we are pleased to invite you to Brest (Brittany, France) for the 8th European Phycological Congress “Scientific Opportunities for a Global Algal Revolution” on behalf of the Federation of European Phycological Societies council and the French Phycological Society. France has a long and proud tradition of phycological research and has a very diverse algal flora. Brittany is a world hotspot for seaweed diversity with about 700 species and has historically developed a flourishing macroalgal industry that still maintains its leadership in Europe. The region also hosts important research institutes dedicated to microalgae research and oceanography.

The European Phycological Congress series began in Cologne, Germany in 1996 and has since continued the tradition of bringing together phycologists from around the world every four years. Its main objective is to provide a forum for discussion of the latest scientific, technological and societal developments in phycological research. EPC8 includes plenary presentations, a series of symposia grouped into 6 themes, contributed papers and posters covering a wide range of topics such as algal diversity, ecology, genomics, cell biology, applied phycology and societal perception of algae. To encourage cross-community connections, each symposium will address micro- and macroalgae from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems whenever possible. We look forward to welcoming you to Brest in August 2023 for EPC8!

On behalf of the organizing committees, Solène Connan and Philippe Potin

More information on the congress web page


15th conference of the French Association of Halieutics in Brest

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The 15th conference of the French Association of Halieutics, will take place at the end of June in Brest, on the theme “Fisheries systems facing crises“.

Workshops will be held on 27 (at IUEM in Plouzané) and 28 June 2022 (at Pôle numérique du Bouguen, in Brest).

The conference itself will be held from 29 June to 1 July 2022, also at the Pôle numérique du Bouguen in Brest.

The programme can be downloaded here, and the registration file here.

Link to the AFH website (take the opportunity to join AFH!).