Do you NAWRAS ?

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The NAWRAS project, coordinated by IRD (Marie BONNIN) and the University of Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech (Jihad ZAHIR), is a research project that proposes to use artificial intelligence to analyze “where, when and how the law protects the oceans.” The goal is to use language models (such as Chat GPT) and train them on texts of marine environmental law in order to obtain indicators that can evaluate the level of legislative protection of the Ocean.

On November 28 and 29, the second seminar of the project was held in Marrakech. On this occasion, two films were made to introduce you to this innovative project and the methods it explores.


Project Presentation Video

The 2023 workshop in Marrakech

Upcoming event: WGFAST Conference, from April 9 to 12 at IUEM

The ICES/CIEM Working Group on Acoustics, Fisheries Science and Technology (WGFAST) has cutting-edge expertise in all aspects of fish stock assessment and the estimation of essential indicators for the management of pelagic species. It also develops essential approaches for the ecosystem-based knowledge and management of the environment, thanks to: the diversity of platforms on which acoustics can be deployed; the range of organisms that can be detected and recognized (zooplankton, micronekton, fish, marine mammals, etc.); the high resolution of the information, allowing analysis of interactions with environmental parameters; the non-destructive quality of the approach applicable to protected areas.

It will be structured into three sessions:

  • Acoustic methods for characterizing populations, ecosystems, habitat and behavior
  • Acoustic characterization of marine organisms
  • Emerging technologies, methodologies and protocols

Approaches for monitoring industrial areas of the sea, such as offshore wind farms, are welcome.


Complete information and registration on the IUEM website


The event, which is expected to bring together about 80 people each day, is organized by our colleagues from the acoustic platform.

NAWRAS Project: Workshop on Developing Legal Indicators

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Developing Legal Indicators in Environmental Law

The working meeting on legal indicators as part of the Nawras project was held on March 18 and 19, 2024, in the Meeting Room of the Jabir Center / Department of Computer Science of the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia (Cadi Ayyad University – Marrakech).

The 20 participants were able to attend a presentation by Professor Michel Prieur on the importance of developing legal indicators in environmental law. Christophe Bastin then presented the method developed by the International Center for Comparative Environmental Law (CIDCE). The progress of the Nawras project was then presented by Marie Bonnin, Jihad Zahir and Youssef Al Mouatamid. During the next two half-days, the participants debated with the invited researchers (Thais Nunnez-Rocha – environmental economist – University of Orléans, Adrien Comte – IRD LEMAR in visio and Sophie Lanco – IRD Marbec in visio) on the variables and metrics selected as part of the project and on the possibilities of joint publications.

The ocean may be storing more carbon than estimated in previous studies

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Our colleague Frédéric Le Moigne contributed to an international study on the efficiency of the oceanic carbon pump. The study, published this week in Nature magazine, reassesses the ocean’s capacity to store carbon, particularly through ‘marine snow’. The CNRS issued a press release about this publication :

The ocean’s capacity to store atmospheric carbon dioxide is almost 20% higher than the estimates presented in the latest IPCC report. These are the findings of a study published in the journal Nature on 6 December 2023 by an international team including a biologist from the CNRS. The scientists looked at the role played by plankton in the natural transport of carbon from the surface to the seabed.

Plankton is fond of this gas, which it transforms into organic tissue through photosynthesis during its development, and some of it is transformed into marine particles at the end of its life. Denser than seawater, this ‘marine snow’ sinks to the seabed, storing carbon and providing essential nutrients for many deep-sea creatures, from tiny bacteria to deep-sea fish.

Based on the study of a database collected from around the world since the 1970s using oceanographic vessels, the team of seven scientists were able to digitally map the fluxes of organic matter throughout the oceans. The resulting new estimate of storage capacity is 15 gigatonnes per year, an increase of around 20% on the previous studies (11 gigatonnes per year) reported by the IPCC in its 2021 report.

This reassessment of the seabed’s storage capacity represents a significant advance in our understanding of carbon exchanges between the atmosphere and the ocean at a global level. While the team stresses that this absorption process takes place over tens of thousands of years, and is therefore not sufficient to offset the exponential increase in CO2 emissions generated by global industrial activity since 1750, this study nevertheless reinforces the importance of the ocean ecosystem as a major player in regulating the global climate in the long term.

Global distribution of organic carbon flux from the surface layer of the open ocean.
© Wang et al., 2023, Nature.



Biological carbon pump estimate based on multi-decadal hydrographic data. Wei-Lei Wang, Weiwei Fu, Frédéric A. C. Le Moigne, Robert T. Letscher, Yi Liu, Jin-Ming Tang, and François W. Primeau. Nature, le 6 décembre 2023.

A look back at the EPC conference in Brest


The 8th European Phycology Congress (EPC8), co-organized by Philippe Potin (Roscoff Biological Station – SBR) and Solène Connan (LEMAR-IUEM-UBO) under the authority of the Federation of European Phycology Societies (FEPS) and the Phycological Society of France (SPF), took place from August 20 to 26 at the Brest Arena. Supported by the Brittany Region, the Finistère Departmental Council, Brest Métropole, the University of Western Brittany, and ISblue, this congress brought together nearly 600 researchers, professors, PhD students, and Master’s students from 42 countries whose research focuses on algae, whether micro or macroalgae living in freshwater or marine environments.

Plenary presentations were held each day, covering topics such as the reproduction of red macroalgae, the diversity and adaptation of phytoplankton, diatoms and light, and kelp forests (Laminariales). Oral presentations and posters were grouped into 20 symposia in 6 sessions covering taxonomy, phylogenomics, biotechnology, primary production, the role of algae in ecosystems, and algae and the general public. Several PhD students, Master’s students, and staff from LEMAR and AMURE presented their work in these different symposia. On Wednesday, excursions (Molène, Crozon, Roscoff, Plouguerneau) or workshops were offered. About twenty companies, including local algae valorization enterprises, as well as the Chambre Syndicale des Algues et Végétaux Marines and the Cluster Algues-Bretagne, were represented and sponsored this congress.

Participants also had the opportunity to admire an exhibition titled “Immersion in the Heart of Algae,” at the interface of “Arts and Sciences,” related to the fascinating world of algae, whether planktonic and microscopic or forming vast underwater forests off our coasts. This immersive exhibition featured original works by artists inspired by marine algae, such as the work IGLOO OPUS II by Caroline Desnoëttes, in which sounds recorded within kelp forests by Lucia Di Iorio were played. The exhibition also showcased beautiful photographs of macro- and microalgae (photographers: Erwan Amice, Wilfried Thomas, Sébastien Colin & Marie Walde) and the “Planctonarium” dome created as part of the Plancton Planète project.

Furthermore, on August 21, a public evening on the theme “Intriguing Algae: Cooking, Cultivating, Understanding,” hosted by Vincent Doumeizel (UN Global Seaweed Coalition), attracted nearly 300 people who came to discover the exhibition and listen to presentations by Line Le Gall (MNHN) on algae, Hugo Morel (Bord à Bord) on seaweed cuisine, which included a tasting of seaweed tartare and chips, Martial Laurans (Ifremer) on seaweed harvesting and cultivation, and Marine Landa (SBR) on their microbiome.

Congress participants left delighted with the organization (a big thank you to the student volunteers!), the scientific program of the conference devised by Inka Bartsch (AWI, Bremerhaven, Germany), and Wiebe Kooistra (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy), the exhibition, the venue (Brest-Arena), the meals served during the congress (featuring many local dishes), excursions or workshops, and the gala evening organized at Les Capucins, during which they could dance to Breton music!

And now, let the preparations for EPC9 in Krakow, Poland in 2027 begin!