Learning from the past to consider the future: an integrated approach to bioclimatic interactions for a shellfish harvested in West Africa



Project type




Project duration

Start Date


End Date



Coastal ecosystems functioning is exposed to many alterations associated with global change. In order to achieve sustainable resource management, it is necessary to better understand the species’ response facing environmental variability. In the Sine-Saloum Delta (Senegal), the bloody cockle (Senilia senilis) is a key bivalve species for the women’s communities that exploit them, themselves key to the socio-ecosystem of the Delta. However, given our current knowledge, it is impossible to predict the response of this species to changes in its environment in a context of global change. The IROCWA project therefore aims to characterize the biological response of the bloody cockle to a wide range of past and present bioclimatic conditions. This will provide knowledge and tools to help predict the future consequences of climate change on this key species in West Africa. This project develops an innovative interdisciplinary and integrated approach, combining experimental ecophysiology, bioenergetics modelling, paleoecology and paleoclimatology. Expected results will: (i) delimit the ecological niche of the species (ii) describe the variability of individual growth over recent centuries in relation to contrasting precipitation patterns and (iii) develop a mechanistic model simulating the effect of environmental variability on individual life-history traits.

The team