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Year 2 specialty ‘Biology of Marine Organisms’

The environment, through both natural mechanisms (short and long term seasonal variability) and man-made ones (pollutant inputs, development of toxic algae, eutrophication...) generates modifications and/or alterations in the functioning of marine organisms. It is important to consider how and with what intensity the variability of these environmental factors contributes to modulating the response of organisms. This should be studied at different levels of organization: at molecular and cellular levels, but also by examining whole organisms and their populations. In the coastal marine environment in particular, changes in climatic, biotic and anthropogenic factors are significant and organisms found in these environments have developed specific coping strategies that allow them to maintain their vital functions to different extents according to the temporal and spatial scales considered.

In a context of global change, which covers global warming, changes in primary producer community composition with the proliferation of harmful algal blooms, increasing anthropogenic inputs and the emergence of pathogens, marine organisms are increasingly subjected to rapidly changing evolutionary pressure. Under this varied and fluctuating environmental pressure, a large inter-individual variability can be observed in the response of cells and organisms to a given environmental context. Taking into account that the intra-and inter-individual variability in the biological response is an additional aspect that allows us to understand the individual history of phenotypes, study their genetics and attempt to estimate their degree of plasticity.

The main objective of the BMO specialty is to give students an insight into these important issues by providing tools (lipids, biochemistry and molecular biology) or making in-depth examinations of functions (ecophysiology, interactions) using examples (coastal plants). This knowledge can be applied to research activities as well as to professional activities, such as the farming of marine organisms or the exploitation of the compounds they contain.

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