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Theme 3: Management of activities and conservation of biodiversity in protected zones in the Iroise Sea

Project leaders: Louis Brigand (UMR LETG-Brest) and Gauthier Schaal (UMR LEMAR) 

Main objective: In the Iroise territory, the sea and islands are a place where human activity interacts strongly with the natural environment. In this context, at the interface of the humanities and natural sciences, and in partnership with the different environment management structures (Parc Naturel Marine d’Iroise – PNMI [Iroise Natural Marine Park] for the marine area and Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique – PNRA [Armorique Regional Park] for the island area), this theme proposes to evaluate methods for ensuring the sustainable economic development of the islands and for maintaining the exceptional and distinctive biodiversity of this area.

Keywords: natural resources, promotion, land-use history, preservation of resources

Description of the work: This theme establishes multidisciplinary research revolving around activities, resources and biodiversity in the Iroise Sea. Driven by strong demand from environmental management actors, sea users and maritime professionals, this research work proposes to evaluate the current biodiversity status and economic development possibilities with this area’s distinctive characteristics in mind. Here, all the usual approaches taken in the humanities and natural sciences (surveys, cartography, sampling at sea and laboratory analyses) are gathered and used in a geographic area defined by the boundary of the PNMI. The notion of resources is intrinsically multidisciplinary (the use of a resource is defined by its economic value and its ecological sustainability) and is one of the core elements of the research to be developed under this theme. More specifically, the identification of potentially exploitable biological resources (seaweed, invertebrates, fish, etc.) via a two-pronged humanities and natural sciences approach is the subject of a PhD project (M. Tesson, 2015–2018) and several studies conducted by Master’s students. The characterisation of the role played by certain habitats (kelp forests) in sustaining different exploitable living resources is a perspective that will also be developed over the coming years, in parallel with the study of uses and conflicts of use. Another part of this theme deals with the feasibility of an approach based on identifying, mapping and quantifying the cumulated impacts on the PNMI area. Lastly, this research aims to integrate the numerous biodiversity observations made in this zone into a database, with the potential inclusion in the Indigeo Geographic Data infrastructure.

LABORATORIES CONCERNED, PARTNERSHIPS

Laboratories involved: LETG-Brest, LEMAR, AMURE, Ifremer STH Number of participants: 19

Non-academic partners: PNMI, PNRA, Association des îles du Ponant

Preferential study sites: Iroise Sea, islands and islets