SPICE (Stress of Pisces as Indicator for the Control of watEr quality)

This new project is funded by the Foundation UNICE which aim is to develop research programs in link with private sector. The main objective of SPICE is to evaluate, routinely, easily, and at low coast, the seawater quality using some fish anatomical characteristics as bioindicator.

The basic idea of the SPICE project is that a vertebrate has normally a development plan with a right-left symmetry (never perfect, for example we are right or left handed more often), and that generally more disturbance (stress) is important during the development of the animal, more asymmetry between left and right side morphology increases. The impact of seawater pollution on the development of larvae or juvenile fish is analysed by comparing asymmetry of their otoliths (structures similar to small "stones" in the head, located in the right and left inner ear).

Otoliths 1 Otoliths 2


 This new tool will allow to provide a low-cost way to assess the potential stress due to a pollution. It is designed to help managers to carry out a regular monitoring and control of sea water quality.

Read more: The SPICE Project is funded by the UNICE Foundation

The ECOMERS lab is involved since the spring 2015 in a new and challenging scientific project, the printing of artificial reefs. Boaskalis, an international company specialized in maritime engineering, launched a project of 3D printing to build artificial reefs. In association with the Foundation Albert 2 and the AMPN (Association Monégasque pour la Protection de la Nature), they plan to print the reefs in Italy under the control of Enrico Dini, and to immerse them in the Larvotto marine protected areas. Patrice Francour, as AR expert, has been contacted by the AMPN to join the team to design these new artificial reefs.

3D AR immersion

The 3D printing allow to create new artificial reefs, more complex than the traditional concrete ARs. The printed reefs are build in dolomite sand, a totally natural product. Six reefs will be printed and immersed in the Larvotto MPA during the spring 2016. An experiment is currently carried out to compare fouling on dolomite and concrete plates.

The first printed unit has been officially presented to the Prince Albert during a ceremony hosted in the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.

Read more: The 3D printed artificial reefs: a new and innovative way to restore habitats?

An interview article has been recently published (April 17th, 2015) on the newspaper Nice Matin making the point about the state of artisanal fishing in the region 'Cote d'Azur'. Given the links with tradition and culture in the Mediterranean region, and considering the potential of artisanal methods in terms of sustainability, the article clearly support the idea to save this kind of fishing rather than keep supporting un-sustainable (ecologically and aconomically) industrial, large-scale fisheries.

Il faut sauver les artisans pêcheurs azuréens - 29023813.jpg

 To read the article (in French) click here http://www.nicematin.com/derniere-minute/il-faut-sauver-les-artisans-pecheurs-azureens.2180205.html

news scandola tf1

The scientific work carried out by ECOMERS lab researchers (University Nice-Sophia Antipolis) have been reported on August 12th, 2014 at 20h00 on TF1.

Scandola (Corsica) is one of the most beautiful natural marine reserves in the world, classified as 'heritage UNESCO' site. This marine sanctuary hosts an exceptional biodiversity, which has been investigated by researchers of UNS in the last 20 years.

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