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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Summer school in Batroun, Lebanon (June 2-4, 2014)
written by Anna Fricke

The first summer school of the ENPI-CBCMED M3HABs (Risk Monitoring, Modelling and Mitigation of Benthic Harmful Algal Blooms) project took place in Batroun, Lebanon, 2-4th June 2014. The project has started in January 2014 and will help to increase awareness and implement measures to manage benthic harmful algal blooms in the Mediterranean basin through the development of common monitoring procedures, automated counting methods and modelling predictive tools.

During the three-day workshop, held at the National Center for Marine Sciences (CNRS) and in the facilities of the San Stephano Resort, international participants of the various partners (e.g. France, Italy, Lebanon, Monaco, Montenegro, Tunisia), together with master and PhD students, came together for lectures, scientific exchange and further planning for the upcoming activities of the project.

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(Fotos: Valentina Giussani; Flavio Oliva; Wildlife photoreporter & cinematographer; Sally Sassine)

The main aim of the workshop was the training of students and the intercalibration of methods among participants in order to facilitate and optimise the first sampling season.

In a vibrant and motivated atmosphere the common sampling and samples analyses techniques were demonstrated and students had the occasion of train both in the field and in the laboratory.

Beyond the excellent mediation of the required scientific knowledge on Ostreopsis ecology and taxonomy, the workshop promoted further intercultural exchange and allowed a unique insight in the culture and environment of the host country.

Overall the summer school provided the ideal base for scientific exchange and opened the doors for a further fruitful cooperation along the Mediterranean coasts.

Discover the film on sustainable fishing in the Mediterranean supported by the laboratory ECOMERS.

This film was made thanks to the initiative of the regional federation France Nature Environment (FNE) and with the scientific support of ECOMERS lab. It aims at explaining the way artisanal fishing works and, based on the scientific work of the lab, at showing the importance of this fishing practices in the context of sustainable management of the coastal zone.

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For more than 40 years, FNE PACA coordinate (through its departmental federations) the Associations for Protection of Nature and Environment in the Provence 'Alpes Côte d'Azur' to implement sustainable development in the territories.
Current policies at national or European level are biased tomainly address to industrial fisheries (mainly offshore) and often do not take into account artisanal fisheries. However, the latter is a fishery that, for centuries, practiced sustainable fishing, long before this term have been brought up to date.

ECOMERS scientists work since long on the subject of artisanal fishing and helped demonstrate, through their scientific papers published in international journals, the importance of these practices for the sustainable management of the coastal zone. Through this film, ECOMERS communicates the studies carried on this activity. Considering the reduced number of laboratories working in the French Mediterranean on the ecology of coastal areas, ECOMERS is the main laboratory to do research on this topic.

This project has the support of a number of managers of marine protected areas (Frédéric Bachet, Marine Park of the Blue Coast, which is involved in the film), artisanal fishermen associations (in France called 'prud'homies' ; Elisabeth Tempier Prud'homie Sanary, in the film) and, in general, a number of individual artisanal fishermen.

Voir le film

In a context of high occupation of the coastal area, we studied this occupation impact measuring developmental stability of post-larvae and juveniles (Oblada melanura in nursery zones and Dicentrarchus labrax in aquariums). We intend to provide information for the management of these aquaculture and seaside resort zones. We expect to create a new mid/long-term stress indicator using otolith Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA).

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Figure 1 : 79 Days old D. Labrax sagittae.
Foto: Pierre Vandenbussche 2013

FA is used to measure bilateral individual developmental stability. Departure from symmetry is described by frequency distribution of right minus left part. In case of FA this frequency distribution should be a Normal curve centred around 0 (Palmer 1994). If stress occur, this Normal curve tend to present an augmentation of the kurtosis (a perfect Normal law present a ketosis of 0).

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Figure 2: FA ideal distribution, right curve present a bigger kurtosis sign of a higher level of FA.
From Palmer 1994

In order to obtain FA information, we use an intern-ear hard structure called otolith. Fish present 3 pairs of otolith. Those otoliths are used by fish for earing and space recognition. They are called sagittae, lappili, asterisci. We use the sagittae pair in our works.

We chose this structure for 3 reasons:

First, it presents, like a pearl, a successive ring structure which is easily recognisable on microscopy. This is due to the way it is formed. Every day a new ring, or increment, (Chambers and Miller 1995) is deposited. So if a change occurs in the fish environment, traces of this change will appear on the concerned ring (Arai, Ohji et al. 2007).

Second, the sagittae pair is generally the biggest of the three otolith pairs and so can be collected more easily. It also reduces the risk of misinterpretation during analyses.

Third, we use otolith because it’s an internal structure, meaning there is less risk of deterioration during sampling time.

This Precaution was really important because of the use of post-larvae and juveniles. At this early life stage fish are really fragile. As sampling method could damages the external part of fish the utilisation of external symmetric traits is impossible.

Arai, T., M. Ohji, et al. (2007). "Trace Metal Deposition in Teleost Fish Otolith as an Environmental Indicator." Water Air Soil Pollut(179): 255-263.

Chambers, R. C. and T. J. Miller (1995). Evaluating Fish Growth by Mean of Otolith Increment Analysis: Special Proprieties of Individual-level Longitudinal Data. Recent Development in Otolith Research, Columbia, South Carolina, United States of America, University of South Carolina Press.

Palmer, A. R. (1994). Fluctuating asymmetry analyses: A primer. Developmental Instability: Its Origins and Evolutionary Implications, Tempe, Arizona, Springer Netherlands.


The family Tetraodontidae includes highly toxic species such as the famous Japanese fugu. Several species live in the Mediterranean. Some came through the Suez Canal and are present throughout the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, such as Lagocephalus sceleratus. Other species have an uncertain origin: native of the Mediterranean, or entered from the Atlantic or Red Sea? This is the case of Sphoeroides pachygaster.

news un tetraodon sur nos cotes

(by P. Francour)

This species was not known the French Mediterranean coast yet. On May 9th, 2014, this fish was caught at Vauban harbour, Antibes. It was determined by Patrice Francour and is currently preserved at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.
You will find in the Nice Matin article details about the capture. This is an example of how citiziens may help scientists in recording new species.

Read more: A Tetraodontid fish along our coasts