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The project MAESTRO was selected from the FRB-CESAB call for proposals with France Filière Pêche

The project Maestro was selected by the CESAB selection committee from the joint call for proposals between FRB-CESAB and France Filière Pêche


MAESTRO will be coordinated by Arnaud AUBER and Camille ALBOUY, both working at IFREMER, and will look into climate change effects on exploited marine communities.


The project will be based on the analysis and synthesis of existing data, as well as the modelling of the effects of climate change on the biodiversity of European fish stocks and associated fisheries (North-East Atlantic and Mediterranean). The project will contribute to a better understanding of the effect of climate change on fish resources and fisheries, to help develop adaptive fisheries management measures. 



More information about Maestro

The CESAB is still active!

Despite the health situation, which does not allow researchers to meet at the CESAB in Montpellier, the groups remain active and work remotely. This is the case this week for the participants of the projects FREE and RED-BIO. 



FREE – about functional rarity 


FREE began in 2018 and works on functional rarity: how to define this rarity, how to quantify it and how to identify its causes and consequences. FREE ‘s participants have recently published, in collaboration with researchers from different institutes, an article based on data collected within the project and in which they show that ecologically rare species of birds and terrestrial mammals are also the most threatened (see the press release “Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals“).

Led by Cyrille Violle (CNRS) and Caroline Tucker (University of Colorado, USA), the group met (online!) this week to catch up on the various work in progress within the project.




RED-BIO –  about spatial ecology and ecological networks 


RED-BIO started this year and the participants have not yet had the opportunity to hold their first meeting at the CESAB in Montpellier. However, they were able to organize their first virtual meeting with the support of the FRB’s CESAB team and the Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution (CIEE). This is an opportunity for the participants to discuss the project’s progress and its main research question: under which conditions, the interactions between biological communities and the environment could generate spatial heterogeneity in abiotic resources?

The participants cover a wide geographical range from Vancouver, Canada, to Montpellier, France, and this first meeting allowed to clearly see the diversity of ideas within the group, but above all to detect elements of convergence. This project was selected from the joint call SYNERGY in collaboration with the CIEE and is led by Isabelle Gounand (CNRS) and Eric Harvey (Université de Montréal).


First meeting of the Red-Bio group


These meetings allow the FRB-CESAB’s groups to continue working on their projects and several scientific articles have been published in the last few months, some of them in high impact journals as Nature Communication, Global Change Biology,… see all the articles here. CESAB’s main objective is to advance knowledge in order to improve our understanding of ecosystems and their biodiversity and thus ensure their effective management and conservation.

Two projects were selected from the FRB-CESAB call for proposals of systematic reviews

Two projects were selected by the steering and selection committee from the FRB-CESAB call for proposals of systematic reviews. Both projects will use systematic mapping, critical assessment and narrative synthesis of the corpus of selected texts. Expected outcomes are publications of review articles in international scientific journals.


  • Theme 1: State and future of marine biodiversity in a time of global change 


InDySem: Influence of ecological dynamics on production and demand for marine ecosystem services. A systematic review for decision-making.

PI : Eric THIEBAUT, Sorbonne University, Paris (France)


  • Theme 2, in partnership with Agropolis Fondation: Solutions for agro-ecological transition that conserve biodiversity 


Agri-TE (Agriculture Transition Evidence): Evidence-based synthesis of the impacts of agro-ecological transition at the global scale to support integrated modelling and decision-making

PI: Damien BEILLOUIN – CIRAD, HORTYS, Montpellier (France)

[FRB-CESAB] Second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology”

The FRB’s Center for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversiry (CESAB) and the GDR EcoStat organised the second edition of the training course Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology online. The training took place from the 2nd to the 6th of November 2020. 


23 students, engineers and researchers from all over France were able to attend this training course online. 


Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-Cesab), Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE), Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe), François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec), Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe) presented the essential tools for reproducible research (git/GitHub, rmarkdown, drake, R packages, etc.). Participants were also able to put into practice the knowledge acquired at the beginning of the training through projects in sub-groups on the Thursday and the Friday. 


Subscribe to the newsletter of the FRB and its CESAB to be kept informed about the next edition of the training course.

[FRB-CESAB] The training course ecoinfofair2020 is hosted at CESAB

Within the framework of the research infrastructure “National hub for biodiversity data” (in French PNDB: Pôle national des données de biodiversité), the research and actions in progress on making data FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable – propose the implementation of products and services, around the biodiversity data, “as FAIR and open as possible”.


Thanks to the support of the DevLOG network (network of actors in the field of software development within Higher Education and Research), the PNDB is organizing workshops open to all, including an introductory training aspect.


This workshop takes place from October 19 to 21 from multiple remote sites (Concarneau, Paris and CESAB in Montpellier).



More information

[Call for proposal FRB-CESAB] The call for proposals is now open!

Through its Center for Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis (CESAB), the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research opens a call for research projects, to fund at least three innovative projects relating to the synthesis of ideas and concepts and/or the analysis of existing data. The main aim of these projects should be to improve scientific knowledge of biodiversity and demonstrate how we can use this knowledge to better protect it. The submitted projects can deal with any topic related to biodiversity, in the fields of natural sciences or human and social sciences.


The selected projects will be funded for a period of three years, including: the recruitment of a post-doctoral student for two years, the organization of six meetings of the working group at CESAB and the promotion and publication of the results. The CESAB will also provide logistical, technical and administrative support.


  • Pre-proposal deadline: 1st December, 18:00 CET



More information

[Press release] Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals

Common assumptions notwithstanding, rare species can play unique and essential ecological roles. After studying two databases that together cover all known terrestrial mammals and birds worldwide, scientists from the CNRS, the Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB), Université Grenoble Alpes, and the University of Montpellier have demonstrated that, though these species are found on all continents, they are more threatened by human pressures than ecologically common species and will also be more impacted by future climate change.


Thus they are in double jeopardy. The researchers’ findings, published in Nature Communications on October 8th 2020, show that conservation programmes must account for the ecological rarity of species.



Read the full press release

[Press release] Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals

It has long been thought that rare species contribute little to the functioning of ecosystems. Yet recent studies have discredited that idea: rarity is a matter not only of the abundance or geographical range of a species, but also of the distinctiveness of its ecological functions. Because these functionally distinct species are irreplaceable, it is essential we understand their ecological characteristics, map their  distributions, and evaluate how vulnerable they are to current and future threats.


Using two databases that collect information on the world’s terrestrial mammals (4,654 species) and birds (9,287 species), scientists from the FRB’s Centre de Synthèse et d’Analyse de la Biodiversité (CESAB), CNRS research laboratories, Université Grenoble Alpes, the University of Montpellier, and partner institutes divided the earth’s surface into 50 × 50 km squares and determined the number of ecologically rare species within each. They showed that ecological rarity among mammals is concentrated in the tropics and the southern hemisphere, with peaks on Indonesian islands, in Madagascar, and in Costa Rica. Species concerned are mostly nocturnal frugivores, like bats and lemurs, and insectivores, such as small rodents. Ecologically rare bird species are mainly found in tropical and subtropical mountainous regions, especially in New Guinea, Indonesia, the Andes, and Central America. The birds in question are essentially frugivorous or nectarivorous, hummingbirds being an example. For birds and terrestrial mammals alike, islands are hotspots of ecological rarity.


The researchers also ranked these species according to their IUCN Red List status1 and found they made up the bulk of the threatened species categories. That is, ecologically rare mammals account for 71% of Red List threatened species (versus 2% for ecologically common mammals); and ecologically rare birds, 44.2% (versus 0.5% for ecologically common birds). For each species, they determined (i) anthropogenic pressure exerted; (ii) human development indexes (HDIs) of host countries; and (iii) exposure to armed conflicts. The last two of these elements shape conservation policies. The scientists observed that  human activity had a greater impact on ecologically rare mammals and birds than on more common species, and that these rare species were found in countries of every kind of profile, irrespective of HDI or the prevalence of warfare2 They used models to demonstrate that ecologically rare species will be the greatest victims of climate change, many of them facing extinction within 40 years.


This profiling of ecologically rare species makes it clear that current conservation efforts, even in zones already protected, are insufficient. Conservation strategies still too often ignore functional distinctiveness and focus instead on population sizes. But it is essential to take this distinctiveness into account, letting this knowledge guide steps taken to protect these rare species. As they are necessary for healthy ecosystems, a true paradigm shift in conservation policy is needed to ensure their survival.



For more information... some examples of ecologically rare species



[1] The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a leading international NGO focused on nature conservation. It evaluates the risk of extinction faced by different species, assigning each to a particular category (e.g., ‘Least Concern’, ‘Near Threatened’, ‘Vulnerable’, ‘Endangered’, or ‘Extinct’).

[2] For example, the Philippines, where HDI is low and armed conflicts prevalent, are a hive for ecologically rare species (19 terrestrial mammals and 15 birds). Yet Australia, where HDI is high and armed conflict rare, is also home to many ecologically rare species (10 terrestrial mammals and 10 birds).

Rareté écologique des oiseaux et des mammifères terrestres : la double peine

Il a longtemps été supposé que les espèces rares contribuaient faiblement au fonctionnement des écosystèmes. Des études récentes ont cependant remis en cause cette hypothèse, la notion de rareté ne recouvrant pas seulement l’abondance ou l’étendue géographique des espèces, mais aussi l’originalité de leurs rôles écologiques. Ces espèces aux fonctions uniques étant irremplaçables, il est désormais fondamental de comprendre leurs caractéristiques écologiques, de cartographier leur distribution et d’évaluer leur vulnérabilité aux menaces actuelles et futures.


À partir de deux bases de données regroupant les espèces de mammifères terrestres (4 654 espèces) et d’oiseaux (9 287 espèces) à l’échelle mondiale, des scientifiques du Centre de synthèse et d’analyse de la biodiversité (Cesab) de la FRB, de laboratoires du CNRS, des universités Grenoble Alpes et de Montpellier et de leurs partenaires ont cartographié le nombre d’espèces écologiquement rares dans des zones géographiques de 50 km par 50 km à travers le monde. Ils ont démontré que la rareté écologique des mammifères se concentre dans les tropiques et dans l’hémisphère sud, avec des pics dans les îles indonésiennes, à Madagascar et au Costa Rica. Il s’agit surtout d’espèces nocturnes et frugivores (par exemple, les chauves-souris ou les lémuriens) ou insectivores (comme certains petits rongeurs). Les espèces d’oiseaux écologiquement rares se rencontrent principalement dans les régions montagneuses tropicales et subtropicales, en particulier en Nouvelle-Guinée, en Indonésie, dans les Andes et en Amérique centrale. Il s’agit essentiellement de espèces frugivores ou nectarivores (comme les oiseaux mouches). Dans les deux cas, la rareté écologique est largement surreprésentée dans les îles.


Les chercheuses et chercheurs ont également classé ces espèces en fonction de leur statut sur la liste rouge de l’UICN1. Ils ont ainsi constaté que les espèces écologiquement rares étaient surreprésentées dans les catégories menacées de l’UICN, tant pour les mammifères (71 %) que pour les oiseaux (44,2%) par rapport aux espèces écologiquement communes (2 % et 0,5 %, respectivement). Pour chaque espèce, ils  ont évalué leur exposition à l’impact anthropique, au développement humain (IDH) et aux conflits armés, ces deux derniers influençant les politiques de conservation. Ils ont constaté que les mammifères et les oiseaux écologiquement rares étaient plus touchés par l’influence humaine que les espèces plus communes et qu’ils étaient présents dans tous les types de pays, indépendamment de leur indice de développement ou du nombre de conflits2. Concernant l’influence du changement climatique, les scientifiques ont montré, à l’aide de modélisations, que les oiseaux écologiquement rares seront les plus touchés et que nombre d’entre eux risquent l’extinction d’ici 40 ans.


Ce « profilage » des espèces écologiquement rares met en évidence que leur préservation, même dans les zones actuellement protégées, n’est pas suffisante. La conservation des espèces est, aujourd’hui encore, trop souvent basée sur leur identité et leur statut démographique. Pourtant, la prise en compte de l’originalité de leurs rôles écologiques est essentielle et devrait aussi guider les actions de conservation. C’est un vrai changement de paradigme des politiques de conservation qu’il faut désormais mettre en oeuvre pour préserver ces espèces  essentielles au bon fonctionnement des écosystèmes.



Pour en savoir plus... des exemples d'espèces écologiquement rares



[1] L’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature est l’une des principales organisations non gouvernementales mondiales consacrées à la conservation de la nature. Elle classe les espèces selon leur risque d’extinction, de « préoccupation mineure » à « éteint » en passant par « quasi menacée », « vulnérable » ou encore « en danger ».

[2] Par exemple, les Philippines possèdent un indice de développement humain (IDH) faible et un nombre élevé de conflits et sont considérées comme un point chaud de rareté écologique (19 espèces de mammifères et 15 d’oiseaux écologiquement rares) tout comme l’Australie qui, à l’inverse, possède un IDH élevé et un faible nombre de conflits et accueille respectivement 10 espèces de mammifères et d’oiseaux écologiquement rares.


[Call for proposals] The FRB-CESAB call on systematic reviews has been extended until the 9th of September

The FRB, through its Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB), is funding 2 postdoctoral researchers for up to 18 months, to carry out systematic reviews, using systematic mapping, critical assessment and narrative synthesis of the corpus of selected texts, in order to write a review article for an international scientific journal.



The project may go as far as either a completed lexicographical analysis or the extraction of statistical data from the corpus and their analysis (meta-analysis).



  •  Theme 1: State and future of marine biodiversity in a time of global change 
  • Theme 2, in partnership with Agropolis Fondation: Solutions for agro-ecological transition that conserve biodiversity 


Pre-proposals deadline : 9th September 2020, 23:59 CEST

More information can be found on the call page

The Link Between Covid-19 and Biodiversity: A Report Commissioned by the French Public Authorities

The relevant ministries and research institutions members of the AllEnvi alliance (The National Alliance for Environmental Research) have solicited the FRB (The French Foundation for Biodiversity Research) and its Scientific Council to give the biodiversity science community’s perspective on the current crisis, and on the relationship between zoonotic diseases, biodiversity and ecosystem services.
In order to disseminate this synthesis to a non-French-speaking audience, an English version is now available.  



Les plantes adventices au service de l’agriculture : pourquoi sont-elles essentielles et comment les protéger ?

Longtemps considérées comme de « mauvaises herbes » pour la compétition qu’elles exercent sur les plantes cultivées, les plantes adventices se révèlent être en réalité de grandes alliées dans les écosystèmes agricoles. C’est ce que montre l’étude du projet Disco-Weed publiée le 28 mai 2020 dans Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. À partir de données récoltées sur 184 parcelles cultivées de la Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre, une plaine céréalière de 450 km² s’étendant autour du centre d’études biologiques de Chizé (CNRS/La Rochelle Université), les chercheurs ont montré que la diversité des plantes adventices, et en particulier les espèces rares, contribuaient à la fourniture simultanée de plusieurs fonctions écologiques (multifonctionnalité). En effet, les plantes adventices favorisent : le contrôle des ravageurs des cultures ; la fertilité du sol et des fonctions associées aux cycles du Carbone, de l’Azote et du Phosphore ; la pollinisation et le nombre d’espèces d’abeilles sauvages, un indicateur de la biodiversité.


Dans la seconde étude publiée le 8 juillet 2020 dans Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, les scientifiques ont cherché à comprendre les mécanismes à l’origine du maintien de la diversité de plantes adventices dans les parcelles agricoles pour favoriser leur présence. L’équipe a étudié la flore adventice dans 444 parcelles cultivées de la même Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre. Dans ces différentes parcelles, les chercheurs ont montré que la diversité des adventices est plus importante dans les zones « d’interfaces », situées entre la bordure de parcelle et le premier rang de culture. L’étude montre pour la première fois qu’en plus de leur rôle de refuge pour la diversité de la flore adventice, ces zones non-cultivées agissent comme des ‘corridors’ (milieux reliant fonctionnellement entre eux  des habitats vitaux pour une espèce) entre les différentes parcelles d’un paysage agricole. L’étude montre aussi qu’une plus grande proportion d’agriculture biologique dans le paysage augmente la diversité de plantes adventices dans ces zones d’interfaces, en particulier dans les parcelles en céréales d’hiver. « La diversité des plantes adventices étant essentielle pour la fourniture de multiples fonctions écologiques, une gestion extensive de ces zones est une stratégie pour la préserver dans les paysages agricoles » souligne Sabrina Gaba, chercheuse à l’INRAE, auteure des deux publications et porteuse du projet Disco-Weed. L‘étude met en effet en évidence l’importance de :

  • conserver ces zones d’interfaces ;
  • et favoriser des paysages agricoles diversifiés, incluant des parcelles en agriculture biologique, pour assurer une plus grande diversité de plantes adventices dans les parcelles agricoles et ainsi la fourniture de multiples fonctions écologiques.

[Course] Opening of the 2020 course – Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools, applied to biodiversity research.


The training course will take place from 2 to 6 November 2020 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. The course will be in French.


You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page. Pre-registrations will close on Friday 17th of July at midnight (CEST). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed during the first week of September.



[Call for proposals] Opening of the joint call FRB-CESAB / ITTECOP


The FRB, with the support of ITTECOP programme, call on the scientific community to submit projects to the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB), based on the analysis and synthesis of existing data on the theme “Territorial approach to biodiversity: transport infrastructures, natural and agricultural environments” at a European geographic level.




Pre-proposals deadline : 16th July 2020, 13:00 CEST

More information can be found on the call page

[FRB-CESAB] Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology – 2020

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course, in French, is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools (e.g. R, git, markdown, tidyverse, docker), applied to biodiversity research.

The registration fee is 100 € for the week and will be used to compensate the speakers. Students from laboratories member of the GDR EcoStat can apply for financial support from the GDR.



The training course took place from 2 to 6 November 2020.




You can access the training course’s slides as well as the R codes


List of speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE)
  • Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe)
  • François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec)


[Call for proposals] Opening of the joint call FRB-CESAB / France Filière Pêche

Climate change will have a lasting impact on the oceans and seas on a global scale. The impacts of these changes on marine fisheries have become a priority.  


FRB, with the support of France Filière Pêche, calls on the scientific community to submit projects to the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB), based on the analysis and synthesis of existing data, as well as the modelling of the effects of climate change on the biodiversity of European fish stocks and associated fisheries (North-East Atlantic and Mediterranean).


The project will contribute to a better understanding of the effect of climate change on fish resources and fisheries, to help develop adaptive fisheries management measures. 


Pre-proposals deadline : 11 juin 2020, 13:00 (UTC+1)

More information can be found on the call page

Biomimétisme et biodiversité

Le concept de biomimétisme ou bio-inspiration a été théorisé pour la première fois il y a une vingtaine d’année (cf. Janine Benyus : Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature). L’approche initiale défend une vision qui considère que cette démarche d’innovation « fait appel au transfert et à l’adaptation des principes et stratégies élaborés par les organismes vivants et les écosystèmes, afin de produire des biens et des services de manière durable, et rendre les sociétés humaines compatibles avec la biosphère ».


Le Biomimétisme identifie des solutions naturelles apparues au cours de l’évolution, c’est à dire des fonctions ou des rapports entre structures et fonctions chez les organismes vivants qu’il peut être intéressant de transposer à une fonction d’intérêt humain : sa finalité est de chercher, d’identifier et de d’industrialiser une solution à un problème humain.


Cette démarche est nécessairement interdisciplinaire, entre sciences fondamentales et sciences de l’ingénieur, et demande de la part des acteurs économiques la mobilisation de ressources significatives en matière de recherche et développement (R&D).



Le biomimétisme est la rencontre de plusieurs mondes, l’écologie,
les sciences de l’évolution, la biologie et l’ingénierie,
ou encore une interface entre sciences naturelles et industrie.



L’association Biomimicry Europa, créée en 2006 pour la promotion du biomimétisme, propose de distinguer trois niveaux d’inspiration : les formes biologiques, les matériaux et processus, les interactions.


En matière de recherche et développement, l’Allemagne a longtemps été en tête avec plus de 100 structures de recherche publiques impliquées et dix réseaux territoriaux spécialisés. Le Royaume-Uni et la Suisse sont aussi deux pays fortement impliqués en Europe.


En France, l’implication est plus récente, mais actuellement, plus de 175 équipes de recherche s’intéressent au sujet et plus de 100 entreprises font appel à cette démarche. Plusieurs Groupements de recherche (GDR) et Réseaux thématiques pluridisciplinaires (RTP) génèrent des initiatives structurantes autour de la chimie bio-inspirée, la mécanique des matériaux biologiques ou les micro-technologies inspirées des insectes. Le centre européen d’excellence en biomimétisme (Ceebios), créé en 2012, fédère un nombre croissant de grandes entreprises comme L’Oréal, LVMH, Engie, Vicat, Saint-Gobain, et bénéficie du soutien du ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire.


Les régions les plus impliquées en matière de R&D (compétences académiques) sont l’Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes et Nouvelle-Aquitaine, puis, à un niveau sensiblement équivalent, Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur et Grand-Est.


[FRB-CESAB] Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology – 2019

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the training course “Data toolbox for reproducible research in computational ecology“. The objective of this five-day training is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools (e.g. R, git, markdown, tidyverse, docker), applied to biodiversity research.



The training course will take place from 2 to 6 December 2019 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. The course will be in French. Price is 350 € for the week, including lunch. Travel, accommodation and evening meals will be at the expense of the participants. Students from laboratories member of the GDR EcoStat may apply for financial support from the GDR.

List of speakers (in alphabetical order):
  • Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE)
  • Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe)
  • Loreleï GUÉRY (IRD Marbec)
  • François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec)
  • Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (Criobe)

[FRB-CESAB] First CESAB training course

From 2 to 6 December, the FRB’s Center for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversiry (CESAB) and the GDR EcoStat organised a training course entitled Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology.



17 students, engineers and researchers from all over France came to attend this training at CESAB’s premises in Montpellier.


Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-Cesab), Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE), Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe), Loreleï GUÉRY (IRD Marbec), François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec), Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe) presented the essential tools for reproducible research (git/GitHub, rmarkdown, drake, R packages, etc.). Participants put into practice the knowledge acquired at the beginning of the training through projects in sub-groups. Everyone left satisfied with this experience.


Building on this success, a second edition will be organised in 2020. Subscribe to the newsletter of the FRB and its CESAB to be kept informed.


Formation Cesab décembre 2019

[FRB-CESAB] Challenges and opportunities in large-scale conservation


The working group Pelagic from the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) will hold a symposium in Montpellier on Friday the 29th of November 2019. During this symposium a group of international researchers will present the new challenges associated with monitoring both wildlife and human activities in protected areas using up to date technologies. 



Organizing Committee:
  • David MOUILLOT (University of Montpellier, FR)
  • Tom LETESSIER (Zoological Society of London, UK)


  • Jessica MEEUWIG (University of Western Australia, AU)
  • Tom LETESSIER (Zoological Society of London, UK)
  • Marc CHAUMONT (University of Nîmes, LIRMM, FR)
  • Ana NUNO (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Rachel JONES (Zoological Society of London, UK)

Analytic report on the use of DSI on genetic resources for food and agriculture

The main findings of the report were therefore:


  • To propose an appellation to replace the term “digital sequence information” with “digital data on genetic resource sequences” or “digital sequence data”;
  • To define a typology following the chronology of the bioinformatics protocol for processing sequencer data outputs: raw data, cleaned data, analysed data;
  • To list the main applications of this digital data.



The report was launched during a seminar that took place on Monday, 8 October, at the House of Oceans in Paris. The seminar was attended by almost 50 people with different backgrounds (representatives of ministries, diplomats, researchers, industrialists, journalists). The seminar’s meeting minutes and the speakers’ presentations are available on the FRB website.

[FRB-CESAB] Two calls open early December 2019

  • Joint call FRB-CESAB / CIEE : launch December 3, 2019

Biodiversity in a time of global change


The Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution (CIEE) and the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) offer a joint call for working groups that include researchers based primarily in Canada and France, on the topic “Biodiversity in a time of Global Change”.


Two working groups of eight researchers will be funded for two meetings each (the first one in 2020 in Vancouver – Canada; the second one in 2021 in Montpellier – France).


The full proposals should be sent by e-mail before 31/01/2020 and the selection will be made by the 06/03/2020.


  • Joint call FRB-CESAB / CeMEB: launch December 9, 2019

Short term stays for foreign researchers (2-3 months)


The CeMEB LabEx (Mediterranean Environment and Biodiversity Centre) and the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) offer financial support for hosting 2 foreign researchers for short stays at the CESAB in Montpellier (from 2 months minimum to 3 months maximum).


The full proposals should be sent by e-mail before 12/03/2020 and the selection will be made by the 15/05/2020.

Call for an ambitious COP 15 Biodiversity and for bridging the Rio conventions

The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in China at the end of 2020. Countries member of the convention will be invited to announce specific commitments to biodiversity conservation.

It would be dramatic if the different states gathered on this occasion could only agree on a lower common denominator in terms of commitments and actions and if the decisions of the COP were not up to the challenge of the collapse of biodiversity.

States must commit to clear, precise, multiple and quantifiable actions, giving priority to the rapid and effective reduction of major pressure factors, while developing large-scale protection actions in order to rapidly safeguard what remains of biodiversity and restore its broad capacity for evolution.

Private stakeholders must also support this approach by working on reducing their sector-specific pressures on biodiversity.

Finally, citizens must be the driving force behind a major change in the way we consume, perceive and use biodiversity.


The two platforms of global scientific expertise, which are considering the future of biodiversity (IPBES) and of climate (IPCC), generally agree on the urgent need to quickly revise unsustainable production processes that aggravate both biodiversity erosion and climate change.


IPBES points out in its global assessment of the state of biodiversity presented in May 2019, that biodiversity is diminishing at an increasing rate, leading to the degradation of soil and ecosystem functioning. As a result, the services that humans receive from biodiversity are also declining rapidly, threatening the future of our societies. The direct drivers behind this degradation of biodiversity are well known and their respective importance has been assessed: land-use change at the expense of poorly humanized ecosystems and biotopes; exploitation, and often overexploitation, of marine and land resources; increasing chemical and physical pollution; climate change; and the multiplication of invasive alien species. All these drivers are aggravating each other and are also reinforced by indirect drivers: human population growth and the full range of socio-economic and political processes that lead to unsustainable consumption of the planet’s resources.

IPBES stresses the multiple negative impacts of intensive agricultural production systems on biodiversity, two excesses of which are now well documented. On the one hand, the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers; and on the other hand, the increase in the production of plant-based proteins for animal feed which induces long-distance trade and relocates the negative impacts in regions with high biodiversity, such as tropical forests. Projections by 2050 show that without major lifestyle changes, the erosion of biodiversity and the loss of services that humans receive from the living world will continue.


Since the publication of the IPBES Global Assessment, the IPCC has produced a report on the links between climate change and land use, including through agricultural and forestry activities. The key messages of this report are consistent with those found in the IPBES assessment on land degradation and restoration published in 2018. The IPCC report highlights the importance of the contribution of the entire world food system to the production of greenhouse gases and recalls that changes in land cover, use and condition influence regional and global climates. It also recalls that climate change is a source of increased risks to the world food system and biodiversity, risks that will become even greater as food consumption, water needs and the consumption of multiple resources continue to increase. The IPCC calls for actions to adapt to and reduce climate change by highlighting the co-benefits that biodiversity can expect from them. The IPCC therefore calls for a sustainable management of soils and ecosystems as the only way to halt their degradation, maintain their productivity and contribute to the adaptation and the reduction of climate change. The IPCC emphasizes the need to reduce food waste and other waste while also accompanying the change in diets. Finally, the IPCC stresses the need to act quickly and to focus on the short term. It also highlights in its projections the need to increase forest areas.


In addition, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the third of the Rio Conventions, was held in India in September 2019, calling for a halt to land degradation and for its restoration to preserve ecosystem functioning and services, and to enhance food security. In the New Delhi Declaration calling for investment in land conservation and for unlocking all opportunities for action, COP Desertification underlines the importance of taking into account land management solutions against global warming and for biodiversity conservation.


Finally, the New York Declaration on Forests initiative, initiated in 2014 by major research institutions, think-tanks and NGOs, noting the continuing deforestation, particularly of tropical rainforests, solemnly called for the protection and restoration of the world’s forests to preserve their biodiversity and carbon sequestration capacity, thus joining the COPs in their call for governments to engage in systemic change.


In all cases, the findings of these bodies relay the warnings made by scientists over a long period of time, and their recommendations have been acknowledged or endorsed by a majority of countries around the world. Therefore governments cannot say that the warning has not been given and that the urgency of the necessary actions in favor of biodiversity has not been highlighted. Some countries quickly made commitments, such as France which announced a significant increase in the area of national protected areas, a major initiative, but which only partially meets the needs for essential actions, particularly in the short term.


However, significant differences of opinion persist when it comes to strategies and options to restore biodiversity or to mitigate climate change.


This is the case, for example, of the inclusion of the large development of energy crop areas in the IPCC scenarios, which, on a large scale, would have a major negative impact on biodiversity – and to which IPBES drew the attention of decision-makers. The same applies to the development of BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) energy technologies or the development of intensive afforestation strategies. It is on these topics that exchanges between climate and biodiversity experts on one hand and between the various international strategic and political coordination mechanisms (UN conventions and agencies) on the other hand should be the most significant. It is crucial to recall that the fight against climate change is not an end in itself, but an urgent and indispensable means to enable the living, human and non-human, to continue their pathways of life and evolution. The fight against climate change cannot therefore be implemented by worsening the biodiversity situation. More than ever, FRB’s slogan, “biodiversity and climate, same fight”, remains clearly relevant.


Beyond COP 15 Biodiversity, COP Desertification or the forthcoming COP Climate, the Conferences of the Parties of the three Rio Conventions must move forward together. It raises the question of the necessary global coordination of actions that are likely to put the planet on a pathway ensuring both the future of human populations and of all living beings on mainland, islands and in the seas, without simple, caricatural solutions and while respecting freedoms and cultural differences.

Facing global challenges, it is no longer possible to continue to think in silos: climate on one hand, biodiversity or desertification on the other, and to allow solutions to emerge that will be poor compromises, not allowing all the major global challenges to be addressed simultaneously and with the same level of priority.


Several alternatives are possible to make solutions recommended by international bodies relevant to all the major challenges we are facing:


  • Merge the three Rio Conventions into a single Environment Convention that would address all environmental issues under the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP. This would make possible to consider jointly and in full synergy the challenges of climate, land desertification and biodiversity, and to provide decision-makers with suggestions for commitments and actions that would not favor the solution of one problem at the expense of others. It would also provide a stronger direct link to an updated version of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which could then be called the Goals for a Sustainable Planet. The scientific and technological subsidiary bodies (SBSTA and SBSTTA) of the conventions would also merge. Simultaneously, it should be decided whether or not to institutionalize the relationships between the scientific expertise platforms, IPCC and IPBES, and to ensure that the merger of the three conventions, by creating a very large structure that is difficult to manage in practice, does not break their current internal dynamics.
  • Maintain the three existing COPs and establish, under UNEP, a coordinating umbrella structure to harmonize and make the decisions of the COPs more coherent and reliable. This could be a simple structure combining the secretariats of the conventions and the heads of the associated scientific expertise structures. As in the previous option, international platforms of scientific expertise would be invited to collaborate much more effectively than at present. Such an umbrella structure must be operated with a strong need for reactivity.
  • Establish a new way of operating between the Conventions so that they rely on the work of all dedicated scientific and technological support bodies (SBSTA and SBSTTA) and international scientific expertise platforms, in particular IPCC and IPBES. This option would require institutionalizing an independent platform of scientific expertise on desertification, such as the Global Soil Partnership, currently under FAO.
  • Formally and rapidly establish operational collaboration between all scientific and technical support bodies and scientific expertise platforms such as the IPCC and IPBES so that no report from one or the other is published without having benefited from the validation of the other expert groups. This may involve the publication of joint reports or an assessment of the recommendations made to the states, with a systematic exclusion of solutions that would undermine the challenges of fighting climate change, biodiversity erosion or desertification. The latter option would be the easiest to implement and the conventions would be able to work from a base of expertise that is not necessarily common, but whose recommendations have been aligned as much as possible.


In any case, it is becoming urgent to promote strong scientific consensus that can form the basis of ambitious international decisions going beyond sectoral visions and political divisions affecting our future and the future of all life forms.

[CESAB] The project FAIR_Data hosted by CESAB

The CESAB of the FRB is an internationally renowned research structure whose objective is to implement innovative work to synthesize and analyse existing data sets in the field of biodiversity.

CESAB now offers researchers the opportunity to meet and make progress on their projects combining data synthesis and biodiversity. Today, it is inaugurating a new collaboration with the FAIR project by hosting a meeting.

The growing need to make research data ” Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable” (hence the principles of FAIR data) has led to the creation of a think tank within the Montpellier academic community. The objective of this group is to apply the principles of FAIR data and to develop procedures for their implementation in different disciplinary fields: biodiversity/ecology, agronomy, engineering sciences, human and social sciences. It was set up in spring 2019 at the initiative of LabEx CeMEB, NUMEV, Agro and the DigitAg convergence institute.

The Reflection Group is meeting today for the second time with the objective of designing a data management plan and identifying the relevant terminology resources (metadata, controlled vocabularies) to produce “FAIR” data sets.



Principal Investigator :



Participants :

Cédric BOURRASSET – ATOS ; Sophie BOUTIN – Université de Montpellier ; Marie-Christine CORMIER SALEM – AGROPOLIS ; Olivier GIMENEZ – CNRS ; François GREGOIRE – ATOS ; Mylène JONQUET – LIRMM ; Carole KERDELHUE – INRA ; Anne LAURENT – Université Montpellier ; Emmanuel LE CLEZIO – Université Montpellier ; Nicolas MOUQUET – CNRS-FRB ; Loïc MAISONNASSE – ATOS ; Antoine OLGIATI – ATOS ; Andrea PARMEGGIANI – Université Montpellier  ; Pierre PERE – IRSTEA ; Pascal PONCELET – LIRMM ; Lionel TORRES – Université Montpellier ; Olivier TORRES – UPV.


Le réchauffement climatique, un bouleversement pour les écosystèmes et les scientifiques

Le changement climatique n’est pas un état problématique passager, mais bien une situation pérenne qu’il va falloir considérer dans sa globalité. Il nécessite une adaptation importante des écosystèmes et de ceux qui les étudient. Sous nos latitudes tempérées, ces changements prennent une signification particulière en modifiant la longueur relative des saisons. Or, l’arrivée du printemps rythme le cycle annuel de toute la biodiversité. La remontée printanière des températures s’accompagne d’une reprise explosive de la végétation. Les jeunes feuilles fournissent une nourriture de qualité pour une multitude d’invertébrés herbivores, aux premiers rangs desquels, les chenilles de papillons. Eux-mêmes sont alors consommés par des carnivores. Ce formidable accroissement de la biomasse va, en particulier, permettre aux prédateurs de se reproduire. Ce phénomène est cependant éphémère : les jeunes pousses tendres se chargent rapidement de tanin et deviennent indigestes. On assiste ainsi à un pic d’abondance de nourriture et chaque niveau de la chaîne alimentaire tente de se synchroniser sur le pic dont il dépend.

Biodiversity within the “Environment” theme of the 7th framework programme (2007-2010)

At the European level, biodiversity research projects can be funded through a range of tools, including the seventh framework programme for research and development (FP7) in which the “Environment” theme is recognized as a major source of funding. Indeed, the European Commission provides important funding support for a range of research projects encompassing several sub-activities, including biodiversity, as part of this FP7 “Environment” theme.



Biodiversity, a cross-disciplinary topic, not identified as such in the FP7 “Environment” theme


Within the FP7, biodiversity appears in various sub-activities: “Pressures on environment & climate”, “Marine environments”, “Sustainable management of resources”…, but there is not a unique and delimited entry point for funding biodiversity research. Consequently, assessing the results of FP7 funding for the research community working on biodiversity and associated issues is complex.

To overcome this difficulty, the FRB conducted the present study – downloadable from the resources below – based on the results of the projects submitted to the FP7. The main goal of the study is to assess the importance of biodiversity among the FP7 “Environment” theme, through the sub-activities identified. Temporal trends of funding are also assessed for the 2007-2010 period, and the relative performances of the participating countries are compared.