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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)

[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).

[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

[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

[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

[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)

[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.