Creation of two joint laboratories for MARBEC with SYPGEN and Andromède Océanologie

Since mid-2019, the Unité Mixte de Research MARBEC* (IRD, CNRS, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier) has been working with the SME SPYGEN, based in Bourget du Lac (73), to develop environmental DNA (eDNA) expertise for marine fauna monitoring and to set up new biodiversity indicators based on these technologies.

Recif coralligene Laurent Ballesta Andromede oceanologie Gombessa

This collaboration is supported by the I-Site Muse as part of its Companies on campus program. These two entities have recently joined forces through the Diag-ADNe joint laboratory (ANR Lab Com 2021-2024) to gain a better understanding of marine fauna and develop new biodiversity indicators based on these technologies.

The University of Montpellier, via MARBEC, has also joined forces with Andromède océanologie to develop innovative methods for studying underwater habitats through the joint laboratory InToSea (ANR Lab Com2 2016-2019).

The two companies aim to develop their position as leaders in the field of species inventory and assessment of the ecological status of marine habitats. Through these projects, the three partners complement each other by combining their expertise in the marine environment (site knowledge, field sampling, diving know-how, pressure data), metabarcoding (extraction and amplification of environmental DNA) and bioinformatics (sequence analysis) and data interpretation through the development and calculation of indicators.

An initial two-year project has already mobilized these three partners, with an inventory of marine species carried out during the first confinement. The partners have completed their databases, gained access to original and unique inventory data in the absence of human activity, which can provide indicators of a baseline state for the sites studied. They also compared different sampling methods to improve fieldwork, and drafted a methodological guide.

New collaborations are expected on more ambitious projects, particularly on international and tropical systems.

* MARBEC has expertise in marine biodiversity in lagoon, coastal and offshore ecosystems, mainly in the Mediterranean and tropical regions. Its research focuses on different levels of integration, from molecular, individual, population and community aspects, to human uses of this biodiversity. It focuses on four main objectives:

  • describe marine biodiversity,
  • understand its dynamics and the functioning of marine ecosystems,
  • analyze the impact of human pressures on these ecosystems
  • develop scenarios for responses to global change, reconcile use and conservation, and meet societal expectations (expertise, innovation, remediation).