Mediterranean Institute of Marine and Terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology



The Mediterranean Institute of Marine and Terrestrial Biodiversity and Ecology (IMBE) has been created in response to the need of society for better knowledge about the human-environment relationship at a time when all ecosystems, but particularly the coastal zone, are affected by numerous risks of environmental degradation. IMBE responds to key objectives of CNRS and IRD and aims to position itself with respect to international collaborative research.

The Institute was initially formed as an association of two existing units (IMEP and DIMAR) sharing scientific approaches and a strong interest to work on a common objective. From the beginning, the Institute’s profile was further enhanced by adding a research team “Environment and Health” (EA 1784 “Biogénotoxicologie et mutagénèse environnementale”) adding a key element for the study of the continuum from ecosystem functioning to human well-being.

A central objective of the new institute is to reorient the ecological research capacity in Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Avignon towards an integrative and interdisciplinary profile in global ecology - with a primary interest in the human-environment relationship in the coastal zone.

Specifically, IMBE intends to study the impacts of
- human activity (incl. urban development) on the coastal zone and upstream watersheds;
- pollution on coastal ecosystems;
- climate change on ecosystem function.

IMBE provides a strong research capacity in the fields of biodiversity, evolution, ecology and basic biology. It has the ambition to contribute to better management of natural resources by researching ecological aspects of a more sustainable human-environment relationship.

Experts from DIMAR and IMEP have already provided support for public authorities and private bodies in the area of biodiversity and taxonomy and the management of nature reserves, regional and national parcs. They are also involved in organisations such as Pôle Mer PACA, Pôle Risque, Pôle “Eau” and the Comité Consultatif Régional de la Mer (CCRM). On the international scene, both units are well connected (EU, EEA, UNEP, UNESCO), making IMBE a key player for projects of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and other areas. IMBE directly supports the work of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

IMBE is supported by four research structures (Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, Avignon University) and involves more than 200 staff. Three quarters of the scientific members also have teaching duties, making IMBE a key training facility in biology and ecology, with specific curricula in environmental sciences, ecology and both terrestrial and marine biology.