Résumé PPR

An integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development


Titre du PPR et Acronyme

Coastal and Upwelling Ecosystems (CUTE)

Région(s) / Zone(s) géographique(s)

Benguela Current system, Humboldt Current system, northwestern and western Africa, Mozambican Coast, Caribbean Sea


Benin, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guinea, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Peru, Senegal, South Africa.

Priorités thématiques

Integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development in coastal areas. This overall approach will be developed around four axes: (1) Physical and biogeochemical processes in a changing climate, (2) Marine ecosystem structure, functioning and dynamics, (3) Governance and integrated marine spatial planning, and the central axis (4) proposing an integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development.


I Mathematics.

II Physics.

III Chemical sciences

IV Engineering sciences: TIC.

V Earth sciences: geophysics, geochemistry, Hydrology, physical and chemical oceanography, climatology.

VI Living resources sciences: biochemistry and molecular biology, genetics, cellular biology, organism biology, medical sciences and nutrition, microbiology, population biology and ecology, aquatic ecology (inland and marine), systematic (botanic, zoology, entomology, ichthyology).

VII Social sciences: sociology, social anthropology, demography, economics, policy sciences and geography.

IX Human sciences: anthropology, ethnology, prehistory, archaeology and linguistics.

Le partenariat Nord-Sud du PPR


Unités de recherche IRD


Unités de recherche Nord non IRD


Principaux partenaires Sud

CEAZA, CICESE, CICIMAR, CRO, DAFF, DEA, IGP, IMARPE, IMROP, INRH, INVEMAR, IDO, ISRA, UAC, UCAD, UCT, UdeC, UNAM, Université Ibn Zohr d’Agadir, etc. (over 50 "natural counterparts" in tropical countries)


  1. Le contexte et les enjeux sociétaux aux échelles nationales et régionales et les objectifs scientifiques.

More than 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the sea and over 500 million people in developing countries depend on fisheries and aquaculture. Human societies living in coastal regions are threatened in many aspects including impacts of climate variability and change, ocean acidification and desoxygenation, marine habitat destruction, overexploitation, biodiversity loss and pollution. During the last decades marine ecosystems have been changing at surprising rates. Under strong and increasing anthropogenic pressures and climate change, the complexity of the dynamic interactions between the components of the coastal system challenges our ability to understand, predict and manage marine resources and more generally to propose an accurate governance and integrated marine spatial planning.

In this context the inter-Regional Pluridisciplinary Program (RPP) "Coastal and Upwelling ecosysTEms" (CUTE) proposes an integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development. The RPP CUTE convenes fifteen French Joint Research Units, comprising a variety of Institutes and Universities, working in close interaction with more than forty counterparts in Tropical Countries. The RPP CUTE is inter-Regional and includes three eastern boundary upwelling systems, the Benguela, Canaries and Humboldt Current systems; and two pilot regions, the coastal Mozambique and the Caribbean Sea.

Although the RPP CUTE is inter-regional it has a decisive strength: the program members embrace a large variety of disciplines but all focus on a common theme, the coastal systems. In coastal and upwelling ecosystems, the next frontier is to approach the coastline. It is crucial to make a step forwards in coastal physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes. With 'actual' interdisciplinarity, this is the main scientific challenge and originality of the PPR CUTE.

  1. Le résumé du programme de recherche - articulation des axes de recherche

The RPP CUTE aspires at understanding and considering several of the most important climatic and anthropic hazards, threats, and vulnerabilities, affecting a variety of coastal marine ecosystems in order to propose relevant keys for governance and adaptation. The RPP is articulated around three connected scientific axes converging on a fourth axis that will permit an integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development. In each of the scientific axes a twofold approach based on data and models is promoted.


Axis 1 - Physical and biogeochemical processes in a changing climate. The environmental forcing in coastal regions is complex and results generally in a non-linear response between the remote influence by the large scale climatic modes and the regional interactions between air, sea and land. Coastal regions already are and will continue to be strongly affected by the effects of a changing climate. Also, coastal oceans can include vast areas where subsurface layers are depleted in dissolved oxygen and acidic, with notable effects on ecosystem structure and function (including for instance the methylation of mercury), and on the cycle of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, coastal eutrophication may lead to formation of temporary or permanent anoxic so-called 'dead zones', which affect marine ecosystems and human societies. To understand and anticipate these effects, data and global/coastal modelling studies will be performed, focusing on past climate shifts and climate change scenarios.


Axis 2 - marine ecosystem structure, functioning and dynamics. Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) is the current paradigm in marine resource management. However, an ecosystem approach will remain an unreachable endeavour if the marine habitat is destroyed and/or if the human populations are socially and economically damaged. The RPP embraces different coastal and upwelling ecosystems allowing for a comparative approach. Most of these systems embed connected sub-systems. Taking into account the connectivity between sub-systems and the life history of the species is important to propose integrative management strategies and to define environmental policies taking into account interactions between the different forms of exploitation.


Axis 3 - governance and integrated marine spatial planning. In changing coastal areas, the multiplication of extractive, touristic and other commercial activities creates user conflicts and social/political fragmentation. In this context it is important to evaluate the actual efficiency of the 'Ecosystem services' to preserve coastal ecosystems. Also it is necessary to analyse the strategies/adaptation of livelihood of fishing communities, socio-ecosystem and public policy according to changes in physical forcing.


Axis 4 - integrated approach for marine ecosystems sustainability and human development. Axis 4 represents an added value of the RPP and thus is its raison d'être. It combines the outputs of the other axes to propose an integrated approach. From Axis 4 we expect proposing keys for an integrated and interdisciplinary Marine Coastal Management. Also we aim at providing integrated scenarios allowing for improving management and recommend adaptation measures under future climatic conditions.


  1. Les résultats /impacts attendus

The overall objective of the RPP CUTE is to stimulate inter-regional and interdisciplinary research projects that address crucial emerging issues of the coastal societies by mobilizing research interest/studies and raising funds from Tropical and European countries. Main success indicators will include: (i) the number of selected and funded regional and multidisciplinary projects; (ii) the number of international peer-reviewed multidisciplinary papers; (iii) the number of Ph. D., MSc and BSc graduates focusing on interdisciplinary work; (iv) the number of trainees attending training courses; (v) the number of end-user meetings; (vi) the number of ecological risk assessment studies; (vii) the number of proposals for risk reduction and adaptation.


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