CRIOBE is one of France’s preeminent laboratories for the study of coral reef ecosystems.

The CRIOBE is a research laboratory with more than 70 staff, including academic professors, research scientists and administrative and technical personnel from three of France’s premiere research institutions – École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Perpignan Via Domitia (UPVD) – that together form the CRIOBE USR 3278 research unit. The CRIOBE falls under the prestigious umbrella of the PSL (Paris Sciences & Letters) Research University.

CRIOBE’s activities span multiple disciplines : ecology, conservation biology, genetics, chemistry and anthropology and its laboratories are spread across two main campuses : the University of Perpignan (UPVD) in the south of France and the CRIOBE research station located on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia.

Specifically, scientists at the CRIOBE focus on the following three principle areas of research:

  1. Molecular Genetics. An integrative approach for the study of coral reefs.
  2. Biology of populations, chemical ecology and ecosystem interactions on coral reefs.
  3. Function and governance of socio-ecosystems.

History

CRIOBE was established in 1971 by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). It began as a modest research station on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. Since this time, CRIOBE has evolved and grown considerably. Today, CRIOBE is a world class research centre with two locations: Moorea, French Polynesia and the University of Perpignan in the south of France.

Education

The CRIOBE delivers graduate level courses and offers both Masters and Doctorate degrees. The Masters programs are offered through the EPHE or UPVD. The research-based Doctoral program, similarly, is offered through either the EPHE or UPVD, or a combination of the two.

The threatened coral

“Beyond our observations of corals, we cultivate them in the lagoon of Moorea and subject them to extreme conditions to know their reactions” says Annaïg Le Guen, director of Criobe since December 1, 2018. “They are vertebrates, fixed marine organisms with their exoskeleton whose shape is specific to the species. There are hard ones, those that make up coral reefs, but others are soft. There are 850 species in the world, 183 in Polynesia. But over the past 50 years, it is estimated that 20% have disappeared. Losses due mostly to pollution and physical impact by humans by building airports, for example. But also at one time by the invasion of acanthasters. , these starfish devoured the reefs but there this mysterious phenomenon for us was apparently natural. Just like the ravages of successive cyclones.”

Over the past 50 years, it is estimated that 20% have disappeared. Losses mostly due to pollution and physical impact by humans

Annaïg Le Guen, director of Criobe

Global warming which increases the temperature of the water and its acidity are also threatening factors. “That’s why corals bleach. Some, however, are resilient. After a few years, they regain color and come back to life. In fact, they adapt. It is this mechanism that we observe and that we decode”

CNRS Video in French