Expertise of the scientific community

in the Languedoc-Roussillon region (France)

Climate change:
impact and adaptation

Number 20


agriculture • food • biodiversity • environment
Agropolis International
brings together authorities of
research and higher education
in Montpellier and LanguedocRoussillon in partnership with
local communities, companies
and regional enterprises and
in close cooperation with
international institutions.
This scientific community
has one main objective–
the economic and social
development of Mediterranean
and tropical regions
Agropolis International
is an international space open
to all interested socioeconomic
development stakeholders
in fields associated with
agriculture, food production,
biodiversity, environment and
rural societies.

Agropolis is an international campus devoted to agricultural and
environmental sciences. There is significant potential for scientific
and technological expertise: more than 2,700 scientists in over
75 research units in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon,
including 400 scientists conducting research in 60 countries.
Agropolis International is structured around a broad range of research
themes corresponding to the overall scientific, technological and
economic issues of development:
• Agronomy, cultivated plants and cropping systems
• Animal production and health
• Biodiversity and Aquatic ecosystems
• Biodiversity and Land ecosystems
• Economics, societies and sustainable development
• Environmental technologies
• Food: nutritional and health concerns
• Genetic resources and integrative plant biology
• Grapevine and Wine, regional specific supply chain
• Host-vector-parasite interactions and infectious diseases
• Modelling, spatial information, biostatistics
• Water: resources and management
Agropolis International promotes the capitalization and enhancement
of knowledge, personnel training and technology transfer. It is a hub for
visitors and international exchanges, while promoting initiatives based

Climate change: impact and adaptation

on multilateral and collective expertise and contributing to the scientific


and technological knowledge needed for preparing development

This Dossier showcases research structures based in
Languedoc-Roussillon Region whose activities are
focused on addressing challenges encountered in
studies on climate change impacts and adaptations:
 46 research units (UR, depending on a single
supervisory authority), or joint research units (UMR,
depending on several supervisory bodies), members
of the Agropolis International research community
 2 ‘laboratories of excellence’ (LabEx Agro –
Agronomy and Sustainable Development, and LabEx
CeMEB - Centre Méditerranéen de l’Environnement et
de la Biodiversité) and a federative structure (IM2E:
Montpellier Institute for Water and Environment)
that manage the scientific activities of some research
units on these topics
 5 research infrastructures of national or European
scope that are devoted to observations in the
natural environment or in controlled experiments:
the Observatoire de Recherche Méditerranéen de
l’Environnement (OSU OREME), the Oceanic
Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer (OOB), one of the
three national branches of the European Marine
Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC-France), the
Mediterranean Platform for Marine Ecosystem
Experimental Research (MEDIMEER) and the
European Ecotron of Montpellier
 5 foreign or international partners set up in
the region that conduct scientific activities in
collaboration with Agropolis members: the CGIAR
Consortium (international organization), ‘external
laboratories without walls’ of EMBRAPA (Brazil)
and INTA (Argentina), and subsidiary laboratories of
CSIRO (Australia) and USDA/ARS (USA).
Scientific research carried out by the regional
research stakeholders on climate change impacts and
adaptations is very broad in scope. This Dossier—
which is far from being comprehensive—aims to give
readers an overview of this research by highlighting
the stakeholders involved and giving a few practical
examples of their research activities. These are
presented under four major themes:
 Climate change & resources, territories
and development
 Climate change & biodiversity and ecosystems
 Climate change & interactions between organisms
 Climate change & agricultural and livestock
production systems

Climate change:
impact and adaptation


Topics covered


by the research teams
Climate change


& resources, territories and development
Climate change


& biodiversity and ecosystems
Biodiversity and continental ecosystems


Biodiversity and marine ecosystems


Climate change


& interactions between organisms
Climate change


& agricultural and livestock production systems
List of acronyms and abbreviations

Agropolis International members also offer a broad
range of diploma training-education courses (2-8 years
of higher education) in which the climate change issue
is taken into account in the light of the most recent
advanced research on the topic.
The list of training and education courses is available
online (
Cover photo: Savannah landscape, Ambalavao, Hautes Terres (Madagascar)
M. Grouzis © IRD
The information presented in this Dossier is valid as of 01/02/2015.


Climate change: impact and adaptation

Climate change impact and
adaptation research expertise
in Languedoc-Roussillon




he year 2015 is marked by a series of events
related to climate change. This priority issue is
covered at the Salon International de l’Agriculture
in Paris (February), the third Global Science Conference
on Climate Smart Agriculture in Montpellier (March)
and at the UNESCO* Our Common Future under
Climate Change Conference (July), which will provide an
occasion for the scientific preparation of the 21st session
of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC** in
Paris (December). Climate change will also be a focus
of concern at the 3rd UNCCD*** Scientific Conference
taking place at Cancún, Mexico in early March. As the
laboratories and research organizations established in
Languedoc-Roussillon Region are recognized—via the
high level of their publications—as the leading French
scientific research community in the fields of agronomy,
environment and biodiversity, we felt they warranted
contribution to this year’s discussions and debates through
a publication presenting their teams and research. This 20th
Dossiers d’Agropolis International issue regarding impact and
adaptation to climate change showcases the work of this
Research units constituting the Agropolis scientific
community, representing French and foreign institutions,
conduct highly multidisciplinary research using integrated
approaches that are particularly relevant with regard to
agriculture and natural resources issues. They participate
in many national and international networks, associations
and learned societies, all of which offer them a top quality
scientific environment for developing these approaches.
The regional scientific community therefore has the
expertise and tools necessary to contribute to the
assessment of climate change impacts and associated
adaptation needs.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The 5th IPCC**** Report is in line with the previous findings
of the Panel, confirming their conclusions and strengthening
the hypotheses, which are no longer seriously
questioned—global warming is now an established fact
and an unprecedented number of associated changes
have already been observed. These changes have profound
direct and indirect impacts, raising critical concerns for
human societies. The preservation and evolution of our
resources remain in question and a focus of considerable
apprehension. Alongside these profound changes, societies
are tapping often already degraded and weakened
ecosystems to an increasing extent. The development
trajectories have thus placed populations or activity
sectors in situations of high vulnerability regarding climate
change and its impact on agricultural activities, ecosystems
and natural resources.


* United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
** United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
*** United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
**** Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Hence, it is not so much climate change processes sensu
stricto that are studied here, but rather their effects on
the environment and production systems. The aim is to
be able to foresee future changes and design intervention
methods or adjustments to be made in order to avoid
unwanted situations, according to the concept of ‘adaptive
This might lead one to think that the issue is essentially
approached from an adaptation perspective, suggesting
that there is no place for mitigation approaches. However,
scientific reasoning does not differentiate these two
aspects of the same issue—contrary to political debates
that confront them for strategic purposes without any
connection with the reality of the phenomenon. When, for
instance, studying livestock farming systems, are we not
concerned with both mitigation and adaptation?
This Dossier is organized in four main sections that address
issues from a systemic standpoint. The first part is focused
on the preservation and use of resources at territorial
management scales—functioning of aquatic systems and
watersheds, water uses, the role and status of forest areas,
observation and information platforms, social forms and
conditions of territorial and resource governance. The
second part deals with ecosystems and the biodiversity
that sustains their functionality. This pertains to continental
ecosystems, studied using current or past indicators in
order to assess their dynamics, as well as the marine
environment—both coastal and pelagic—from fish
populations to phytoplankton elements. The next part
deals with the question of interactions within the ‘host
organisms–pest, parasite/pathogen or symbiotic organisms–
environment’ triad, including monitoring and control
methods based on modelling of these interactions and
design of new practices aimed at reducing risks induced by
new dynamics associated with climate change. Finally, the
last part is devoted to agricultural and livestock production,
from genetic research to studies on landscape dimensions,
so as to view production systems from a broader scope,
thus leading to a better overall understanding of the
processes under way and to proposals for action.
This overview confirms the importance of developing
integrated approaches, from functional biology dimensions
to approaches on territorial scales, while relying
substantially on observations, experiments and modelling
so as to gain a clear overall understanding of the processes
involved and to act with discretion to mitigate and adapt
to them.
Enjoy reading this directory of expertise in which abundant
useful references and addresses can be found to fulfil
everyone’s needs and expectations. It is also hoped
that this Dossier clearly illustrates the high extent of
mobilization of our scientific community to address the
challenges of climate change currently under way.
Bernard Hubert,
President of Agropolis International

Topics covered
by the research teams
(January 2015)

1. Climate change
& resources, territories and
2. Climate change
& biodiversity and ecosystems
3. Climate change
& interactions between organisms
4. Climate change
& agricultural and livestock
production systems

The ‘page’ column indicates
where the research unit or team
is presented. Red dots (•) indicate
the main topics focused on by the
unit or team, while black dots (•)
indicate secondary topics in which
they are also involved.

Research teams and units
IM2E – Montpellier Institute for Water and Environment
Director: Éric Servat,
UMR HSM – HydroSciences Montpellier
Director: Patrick Seyler,
UMR G-EAU – Water Resource Management, Actors and Uses
(AgroParisTech/CIRAD/IRD/IRSTEA/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Olivier Barreteau,
UMR EMMAH – Modelling Agricultural and Hydrological Systems in the Mediterranean Environment
Director: Liliana Di Pietro,
UMR GM – Geosciences Montpellier
Director: Jean-Louis Bodinier,
UR D3E/NRE – Nouvelles Ressources en Eau et Économie
Director: Jean-Christophe Maréchal,
UR LGEI – Laboratoire de Génie de l’Environnement Industriel
Director:Yannick Vimont,
UR GREEN – Management of Renewable Resources and Environment
Director: Martine Antona,
UMR ESPACE-DEV – L’espace au service du développement
Director: Frédérique Seyler,
UMR TETIS – Spatial Information and Analysis for Territories and Ecosystems
Director: Jean Philippe Tonneau,
UMR GRED – Governance, Risk, Environment, Development
Director: Bernard Moizo,
UMR ART-Dev – Actors, Resources and Territories in Development
Director: David Gibband,
UMR LAMETA – Laboratoire Montpelliérain d’Économie Théorique et Appliquée
(INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/UM/CNRS)
Director: Jean-Michel Salles,
LabEx CeMEB – Centre Méditerranéen de l’Environnement et de la Biodiversité
Director: Pierre Boursot,




















Climate change: impact and adaptation


esearch units and
teams mentioned in
this Dossier are listed
in the following chart.


Topics covered by the research teams

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Research teams and units


UMR CEFE – Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology
(CNRS/UM/UPVM/EPHE/Montpellier SupAgro/IRD/INRA)
Director: Richard Joffre,
UMR ISEM – Institute of Evolutionary Sciences of Montpellier
Director: Agnès Mignot,
UMR AMAP – Botany and Computational Plant Architecture
Director: Thierry Fourcaud,
UR URFM – Écologie des Forêts Méditerranéennes
Director: Éric Rigolot,
UR B&SEF – Tropical Forest Goods and Ecosystem Services
Director: Laurent Gazull,
OSU OREME – Observatoire de Recherche Méditerranéen de l’Environnement
Director: Éric Servat,
European Ecotron of Montpellier
Director: Jacques Roy,
OOB – Oceanic Observatory of Banyuls-sur-Mer
Director: Philippe Lebaron,
UMR CEFREM – Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnement Méditerranéens
Director: Wolfgang Ludwig,
UMR MARBEC – Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation
Director: Laurent Dagorn,
UMR LECOB – Benthic Ecogeochemistry Laboratory
Director: Nadine Le Bris,
UMR BIOM – Integrative Biology of Marine Organisms
Director: Hervé Moreau,
UMR LOMIC – Microbial Oceanography Laboratory
Director: Fabien Joux,
USR LBBM – Laboratory of Microbial Biodiversity and Biotechnology
Director: Marcelino Suzuki,
UMS MEDIMEER – Mediterranean Platform for Marine Ecosystem Experimental Research of OSU OREME
Director: Éric Servat,
EMBRC-France – European Marine Biological Resource Centre at Banuyls-sur-Mer
Director: Philippe Lebaron,
UMR CBGP – Center for Biology and Management of Populations
(INRA/CIRAD/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
Directrice : Flavie Vanlerberghe,
UMR LSTM – Laboratory of Tropical and Mediterranean Symbioses
(IRD/CIRAD/INRA/UM/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Robin Duponnois,
UMR IPME – Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes-Environnement
Director:Valérie Verdier,
UMR DGIMI – Diversity, Genomes and Microorganism-Insect Interactions
Director: Anne-Nathalie Volkoff,
UR B-AMR – Pests and Diseases: Risk Analysis and Control
Director: Christian Cilas,
UR Plant Pathology
Director: Marc Bardin,
UMR BGPI – Biology and Genetics of Plant-Parasite Interactions
(INRA/CIRAD/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Claire Neema,





























CSIRO European Laboratory (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
Director: Andy Sheppard,
EBCL – European Biological Control Laboratory of USDA/ARS
(United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service)
Director: Lincoln Smith,
UMR IHPE – Host-Pathogen-Environment Interactions
Director: Guillaume Mitta,
UMR MIVEGEC – Genetics and Evolution of Infectious Diseases
Director: Frédéric Simard,
UMR InterTryp – Host-Vector-Parasite Interactions in Infections by Trypanosomatidae
Director: Philippe Solano,
UMR CMAEE – Emerging and Exotic Animal Disease Control
Director: Thierry Lefrançois,
UR AGIRS – Animal and Integrated Risk Management
Director: François Roger,
LabEx Agro – Agronomy and Sustainable Development
Director: Pascal Kosuth,
UMR LISAH – Laboratoire d’étude des Interactions entre Sol-Agrosystème-Hydrosystème
(INRA/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Jérôme Molenat,
UMR SYSTEM – Tropical and Mediterranean Cropping System Functioning and Management
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/CIHEAM-IAMM)
Director: Christian Gary,
UR HortSys – Agro-ecological Functioning and Performances of Horticultural Cropping Systems
Director: Éric Malezieux,
UR AIDA – Agro-ecology and Sustainable Intensification of Annual Crops
Director: Éric Scopel,
UMR SELMET – Mediterranean and Tropical Livestock Systems
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Alexandre Ickowicz,
UMR Innovation – Innovation and Development in Agriculture and the Agrifoods Sector
(INRA/CIRAD/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Guy Faure,
UMR Eco&Sols – Functional Ecology & Bio-geochemistry of Soils & Agro-ecosystems
(INRA/CIRAD/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Jean-Luc Chotte,
UMR AGAP – Genetic Improvement and Adaptation of Mediterranean and Tropical Plants
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Patrice This,
UMR DIADE – Crop Diversity, Adaptation and Development
Director: Alain Ghesquiere,
UMR LEPSE – Laboratoire d’Écophysiologie des Plantes sous Stress Environnementaux
(INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
Director: Bertrand Muller,
UMR B&PMP – Biochemistry and Plant Molecular Physiology
(INRA/CNRS/Montpellier SupAgro/UM)
Director: Alain Gojon,
CGIAR Consortium
Director: Frank Rijsberman,
EMBRAPA LABEX Europe – External Laboratory Without Walls of EMBRAPA
(Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária)
Coordinator: Claudio Carvalho,
LABINTEX – External Laboratory Without Walls of INTA (Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria)
Coordinator: Daniel Rearte,




























Climate change: impact and adaptation

Research teams and units


Climate change: impact and adaptation

 Bofedal: montain
ecosystem of high natural
value in the tropical Andes (Bolivia).
F. Anthelme © IRD-UMR AMAP

Climate change
& resources, territories
and development

In this setting, research must shed light on the major
issues by: (1) focusing studies on the impact of climate
change on socioecosystems at various territorial levels
and characterization of their vulnerability; (2) drawing
up—in collaboration with the various stakeholders
concerned—adaptation measures to mitigate the effects
of climate change; and (3) developing assessment and
monitoring tools to support decision making and adaptive
resource management.
The Agropolis scientific community is particularly well
equipped to provide, along with its many national and
international partners, answers or ideas regarding
these key questions, which arise in different manners in
various socioecosystems on all continents and at several
territorial scales.
Water resource research is federated within the
Montpellier Institute for Water and Environment (IM2E),
which combines research in hydrology, geology, chemistry/
biochemistry, microbiology, agronomy, engineering
science, economics, social science, modelling, etc. Building
on substantial technical resources, some of which are
provided by OSU OREME (permanent observatories,
joint research platforms, large-scale technical platforms,
etc.), the scientific questions addressed by the Institute’s
research units are focused especially on:
 Analysis of water resources, flows and transfers
and fluctuations related to climate change:
functioning of complex aquifers (especially karstic
aquifers typically found in the Mediterranean region,
e.g. through the LEZ-GMU project); scenarios regarding
changes in hydrological systems associated with global
change via modelling and prospective approaches
(REMedHE and ClimAware projects); and the impact of
climate change on water resource quality.

 Analysis of the vulnerability of territories to
climate change impacts: coastline modifications
and flooding risks, impacts on freshwater ecosystems,
societal risks associated with extreme events (floods,
water shortages), the development of relevant
monitoring and assessment indicators.
 Adaptation challenges: many studies are also
focused on water use efficiency in agriculture, at scales
ranging from landscapes (e.g. in the ALMIRA project),
plots (e.g. with agroecological practices) to plants
(HydroRoot and LeafRoll projects); while other studies
concern rainfed or irrigated agriculture (studies on the
impact of irrigation on water resources, development
and dissemination of innovations to reduce water
consumption, tapping of new resources through, for
instance, wastewater reuse). Other adaptation research
is focused on resource management arrangements
on political, economic and institutional levels through
multi-stakeholder approaches and the development of
decision-support tools.
Beyond water resources, the regional scientific
community addresses the broader issue of the dynamics
of nature-society interactions through natural resource
management (soil, mineral resources and biodiversity) and
the governance of territories and environments. In this
area, the research aims to gain insight into relationships
between societies and ecosystem services provided by
their environment, their evolution with respect to global
change, their vulnerability or conflictual nature and their
adaptation and resilience capacities. Adaptation strategies
are analysed by assessing linkages between global and
local dynamics, between issues and stakeholders
—individuals, local, regional, national and international
institutions (AFCAO, ‘Of lands and waters’, SERENA,
EcoAdapt projects).
Finally, one of the driving forces of the regional scientific
community is also the spatialization and historization
of environmental knowledge for environmental
monitoring and decision support, based on a range of
methods: remote sensing and space observation, direct
environmental observation, stakeholder surveys, data
processing, development of indicators, knowledge and
digital data modelling.
Éric Servat (IM2E)
& Nicolas Arnaud (OSU OREME)

Climate change: impact and adaptation


s indicated in the last IPCC report, changes
in rainfall patterns and melting snow and ice
under way in many parts of the world are
disrupting hydrological systems and impacting the quality
and quantity of water resources, as well as dynamics
and resources in the ‘critical zone’ for life on Earth.
A marked depletion of renewable surface and
groundwater resources is expected in most subtropical
dryland regions during the 21st century. Moreover,
current climate change patterns raise concerns that major
problems could arise regarding relationships between
societies and their environment, even threatening the
ecosystem services from which they directly or indirectly
benefit. The impacts of recent extreme weather events
—heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, etc.—highlight
the high vulnerability and extent of exposure of
ecosystems and human societies to current climate


Climate change
& resources, territories
and development

Main teams
Montpellier Institute
for Water and Environment
ENSCM/Montpellier SupAgro/UAG/UM/
400 scientists
Actors, Resources
and Territories in Development
66 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Modelling Agricultural and
Hydrological Systems
in the Mediterranean Environment
53 scientists


L’espace au service du développement
35 scientists
Water Resource Management,
Actors and Uses
Montpellier SupAgro)
60 scientists
Geosciences Montpellier
90 scientists
…continued on page 14

A federative structure
that positions LanguedocRoussillon as driving force
for national water research

 become a leading European resource
centre (training and research)
attractive to both developed and
developing countries.

In view of the range of expertise
and technology deployed by the
Montpellier Institute for Water
and Environment (IM2E – BRGM,
AgroParisTech, CIHEAM-IAMM, EMA,
ENSCM, Montpellier SupAgro, UAG,
UM, UPVM, UPVD, UR), LanguedocRoussillon (L-R) is the region where
public research on water is the most
substantial and diversified in France,
excluding the Ile de France region.

The project implemented by IM2E is
based on different areas of excellence
shared by the scientific community
that provide the basis for addressing
primary challenges regarding
sustainable ecosystem use and
adaptation to climate change.

Water resource and aquatic ecosystem
management is a major challenge
for humanity in the 21st century.
Multidisciplinary approaches are
required to take the corresponding
issues into account (environmental,
food, health, societal, economic and
financial, political and geopolitical,
etc.). In this setting, IM2E brings
together a set of technical and human
resources to:
 take up knowledge and adaptation
challenges in order to address water
related issues
 promote interdisciplinary research
to meet environmental issues
 acquire international scientific
visibility via its position in L-R
 produce technological innovations
and expertise in interaction with
the Competitive ‘Water’ Cluster of
global scope (Pôle EAU), and with
the SWELIA cluster (pooling over
100 L-R companies specialized in
the water sector)
 support public policies through
recognized multidisciplinary

The aim is also to boost the
production of innovations and
research capacities in companies,
and to put forward recommendations
for institutions involved in public
policy design, implementation and
monitoring (ministries, water agencies
local authorities).
IM2E’s strengths and successes
are based on the pooling of shared
resources in many areas: training,
technical and analytical platforms,
observation and modelling resources.
The aim of this federative structure, in
the latter sector especially, is to develop
complex and highly interactive hybrid
models for the future.
Training has directly benefited from
the emergence of IM2E, which is
striving to foster relationships with
companies and communities in
order to enhance the employability of
students who have received diplomas
from its partner establishments
and laboratories. IM2E also aims
to internationalize the training,
especially by ensuring that at least
30% of its students are foreign, while
also hosting over 200 Master’s and
PhD students. •••

 A cultivated landscape in Tunisia.
© R. Calvez

adapting landscapes for sustainable management
of crop production, water and soil resources
The project ‘Adapting landscape mosaics of Mediterranean rainfed
agrosystems for sustainable management of crop production, water
and soil resources’ (ALMIRA) aims to mitigate pressure caused by
climate and socioeconomic changes. It thus proposes to rationalize
the spatial organization regarding land use and cropping systems
in order to optimize the provision of several ecosystem services
(agricultural biomass production, surface water production in manmade reservoirs, curbing erosion, etc.).

ALMIRA proposes to design, implement and test a new integrated
modelling approach to meet these goals. This approach integrates
—from farm plot to small regional scales—stakeholders’ innovations
and levers in prospective landscape mosaic change scenarios, as well
as the spatial organizations, biophysical and socioeconomic processes

In this project, these spatial organizations are called ‘landscape
mosaics’ and jointly viewed as:

 designing of spatially explicit landscape change scenarios

 structures that impact flows within the landscape, from the crop
plot to the catchment basin, with consequences on the landscape
functions and resulting services
 levers for the management of cropping areas via trade-offs
between agricultural production and soil and water resource

 combining biophysical processes involved in the hydrology of
cultivated catchment basins
 digital mapping of landscape features
 economic assessment of landscape functions.
This integrated modelling approach is being tested in three catchment
basins in France, Morocco and Tunisia. ALMIRA brings together
researchers from these three countries specialized in a broad range
of scientific disciplines. Within this partnership, two research units of
the laboratory of excellence LabEx Agro are working specifically on
the characterization of cropping systems (UMR SYSTEM, see page 72)
and biophysical processes (UMR LISAH, see page 71).
Contact: Frédéric Jacob,
For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

 networks of natural and anthropogenic elements that integrate
relationships between biophysical and socioeconomic processes
in a resource catchment basin

Methodologically, implementation of this integrated modelling


Climate change & resources, territories and development

Balancing water resources and uses—
will future demands be fulfilled?
The GICC REMedHE 2012-2015 project (Management and Impacts
of Climate Change – Impacts of climate change on integrated
water resource management in the Mediterranean: Hérault-Ebre
comparative assessment) combined scientists from HSM and the
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE, CEA,
CNRS, UVSQ) along with catchment basin managers (Syndicat mixte
du bassin du fleuve Hérault, Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro).
The aim is to assess potential climatic and anthropogenic patterns
in 2050 on hydrological systems and water demand in the Hérault
(2 500 km², France) and Ebro (85 000 km², Spain) basins in order to
develop different water resource management strategies to maintain
the balance between water supply and demand. These issues are
assessed through the development of an integrative modelling chain
calibrated and validated over a 40-year retrospective period. The
modelling involves three steps:

 water resource simulation (natural flow and disturbance by dams
and canals)

 representation of the spatiotemporal dynamics of water uses
(domestic, agricultural, industrial and energy) and associated

 and assessment of water usage/resource balances via vulnerability
Complex prospective scenarios were formalized from the latest
simulations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) and local socioeconomic scenarios in collaboration with
managers. The preliminary results showed that the basins should
be subjected to more deficit climatic conditions (increased
temperatures associated with decreased spring and summer
precipitation) and to increased anthropogenic pressure (increase in
population and in irrigated areas).
The combination of these conditions should lead to a substantial
decline in available water resources and an increase in domestic
and irrigation needs, thus undermining the future balance between
the resource supply and demand. Adaptation strategies to
reduce water demand (improved network efficiency, changes in
agricultural practices) or to increase the availability (alternative dam
management, inter-basin water transfers) are thus currently being
tested in the modelling chain. The aim is to assess the viability of
trajectories in an uncertain future setting.
Contact: Denis Ruelland,
For further information:

Water science research
and training

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The HydroSciences Montpellier
laboratory (UMR HSM – IRD, UM,
CNRS) is a joint research unit (UMR)
that is highly devoted to water
science research. The studies span
a broad range of domains from
biogeochemistry to extreme events,
including microbiology, underground
water and the hydrological cycle.
Most of its scientific activity is in the
Mediterranean and tropical regions.


HSM activities are organized in four
scientific fields:
 Transfers, contaminants,
pathogens, environment, health
 Water, environmental and societal
 Transfers in ecohydrosystems
 Karsts, heterogeneous
environments and extreme events.
The laboratory conducts two crossdisciplinary technical workshops:
‘ATHYS’ (spatial hydrology workshop)
and ‘Hydrosphere tracers’ (workshop
promoting the use of analytical
techniques for tracing transfers or
hydrological processes).

HydroSciences Montpellier is
highly involved in researchoriented training and education.
The training courses provided by
the laboratory (‘Water’ Master’s
degree, ‘Health Engineering’
Masters degree, ‘Water Sciences and
Technologies’ engineering degree of
Polytech’Montpellier) attract French
and foreign students alike (especially
from developing countries). The
UMR is also involved from the
Bachelor’s to the PhD levels.
The laboratory is a member of
the Observatoire de recherche
méditerranéen de l’environnement
(OREME), an Observatory for Science
of the Universe (OSU). Its research
is also supported by major technical
facilities such as the large regional
technical platform for the analysis of
trace elements in the environment
(GPTR AETE) and the collective
laboratory for the analysis of stable
isotopes in water (LAMA).
One of HydroSciences’ strengths is
its involvement in many national and
international projects, its extensive
network of collaboration with
research laboratories and institutions

worldwide, in developed and
developing countries, thus giving it a
high level of international recognition.
HSM also works with public partners
such as the Regional Directorate
for the Environment, the French
Agency for Food, Environmental
and Occupational Health Safety,
local authorities (communities
of municipalities, joint basin
organizations), private consultancy
and engineering companies (SDEI,
Bio-U, SOMEZ, etc.). HSM has also
filed several patents (especially
in metrology) and has developed
software tools for professionals
(‘progiciels’, especially based on
data management). One of HSM’s
fields of excellence—study of
organic contaminants—is the focus
of a training and research chair, in
partnership with the company Veolia,
devoted to ‘Risk analysis related
to emerging contaminants in the
aquatic environment’. Moreover,
HSM is involved in the ‘Water’ (global
scope) and ‘Local vulnerability and
risk management’ competitiveness
clusters (“Pôle EAU” and “Pôle

Water management
and adaptation to climate
The joint research unit Water
Resource Management, Actors
and Uses (G-EAU – AgroParisTech,
CIRAD, IRD, IRSTEA, Montpellier
SupAgro) conducts interdisciplinary
research on water management. It
brings together expertise in earth
sciences (hydrology, hydraulics)
engineering (automation, fluid
mechanics, structural mechanics),
life science (agronomy) and social
science (economy, sociology,
political science). It also includes
methodological expertise for
interdisciplinary research. Priority
is given to research in Europe and
Africa, with a special focus on the
Mediterranean Basin.
This expertise is encompassed within
nine teams, that address issues
regarding adaptive water and aquatic
environment management, focused
on specific topics:
 Hydraulic management,
optimization and supervision of
water transfers
 Optimization of irrigation
management and technology

 Controversies and public actions
 Innovation and change in irrigated
 Tools and governance of water and
 Combined water-society dynamics
 Water management participation
 Experimental analysis of
sociohydrological dynamics and
 Assessment—production and use
of indicators.
The teams address climate change
adaptation issues from several
 The unit analysed possibilities
of adaptation of Seine Basin
reservoirs upstream from Paris, for
 It also studies the impact of
hydraulic projects in Sub-Saharan
Africa, such as the expansion of
irrigation in the Upper Niger Basin.
 Climate change is also considered
in terms of the generated
vulnerability. The unit is modelling
this and assessing the adaptation
capacity of individuals and
institutions. Several projects have
focused on flooding and water
shortages in Europe (France,
Spain) and North Africa (Tunisia,

 The unit also focuses on the
unintended impacts of adaptations
to change in coastal areas.
 Methodologically, the unit is
working on the implementation
of participatory approaches
regarding integrated natural
resource management in Africa
(AFROMAISON project). This
research focuses specifically on
uncertainties associated with
global change and how this process
is perceived.
 Finally, adaptation is approached
through technological and
organizational innovations. The
unit is thus assessing highly
efficient water use technologies
(e.g. optimization of irrigation
management under climatic
constraints) and possibilities for
tapping new resources such as
wastewater (e.g. Water4Crops
project). •••

The ClimAware project (2010-2013), funded by IWRM-NET (Integrated Water Resource
Management—‘Towards a European exchange network to improve the dissemination of
research results on integrated water resource management’, aimed to develop adaptation
strategies to mitigate climate change impacts through regional case studies in three areas
related to water:

© D. Dorchies

reservoir management and adaptation to climate change

 hydromorphology in the Eder catchment basin, Germany (Kassel University, Germany)
 irrigation in the Pouilles region, Italy (CIHEAM-IAM at Bari, Italy),
 and reservoir management in the Seine Basin, France (UMR G-EAU).
An integrated European-scale model was developed for combined analyses at two study
scales (Kassel University).
The case study on the Seine Basin concerned major socioeconomic issues in the Paris
region. It focused on the adaptation of reservoir management, with two main objectives,
i.e. minimum flow and flood management. Four large reservoirs with a total capacity of
800 million m3 managed by the Établissement Public Territorial de Bassin (EPTB) Seine Grands
Lacs, the project partner, regulate the upstream section of the Seine River and its three
major tributaries (Aube, Yonne and Marne).

 Impact of climate change at Paris.
Mean daily discharges for seven present time (PST; 19611991) and future time (FUT; 2046-2061) climate scenarios.
Naturalized (blue) and influenced (red) flows according to
the current lake management scheme.

Contact: David Dorchies,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

A hydrological modelling chain integrating reservoir management was developed to simulate
the hydrological functioning of the basin. The parameters were calibrated according to real
conditions (climate observations and management over the 1958-2009 period). The modelling chain was then forced with data from seven
climate models under present (1961-1991) and future (2046-2065) conditions. Adaptation scenarios regarding annual filling curves and real-time
reservoir management were drawn up and their performances were tested under present and future climatic conditions, and then compared
with those of the current management scheme.

For further information:


The results showed that climate change could have a significant impact on low flows regardless of the selected management strategy for the four
reservoir lakes in the basin.

Climate change & resources, territories and development

Wastewater reuse for irrigation
This practice should be promoted by enhancing the assessment of
societal, technological, sanitary, agricultural and environmental risks,
identifying current constraints, and developing decision support tools
to guide public and project developer arbitration. UMR EMMAH
conducted a review of around 600 articles on this topic and identified
some recycling success and constraint factors in association with
Suez-Environnement, TNO (a Dutch applied research organization,
the Netherlands), Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) and
UMR Environnement et Grandes Cultures (INRA, AgroParisTech). In
collaboration with Veolia Water Systems Iberica and the group
Economía del Agua de l’Universitat de Valencia in Spain, it submitted
to Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community, a network
devoted to climate change) a project to assess the economic viability
and competitiveness of agricultural waste recycling, identify market
opportunities and define win-win strategies.

 Irrigation of an olive grove in Cyprus.

© P. Renault

Wastewater reuse helps address water resource quantity and/
or quality problems that are increasing due to population growth,
urbanization, global warming and environmental (refilling rivers or
lakes) or recreational (swimming pools, water parks, watering sports
fields, etc.) water uses. Wastewater reuse is substantial in semiarid
and arid regions (southwestern USA, Australia, Near East, Middle
East, Mediterranean countries) and has been growing in recent years
in Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Malta. It remains moderate in Greece and
is negligible in other southern European countries (Portugal, France,
former Yugoslav Republic, Albania, Bulgaria).

The research unit is also conducting studies on the environmental
fate (soil, water, plant, atmosphere) of enteric viruses in wastewater.
The collaborations combine quantitative microbial risk assessment
with (in future) an economic analysis. Several research programmes
on these issues are ongoing or pending funding (by CNRS-INSU, the
French National Research Agency, Agropolis Fondation, Campus France).
They bring together various partners, including Suez-Environnement,
the Centre National de Référence des virus entériques, the Agence
nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du
travail (ANSES), the Laboratory for Molecular Biology of Pathogens
(Technion, Israel), and research units, including G-EAU, the Division
of Applied Mathematics and Informatics (AgroParisTech, INRA),
D3E/NRE, etc.
Contact: Pierre Renault,
For further information:

Main teams
Governance, Risk,
Environment, Development
53 scientists
HydroSciences Montpellier
90 scientists
Laboratoire Montpelliérain
d’Économie Théorique et Appliquée
(INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/UM/CNRS)
53 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Spatial Information and Analysis
for Territories and Ecosystems
42 scientists


Nouvelles Ressources
en Eau et Économie
16 scientists

Impacts of global change on
water and adaptation in the
Mediterranean environment
The joint research unit Modelling
Agricultural and Hydrological
Systems in the Mediterranean
Environment (UMR EMMAH – INRA,
UAPV) brings together staff from
INRA Avignon, and the Université
d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse.

UR Green
Management of Renewable
Resources and Environment
18 scientists

The research is focused on:
 the impact of global change on
water resources (in quantitative
and qualitative terms),
 and adaptation to global change.

Laboratoire de Génie
de l’Environnement Industriel
30 scientists

The unit’s studies are base on
observation of instrumented sites,
experiments carried out in controlled

or semi-controlled conditions
(especially in laboratories), and
on methodological development
to gain insight into and model
the functioning of Mediterranean
EMMAH brings together a range of
expertise that it makes effective use
of in studies on landscape changes
on a regional scale (especially land
use patterns) and on water transfers
in the aquifer, deep unsaturated
zone, soil, plant and atmosphere
continuum. It also studies the impact
of biogeochemical reactivity on
water quality, the environmental
fate of human pathogens, and crop
functioning according to climatic

Climate change, Earth
geodynamics and surface
manifestations—risk analysis
and management
The joint research unit Geosciences
Montpellier (UMR GM – CNRS,
UM) has developed a global
approach to Earth dynamics and
surface manifestations, while taking
couplings between the various layers
(including the hydrosphere) into
The aim is to gain further insight into
the dynamic processes involved at
different scales and to take societal
expectations into account, such as:
 supply of non-energy resources
(mineral and hydric)
 energy choices for the future,
from extending carbon-based
reserves to developing new energy
technologies (natural hydrogen,
geothermal energy)
 waste storage and confinement
(downstream from the nuclear
cycle, CO2, mining waste, etc.)
 natural hazards (earthquakes,
tsunamis, gravity hazards, floods,
 environmental and climatic
changes with a high anthropogenic
impact (coastline changes, coastal
saline intrusion).

Five research teams (Mantle &
Interface, Lithosphere Dynamics,
Risks, Basins, and Porus
Environment Transfers) conduct
studies in three main scientific
fields: geodynamics, reservoirs and
risks. Of particular interest, the Risk
and Climate subtheme is focused on
climate change issues:
 heavy rainfall forecasting
 paleoclimates, extreme events and
coastal system dynamics
 hydromorphodynamic modelling
and coastal hazards.
In the Mediterranean Basin, UMR
GM coordinates two experimental
Systèmes d’Observation et
d’Expérimentation au long
terme pour la Recherche en
Environnement (SOERE H+)
research sites in Larzac (France)
and Mallorca (Spain). The unit is
also a member of OREME for which
it conducts different observation
tasks. It is also involved in GPTR
AETE*, and hosts some equipment
of the national platforms of the
CNRS National Institute of Sciences
of the Universe (INSU), including
an absolute gravimeter and a
scanning electron microscope for
electron backscatter diffraction
analysis (SEM-EBSD).

GM is also part of a large-scale
national and international
cooperation network that includes
countries and programmes
from Europe (HORIZON 2020
programme), the Mediterranean
region (North Africa, Middle East),
and elsewhere in the world (Taiwan,
Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand,
Iran, Brazil, Mexico and USA).
GM also collaborates with the private
sector, especially via the creation of
business start-ups by PhD students
and for the funding of research
contracts and theses. It belongs to
the Geosciences Cluster, which was
launched in 2011, involving key
companies from L-R Region (Geoter,
Cenote, imaGeau, Schlumberger,
Fugro, Antea, Areva, Lafarge) and
R&D and training agencies (GM,
research units). •••
* GPTR-AETE: Grand Plateau Technique Régional –
Analyse des Eléments en Trace dans l’Environnement.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

© S. Pistre

 Coastal monitoring.


 Tracing experiment to characterize water
transfers and assess the vulnerability of the
Lez River hydrosystem (France).
© V. Leonardi

Climate change: impact and adaptation

hydrogeological and
socioeconomic issues to
enhance management of
growing water needs


The main missions of the research
unit Nouvelles Ressources en Eau et
Économie of the Water, Environment
and Ecotechnologies division
(UR D3E/NRE – BRGM) are to:
 study optimal groundwater
management conditions (active
management), especially for
complex aquifers (karsts, crystalline
rocks, volcanic environments)
in situations when they are
subjected to increased constraints
(climate change, anthropogenic
pressure, socioeconomic change,
urbanization, etc.)
 develop suitable economic
approaches to fulfil emerging
needs regarding integrated
management of water resources,
aquatic environments and risks.
The scientific research and public
service support activities of this unit
are aimed at:
 developing innovative methods to
study and assess—regarding their

structure and functioning—the
potential of karstic aquifers,
crystalline aquifers, volcanic
environments, thermomineral
and mineral water springs
 characterizing the distribution
of hydrodynamic properties
of complex aquifers, including
coastal aquifers, in order to
develop active water resource
management methods through
multidisciplinary (geology,
hydrology, geophysics,
geochemistry and economy)
 developing prospective
approaches and methods to
assess the economic value of
environmental resources, to
model various water demands,
to analyse economic and
institutional water resource access
regulation mechanisms and
assess the economic vulnerability
of users to global change
 finally, developing modelling and
decision support tools to manage
these aquifers and predict the
impact of global change (climatic
and anthropogenic) on different
scales, while integrating physical
and socioeconomic issues.

The R&D service of this unit
addresses societal demands
associated with increased water
needs by developing the yet
relatively untapped potential of
natural water resources (complex
aquifers) and unconventional water
resources (treated wastewater,
surface water, rainwater, etc.).
Groundwater and aquifers—from
hydrogeological and economic
standpoints—is therefore the general
focus of study of the D3E/NRE
research unit.
Note however that, through a
scientific programme on economic
aspects of the environment
and risks, the unit’s economists
also intend to conduct research
topics such as natural risks or
contaminated sites and soils (e.g.
former industrial wastelands) in
R&D, public policy support or
international projects.
The water management issue is still
the key overall focus of the unit’s
research, regardless of whether it is
assessed from an environmental or
natural risk standpoint.



Mar Apr

May Jun



Sep Oct Nov Dec

© J.-C. Maréchal

Max/Mini reference scenari
Max/Mini future scenario
Mean multi-model reference
Mean multi-model future

discharge rate (l/s)

piezometric level (m)

LEZ-GMU project—a study on the impact of global change on
groundwater resources based on a case study of the Lez karstic aquifer



Mar Apr

May Jun



Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Impact of climate change on water resources.

The research project ‘Multiuse management of
Mediterranean karstic aquifers–Lez River, its
watershed and catchment area’ (LEZ-GMU),
coordinated by the French Geological Survey
(BRGM), involved a partnership with UR D3E/
NRE, UMR HSM, G-EAU, TETIS, the European
Centre for Research and Advanced Training in
Scientific Computation (CERFACS) and Biotope,
the ecological engineering consultant. This project
was funded by Montpellier Agglomération, the
Conseil Général de l’Hérault, the Agence de l’Eau
Rhône Méditerranée Corse and BRGM.

The aim of this project was to improve
knowledge on the functioning of the Lez
hydrosystem (Hérault, France) and the quality of
the resource in an active management and global
change setting. Hydrogeological models to reproduce the Lez catchment hydrodynamic were built for this project. They facilitated studies
on the impact of global change on groundwater resources. Nine climate scenarios from the CERFACS SCRATCH 2010 project (fine-scale
climate projections for France in the 21st century) were used. These scenarios indicated an increase in temperature and a slight decrease
in rainfall by 2050.
Comparative results of hydrogeological model simulations for the Lez spring when subjected to nine climate
scenarios: for the present (blue) and for 2050 (red). Two variables; the piezometric level of the spring (in m NGF,
i.e. in metres relative to the benchmark elevation for France) and its discharge rate (in l/s).

The performance of the karstic system was assessed for different extents of pumping with or without climate change. The findings
indicated that climate change would result in an average 30% decrease in the annual recharge. This reduction would mainly occur in
the autumn and spring periods and, to a lesser extent in winter. It would be observed through a decrease in the piezometry within the
aquifer and result in a slight increase in the duration of the dry period in the Lez spring (+30 days on average compared to the reference
period). The extraction scenarios showed a risk of greater water table depletion, but they also highlighted the possibility—while taking
the uncertainties inherent to this type of approach into consideration—of increasing the current extraction volume, while maintaining a
monthly average piezometric level above pump elevation.
Contact: Jean-Christophe Maréchal,

The Laboratoire de Génie de
l’Environnement Industriel (UR
LGEI – EMA) is one of the three
laboratories of the École des Mines
d’Alès (EMA), which in turn depends
on the French Ministry of Industry.
LGEI focuses on resource
management, including ecosystems,
hydrosystems, anthropogenic
systems, as well as raw materials,
i.e. fossil and mineral resources.
These resources should be utilized
in rational and responsible ways
to ensure the sustainability of
ecosystems and the production
capacity of humankind.
To meet these challenges, LGEI
has developed a multidisciplinary
approach on the following topics:
 assessment of the chemical
and ecological quality of water
and effluents; development of
treatment systems; integrated

management of pollutant flows
(industrial environments, water
resources) according to a ‘territorial
ecology’ type of approach
 understanding and spatializing
hydrological processes in
catchment basins; understanding
and modelling karstic or fractured
aquifers for sustainable water
resource management
 finally, natural and technological
hazard analysis and management.
LGEI’s research activities are
focused mainly on water resource
management in connection with
anthropogenic and climatic forcing.
To address the societal demand
(catchment basin managers, water
agencies), the unit conducts studies
on different types of contamination
(persistent pollutants, toxins, algal
blooms) in an effort to gain further
insight into the status (chemical and
ecological) of water bodies and their
potential change patterns.
LGEI intends to develop integrated
systems (sensors, sensor networks,

data processing, modelling) and
design decision support tools
for different stakeholders (local
authorities, companies in charge
of sanitation or drinking water
Regarding hydrosystem research,
LGEI’s expertise is focused mainly
on statistical modelling using
formal neural networks in order
to develop models for nonlinear
and nonstationary systems. This
choice raises questions regarding
the validity of the models—built
solely using data—when considering
future changes that could arise as a
result of climate change and extreme
events. LGEI’s teams therefore
carefully validate their models
testing their performances with
regard to the most intense events in
the database (floods, drought).
See an example of a project
conducted by UR LGEI on page 38. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Analysis and management
of pollutant flows and natural
and technological risks


Climate change & resources, territories and development

Crop water balance and climate change
Through field measurements combined with modelling, the Assessment of Annual
Cropping Systems team of the AIDA research unit (see page 74) is further assessing
the effects of conventional and innovative agricultural practices on the agricultural and
environmental performance of crops. This assessment focuses especially on the impact
of cropping practices on water usage. In some situations, the enhanced infiltration
and reduction in evaporation achieved by leaving a mulch layer on the soil surface
enhances cereal crop yields without increasing the interannual variability. However, in
other situations (generally more humid conditions), the increased water infiltration
only results in increased drainage but has little effect on crop yields, even though this
practice contributes to reducing erosion problems.

 Crop residue left in the field.

F. Baudron © CIRAD

Greater representation of these phenomena in crop models enables better ex
ante quantification of the potential of innovative techniques designed to enhance
adaptation to future climate change. These studies are currently being carried out
as part of the Agroecology-Based Aggradation-Conservation Agriculture (ABACO)
and Environmental and Social Changes in Africa: Past, Present and Future (ESCAPE)
projects. The EU-funded ABACO project aims to evaluate and implement conservation
agriculture and agroecology based technical solutions that are also designed to reduce soil degradation and food insecurity. The ANR-funded
ESCAPE project assesses the vulnerability of rural societies in sub-Saharan African regions to climate and environmental changes, while studying
adaptation strategies to reduce this vulnerability.
The AIDA research unit is contributing to this project particularly by assessing the potential impact of future climate change on cropping systems.
These projects are being carried out in countries such as Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Senegal, and the scientific questions to which AIDA teams
are proposing answers (via an in silico test on technical and organizational changes) are, for instance, “Could economic risks for farms be reduced
through crop insurance assistance based on meteorological analyses?”
Contact: François Affholder,
For further information:

Understanding plant
responses to water stress
to enhance performance
in a climate change setting

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The HydroRoot project aims to boost our fundamental
understanding of root water transport. This will provide an
integrated view of roots by taking the hydraulic properties of
tissues and the root architecture into account, and by explaining
how these components are molecularly controlled by physiological
and environmental parameters. Through the strong physiological
and genetic components of this project, this type of research could
also have an impact on plant improvement programmes geared
towards generating plants featuring optimised water use and stress
Leaf rolling resulting from leaf epidermal contractile cell movements
is an adaptive response to water deficit that occurs in many cereals.
The aim of the LeafRoll project is to identify molecular mechanisms
responsible for turgor and contractility variations in these cells by
focusing specifically on transmembrane ion fluxes.
Molecular, physiological and agronomic analyses will be conducted
on a panel of wheat cultivars showing various degrees of drought
tolerance and on lines with modified expression of genes coding for
ion transport systems. The studies will assess the role of these genes
in leaf rolling and wheat productivity under water deficit conditions.

S. Mahboub © Université de Casablanca

This project is being developed in
collaboration with the Ecology and
Environment laboratory of the Faculté des
Sciences Ben M’sik in Casablanca (Morocco),
as part of a Hubert Curien Partnership of
the French Ministry of Foreign and European
Contacts: Christophe Maurel,
Anne-Aliénor Very,
For further information:

 Leaf rolling in durum wheat plants under drought conditions. This
decreases the leaf area exposed to sunlight, thus reducing tissue heating
and water loss by transpiration.
 Schematic diagram of water flow paths in a plant root during its
radial transfer from the soil to vascular tissues.

Y. Boursiac © B&PMP

Because of global change and the growing world demand for food,
it is crucial to clearly understand how plants take up and utilize soil
water and especially how cereal crops tolerate and react to water
stress. These issues are studied through two research projects
conducted by UMR B&PMP (see page 81).

EcoAdapt project—climate change adaptation for local development
The EcoAdapt project has been funded for a 4-year period (beginning
in January 2012) by the European Commission’s 7th Framework
Programme to promote integrated collaboration between science and
civil society to benefit ecosystems and inhabitants in three areas in Latin
America. EcoAdapt hopes to show that scientists working together with
civil society organizations (CSOs) can help design strong socially and
technically based strategies for adaptation to climate change. CSOs provide
knowledge through their work in the field and with local communities,
while researchers provide knowledge acquired through their social and
biophysical science research.

© C.E. Manchego

This work of combining different types of knowledge and collectively
generating new knowledge is the real challenge addressed by EcoAdapt to
support communities living in the project’s focus areas: Jujuy Model Forest
in Argentina, Chiquitano Model Forest in Bolivia, and Alto Malleco Model
Forest in Chile.

 Measuring climate parameters
in the Jujuy Model Forest in Argentina.

EcoAdapt considers that adaptation to climate change cannot be done
individually, so collective efforts are needed to bring together organizations
with complementary skills and fields of activity. The project consortium
includes five CSOs and four research partners, including UR GREEN and
UMR ART-Dev. Local stakeholders involved in the project are from model
forest platforms (universities, national agencies, producers’ associations,
community councils, private operators, etc.). Internationally, the project also
has connections with the Latin American network of climate change offices
(RIOCC*) and with the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN).

The experience of the EcoAdapt project in creating adaptation plans will be utilized to benefit other areas where water-related conflicts could
be worsened by the increasing impacts of climate change. To this end, EcoAdapt is using existing networks while strengthening and developing
them so that the results are disseminated and shared, with new ideas also being introduced into the project.
Contact : Grégoire Leclerc,
For further information:
* Red Iberoamericana de Oficinas de Cambio Climático.

Since 1994, the research unit
Management of Renewable
Resources and Environment
(UR GREEN – CIRAD) has been
investigating—in a systemic and
interdisciplinary way—the role of
ecosystems and the environment
as a development sustainability
factor. The unit provides knowledge,
methods and tools to gain insight
into ecological and social systems
(i.e. socioecosystems [SES]). It
focuses on different resources
(water, forests, land, fisheries,
etc.), which it studies on different
scales—from village to region and
sometimes to the country level, from
areas delineated by social dynamics
(pioneer front areas) to ecosystems

(watersheds, forest ecosystems,
etc.). It spurs cross-disciplinary
analyses on biodiversity, land, landuse changes, arbitration between
conservation and usage, as well as
access and types of appropriation of
natural renewable resources.
The unit conducts research on all
continents in association with many
scientific communities in developed
and developing countries. Although
its headquarters are in Montpellier
(France), the team is highly involved
in studies in West Africa, the Indian
Ocean region, Southeast Asia, and
more recently in Central America
and Brazil.
One of the unit’s research
priorities concerns adaptation
and transformation. The aim is

to determine how a society in its
environment, i.e. an SES, perceives
given disturbances. This involves
studying, through a set of concepts
and tools, how the society prepares
and reacts.
GREEN’s research includes analyses
and factors involved in modifying
nature-society interactions within
SES—changes in viewpoints and/
or knowledge and/or practices,
power games, network mobilization,
socioeconomic and environmental
processes. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Socioecosystem adaptation
and transformation


Climate change Ressources,
& resources, territoires
territories et

 SPOT 4 image (19/05/2009), Réunion: false-colour image (MIR/PIR/R),
CNES KALIDEOS programme.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Spatialization of
environmental knowledge
—for monitoring tropical
areas vulnerable to global


Founded in 2011, the joint
research unit L’espace au service
du développement (UMR ESPACEDEV – IRD, UM, UR, UAG)
conducts research (fundamental,
technological and applied) on
decision processes in favour of
sustainable development in the
developing world, at local, regional
and global scales. By focusing on
environmental monitoring and
renewable resource management,
the UMR investigates issues
regarding the spatialization of
environmental knowledge. The aim
is to provide decision support in
peripheral tropical regions that are
vulnerable to global change.
UMR ESPACE-DEV has broad
ranging skills and knowledge in
research, training, expertise and

The unit consists of three research
 The Spatial Observation of
the Environment (OSE) team
conducts research ranging from
satellite data management to
the analysis of data flows and
their salient features, with
the aim of highlighting the
environmental dynamics. From
Earth observation data, the main
activity of the OSE team is to
contribute to gaining insight
into interactions that regulate
tropical systems, especially
so-called terrestrial, oceanic
and anthropogenic ‘tropical
landscapes’, as well as physical,
biological and human processes
that they host.
 The Integrated Approach to
Environments and Societies
(AIMS) team studies the
dynamics, functioning
and co-viability of systems
(ecosystems and sociosystems)
in fragilized environments
(islands, coasts, forests,
oases, etc.) under the stress
of global change. It focuses

© 2009 CNES; BD KALIDEOS ISLE-REUNION; Distribution SPOT Image

on fragmentation processes and
on the vulnerability and viability
of territories. The AIMS team
implements remote sensing, direct
field observations and stakeholder
surveys in its research.
 The Modelling, Knowledge
Engineering and Spatial Data
Analysis (MICADO) team is
specialized in knowledge modelling
and digital and symbolic data in
the environment field. The data
is derived especially from remote
sensing and in situ observations.
The following five themes are
investigated in a cross-disciplinary
manner by the three teams:
 ontology of spatiotemporal systems
 integrated study of the continentcoast-ocean continuum
 observatory of environmental,
territorial and landscape changes
 environment, societies and sanitary
 co-viability of social and ecological
See and example of a project conducted
by UMR ESPACE-DEV on page 65.

LIDAR signal
Pulse emitted


wave form


usable and used

The structure of the joint research
unit Spatial Information and
Analysis for Territories and
Ecosystems (TETIS – CIRAD,
AgroParisTech, IRSTEA) includes
two scientific dimensions, with
one being thematic (territories
and environment) and the other
methodological (remote sensing
and spatial information). These
two priority areas define the unit’s
research field—spatial information—
and its mandate is outlined as,
“the production of knowledge,
tools and methods to gain greater
insight into nature/society dynamics
and interactions and to support
stakeholders in the management
of their territories and renewable
natural resources (land, water,
forests, biodiversity).”
The unit implements an integrated
approach regarding the spatial
information chain, from its
acquisition to treatment, including
its management and use by
stakeholders. Research is focused

on agriculture, the environment,
resources, territories, health, etc. On
this basis, the unit devotes a major
share of its activities to education,
training, expertise and public policy
The TETIS research unit is organised
in four research teams: ATTOS,
 Data acquisition and remote
sensing (ATTOS). Developing tools
and methods for acquiring spatial
data through satellite and airborne
(drones, planes) remote sensing,
and for extracting bio-physical
information from remotely- sensed
 Spatial analysis and modelling
(AMoS). Focus on analyzing and
modelling spatial structures
and temporal dynamics of agroenvironmental systems, developing
spatial indicators for characterizing
these systems, and evaluating
uncertainties related to the data
and models used;
 Spatial Information Systems:
(SISO). Design and implementation
of information systems to address
environmental and landscape
management related issues,

including developing methods for
information extraction from spatiotemporal data;
 Uses of spatial information for
multi-scale development (UsIG).
Assessing and improving the
relevance of geo information
according to stakeholder needs,
developing methods for turning data
into useful and used information,
monitoring and evaluating the
use of this information and its
impact on actors, management and
territorial governance.
The research is supported by the
Montpellier-based Remote Sensing
Centre and the EQUIPEX-GEOSUD
(Geoinformation for Sustainable
Development) project. Through this
project, the Remote Sensing Centre
provides access to researchers and
innovative satellite data companies,
calculation resources, specialized
software (image processing spatial
analysis, geographical information,
statistics, etc.), training facilities and
hosting capabilities. •••
See an example of a project conducted
by UMR TETIS on page 74.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Spatial information for the
monitoring and analysis of
territories and ecosystems


Climate change & resources, territories and development

Changes in governance
and territorial and resource
management in response
to global change
The joint research unit Governance,
Risk, Environment, Development
(UMR GRED — IRD, UPVM) focuses
on relationships that societies overall,
as well as individuals, have with the
environment. It strives to address
the following dual-sided question:
how do new constraints and
vulnerabilities modify the governance
and management of territories and
Biodiversity conservation and rural
system dynamics is the first line
of research at GRED. Agricultural
societies are hampered by the
fragilization of ecosystems and
conservation injunctions associated
with the globalization of issues.
These policies are nevertheless
undergoing drastic changes. They are
no longer considered independently
of development and, moreover,
biodiversity and climate change
issues tend to overlap, which is a

source of complementarities as well
as contradictions. This pattern is
illustrated by measures regarding the
mitigation of impacts or adaptation
to climate change with, for instance,
carbon sequestration negotiations
being focused at the tropical forest
level. The result is that these new
policies orient the representation of
the forest and affect the vulnerability
of communities and the ecosystem.
The second line of research at
GRED concerns the governance
and management of resources
and territories. These concepts
are priorities for development
policies and a strategic social issue,
as illustrated by the conflicts and
discrimination associated with
territorial resource access. In this
setting, special attention is paid to
individual and collective strategies
of the stakeholders involved. Being
constrained by existing institutional
frameworks, they adapt, circumvent
or intervene to develop them. The
question of governance scales
thus seems crucial, along with the
redistribution of decision-making

 Decentralized resource governance.
A training session as part of a community management study programme, bringing together teachers,
researchers, students and members of a farmers’ association. Maps and diagrams are used for mediation
between stakeholder groups.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

© T. Ruf


powers following the emergence
of new territories or international
regimes. This multiplicity of scales
and stakeholders leads to the
emergence of hybrid governance
strategies and institutional
pluralism situations, both of which
are drivers of complementarities or
The risks and vulnerability of
societies and territories is the last line
of research of GRED teams. So far,
public efforts to strengthen resilience
have been focused on risk prevention
through the setting up of material
and territorial infrastructures.
They have recently turned towards
supporting adaptation and resilience
phenomenon in order to weigh
the risks. However, the questions
of the role of sociocultural factors
in the vulnerability and that of the
adaptation of social and cognitive
structures have yet to be addressed.
The aim now is to explain these
interrelationships and the case of
coastal and island areas is specifically
targeted from this standpoint. •••

 Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest
Degradation (REDD+) pilot project.
This project aims to reduce the conversion of natural forests
into food crop production sites, responsible for GHG emissions
(Ranomena, Fandriana-Vondrozo Forest Corridor (COFAV) New
Protected Area in Madagascar).
© G. Serpantié

SERENA project—ecosystem service issues
The Environmental Services and Uses of Rural Areas project (ANR
SERENA) implemented by the research units GRED, ART-Dev, GREEN
and METAFORT (AgroParisTech, IRSTEA, INRA, VetAgroSup) between
2009 and 2013 focused on issues related to the emergence of the
‘environmental service’ or ‘ecosystem service’ (ES) concept and its
inclusion in public policy.

 In Madagascar, the concept was gradually introduced via

The ES concept takes the productive function of ecosystems into
account (e.g. carbon sequestration) as well as so-called cultural
functions. The latter refer to educational and recreational roles of
protected areas as well as the unique relationship between some
societies and their environment. This identity aspect confers a heritage
value to some practices or threatened natural landscapes and objects.

 In France, the ES concept has yet to gain wide popularity. In

international cooperation from the year 2000, with the aim
of boosting public awareness on conservation and providing
sustainable funding for New Protected Areas and community
management of forests. Stakeholders of these projects then focused
on carbon markets, biodiversity, water and tourism.

A comparison of three countries revealed the extent of dissemination
of the concept and the marked differences in its application.

Application of the ES concept and its links with international
issues (climate change, biodiversity conservation, sustainable water
management, ecotourism) has been promoted by the environmental
and forestry sectors in international arenas. PES are being developed
in Costa Rica on a national scale, and in Madagascar on a more
local scale (REDD+ pilot programmes, local water platforms, and
conservation contracts drawn up by NGOs). Generally, the agricultural
sector—and more generally rural development policies—have not
yet appropriated this concept to a sufficient extent to be able to
renew their practices and intervention tools. Some existing initiatives
(ecotourism, environmental certifications) sometimes include the ES
concept, but this is often just empty rhetoric used to justify their

 In Costa Rica, a country that has played a major role, the ES

Contact: Philippe Meral,

‘Payment for environmental services’ (PES) instruments illustrate
this type of representation of nature-society relationships. Although
the genealogy of the two concepts (ES and PES) was originally
distinct, biodiversity conservation stakeholders now put them both
simultaneously forward as a justification for economic incentives,
nature preservation cost compensation and protected area
funding. The role of these tools is to promote services provided
by environment managers. Contributions are thus requested from
resource users and ES beneficiaries.

concept circulated through a forest policy launched in 1996. It
reclassified as ‘PES’ a previous policy of financial support to forest
properties that was partly funded by public subsidies backed by a
tax on petroleum products and, more recently, on water.

For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

conservation and biodiversity areas, it is currently being introduced
through a biodiversity law. In agricultural policies, it is economic
incentives, via regulation services rendered by farmers, which attract
stakeholders’ attention regarding the new European policy.


Climate change & resources, territories and development

The joint research unit Actors,
Resources and Territories in
Development (UMR ART-Dev –
UM) develops research on the
reconfiguration of territories from
economic, political and social
standpoints, while highlighting
relationships between globalization
and local dynamics. Its main
research themes concern rural
and urban territorial trajectories,
the natural resource governance
question, and other issues regarding
mobility and circulation processes
in the globalization setting. These
themes are studied on the basis
of territorial scales and public
policies. The unit works on several
continents an in many geographical
and political settings with marked
differences in terms of choices and
levels of development. It is striving
to promote this wealth through
comparative approaches.

Climate change—a factor responsible
for environmental disturbances as
well as socioeconomic and political
tension—is a rising cross-cutting
theme within the unit (‘Of lands and
waters’, EcoAdapt and BLUEGRASS
projects). The research teams are
primarily seeking to understand
and analyse these impacts by
combining analyses on local, national
and international scales. Climate
change also places new constraints
on natural resource management,
including the risk of the emergence
of conflicts regarding the distribution
and appropriation of these resources.
Besides these efforts to characterize
and analyse climate change
impacts, the unit’s research also
assesses various current political,
institutional, regulatory, technical
and behavioural options to address
climate change challenges. They
include climate change mitigation
initiatives (human interventions to
reduce sources of or increases in
GHG sinks, as well as climate change
adaptation strategies (modifications
in natural and human systems).

Of lands and waters

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Around the globe smallholder farmers are coping with major
disruptive changes that are unfolding simultaneously. Rapid changes
in land tenure and water management practices are now overlapped
with climate change processes. For instance, uncertainties regarding
rainfall or the increased likelihood of extreme weather events
coexist with other uncertainties on the future of land tenure or the
maintenance of local water management customs. Hence, farmers’
strategies do not simply address climate change related problems,
but rather a set of disturbances they are forced to cope with at


As the ‘Of lands and waters’ project specifically illustrates, and
in which UMR ART-Dev participates, farmers develop their own
strategies to manage these combined uncertainties. This project
explores ways in which the relationship with land and water is
affected by these global changes on very local to global scales.
Based on eight case studies involving long-term field surveys in
Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, France, Spain, Nepal, Lebanon and
the Palestinian Territories, this project assesses the experience of
local agricultural stakeholders in order to gain insight into their
perception of issues affecting them and the rationale behind their
coping strategies. The project is also focused on processes that
underlie these issues on regional, national and global scales.

Adaptation strategies may include
setting up incentive economic
mechanisms to encourage natural
resource users to implement
more sustainable practices. They
thus accompany climate change
policies (INVALUABLE and REDE
CLIMAT projects). Research has
also revealed that climate change
adaptation is necessarily specific
to the local setting and that
there is no quick fix that could
be universally applied anywhere
and under any circumstances. As
shown in the CIRCULEX project, the
complementarity of the different
types and levels of stakeholders
(ranging from individuals to national
and international decision-making
bodies) is essential to ensure the
proper design and success of these
adaptation strategies and linkages
between the different environmental
issues (climate, biodiversity, water,
desertification, etc.).

F. Molle © IRD

Climate change—a new
constraint for stakeholders,
resources and territories
in development

 Irrigation canal in Lebanon.

This scientific research clearly differentiates locally developed
strategies that are effective from those that, conversely, induce
vulnerabilities. These latter strategies are quite logical from the
standpoint of producers on the local level, but they could induce a
vulnerability for farmers when they encounter stakeholders active
at national or global levels, e.g. foreign investors or development
support organizations.
Contact: Julie Trottier,

© F. Affholder

ACFAO: for sustainable forest management
and climate change adaptation in Sudanian-Sahelian communities
The overall aim of the Forest and Adaptation to Climate Change in
West Africa (ACFAO) project is to contribute to the development of
ecosystem-based adaptation policies and projects to face climate change
in the Sudanian-Sahelian region. This involves strengthening sustainable
forest and landscape management and enhancing the coping capacities
of the most vulnerable social groups, while improving their livelihoods,
via ecosystem goods and services sustainably supplied by woodlands and
This project includes five main components:

 analysing forest and adaptation policies (and their linkages) by fostering
the involvement of regional, subnational and national stakeholders in
planning and discussions and identifying opportunities to influence these

 analysing the current and future vulnerability of communities living on
pilot sites through a participatory, multiscale and integrative approach,
while focusing on links between ecosystem dynamics and the reduction
of this vulnerability

 formulating adaptation strategies that take ecosystem services into
account and that mainstream local community strategies

 informing stakeholders involved in the project (policymakers, experts,
 A forest stand in Senegal at the forest-cropland interface.

practitioners and local operators) and building their capacities

 disseminating information and creating—within and outside of the
countries involved in the project—networks of stakeholders concerned
about climate change adaptation and ecosystem services in dryland
This 4-year project with a €3.9 million budget, in which UR B&SEF (see page 35) participates, is coordinated by the Center for International
Forestry Research (CIFOR), with cofunding from the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) and various other sources.
Contact: Denis Gautier,
For further information:

The Laboratoire Montpelliérain
d’Économie Théorique et Appliquée
(UMR LAMETA – INRA, Montpellier
SupAgro, UM, CNRS) is a generalinterest economics research unit.
It encompasses a broad range of
theoretical and methodological
frameworks—applied econometrics,
behavioural economics,
experimental economics, public
economics, the history of
economic thought and philosophy,
microeconomics, socioeconomics
and game theory.
The unit conducts a set of studies
structured around several priority
topics. The ‘Biodiversity, ecosystem
services and natural resource’
priority line includes a broad range

of research projects with a common
thematic field—sustainable
development and resource
management. Most of these research
studies concern quantitative and
qualitative water management
(watersheds and coastal areas), as
well as agroenvironmental schemes,
a conventional area of expertise
and scientific collaboration in
Montpellier. Several research
programmes (ANR-MISEEVA: French
National Research Agency–Marine
Inundation Hazard Exposure and
Social, Economic and Environmental
Vulnerability Assessment; LITEAU
SOLTER, or Sustainable Coastal
Management–Territorial Solidarity
and Strategies for Coastal Flooding
Resilience; Alternalive Fondation
de France) are focused on coastal
hazards (erosion and coastal
flooding) related to the sea level
rise due to climate change. The aim
of these studies is to inform and

support public decisions on climate
change adaptation policies (risk of
inland and coastal flooding) and
to identify awareness and training
needs regarding governance.
Since 2014, several LAMETA
researchers have been participating
in a multidisciplinary ANR project
entitled ‘Modelling to accompany
stakeholders towards adaptation of
forestry and agroforestry systems
to global changes’ (MACACC, see
page 77). This project aims to
develop various global change
adaptive management scenarios and
to test producers’ capacities to adopt
them in tropical and temperate
regions worldwide. 

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Sustainable development
and management of
resources from an economics



© M. Broin

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Climate change
& biodiversity and ecosystems

Acquiring knowledge on the future vulnerability, exposure
and response capacity of natural systems interlinked
with societies is a major challenge for science due to
the large number of factors involved and their complex
interactions. The issues are very broadly addressed by
research teams working in Languedoc-Roussillon (France)
through multidisciplinary studies on changes taking place
in the living world, on the evolution of biodiversity and
ecosystems, and on adaptations to climate change—all of
this on different temporal (short- to long-term), spatial
and life (genome to ecosystem) scales.

This research concerns both ‘model’ organisms and the
specificities of Mediterranean and tropical environments.
It is partially supported by established observatories (in
terrestrial and marine environments) and leading-edge
research platforms (Ecotron, MEDIMEER, European
Marine Biological Resource Centre).
This chapter provides an overview of the work of
regional research units that are studying the impact of
climate change on continental and marine ecosystems
from various standpoints.
The research seeks to gain insight into the dynamics
and functioning of biodiversity (through field monitoring,
with the support of OSU OREME, and experiments
in controlled conditions, combined with theoretical
and modelling approaches). They also aim to foresee
the biological impacts of global change (via scenarios),
anticipate changes in ecosystem services and identify
tailored management strategies for species and the
Philippe Jarne (UMR CEFE)
& Philippe Lebaron (OOB)

Climate change: impact and adaptation


cientific studies conducted over the recent
decades—as widely covered in the latest
IPCC report—have revealed modifications
in the range, seasonal activities, migratory movements,
abundance and interspecies interactions in many
terrestrial, freshwater and marine species as a result
of climate change presently under way. The nature and
extent of future disruptions are hard to foresee because
of the limited time scale within which they occur, the
diverse range of biological responses, as well as the
complexity of species-species and species-environment
interactions. One certainty is that these phenomena are
unprecedented within such a short period in the Earth’s


and continental ecosystems


Main teams
European Ecotron of Montpellier
7 scientists
Centre Méditerranéen de
l’Environnement et de la Biodiversité
(UM/UPVM/Montpellier SupAgro/CNRS/IRD/
630 scientists
Observatoire de Recherche
Méditerranéen de l’Environnement
10 scientists
Botany and Computational
Plant Architecture
54 scientists
Centre for Functional
and Evolutionary Ecology
Montpellier SupAgro/IRD/INRA)
86 scientists
Climate change: impact and adaptation

…continued on page 31


substantial amount of the research conducted on biodiversity
and continental ecosystems is pooled within LabEx CeMEB. The
research approaches implemented draw from a broad range of
disciplines (ecology, population biology, botany, genetics, physiology, computer
science, etc.). The aim is to study ecosystem dynamics and responses to climate
change in natural and pseudo-natural environments—as well exemplified
by research carried out at the Experimental Site of Puéchabon and in the
low wetlands of the Ain river valley (France). Studies are also carried out in
controlled environments, e.g. in enclosed chambers at Ecotron, greenhouses
or animal research facilities. These approaches are also focused on species
adaptation mechanisms to their environment from genotypic, phenotypic
and biogeographical viewpoints. This includes, for instance, simulation of the
range of several tree species in relation to climate change forecasts (EvoRange
The studies concern microorganisms, plants and animals in all ecosystems
(terrestrial, aquatic, soil) from the Equator to the two poles, with emphasis on
Mediterranean and tropical ecosystems. These are investigated regarding their
relationship with societies in order to identify tailored management strategies
(e.g. REDD and INFORMED projects). Species and their communities are
studied in terms of their diversity, structure, organization and functioning.
Mathematical and computer representations of organs, plants, populations,
landscapes and processes are developed for analysis, prediction and simulation.
Soils are the focus of special attention as a nutrient substrate for plants
and as a habitat hosting a wealth of biodiversity of organisms essential for
biogeochemical cycles. Ecological engineering methods based, for instance,
on plant-microorganism symbiosis, and targeted for restoring degraded
environments, are also studied.
One of the community’s strong features is that human-environment
relationships are explicitly taken into account through combined human and
social science approaches. This includes studies on ecosystem services and
assessments of the capacities of ecosystems as carbon sources or sinks with a
view to mitigating the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Sophie Boutin (LabEx CeMEB)
& Philippe Jarne (UMR CEFE)

 Vegetative bud burst and blossoming of
female larch flowers, phenological stages
monitored at the Observatoire des saisons
Phenological events—flexible in response to environmental
conditions and able to quickly adapt under the effects of
global warming—are major adaptive traits in trees (which
have a long generation time). This explains a substantial
part of their geographical distribution.

© E. Gritti

Accredited as an ‘Excellence
Laboratory’ (LabEx) by the ANR
‘Investissement d’Avenir 20112019’ programme, the Centre
Méditerranéen de l’Environnement
et de la Biodiversité (LabEx CeMEB;
headed by UM, UPVM, Montpellier
EPHE, INRAP, UNîmes) is a federative
structure grouping eight research
units (AMAP, CBGP, CEFE, Eco&Sols,
CeMEB draws up common strategies
on its research areas in close
collaboration with local and regional
partners, including the Observatoire
des sciences de l’univers (OSU)
OREME, DiPEE de Montpellier, the
Comité technique d’établissement
(CTE) B3E of the Montpellier
University and other LabEx*. It
also undertakes research support
missions (PhD, postdoctoral),
scientific coordination (organization

and financing of workshops,
meetings and participatory science
programmes), training (public
professionals, teachers and future
secondary school teachers, etc.),
knowledge transfer and development
(ecology and biodiversity web portal,
participation in the Assises de la
Biodiversité 2014 conference, etc.).
LabEx CeMEB supports research in
the following areas:
 biodiversity, ecology and
evolutionary biology dynamics
 functional role of biodiversity and
ecosystem services
 health-environment
 socioeconomics of the
 biological impacts of global change.
The objectives are:
 to understand biodiversity
dynamics and functioning
by combining observations,
experimentations and modelling
 to predict the biological impacts of
global change via scenarios
 to anticipate changes in ecological
services and human societies.

The LabEx CeMEB project proposes:
 to set up a centre of biodiversity
expertise and knowledge to
meet growing world demand for
interventions by the research
community on biodiversity issues
for schools, the general public
and in more specialized areas.
Another aim is to enhance the
expertise and support capacities
to benefit various stakeholders
such as decision makers, planners,
managers and public authorities
 to create new Bachelor’s and
Master’s training courses, and to
open PhD courses on management
and the economic environment
so as to facilitate their vocational
integration. •••
* DiPEE: Dispositifs de Partenariat en Écologie et
Environnement; B3E: Biologie Écologie Évolution

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Knowledge sharing and
transfer on biodiversity
and ecosystems in a
global change setting


Biodiversity and continental ecosystems

Comparing the current biodiversity distribution with that present 200 years ago is a
difficult task because of the scarcity of good quality old data. When such data exist, they are
usually from surveys carried out just a few decades ago at most. As the time period studied
lengthens, substantial changes occur in terms of the nomenclature of the studied species
and in the names of the study sites. Moreover, climate data collected during surveys carried
out long ago often concern the same stations.

© Delile

Response of fungal diversity to climate change—the use of
170 year old herbarium collections

All of these constraints highlight the tremendous value of data collected in the vicinity of
Montpellier between 1820 and 1850 by de Candolle and his successors at the Institute
of Botany of Montpellier and currently maintained at the Montpellier Herbarium. These
collections represent one of the oldest sets of precisely located mycological data. These data
are also accompanied by accurate climate information that was manually logged at the time
of sampling.
Major efforts were put into rectifying the nomenclature and analysing the meteorological
data and comparisons were made with records obtained in the same region over the 20002010 period. The teams involved (Société d’Horticulture et d’Histoire Naturelle de l’Hérault,
CEFE, Biotope, Laboratoire de Botanique, Phytochimie et Mycologie, Herbier de l’Université de
Montpellier, Laboratoire des Sciences Végétales et Fongiques) were thus able to show that over
the past two centuries the fruiting of decomposer and mutualistic fungi has been delayed by
2-3 weeks, while at the same time marked changes in some climatic parameters occurred
(mean temperature, temporal rainfall distribution).
There were sometimes very substantial specific variations in these general trends,
modulated by the ecological traits of the species (associated tree species, type of substrate,
etc.), highlighting for instance that some mushrooms widely consumed in the past, and which
were sold in Montpellier markets, are now very scarce.
Contact: Franck Richard,

 Pivoulade d’éouse, drawn by Delile
(Montpellier Herbarium).
In French, the Collybia fusipes mushroom is currently
called the ‘collybie à pieds en fuseau’, whereas it was also
called ‘pivoulade d’éouse’ when sold on the Arceaux market
(Montpellier) in the early 19th century. This species is now
quite scarce in the vicinity of Montpellier.

Broad scope of biological
adaptation to external change

Climate change: impact and adaptation

From microorganisms to ecosystems,
from phenotypic plasticity to
migration and natural selection,
the Centre for Functional and
Evolutionary Ecology (UMR
Montpellier SupAgro, IRD, INRA)
conducts research covering a range
of ways by which living organisms
adapt to climate change.


Understanding and predicting all of
these changes is a daunting task due
to the complexity of:
 changes (general trends, regional or
seasonal variations, etc.)
 biodiversity and its response
fields (genetic, phenotypic,
 interactions between these changes
and different biodiversity response
CEFE—through the range of different
approaches implemented in its
departments of Evolutionary Ecology,
Functional Ecology, Biodiversity

and Conservation and Interactions,
Ecology and Society—is a leader in
the development of an integrated
multidisciplinary view of recent and
future changes in our ecosystems.
The research carried out combines
short- and long-term studies on
many classes of organisms through
the three following adaptation
 Genotypic adaptation concerning
the well known ‘Darwinian natural
selection’ process. Here the genetic
diversity of organism populations
is the key factor in species
adaptation through selection of
genotypes that are best adapted to
changes currently under way. The
resulting biodiversity loss within
species is a potential source of
concern regarding the resistance
of many classes of organisms to
future series of changes.
 Phenotypic adaptation corresponds
to phenotypic plasticity, which
refers to the capacity—from a
single genotype—to produce
several phenotypes according to
the environmental conditions.

This physiological, morphological
and even phenological plasticity is
called ‘adaptive’ if it can maintain
or increase the selective value
in an environmental change
setting. The limitations and
costs of this plasticity, especially
under multitrophic interaction
conditions, are thus crucial in the
capacity of organisms to adapt to
climate change.
 Biogeographical adaptation
concerns species that are able to
migrate or disperse to bioclimatic
areas that are more conducive
to their survival. The capacity
of organisms to spread varies
markedly between species and
depends on the biogeographical
setting within their range.
Considering how rapidly climate
change is currently taking place
and the extent of fragmentation
of natural areas by human
activities, the movement capacity
of populations is a major issue
regarding adaptation to climate

The Institute of Evolutionary Sciences
of Montpellier (UMR ISEM – CNRS,
UM, IRD, EPHE) combines research
in the fields of palaeontology
and population biology. It was
founded with the aim of promoting
multidisciplinary approaches for
studying changes in living organisms.
ISEM research is focused on the
origin and dynamics of biodiversity,
and the conditions and mechanisms
of its evolution. The unit’s researchers
are investigating both current and
past biodiversity in a broad range
of organisms and environments,
combining field, experimental and
theoretical approaches. These studies
integrate fundamental evolutionary
biology issues (adaptation,
speciation), advances in data
production approaches (genomics
revolution, participatory science
programmes), as well as scientific
and societal questions regarding the
responses of biodiversity to global
and human-induced change.

 Formalization of cellular automata (below)
representing a dryland ecosystem (above).
© F. Schneider

Research carried out at ISEM involves
studies on adaptation to climate
change at many temporal, spatial
and organizational scales concerning
living organisms—from micro(genome) to macro- (ecosystems)
scales. The studied adaptive
responses range from physiological
modifications in organisms
(especially, regarding the adaptation
of aquaculture practices to climate
change, via studies on standard
reactions of fish eggs, embryos and
larvae to temperature modifications)
to changes in community
compositions on a very broad spatial
Using datasets from participatory
science programmes, ISEM has
shown—on a Europe-wide scale—
that bird and butterfly communities
undergo modifications that could
be interpreted with respect to
global warming, and also that the
community response rate is lower
than the rate of temperature increase,
resulting in a climate debt for
Studies on biodiversity responses
to climate change in the past is a
strong point of ISEM’s research
on adaptations to climate change,

making it possible to place adaptive
challenges that species are currently
facing in the context of their
adaptation history.
Another unique feature of the
unit concerns its development of
comprehensive approaches that
combine community and ecosystem
ecology with evolution. ISEM
focuses studies specifically on the
role of evolutionary responses in
shaping extinction patterns. It also
develops novel modelling tools to
mainstream these evolutionary
aspects in biodiversity forecast
scenarios under climate change. •••

Main teams
Institute of Evolutionary
Sciences of Montpellier
89 scientists
Tropical Forest Goods
and Ecosystem Services
45 scientists
Écologie des Forêts Méditerranéennes
15 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Combining biology and
palaeontology to assess
climate change induced
transformations in living
organisms relative to
their adaptation history


Biodiversity and continental ecosystems

How does evolution affect extinction
and species range dynamics in the context of global change?
The EvoRange project*, funded by the ANR Sixth Extinction
programme, was coordinated by ISEM. It involved teams based in
Grenoble (Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine), Paris (École Normale Supérieure
and the National Museum of Natural History) and Montpellier (CEFE).

Moreover, on a very different scale, they also used phylogenetic
reconstructions to assess whether climatic preferences rapidly
diversified between related species or whether they remained similar
to those of the ancestor.

Several questions were raised by the project:
 When can evolution rescue a declining population from extinction?
 What are the respective roles of migration, phenotypic plasticity
and genetic adaptation in predicted range shifts mediated by climate
change? How do these different factors interact?
 What could explain the rapid evolution of ecological niches in some
populations or species and their high conservation in others?

The model simulations suggested particularly that dispersal more
often facilitates than hinders range expansion and adaptation to the
new conditions encountered. These evolutionary constraints could be
enhanced by some types of dispersal (e.g. that of pollen), by genetic
constraints, or by conflicting patterns of selection on different adaptive
traits. Although often put forward as a major mechanism in mitigating
the impacts of climate change, the phenotypic plasticity of phenology
has—depending on the species—different and highly variable effects
on the persistence of European tree populations on the northern and
southern margins of their range.

© A. Duputie

ISEM and partners addressed these questions using different
complementary methods. Mathematical and computer models were
developed to simulate the adaptation of species under stress, as well
as their movements in response to new pressures. The research teams
also took advantage of the very rapid evolution of microbes to conduct
laboratory studies to monitor their adaptation to different stress
conditions and factors hampering this adaptation.
European beec
(Fagus sylvatica)

Sessile oak
(Quercus petraea)

Contact: Ophélie Ronce,
For further information:
* How does EVOlution affect extinction and species RANGE dynamics in the context of global

Scots pine
(Pinus sylvestris)


 Effects of phenotypic plasticity on the persistence of three forest trees under a global warming
scenario (2081-2100 period).
The leafing date varies depending on the temperature. These maps show areas in Europe where these variations have a positive impact
(in red) or negative impact (in blue) on the persistence of trees. Dotted areas are where each species could persist under this climate
change scenario. PHENOFIT model simulations.

Analysing and simulating
the development of plant

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The activities of the joint research
unit Botany and Computational
Plant Architecture (UMR AMAP –
two major disciplines:
 systematic and structural botany,
vegetation ecology, agronomy and
 computer science, mathematics
and applied statistics.


The teams have unique recognised
scientific and technical expertise
and their research covers different
 It is focused on the
characterization and analysis
of the diversity, structure and
organization of plants and plant
 It addresses Mediterranean,
temperate and tropical issues

while taking phylogenetic and
evolutionary dimensions into
account in investigating presentday or fossil plants, as well as
plants that are cultivated or grown
under ‘natural’ conditions or in
areas relatively unaffected by
human activities.
 It is based on original methods
that the teams often contribute to
develop, such as computer-assisted
identification, plant architecture
and development analysis,
plant biomechanical analysis,
mathematical and computer
representation of organs, plants,
populations and landscapes, as
well as modelling of the growth
and dynamics of species and
Through its projects, the research
unit intends to combine:
 cognitive research focused on the
description and understanding
of vegetation diversity, plant

growth and functioning, structurefunction relationships, as well as
relationships with phylogenetics,
biogeography and systematics
 methodological research to develop
mathematical, statistical and
computer approaches and models
that are general enough to analyse,
predict and simulate the structure
and development of plants and
vegetation in different settings
 research targeted towards
controlling the dynamics,
composition and quantitative and
qualitative production of cultivated
or natural plant ecosystems. This
research specifically concerns
variations in above-ground
biomass in tropical rainforests
according to different natural or
anthropogenic factors, with the
aim of assessing quantities of
carbon present in these forests. •••

© P. Couteron, N. Barbier & P. Ploton

800 m




Above-ground biomass inventory
and monitoring in tropical forests—
a contribution to the REDD mechanism

 Assessment of above-ground
biomass in tropical forests.
Example of an approach combining
accurate assessment of the biomass of
individual trees at reference sites (photos
a and b), until production, using remote
sensing images (photo c) and biomass
maps (photo d).

For this project, UMR AMAP has developed reliable methods to temporally monitor variations
in sequestered carbon quantities. Carbon is mainly sequestered in above ground parts of trees. It
should be estimated in a consistent way, despite constraints associated with often huge and hard
to access forest areas. On-site forest inventories mainly involve simple measurements, such as the
trunk diameter, and sometimes more detailed measurements and weights to be used to calibrate
allometric equations to predict the total biomass of individual trees.
These inventories, which are necessarily spatially limited, enable sampling of different types of
forests in an area, and to calibrate predictions of tree biomass via remote sensing (laser altimetry,
canopy grain analysis on optical images, radar images, etc.). Remote sensing is required to generate
maps displaying the field information.
The approach used by UMR AMAP is at the interface between the processing of spatial
information and field observations, especially through the tree architecture. This combination of
expertise in two areas that are generally separate opens new avenues for closer and more direct
collaborations combining remote sensing and 3D modelling of plant structures. Moreover, the
research unit conducts research in different tropical regions to ensure robust and generic results:
Central Africa, French Guiana, India, New Caledonia, and periodically Brazil and Indonesia.
Contact: Pierre Couteron,

Climate change: impact and adaptation


In order to meet international objectives for controlling emitted greenhouse gas quantities and
the challenges of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)
programme, it is essential to survey carbon stocks stored in these forests, especially as REDD
plans to offer financial incentives to tropical counties to preserve these stocks.


Biodiversity and continental ecosystems

INFORMED project: integrated research on forest resilience
and management in the Mediterranean
In the framework of the ERA-Net FORESTERRA* European network,
the collaborative project INFORMED** (2015-2017) implements a
multidisciplinary approach to the resilience of Mediterranean forests in a
global change setting based on the following conceptual scheme. Global
change modifies the overall context of a social-ecological system where
management drives forest biodiversity and functions, which determine the
ecosystem services. Secondly, economic assessment of these services can
support the governance system in selecting the most appropriate future
management options.
This URFM-coordinated project is conducted by a consortium of
15 partners from 10 countries on both sides of the Mediterranean
Basin, combining well-balanced expertise in ecology, forest management,
governance and economics.
INFORMED has three main scientific objectives:

 to fill knowledge gaps on basic mechanisms that determine the flexibility
of the social-ecological system in response to disturbances

 to integrate knowledge by combining different process-based models
at various spatial and temporal scales

 to use integrated knowledge to develop management strategies, policy
and governance guidelines to foster forest system resilience.

 A mixed beech-fir forest ecosystem (Col du Comte,
Mont-Ventoux, France).

Contact: François Lefevre,


For further information:
* The Enhancing forest research in the Mediterranean through improved coordination and integration
(ERA-Net FORESTERRA) network aims to strengthen scientific coordination and the integration of
Mediterranean forest research programmes and scientific cooperation in Mediterranean Basin countries
and with other areas under a Mediterranean climate.

Mediterranean forests:
functioning and dynamics

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The research unit Écologie des Forêts
Méditerranéennes (URFM – INRA)
has developed a multidisciplinary
research project involving expertise
in population biology, ecology,
ecophysiology, entomology, genetics,
applied mathematics, physics and
forest science. This project is part of
a targeted research approach focused
on studies of Mediterranean forests
to address general ecology questions
on the response of complex and
heterogeneous ecosystems to global


The URFM research project on
the dynamics and functioning of
Mediterranean forests integrates three
major closely linked research topics:
 studies on the dynamics, water
use and carbon balance in mixed
forests with a heterogeneous
species community composition
and structure
 a demo-genetic approach to the
evolutionary dynamics of tree
populations and leaf-eating insects
at different spatial scales


** INtegrated research on FOrest Resilience and Management in the mEDiterranean.

 Altitudinal zonation
of forest tree vegetation.

 a forest fire ecology approach
based on the physical behavioural
mechanisms and impacts of fires.
URFM combines experimental and
modelling approaches for each of
these topics.

URFM primarily produces academic
results while also being actively
involved in different types of
knowledge transfer. In addition, the
unit is highly involved in the European
research area.

The scientific project of the research
unit Tropical Forest Goods and
Ecosystem Services (UR B&SEF –
CIRAD) includes studies on tropical
forest ecology, while also drawing up,
implementing and assessing policies,
guidelines, practices and instruments
associated with these ecosystems.
The overall aim is to facilitate
the adaptation of ecological and
social systems to constraints and
opportunities arising as a result of
global changes. It is also to enhance
the sustainability of services provided
by tropical forest ecosystems
to the benefit of people in local
communities and worldwide.

Through its research, the unit is
striving to address two cross-cutting
 Ecological and social tropical forest
systems—what is the operational
concept of the dialogue between
ecological and human sciences,
and the modelling of humannature interactions regarding forest
 Features of tropical forest
ecosystems, the value of ecosystem
services and payment for
environmental services—what
relationships and scales?
UR B&SEF is organized around
three research teams: ‘Resilience of
tropical forest ecosystems impacted
by exploitation and global changes’,
‘Relationships between ecosystem
resilience and the vulnerability of
societies in ecological and social
forest systems’ and ‘Policies and
instruments of public action
regarding tropical forests’.

There are three focuses of study:
Tropical forests. These are a
development challenge because
of their potential for producing
goods and services that are
essential for our societies. They
are at the core of major global
changes and represent the
richest reservoir of carbon and
biodiversity on Earth.
 Societies living or depending on
these forests. UR B&SEF studies
rules, practices, uses, knowledge
and representations associated
with forests and social capital
building and related cooperation
or competition dynamics.
 Public policies. Policies or
instruments that apply to forests
may be external to the studied
ecological and social system
(international conventions,
national taxation, national
climate change adaptation plans,
associated markets and financial
mechanisms, etc.) or internal
(local markets, management
regulations, practices,
organizations, institutions,
etc.). •••
See an example of an UR B&SEF
project on page 25.
 Erosion in W National Park
(Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger).
© A. Billand

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Fostering adaptations to
climate change in tropical
forest ecosystems


 The Puéchabon observation and
experimentation platform, integrated in the
large-scale European research infrastructure
Integrated Carbon Observation System
(ICOS), serves to observe and
measure Mediterranean forest

© R. Joffre

Puéchabon research platform—studying the impact
of global change on the Mediterranean forest
Due to the high magnitude of climate change expected to affect
the Mediterranean Basin (intensity and duration of stress periods,
frequency of extreme droughts), this region is a major disruption
hotspot identified by climatologists. Three fundamental features
of changes currently under way (increasing atmospheric CO2
concentration, increasing temperature and changing rainfall patterns)
are having direct effects on forest ecosystem functioning and are
impacting matter (water, carbon, nitrogen) and energy exchanges at the
biosphere-atmosphere interface.
Based on micro-meteorological methods, the instrumented
Experimental Site of Puéchabon in France (an OREME facility)
quantifies these flows at temporal scales from seconds to years.
Ecosystem water fluxes will have direct regional consequences in terms
of watershed water balances and coastal ecosystem inputs. In addition

Climate change: impact and adaptation

An observatory to assess
the impact of climate and
anthropogenic changes on
Mediterranean environments


The Observatoire de Recherche
Méditerranéen de l’Environnement
(OREME – UM, CNRS, IRD) is an
Observatory for Science of the
Universe (OSU) devoted to studies
on hazards and vulnerability
regarding Mediterranean
environments. It focuses on natural
hazards and the impact of global
and anthropogenic changes on
living organisms and inert structures
in the Mediterranean region.

to these direct impacts, climate change combined with land-use change
will substantially alter the disturbances, especially the fire regime.
With the aim to monitor the functioning and biodiversity of regional
forest ecosystems in response to these changes, the Puéchabon
research platform is integrated in two networks, i.e. Stations
expérimentales méditerranéennes forestières (SEMAFOR) and Stations
expérimentales méditerranéennes de terrain (STEXMED). It is also linked
to the European Experimentation in Ecosystem Research (ExpeER)
network and with the worldwide network FLUXNET coordinating
regional and global quantitative analyses on mass and energy exchanges
using micro-meteorological towers.
Contact: Richard Joffre,
For further information:

Its mission is to:
 support the activity and
development of systematic
observations for science of the
universe and environmental science
 support the construction of
open, shared and internationally
referenced environmental databases
 promote sharing of expertise and
analytical resources (observation,
experimentation, modelling)
 serve as a local hub for national
observation networks and
as a major stakeholder in
environmental initiatives.

OREME’s key mission is to collect,
integrate and share heterogeneous
data associated with these disciplines
and established correlations that
were not previously highlighted.
Such data correlations will allow the
discovery of systematic signals that
enable assessments of the impacts
of climate and/or anthropogenic
changes while shedding light on
the mechanisms involved (hazards,
vulnerability) in these environmental

 Measurement
of 13C/12C
by the roots of
microcosmgrown bean

C. Piel © Ecotron

J. Roy © Ecotron

on-line 13C &
CO2 analyser

 Ecotron of Montpellier,
with the macrocosms domes in the background.

Ecotron of Montpellier—an
experimental platform open
to the international scientific
The European Ecotron of Montpellier
(CNRS) is an experimental research
infrastructure devoted to studies
on the impact of climate change
on ecosystem functioning and
biodiversity. Intact or reconstituted
ecosystem blocks are set up in the
Ecotron facilities. This enables
control of their environment
under a broad range of climatic
and chemical atmospheric
conditions, and continuous
measurement of variations in the
main biogeochemical cycles when
different forcing factors are applied.
The Ecotron thus provides direct
access to parameters of ecological or
agricultural interest under future or
past climate scenarios.
The environmental parameters
controlled include: temperature
(-10 to +50°C), relative humidity
(20-80%), precipitation (sprinkler or
drip), atmospheric CO2 (200-1000
ppm), light (intensity and spectral
composition) and the 13C/12C isotope
ratio of the air CO2.

microcosms (micro-lysimeters
with photosynthetic plants,
micro-containers with soils, etc.)
can be installed.

The ecosystem functions measured
online include: evapotranspiration,
net ecosystem CO2 flux, soil
respiration, methane flux and
C/12C isotope fractionation in CO2
Findings regarding these parameters
are used to calculate mass balances
for several molecules and ecosystem
resource utilization efficiencies
(water, nitrogen, light and carbon
efficiency). Many other parameters
can also generally be measured
in samples collected from these
ecosystems. The Ecotron stores and
packages (e.g. freeze dried) these
samples, which can subsequently be
analysed in other laboratories.
The Ecotron has three platforms for
conducting studies at different scales:
 Macrocosms (operational since
2011) are 40 m3 units, each able
to host 2-12 t lysimeters, with
a 2-5 m² canopy area and a soil
depth of up to 2 m.
 Mesocosms are 2-4 m3 units, each
able to host lysimeters of 0.4-1 m
depth and 0.4-1 m² area.
 Microcosms consist of culture
chambers (1 m height, 1 m² area)
in which dozens of different

A minimum of 12 units are available
per platform to conduct studies on
the impact of various factors and
their interactions, or to draw up a
series of successive scenarios for
analyses on response linearity and
tipping points.
The Ecotron of Montpellier is open
to researchers from the French and
international scientific community
conducting studies in ecology,
agronomy, biology and geoscience
A call for Ecotron projects is posted
on the website. It presents the
project submission and acceptance
conditions, along with a description
and operational costs of each
platform. 

The impact of extreme climate events expected to
occur around the year 2050 on carbon and water
fluxes on an upland grassland highlighted that the
negative effects of a heat wave and drought could be
buffered by an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels in
the coming decades.

Climate change will alter ecosystem biodiversity.
The Ecotron thus highlighted the physiological
mechanisms by which—on a canopy scale—the
plant community diversity can boost the water-,
nitrogen- and light-use efficiency, and ultimately the
primary production.

Another experiment on Mediterranean forest litter
decomposition demonstrated synergistic effects
between the functional diversity of the litter, that
of the detrivorous macrofauna and the stability of
these interactions in a moderate drought situation.

Modelling of biogeochemical cycles is required to
predict climate change impacts. The Ecotron recently
discovered that the circadian rhythm (which is highly
significant on an ecosystem scale), air temperature
and relative humidity have additive roles in regulating
CO2 and H2O fluxes. It also showed that the
circadian rhythm should be incorporated in the
modelling of these fluxes.

 Insertion of intact blocks
of grassland ecosystems in one
of the macrocosms.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

H. Raguet © CNRS

Some examples of research conducted at the Ecotron


 Lônes, oxbows of Ain river,
i.e. former stream meanders
abandoned upon flooding.
© A. Johannet

Variations in low wetlands in the Ain river valley
with a finite difference mesh model, to study water resource patterns
associated with changes in climate variables derived from several
forecasting scenarios drawn up by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC).



Flow (m3/s)


Measured flow


Simulated flow



The project generated a simulation of variations in these wetlands
when subjected to many management conditions (irrigation,
biodiversity conservation). Groundwater-river exchanges were also
studied in the Cèze karst basin (Gard region, France).
The combined model was then supplemented with precipitation
forecasts derived from IPCC climate forecasting models (2010-2040
period) so as to compare the impacts of different scenarios on
biodiversity and resources (drinking and irrigation water).


23/ 06/ 02

01/ 10/ 02

09/ 01/ 03

19/ 04/ 03

28/ 07/ 03

05/ 11/ 03


 Neuronal network simulation of Albarine river flow patterns
(tributary of Ain river).

The NEUROHYDRO project, conducted by LGEI (see p. 38) and the
SITE Centre of the École des Mines de Saint-Étienne, is part of the
ANR WETCHANGE* project. The aim was to draw up forecasts of
wetland responses to low water levels induced by global change on
the basis of different climatic scenarios for the 2030-2050 period.
These responses were studied in terms of both hydrological and
biological functioning.
The study area was in the low Ain river valley (France), located
about 40 km northeast of Lyon. The many wetlands in this area host
highly diversified ecosystems. The aim of this project was to develop
a model based on neural networks for Ain river basins, combined

The results are specifically focused on hydraulic exchanges between
the groundwater and the right and left Ain river banks. In places
where the river feeds the water table, groundwater resources can be
collected by abstraction for irrigation and drinking water purposes.
This is not possible, however, when the river drains the water table,
especially when the riverbed is on a sharp slope. In case of river or
groundwater pollution, it is essential to be aware of these exchanges
in order to take the necessary protective measures. Climate forecasts
(2040, 2070) were used to assess the impacts on these groundwater/
river exchanges and the potential drying of oxbows and so-called
lônes of the river.
Contact: Anne Johannet,
For further information:
* The WETCHANGE project (Wetland biodiversity and functioning in response to severe low
water levels induced by global change) involves three partners: CNRS, École nationale supérieure des
Mines de Saint-Étienne and IRSTEA.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Soil microbial communities and climate change


In terrestrial ecosystems, the activity of microbial communities is one
of the main sources of the powerful greenhouse gas CO2. The activity
of these organisms actually generates more CO2 per year than fossil
fuel burning.
UMR Eco&Sols (see p. 77) carried out studies to assess the capacity
of microbial communities to adapt to climate change. Laboratory
experiments conducted under controlled conditions were focused
on the effects of temperature increases on soil respiration. This
function did not seem to be altered when the temperature was no
higher than 40°C. In this temperature range, the activity of microbial
communities depended on the availability of carbon substrates.

Above 40°C, the respiratory activity was stimulated whereas the
microbial biomass decreased.
A further study specifically assessed the impact of temporary thermal
stress (60°C for 16 h) on the diversity of microbial communities.
The findings indicated that communities that were resistant to this
stress could adapt to temporary changes in their environment. These
studies highlighted a modification in the metabolism of soil microbial
communities exposed to thermal stress.
Contact: Tiphaine Chevallier,

Y. Prin © CIRAD - LSTM

 Left: Spores of an arbuscular
mycorrhizal fungus (Glomus
Right: Rhizobium nodules

Effective use of mycorrhizal symbiosis
to mitigate water erosion processes
One very likely environmental impact of climatic hazards is a change
in the plant cover structure, thus weakening the soil and exacerbating
water erosion phenomena, leading to the loss of bioavailable soil
elements that nourish plants.
In this setting, it is crucial to enhance the capacity of plants to gain
access to these mineral resources (especially nitrogen and phosphorus),
while increasing their tolerance to environmental conditions that are
not conducive to their growth. LSTM (see p. 55) is thus developing
ecological engineering strategies to optimise the activity of symbiotic
soil microorganisms (mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobia, etc.) to benefit their
plant partners.

Different forestry and agroecology practices have thus been developed

 a so-called ‘holistic’ approach to promote the development of the
mycorrhizal and rhizobial potential of soils via the introduction
of hypermycotrophic plants (or nurse plants) in the silvicultural

 or a so-called ‘reductionist’ approach whereby forest or crop plants
obtain an optimal mycorrhizal status (maximum colonization of their
root system by fungal and rhizobial symbionts).
The results revealed that it is possible to sustainably revegetate areas
that have been affected by water erosion and thus to adapt cropping
strategies to expected environmental modifications that could occur as
a result of global change.
Contact: Robin Duponnois,

 Effects of inoculations of different rhizobial
strains on the growth of Dalbergia sp. plants.

For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Y. Prin © CIRAD - LSTM


and marine ecosystems


Main teams
European Marine Biological
Resource Centre
90 scientists
Oceanic Observatory
of Banyuls-sur-Mer
80 scientists
Integrative Biology
of Marine Organisms
15 scientists
Centre de Formation et de Recherche
sur les Environnements Méditerranéens
30 scientists
Benthic Ecogeochemistry Laboratory
12 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

…continued on page 44


rospective studies on different territorial levels, specific to the
challenges and risks induced by climate change, should be able to
trace the chain of impacts from potentially combined phenomena to
their effects on human activities. Combined methods from different scientific
disciplines (climatology, oceanography, geomorphology, economics, sociology,
geography, etc.) are required for such research. For anyone wishing to
implement anticipatory or adaptation policies, this multidisciplinary knowledge
must be scientifically well organized so as to be tailored to any geographical,
economic or environmental situation.
Although there are still many uncertainties regarding future climate change
patterns—especially on local future climatic phenomena—many Agropolis
scientific research teams are studying the impact of anthropogenic pressures
and global warming on marine biodiversity and on the functioning of
Mediterranean ecosystems (MARBEC, CEFREM, BIOM, LECOB, LOMIC,
LBBM). These often highly multidisciplinary research units study direct
and indirect impacts of climate change on shoreline, coastal and offshore
ecosystems, on energy and material fluxes at the land/sea interface, on
modification of coastlines, species’ habitats and distribution areas and their
interactions and impacts on the functioning of food webs.
These studies are supported by monitoring activities linked with observatories
and sometimes research units (OREME, OOB, CEFREM) that record longterm variations in physicochemical and biological parameters in the marine
Finally, several research platforms are also available and open to the entire
regional, national and European community for conducting experiments
under controlled conditions (MEDIMEER). It is also possible to gain access to
a diverse range of organisms in situ or ex situ and to many logistical services
and analytical platforms at EMBRC, a national and European infrastructure in
marine biology.
Philippe Lebaron (OOB)

© Shutterstock

 School of barracudas (Sicily).

The Oceanic Observatory of Banyulssur-Mer (OOB – UPMC, CNRS)
is focused specifically on marine
biology, ecology and oceanographic
studies in the Mediterranean Sea.
OOB training, research, monitoring,
hosting and scientific extension
missions benefit from the exceptional
diversity of biotopes, fauna and flora.
Ecosystems and species adaptation
to climate change is one of the key
features of its observations and
long-term ecosystem monitoring.
The Observatory benefits from a
terrestrial component created in 1973
(Natural Massane Forest Reserve)
and a marine component set up
in 1974 (Natural Marine Reserve of
Cerbère-Banyuls). The monitoring
role was strengthened in 1985 when
the OOB Arago laboratory was
granted a ‘National Oceanographic
Observatory’ status. As climatic
conditions are rapidly changing, it
is essential to acquire knowledge
on spatiotemporal ecosystem

dynamics so as to be able to foresee
potential patterns and the impacts
of these changes on ecosystem
services. However, only long-term
measurements can highlight natural
or disturbed changes in a system
with marked seasonal and/or interannual variability.
OOB currently has three permanent
observation stations located on
a coastal-offshore gradient. They
are regularly monitored (real-time,
weekly or monthly) regarding
physical, chemical and biological
parameters. These time series of
observations began in 1997 for the
most coastal station and in 2003 for
the offshore station. All of these data
are included in national observation
networks: SOMLIT* for the Service
d’Observation du Laboratoire Arago
(SOLA coastal station) and MOOSE**
for the Observatoire Microbiologique
du Laboratoire Arago (MOLA***
offshore station). Since 2010, some
parameters are also being acquired at
high frequency and in real time.
OOB is an internal school of
the Université Pierre et Marie
Curie. It offers university training

in oceanography associated
with climate change issues.
The observatory also set up the
Biodiversarium—a scientific
mediation centre that includes
a public aquarium that is under
renovation and extension, and a
Mediterranean garden. Both of
these host public visitors ranging
from school students to the general
public with the aim of boosting their
awareness on terrestrial and marine
biodiversity and on the effects of
global change (especially climatic) on
biodiversity. •••
* Service d’Observation en Milieu Littoral.
** Mediterranean Ocean Observing System on
*** The MOLA station (Microbial Observatory
Laboratoire Arago) is located on the northern side of
Lacaze-Duthiers canyon,
Climate change: impact and adaptation

A Mediterranean observatory
for studying and teaching
marine biology and


Biodiversity and marine ecosystems

Temporal monitoring
of Mediterranean coastal
ecosystem dynamics
The Service d’Observation du Laboratoire Arago at Banyulssur-Mer (SOLA, OOB) focuses on overall issues directly
concerning the impact of global change on coastal areas
and its relative importance regarding local human activities
(global vs local).


The SOLA site was selected as representative of a ‘normal’
situation, whereby a typology of seasonal and interannual
fluctuations could be defined via the monitoring of relevant
parameters on appropriate time scales. OOB members—
aware of the problem of the representativeness of a single
point in a basin—combine coastal research conducted by
the Arago laboratory (especially combined benthic-pelagic

 An oceanographic buoy of the
Oceanic Observatory of Banyulssur-Mer.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Multidisciplinary scientific
research on the coastal


The Centre de Formation et de
Recherche sur les Environnements
Méditerranéens (UMR CEFREM –
UPVD, CNRS) has long been oriented
towards the coastal environment,
which has brought it closer to
socioeconomic issues associated
with the different uses of this
environment. Its research activities
are focused on mass and energy
transfers at interfaces with the
coastal system, including physical
exchanges of water bodies, particles
and elements (especially carbon) in
the continent-ocean continuum.
All of these activities are carried
out within the framework of
international, national and regional
programmes. This laboratory was
founded in 1963 around a core team

© L. Zudaire - CNRS - OOB

 The CNRS instrument-equipped
research ship Néréis II.

The development of a systematic approach to coastal
environmental observations is thus the result of local
initiatives based on opportunities and on a tradition of
scientific awareness (Réseau des Stations et Observatoires
Marins). The Service d’Observation en Milieu Littoral was thus
set up in 1995, and accredited by the CNRS French National
Institute of Sciences of the Universe in 1996. This service
currently includes nine marine stations.
Contact: Pascal Conan,

of geologists and sedimentologists
and then it gradually became more
multidisciplinary until CEFREM
was founded in 1997. The present
team includes sedimentologists,
geochemists, biologists and
CEFREM is participating in the
integrated multisite SOERE
MOOSE network* (2010-2020),
in collaboration with IFREMER
and Météo-France, for long-term
monitoring of the impacts of climate
change and those induced by
human activities in the northwestern
Mediterranean Sea.
The primary aim of this programme
is to achieve sustainable long-term
time-series data, to streamline
observation strategies between
laboratories, to implement modern
automated measurements for
combined ocean-atmosphere

observations, and to substantially
increase the real-time data flow so as
to better constrain climate-ocean and
operational oceanography models.
Finally, with the support of models,
MOOSE should generate data
required to forecast future scenarios
that could be used to assess
variations in the Mediterranean Sea
in response to climate change and
human pressure, and thus to propose
suitable adaptations. •••
* The Mediterranean Ocean Observing System on
Environment (MOOSE), which received a Système
d’Observation et d’Expérimentation pour la Recherche
sur l’Environnement (SOERE) accreditation in 2010,
addresses current requests from society regarding
pollution and biodiversity issues.

Role of winter dense water formations
in spatiotemporal patterns of pelagic ecosystem
functioning impacted by climate change
Climate change could lead to increased surface water stratification
in the Mediterranean Sea, acidification and oligotrophication that is
progressive but rapid and substantial on a biological scale, with major
impacts on marine planktonic organisms. It is essential to identify
key processes that prompt changes in the hydrological regime and in
marine ecosystem functioning. The dense water formation process
(which ventilates deep water while effectively exporting organic
matter to deeper ocean depths, and contributes considerably to
nutrient salt recycling in surface waters) could be significantly altered.
Combined experimental research and modelling is necessary to deal
with the complexity of these processes and their effects on marine
This approach has been implemented in the MERMEX programme,
one component of which addresses the impact of hydrodynamic
changes on biochemical budgets in the Mediterranean Sea, with the
involvement of UMR LOMIC and CEFREM, etc.

network stations to sample the autumn dense-water preconditioning
phase, and then the stratified summer phase. An intense underwater
free-floating glider observation network and satellite imagery
supplemented this observation phase. A major modelling effort
enhanced coordination, facilitated linkages between these operations
and made effective use of the data.
This operation, supported by the Mediterranean Integrated Studies
at Regional and Local Scales (MISTRALS) programme, pooled
the initiatives of over a hundred scientists attached to French
laboratories such as UMR LOMIC, CEFREM, MIO, LA, LOCEAN,
LOV, etc.* It also received financial support from European (PERSEUS,
GROOM, JERICO**) and French (EQUIPEX-NAOS and ANR ASICSMED***) programmes, especially regarding underwater free-floating
gliders and modelling.
Contact: Pascal Conan,

One series of DeWEX 2013 sea research missions was conducted in
the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. In the first leg (February 2013),
a network of stations set up in a star pattern around the dense
water formation zone (42°N-5°E) was surveyed in winter during the
convective phase. In the second leg (April 2013), the resulting spring
bloom was sampled and the propagation of dense water formed
during the winter was tracked. These missions were mainstreamed
into a comprehensive implementation plan over the 2012-2013
winter period. Lighter research cruises were conducted on the same

For further information:
* MIO: Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography; LA: Aerology Lab; LOCEAN: Oceanography
and Climate Lab - Experimental and Numerical Approaches; LOV: Villefranche Oceanographic
** PERSEUS: Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research for the Southern European Seas;
GROOM: Gliders for Research, Ocean Observation and Management; JERICO: Joint European
Research Infrastructure for Coastal Observatories.
*** EQUIPEX: Équipements d’Excellence; NAOS: Novel Argo Ocean Observing System; ASICS-MED:
Air-Sea Interaction and Coupling with Submesoscale structures in the Mediterranean.


February 2013—Leg 1



 DeWEX-MERMEX (Deep Water
Formation Experiment–Marine
Ecosystems Response in the
Mediterranean Experiment)
research missions.
a. Distribution of mean surface chlorophyll
concentrations (µg.l-1).


b. Temporal trends in nitrate concentrations
(µM) measured at the mixed layer depth (MLD)
using PROVOR profilers.



c. Temporal changes in the MLD (m). Shaded
areas represent DeWEX–MERMEX research
ship missions.

© P. Conan

NOV 12

DEC 12

JAN 13

FEB 13

MAR 13

APR 13

MAY 13

Climate change: impact and adaptation



April 2013—Leg 2



Biodiversity and marine ecosystems

© M. Andrello

Climate change will decrease the ability
of marine protected areas to seed fishing areas with larval fish

 Effects of different processes on changes in larval
dispersal distances over the century.
In grey (a), effects of changes in marine current velocities and direction
(hydrodynamic changes); in blue (b), effects of hydrodynamic changes and
adult reproduction period changes; in green (c), effects of hydrodynamic
changes and larval lifespan changes; in red (d), the three combined effects.

Main teams

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Microbial Oceanography Laboratory
12 scientists


Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation
and Conservation
121 scientists
Centre d’écologie marine expérimentale
2 scientists
Laboratory of Microbial
Biodiversity and Biotechnology
20 scientists

The Mediterranean Sea has over 100 marine protected areas (MPAs) that
serve to maintain sufficient supplies of fished species on the continental
shelf. The connectivity between fish populations, especially through the
dispersal of larval fish via ocean currents, is a key factor regarding the
efficacy of the MPA network to ensure the supply of larval fish to fishing
In a study published in the Diversity and Distributions journal and
funded by the Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Biodiversité and Total
Foundation, UMR MARBEC researchers associated with other partners
(IRD, Aix-Marseille Université, UM, CNRS, Météo-France) demonstrated that
climate change (+2.8°C at the end of the 21st century) could affect the
connectivity of fish populations in the Mediterranean Sea. In particular, the
larval fish dispersal distance could decrease by 10% (9 km on average),
causing a 3% reduction (around 27 000 ha) in the overall fishing area
seeded by the MPA network. An increase in temperature decreases the
larval lifespan—thus the distances hatchlings are carried in the ocean
currents—while changes in currents expected in the Mediterranean Sea
will affect the trajectories of these fish larvae. This study highlighted the
combined physical and biological impacts associated with climate change
on the efficacy of MPA networks.
Contact: David Mouillot,

Reconciling fisheries
activities and marine
ecosystem conservation

 and achieve a better balance
between the use and conservation
of these ecosystems.

The joint research unit Marine
Biodiversity, Exploitation and
Conservation (UMR MARBEC –
marine biodiversity in lagoon,
coastal and offshore ecosystems at
different integration levels, from
molecular, individual, population
and community aspects to human
uses of this biodiversity.

The unit’s teams focus research in
eight general areas to address these
 evolutionary ecology and
 individuals, populations and
 dynamics and functioning of
 microorganisms and interactions
with macroorganisms
 contaminants: fates and responses
 sustainable aquaculture
 multiple uses of coastal systems
 ecosystem approach to fisheries.

This research unit is set up at three
sites in metropolitan France (Sète,
Montpellier, Palavas-les-Flots) and
in the Indian Ocean, Asia, Africa and
South America and conducts studies
to fulfil three main objectives:
 describe marine biodiversity,
understand its dynamics and
marine ecosystem functioning
 analyse the impact of human
pressure on these ecosystems and
develop global change response

The impacts of global change on
marine biodiversity are studied in
each of these themes.

Vulnerability and
preservation of
Mediterranean marine,
coastal and deep-sea
Research carried out by the Benthic
Ecogeochemistry Laboratory (UMR
LECOB – UPMC, CNRS) is focused
on the functions and vulnerability
of benthic ecosystems and their
From the Mediterranean coast
to the deep-sea, the ecological
models currently studied by the
laboratory locate in highly dynamic
environments subjected to a range
of anthropogenic pressures: rocky

habitats, river mouths, submarine
canyons and hydrothermal
vents. These sensitive habitats
also constitute biodiversity and
productivity hotspots protected by
conservation measures.
LECOB conducts research to:
 gain further insights into the
dynamic interactions that link
marine benthic communities and
their functions to environmental
 model these interactions to
predict relationships between
biodiversity, resource heterogeneity
and habitat fragmentation
through metapopulation and
metacommunity approaches

 integrate this knowledge in
predictive models based on
climate scenarios or direct human
 develop and assess methods and
tools to test the effectiveness of
conservation measures or the
relevance of ecological quality
indicators for the environment.
For its ongoing projects—in
addition to support from CNRS
and UPMC—LECOB benefits
from funding from ANR, from the
LITEAU programme of the French
Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable
Development and Energy (MEDDE)
and from Total Foundation. •••

Hydrodynamic influences on coral conservation
in coastal environments and deep submarine canyons
Gorgonians are outstanding engineer species that are found along
the Mediterranean coast. They play a vital role regarding biomass
and bedrock diversity. The LECOB team is assessing the impact of
protective measures on the distribution of these species by developing
connectivity models involving simulation of larval dispersal patterns
that combine experimental studies on larval motility behaviour and
numerical hydrodynamics simulations. These connectivity studies
are carried out for metapopulations of different gorgonian species
(including red coral, and red and white gorgonians) in the Ligurian Sea
in the framework of a European PhD scholarship (MARES*) and in the
Gulf of Lions as part of the LITEAU IV project (RocConnect**).
Scleractinian corals play a similar role in deep-sea environments.
These corals are especially vulnerable to the impacts of human
activities (trawling, waste) and the effects of global change (warming,
acidification and changes in ocean water circulation patterns). They
are also protected by international measures. Some submarine
canyons offer ideal habitats for these corals due to abundant nutrient
resources associated with specific hydrodynamic conditions. The
Lacaze-Duthiers canyon off Banyuls (France) is one of them, as it hosts

large populations of Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata corals,
which are now integrated in the management plan of the Gulf of Lions
Marine Protected Area (Marine Natural Park).
LECOB has developed a research programme devoted to the growth
and ecological role of these engineer species, combining organic
geochemistry and microbial ecology, to assess the sensitivity of
deep-sea ecosystems to climate change, and especially the impacts
of extreme weather events. These studies are part of the Extreme
Marine Environments, Biodiversity and Global Change Chair
programme set up by UPMC with the support of Total Foundation.
They are supported by CNRS (including incentive funds from a
multidisciplinary exploratory project of the Ecology and Environment
Institute) and involve a collaboration with Jacobs International
University in Bremen (Germany).
Contacts: Katell Guizien,
Franck Lartaud,
& Nadine Le Bris, lebris@obs-banyuls
* MIO : Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanologie ; CEREGE : Centre de Recherche et

* Marine Ecosystem Health and Conservation.
** Connectivity of hard-bottom substrates in the Gulf of Lions.

 Growth experiment on deep-sea
coral at 500 m depth in the LacazeDuthiers submarine canyon, France.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

© UPMC-LECOB (Total Foundation Academic Chair)


Biodiversity and marine ecosystems

Comparative study
of conventional and
unconventional marine
organism models
The joint research unit Integrative
Biology of Marine Organisms (UMR
BIOM – UPMC, CNRS) carries out
academic research mainly. Its project
focusses on studies on development
and adaptation mechanisms of
organisms through evolution,
and using unconventional marine
models. The comparative studies
extend and complement those
conducted on conventional models.
They enable relevant comparisons
between phylogenetically distant

This type of approach has often
led to significant breakthroughs
in a range of different biological
fields, and comes up with answers
to some fundamental biological

The BIOM research unit is interested
in studying adaptation of marine
organisms to environmental changes
include climate change. This is
exemplified by the SalTemp project.

We study the biology of marine
organisms to investigate their great
diversity (19 out of 36 metazoan
phyla are exclusively marine
organisms) and to use and study
this diversity as potential biological
models. In this global setting, the
two main lines of BIOM research
are developmental biology and the
study of adaptation mechanisms
using both unicellular and
multicellular models.

SalTemp project:
global warming and migration in Atlantic salmon
of the Loire-Allier river axis
Temperature impacts metabolism, physiology and behaviour of fish.
Each fish has its specific window of tolerance. Temperatures beyond
this window put the fish survival at risk.
In salmon from the Loire-Allier Basin (France), we will study:

 The mechanisms of thermo-reception
 The impact of temperature changes on the daily and seasonal
melatonin cycles
M. Caunt © Shutterstock

 The impact of temperature on the settings of the downstream

 The impact of melatonin on pituitary productions involved in
triggering downstream migration.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Both temperature and light/dark cycles contribute to triggering
downstream migration of salmon to the sea. But how do they
interact? How do salmon (and more generally fish) integrate the
temperature information and what kind of hormonal messages do
they produce in response to temperature changes? How will salmon
cope with the ongoing global warming?


The SalTemp project, coordinated by the team Environment and
Adaptive Mechanisms of the UMR BIOM, aims at finding answers
to all of these questions. The goal is to gain insight into how light
and temperature interact to determine when salmon migration
is triggered. It is important to know more about a crucial event
in the fish biological cycle because it relies on the temperatures
experienced during its stream movements; and, the photoperiod/
temperature balance is now challenged by the climate change as
temperature increases while photoperiod remains the same.

The hypothesis that all or some of the effects of temperature are
mediated through membrane-bound calcium channels expressed in
the pineal organ and along the neuroendocrine axis will be tested.
In vivo and in vitro studies will be performed to elucidate how
photoperiod and temperature interact to control the production of,
both, the ‘time-keeping hormone’ melatonin and the hypothalamicpituitary hormones involved in the neuroendocrine control of
downstream migration. Finally, an experiment will be carried out to
study the impact of a 5°C temperature increase on the behaviour
(locomotor activity and downstream migration), as well as on
molecular, endocrine and physiological mechanisms that control the
migratory behaviour.
The findings of this study will help understanding and predicting
the impact of the ongoing temperature increase and of the abovementioned induced mismatch with photoperiod on migration. The
impact on the survival of salmon populations and on the sustainability
of restocking initiatives will also be assessed.
Contact: Jack Falcón,

Effects of global warming on triggering marine phytoplankton
blooms—photoperiodism, composition and adaptation
Ocean warming is the main factor responsible for overall changes in
productivity, biomass and phenology (bloom timing) in phytoplankton
communities. In temperate oceans, phytoplankton abundance and
diversity sharply increase between winter and spring. These blooms
are likely the result of a combination of physical (light, temperature),
chemical (nutrients) and ecological (interactions with bacteria,
predation) parameters. The life of most living organisms is governed
by the light/dark cycle (photoperiod) that regulates seasonal processes
(photoperiodism). Temperature is a key physiological control factor
in phytoplankton, and the photoperiod could regulate the timing of
Within the framework of the PHOTO-PHYTO project (ANR
2014-2017), researchers from UMR LOMIC, MARBEC and OOB, in
partnership with the company Metabolium (Romainville, France), are
studying the role and hierarchy of fluctuating environmental factors
(e.g. temperature) and intrinsic factors (e.g. circadian clock controlling

photoperiodism) in triggering spring blooms. This project involves
a multidisciplinary approach that combines unique expertise in the
fields of oceanography, microbial ecology, functional genomics and
experimental evolution on the picoplankton model Ostreococcus tauri.
The following questions are raised:
 What are the main in situ factors controlling spring phytoplankton
 How do temperature and photoperiod interact to trigger spring
 Will the adaptation to global warming affect photoperiodism and
trophic interactions?
 How does global warming affect natural microbial communities?
François-Yves Bouget,

 Microplate light simulator to reproduce
a range of different light intensity, quality
and photoperiod conditions when culturing
phytoplankton species.
This device can also be used to measure luminescence
parameters in order to monitor the impact of
environmental (light, nutrients) and anthropogenic
(pollutants) factors on reporter gene expression.

 microbial processes and ocean
 ecotoxicology and microbial
metabolic engineering.

The overall objective of the Microbial
Oceanography Laboratory (UMR
LOMIC – UPMC, CNRS) is to study
reciprocal interactions between a
changing and varying environment—
the ocean—and microorganisms
inhabiting it in an integrative way
from the gene to the ecosystem.
LOMIC pools expertise in the fields
of marine biogeochemistry, microbial
ecology, functional genomics and
ecotoxicology. This multidisciplinary
approach is effective in addressing
issues at the frontiers of science.

These topics encompass both
fundamental research (e.g.
responses of microorganisms
to global oceanic changes)
and applied research (blue
biotechnology, valorization of
microalgae, plastic biodegradation,
etc.) issues that are investigated
in collaboration with industrial
partners (Mycrophyt, Metabolium,

Research conducted by the LOMIC
team is structured around four main
 regulation of microbial functions
by light and nutrients
 reactivity of organic matter and
microbial diversity

The LOMIC teams implement
different approaches, ranging
from experiments on model
microorganisms (e.g. Ostreococcus
tauri and Photobacterium
angustum) to field studies during
ocean missions and experiments
on microbial communities under
controlled conditions.

Amongst other investigations,
LOMIC focuses studies on the
response and adaptation of
autotrophic and heterotrophic
marine microorganisms to
climate change. This is a key
issue in analysing the impacts of
environmental modifications on a
global scale. These microorganisms
are essential to life on Earth and
their very diverse metabolisms
enable them to achieve many steps
in biogeochemical cycles.
LOMIC is attached to the CNRS
National Institute of Sciences of the
Universe, but is also thematically in
close collaboration with the CNRS
Ecology and Environment Institute
and Biological Sciences Institute.
In addition, this laboratory is
involved in different research
projects in the Mediterranean Sea
and Southern, Arctic and Pacific
Oceans. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Adaptation of marine
microorganisms to
global change


Biodiversity and marine ecosystems

Understanding factors
that govern the activity
and diversity of
microorganisms in
aquatic environments

The aim of this research unit
is to gain further insight into
how biotic and abiotic factors
regulate the activity and diversity
of microorganisms in aquatic
environments. A major part of
its activity is also devoted to
making effective use of knowledge
derived from this research
(biotechnological potential of
its microorganism collection,
development of diagnostic tools).

 Heterotrophic and
Left: organic carbon is
transformed into cell biomass
or used to produce cellular
energy via respiration.
© A. Courties

The Laboratory of Microbial
Biodiversity and Biotechnology
(USR LBBM – Sorbonne
Universités, UPMC, CNRS)
conducts research to understand
the biodiversity and functional
role of microorganisms in
the environment by focusing
on aquatic systems (marine,
maritime, continental). LBBM
thus pools expertise in microbial
ecology, microbiology, chemical
ecology, biotechnology and
exploratory pharmacology.

Right: for an equivalent
number of cells, respiration is
theoretically less necessary and
CO2 production is reduced.

LBBM’s missions are to:
 develop leading-edge research in the
field of microbial ecology of aquatic
environments through studies on
microorganism diversity, knowledge
of their genetic and physiological
properties and the molecules that
enable them to interact or act on
their environment
 support and promote scientific
innovation at the healthenvironment interface via
collaborative initiatives to address
major societal challenges (cancer
treatment, the impact and fate
of chemical and biological

contaminants in the environment,
understanding the potential
impacts of climate change on
 transfer knowledge through the
training of students and young
Research carried out by LBBM
comes under three major themes:
‘Environmental omics and
natural community regulation
mechanisms’, ‘Microbial biodiversity
and biomolecules’, and ‘Emerging
contaminants in aquatic
environments and health’.

Enhancing long-term climate forecasts through studies
on the effects of light on proteorhodopsin-containing bacteria
in ocean environments
spatiotemporal dynamics of photoheterotrophic marine bacteria with
physiological studies in photobioreactors targeting isolated strains.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Advanced molecular techniques will be implemented to determine
the diversity of proteorhodopsin-containing bacteria (with
light-dependent proton pumps so that light can be used as an
energy source) at three contrasting sites: Mediterranean Sea, the
English Channel, and the Arctic Ocean. In physiological studies,
photobioreactors and model microbial strains will be used to assess
the effects of light on the growth performance of these organisms
under different light and substrate quality conditions.


 Photobioreactors used in the ANR RHOMEO project for
measuring carbon yields under different light conditions.

LBBM coordinates the RHOMEO (Proteorhodopsin-containing
Prokaryotes in Marine Environments) project in collaboration with
the joint research unit Adaptation and Diversity in the Marine
Environment based at the Station biologique de Roscoff (France). The
aim of this project is to combine assessments on the diversity and

These experiments will help determine the quantity of carbon
produced through photoheterotrophic light energy use. The findings
will highlight links between specific carbon source use and the
physiology of model strains representative of the environment. In situ
and physiological experiments will be combined to assess the effects
of light on the metabolism of these organisms at the sampled sites.
These results will help gain greater insight into long-term climate
forecasts while taking into account these organisms which represent
a very important constituent of marine microbial communities in
Contact: Marcelino Suzuki,
For further information:

 MEDIMEER in situ mesocosms
submerged in Thau lagoon (northwestern
Mediterranean region, France).
Each mesocosm contains a 2 m3 water volume with
a depth of 2 m.
© B. Mostajir

This powerful tool links
environmental observations and
small-scale laboratory studies.

The Mediterranean Platform for
Marine Ecosystem Experimental
Research (MEDIMEER platform
based at the Station Méditerranéenne
de l’Environnement Littoral in
Sète (France), proposes advanced
scientific expertise for conducting
experiments under controlled
conditions (mesocosms) in marine
environments to benefit the
national and international scientific

The aims of MEDIMEER are to offer
national and international research
 expertise in the field of
experimental marine ecology
oriented towards mesocosm
 and a broad range of research
facilities. MEDIMEER has in
situ mesocosms submerged in
Thau lagoon (but which can be
transported and implemented at
other sites), onshore mesocosms
ready for installation, three
platforms (observation, analysis
and logistics) and a stock of
instruments. This infrastructure
package can be used to study
the impact of natural and
anthropogenic forcings on the
functioning of marine ecosystems
(production, diversity, mass flows,

A mesocosm is an experimental
enclosure in which a volume of
water of over 1 m3 is isolated in
conditions resembling those of the
natural environment and in which
environmental factors (temperature,
light, CO2, nutrients, etc.) can be
adjusted in a realistic manner.

resistance, resilience, etc.) under
controlled conditions.
MEDIMEER also offers support for
more applied research activities
such as sustainable resource
management, restoration of
degraded ecosystems, biomass
production for industrial
purposes (biofuels, bioenergy),
and ecotoxicology (in onshore
Research at MEDIMEER can
quantify and qualify the impacts of
local and global physical, chemical
and biological forcings on the
diversity of aquatic organisms, on
their physiologies and interactions,
and on the functioning of aquatic
ecosystems. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Research under controlled
conditions in marine


Biodiversity and marine ecosystems


EMBRC—one of Europe’s
largest research platforms
on biodiversity

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The three French marine research
stations at Banyuls-sur-Mer, Roscoff
and Villefranche-sur-Mer, which are
jointly run by UPCM and CNRS, have
joined forces at the European Marine
Biological Resource Centre (EMBRCFrance) in order to gain greater
knowledge on marine biodiversity.


Marine biological resources and
their potential applications in areas
as varied as agriculture, health and
cosmetics, have yet to be explored
in depth. However, with an area of
11 million km2, France represents the
second-ranked exclusive economic
zone (EEZ) in the world. This EEZ is
under a range of different climatic
conditions and offers a considerable
wealth of biodiversity.

As a prime site for marine
bioresource studies in France, in
its governance, EMBRC-France
benefits from the support of the
Investissements d’avenir programme
of the French Ministry of Education
and Research, the strong involvement
of Brittany, Languedoc-Roussillon
and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
regions, and that of the Pôle Mer
Bretagne Atlantique and Pôle Mer
Méditerranée competitiveness
 In a regional and national setting,
EMBRC-France—and especially the
Oceanic Observatory of Banyulssur-Mer (OOB)—offers companies
and academic scientists easy access
to ecosystems, marine resources
and leading-edge scientific
platforms. Through on-site hosting
or remote services, EMBRC-France
thus overcomes the difficulty of

gaining access to marine resources
and provides a key tool for studying
and exploiting marine biodiversity
from molecular to ecosystem
 In a broader context, in 2009
EMBRC was selected by the
European Strategy Forum on
Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)
to become a major European
research platform of the future.
This European centre of marine
biology resources is to be launched
in 2016 and will link the main
European marine biology stations
and will soon serve as a catalyst for
innovation. 

© P. Lebaron

Climate change: impact and adaptation

 Aboard the Nereis II station ship: researchers
are setting a vertical line of traps to capture
sedimenting particles.


Climate change: impact and adaptation

 Aphis gossypii Larvae.
© J.P. Deguine

Climate change
& interactions between organisms

The scientific community must address three key
challenges regarding these major changes. The first
concerns gathering academic knowledge on the impact of
climate change on the biology, distribution or abundance
of organisms—which is starting to be fairly well
described—as well as the impact of these changes on
interactions between organisms and concomitant effects
on the dynamics of trophic chains—which have yet to
be fully clarified (challenge 1). The second challenge
is to predict the agricultural and health risks, especially
through modelling approaches (challenge 2). Finally,
tailoring current practices or developing new ones that
meet cultural, health, policy and social needs is a major
challenge to limit the ‘damage’ (challenge 3).
Research units of Agropolis International members
are conducting studies on a very broad range of
interactions between organisms (biotic interactions).
These interactions may jointly involve two or several
macroorganisms (plants, insects, molluscs, nematodes,
mammals), or a macroorganism with microorganisms
(bacteria, viruses, fungi). Symbiosis, pathogenesis,
parasitism and vectorization are the main types of biotic
interactions studied. These biotic interactions concern
crop plants, animals, beneficial organisms and pests in
both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
Fundamental knowledge is required on the mechanisms
of biotic interactions of different models of interest so
as to unravel the causes and consequences of climate
change impacts (challenge 1). For instance, many
terrestrial, freshwater and marine species change their

ranges (e.g. rice yellow mottle virus in Africa and pine
processionary caterpillars) or their seasonal activities
(e.g. Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causative agent of Buruli
ulcer). Pathogens also adapt to changes in the behaviour
of their vector organisms (e.g. the re-emergence of
Many joint research units are involved in modelling
climate change impacts (challenge 2). This can include
studies on epidemiological processes involved in diseases
transmitted by vectorial macroorganisms (insect-borne
plant diseases, assessments on the transmission of
bluetongue in Europe, vector-borne diseases in North
Africa and Europe). As biological mechanisms are not
the only factors involved, these models may also include
social and legal data (RELAIS project on epidemiological
risks in Amazonia).
The Agropolis scientific community conducts targeted
research to design new practices (challenge 3). These
practices may be cultural, concern the development of
new beneficials for biological control, or policy and health
Agropolis research units involved in the study of
interactions between organisms are located on several
Montpellier campuses (Saint-Éloi, La Gaillarde, Baillarguet,
Lavalette), and elsewhere in the South of France (INRA
Avignon, Université de Perpignan). A number of shared
and networking tools are required because of this
multisite specificity. For instance, the regional Interactions
Microorganismes-Hôtes network*, which currently includes
more than 20 teams located in Montpellier, Nîmes
and Perpignan, focuses studies on biotic interaction
mechanisms between microorganisms (bacteria, viruses,
fungi, parasites) and their hosts (plants, invertebrates,
mammals). The aim is to showcase the theme, create
scientific activities and collaborations, while participating
in structuring the theme for educational and research
Sophie Gaudriault
& Nathalie Volkoff (UMR DGIMI),
Elsa Ballini & Claire Neema (UMR BGPI)


Climate change: impact and adaptation


limate change primarily affects abiotic
environmental factors upon which living
organisms depend—light, temperature, soil and
air humidity, chemical composition of water, atmospheric
and hydrostatic pressure and the physical and chemical
structure of the substrate. Changes in these factors may
have a significant impact on the ecosystem structure
and functioning, especially by modifying the biology
or behaviour of the hosted organisms (plants, animals,
microorganisms), thus leading to marked variations in
the interactions between them (competition, predation,
parasitism, mutualism, vectorial transmission, etc.).


Climate change
& interactions between organisms

Main teams
CSIRO European Laboratory
4 scientists
EBCL – European Biological Control
Laboratory of USDA/ARS
5 scientists
Biology and Genetics
of Plant-Parasite Interactions
(INRA/CIRAD/Montpellier SupAgro)
39 scientists
Center for Biology
and Management of Populations
(INRA/CIRAD/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
52 scientists
Emerging and Exotic
Animal Disease Control
35 scientists
Diversity, Genomes
and Microorganism-Insect Interactions
19 scientists
Host-Pathogen-Environment Interactions
24 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

UMR InterTryp
Host-Vector-Parasite Interactions
in Infections by Trypanosomatidae
30 scientists


Interactions Plantes-MicroorganismesEnvironnement
49 scientists
Laboratory of Tropical
and Mediterranean Symbioses
(IRD/CIRAD/INRA/UM/Montpellier SupAgro)
45 scientists
…continued on page 56

Managing species populations
and communities of high
socioeconomic or ecological
Research of the Center for Biology
and Management of Populations
Montpellier Supagro) conducts
studies on the biology of certain
populations and communities of
organisms that should be managed
because they represent a major
human health, agriculture, forestry
and conservation challenge. CBGP
members are striving to characterize
the diversity of these organisms,
describe current and past genetic
structures, determine their roles
in interactions in which they are
involved (parasitism, predation,
pathogen reservoirs, etc.), along
with intrinsic and extrinsic factors
that could modify them. One aim
of this research is to predict the
evolution of biodiversity under the
pressure of global change (climatic
or anthropogenic). In addition to the
academic importance of the unit’s
scientific initiatives, they are aimed
at fostering assessment, decision
support and/or the development
of strategies for controlling pests or
preserving endangered species.
This joint research unit uses or
develops concepts and tools
from a broad range of disciplines,

such as systematics, phylogenetics
and phylogeography, population
genetics and genomics, phenotype
studies, the ecology of species
communities, immunoecology,
epidemiology, multiagent modelling
and geostatistics. CBGP’s primary
model species are insects (especially
crop pests or beneficials for biological
control), phytoparasitic nematodes
and rodents, including crop and
storage pests and/or human pathogen
reservoir species.
Regarding research specifically
focused on the impact of climate
change on biodiversity, CBGP is
investigating the pine processionary
moth whose range seems to be
rapidly expanding in Europe as a
result of current global warming
trends. On a broader time scale,
studies are also under way on the
impacts of paleoclimatic cycles on
the geographical distribution and
genetic structure of populations of
various African and Eurasian rodents
and on those of insects of different
families (Noctuidae, Papilionidae,
Tenebrionidae). Finally, the unit’s
academic activities include many
capacity building initiatives, especially
to benefit students and staff from
developing countries highly exposed
to the impacts of global change.

Plant symbioses—host
diversity, interaction and
adaptation to environmental

These studies involve a dual
 assessment of the diversity of
tropical and Mediterranean
 characterization of original model
symbiotic systems derived from the
diversity assessment.

See an example of a project conducted
by UMR LSTM on page 39. •••

LSTM contributes to the
development of ecological
engineering strategies to minimize

© H. Santos

The Laboratory of Tropical and
Mediterranean Symbioses (UMR
Montpellier SupAgro) conducts
academic and targeted research
that is highly oriented towards
developing countries and training
through research. It studies symbiosis
diversity regarding interaction
mechanisms, as well as their roles
in the adaptation of host plants to
environmental constraints (mineral
nutrients, water and salt stress, etc.)

the impact of global change on the
biofunctioning of Mediterranean and
tropical ecosystems and agrosystems.
Improving the productivity of
plants for food and nonfood uses
in ecosystems that have not been
markedly affected by human
activities and in agroecosystems, and
restoring degraded environments are
focuses of the research carried out by
the unit’s researchers.

whose impact on the productivity
and stability of ecosystems
and agrosystems will likely be
exacerbated by future global change

 Pine processionary caterpillars
in a winter nest.

© J. Rousselet (INRA Orléans) & J.-C. Martin (INRA Avignon)

 Expansion of the pine processionary
range since the late 1960s.

Warmer winters
benefit the pine processionary

The pine processionary is currently continuing its northward range
expansion and is colonizing different landscapes. As the pine trees it
prefers in its original area are more dispersed in the newly invaded
areas, it tends to attack isolated trees, ornamental bushes or species
planted as part of urban and periurban management plans.

The health impacts of its expansion are thus high as it is in closer
contact with humans.
In recent years, some pioneer colonies have even been observed in
urban areas beyond the colonization front. These colonies are likely
the result of passive transport by humans (e.g. planting of tall trees)
combined with the fact that the species is able to survive in these
locations due to the favourable urban microclimatic conditions which
locally resemble climate change.
CBGP teams, in collaboration with other researchers, are now trying
to draw up a detailed description of these new processes, their effects
on the T. pityocampa genome and the adaptive traits of the species
(phenology, resistance to extreme temperatures, dispersal, etc.) so as
to be able to foresee its future expansion and mitigate its impacts.
Contact: Carole Kerdelhue,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The pine processionary, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is a moth whose
caterpillar is a major coniferous tree pest. This insect is a human
health problem since its urticating hairs can induce harmful reactions
in professional operators (e.g. forestry staff) and other people. The
range of this species of Mediterranean origin has been expanding
northward and to higher elevations as a direct result of the increase
in winter temperatures. This climate change related expansion has
been demonstrated via detailed mapping of changes in its range in
France since the 1980s (results obtained by INRA Orléans) and also
through experimental tests which revealed that nests moved beyond
the expansion boundary were unable to survive.


Climate change & interactions between organisms

Emergence of the rice yellow
mottle virus in Africa

The first RYMV outbreaks occurred in irrigated rice growing areas.
Controlled irrigation makes it possible to increase rice production,
but this in turn creates conditions favourable for RYMV onset. This
virus was subsequently observed in lowland and rainfed rice growing
areas where the disease became widespread. RYMV is now present
everywhere in Africa where rice is grown, but so far not at sites and
during periods when temperatures are colder, i.e. in highlands and
during the off-season. The situation is changing, however, and RYMV
was recently detected in highland areas, possibly as a result
of climate change and/or the emergence of adapted virus strains.
A study of RYMV diversity highlighted that the range of the main
strains reflected the disparity of major climatic zones in Africa.
Recently developed biogeography and phylogeography methods
should soon make it possible to assess relationships between
climatic factors and RYMV population structuring and then to
draw up scenarios linking environmental change and RYMV
epidemiological patterns.
These studies are conducted by UMR IPME researchers in
partnership with a network of African virologists from national
research institutes (Institut National pour l’Étude et la Recherche
Agronomiques in Burkina Faso; Centre National de Recherche
Agronomique in Côte d’Ivoire; Centre National de la Recherche

interactions under different
environmental stress
The joint research unit Interactions
Plantes-MicroorganismesEnvironnement (UMR IPME – IRD,
CIRAD, UM) focuses research on
interactions between plants and
microorganisms while taking
environmental factors into account.

Main teams

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Genetics and Evolution
of Infectious Diseases
66 scientists


Animal and Integrated
Risk Management
26 scientists
Pests and Diseases:
Risk Analysis and Control
14 scientists
UR Plant Pathology
13 scientists

© J. -L. Notteghem

Environmental changes are responsible for the recent emergence
and rapid propagation of the rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) in

 Rice fields infected at different stages by
the rice yellow mottle virus (Office du Niger,
Mali, 2003).

Appliquée au Développement Rural in Madagascar; Institut des Sciences
Agronomiques in Rwanda; University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania)
and international agencies (Africa Rice Center; International Rice
Research Institute). These studies were supported by Agropolis
Fondation, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Global Rice
Science Partnership.
Contact: Denis Fargette,

A sustainable development strategy
applied to crop protection and
improvement is based on in-depth
knowledge on the:
 available host genetic diversity
 interaction mechanisms
(pathogenic and mutualistic)
 capacity of parasites to overcome
 effect of the environment on
interactions between the plant
and associated organisms.
IPME’s activities follow this thematic
continuum. The unit’s six teams
conduct collaborative studies on
plant-symbiotic microorganism
and/or pathogen combinations
under different stress situations.
IPME’s priority research issues
 the diversity of microorganisms
associated with plants and on
related mechanisms during the
plant colonization/infection
 the organization, evolution and
adaptation of viral and bacterial
genomes, as well as nematode
 plant responses and adaptation to
biotic and abiotic stress.

The unit focuses on issues related
to the impact of these processes on
agriculture and the environment
in developing countries. IPME
conducts research on tropical
crops of agricultural, economic and
nutritional value (e.g. rice, cassava,
citrus fruits, legumes and coffee)
in tropical and Mediterranean
This research is hinged on the
emergence of new concepts,
prevention methods, plant disease
control tools and the improvement of
plant resistance to biotic and abiotic
stress. The research aims to:
 contribute to enhancing the
management and sustainability of
cropping systems
 strengthening the unit’s research
and training activities by
establishing partnerships
 promote knowledge transfer in
both developed and developing

 Entomopathogenic nematodes
to the rescue of Lebanon cedars.


Entomopathogenic nematodes
to save Lebanon cedars threatened by climate change

The current cedar forests, which are located in a mountain area at
1 400-2 000 m elevation, are impacted by the increased harshness
of the Mediterranean climatic conditions, locally characterized by a
marked decrease in the snowy period (decreased from 4-5 months to
1-2 months a year) and by heat waves. The heat wave in the late 1990s
led to the emergence of Cephalcia tannourinensis, an endemic insect
pest whose episodic proliferation is now the main threat to Lebanese
cedar forests.

Dynamics of pest insects and
their natural enemies
in different environments
The aim of the joint research
unit Diversity, Genomes and
Microorganism-Insect Interactions
(UMR DGIMI – INRA, UM) is to
implement integrative approaches
to assess multitrophic interactions
regarding insect pests and thus
contribute to improving plant
protection. The interactions studied
by the research unit concern insect

Moreover, during the severe pest outbreak that occurred in the
early 2000s, two forests were saved in extremis by aerial chemical
treatments. Since then, the Lebanese National Council for Scientific
Research, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (Lebanon) and UMR DGIMI
have been collaborating to develop an integrated pest management
programme for this pest based on the use of entomopathogenic
nematodes. The studies have already led to the identification of two
endemic nematode populations in the Tannourine forest. Further
studies are under way to develop Steinernema feltiae based treatments
against C. tannourinensis in two Lebanese cedar forests. The aim is to
control outbreaks of this insect, which this year has benefited from
the so-called ‘centennial drought’.
Contact: Olivier Thaler,

pests (essentially a lepidopteran
model) and their natural enemies
(viruses, nematode-bacteria
complexes, micro-hymenopteran
parasitoids), which are potential
biocontrol agents.
The unit’s teams apply comparative
genomics, functional genomics,
cell biology or life-history traits
monitoring approaches to gain
insight into how molecular
mechanisms control these
interactions and how they are

affected by modifications in biotic or
abiotic environments. Other parallel
DGIMI projects are focused on
the dynamics of these interactions
according to environmental
conditions. This mainly involves
comparing the species diversity
of insect pests and their natural
enemies in different ecosystems or
agrosystems. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The Lebanon cedar, Cedrus libani, is the symbol displayed on the
national flag of this eastern Mediterranean country. The species was
widespread north and south of Mount Lebanon at the time of the
pharaohs, but the original cedar forest has now dwindled to a few
relict forests scattered in a handful of natural reserves of a few dozens
of hectares. The Lebanese people are very attached to this national
symbol of the greatness of ancient Phoenicia.


Climate change & interactions between organisms

Impacts of climate
change on pest distributions
and outbreaks
The research unit Pests and
Diseases: Risk Analysis and Control
(UR B-AMR – CIRAD) seeks to
gain insight into disease and
pest outbreak and development
mechanisms. Pests reduce the
productivity of crops, undermine
their sustainability and affect the
production quality.
These threats are especially
prevalent in tropical agrosystems.
B-AMR is working towards
improving pest control, risk
management and the prediction of
associated damage. The proposed
control strategies account for
the socioeconomic, ethical and/
or policy situations, along with
the interests and priorities of the
different stakeholders. Moreover,
the environmental impact should
be minimised in order to respect
human and animal health and
enable beneficial fauna to fulfil
their regulatory role. The unit has
sufficient expertise to deal with all
scientific issues associated with the
emergence and development of
perennial crop pests in the tropics.

From single-species plantations to
desert ecosystems and agroforests,
B-AMR monitors a continuum
ranging from highly anthropogenic
cropping systems to virtually natural
ecosystems. Specific pest populations
with unique systematics, biological
features and relationships with the
environment develop in each of
these ecosystems. It is thus essential
to tailor management programmes
on a case-by-case basis, but the
scientific reasoning and resulting
lines of research are very close in
all situations. Hence, beyond a
specific model, from the time of
the assessment to the operational
implementation, the unit’s different
teams have to address cross-cutting
research questions:
 What factors trigger outbreaks?
To answer this question, it is
necessary to study the ecological,
biological and genetic features of
the invasive species, characterize
the invaded ecosystems and their
dynamics, while also focusing on
the ‘agricultural practices’ concept.
 How do outbreaks and epidemics
develop? This involves studying
the functional traits of organisms
in relation to their environment
(quantitative genetics, modelling).

 How can pest risk management be
improved? The success of control
strategies is highly dependent on
having knowledge of interactions
between the environment and
human societies. Modelling and
geographical information systems
may be used to spatialize and map
the risk.
It is known that environmental
factors—especially climatic—have
an important role in triggering
outbreaks and in the development
of epidemics. Moreover, climate
change has a major impact on the
distribution of pest populations
and on the onset of epidemics. It is
crucial to foresee these phenomena
so as to be able to effectively manage
See an example of a project
co-coordinated by UPR B-AMR
on page 82

 Coffee agroforestry systems.

Climate change: impact and adaptation



 Bacterial canker on an apricot tree.

Towards sustainable
protection of vegetable
crops in a global change
The aim of research conducted
by the Plant Pathology research
unit (INRA) is to develop efficient
rational control methods to protect
plant health when high quality
sustainable crop production
is sought. They are focused on
bacterial, fungal and viral diseases
of fruits and vegetables grown in
the Mediterranean Basin.
The preventive methods developed
are prophylactic and based on:


 early efficient assessment
 sustainable management of
varietal resistance
 use of biological control agents
 disease forecasting based on
a clear understanding of the
pathogen biology and evolution
(including the epidemiology of the
diseases they cause).

Global Change’. One aspect of the
research carried out by this latter
platform is to project scenarios of
changes in agricultural landscapes
under the intensification of a set of
land-use stresses. It is thus possible
to assess the role of landscape in the
emergence and dissemination of
plant diseases.

Research carried out by the unit
is based on close partnerships
with agricultural development
stakeholders and on national and
international scientific cooperation,
and is hinged on two INRA research
platforms: ‘Integrated Horticultural
Production’ and ‘Adaptation to

See an example of a project
conducted by the UR Plant Pathology
on page 81. •••

 Insect nets protect crops but
modify the microclimate under the nets.

Studies on the use of
insect nets to control
arthropod pests of
vegetable crops were
carried out by the
HortSys research unit (see
page 73), in partnership:

 in Benin, with the Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin
and the Université d’Abomey-Calavi

 in Kenya, with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and
Ecology, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and Egerton

 in Tanzania, with the company AtoZ.
There were different sources of funding, including the United States
Agency for International Development and the Fondation Mutavie
(MACIF, France).

These studies demonstrated:
 that input treatments on cabbage and tomato crops could be
reduced by 70-100%
 that the insect nets were effective in protecting crops from
lepidopterans and delayed aphid and whitefly infestations, or even
halted them completely if combined with repellents. The ‘underthe-net’ ecosystem could nevertheless be disturbed by climate
change, so adaptations would be required.
Note that differences have already been observed between Kenyan
highland areas and Beninese lowland areas regarding the impact
on crop yields (via plant physiology effects) and the fungal disease
incidence, as shown in published HortSys studies on modifications in
the microclimate under the insect nets.
Contact: Éric Malézieux,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

© HortSys

Designing better regulated
vegetable cropping systems


Climate change & interactions between organisms

Management of crop
pathogens in global change
conditions and reduction
in pesticide treatments
Research carried out by the joint
research unit Biology and Genetics
of Plant-Parasite Interactions (UMR
BGPI – INRA, CIRAD, Montpellier
SupAgro) is focused on agriculturally
important pathosystems, with
the aim of controlling diseases of
crops grown mainly in tropical and
Mediterranean areas.
These agroecosystems are subject to
pathogen infestations (established
or introduced) that could have
major economic impacts on crops.
Such infestations could further
increase with trade globalization,
climate change and the reduction
in pesticide use. UMR BGPI is also
striving to gain insight into biotic
interactions by combining studies
on different scales ranging from
the gene to the landscape in order
to contribute to the development
of innovative sustainable farming
The unit conducts research
that combines mechanistic and
population approaches with the aim
of describing and understanding
the emergence and development of
fungal, bacterial and viral diseases.
 Spatial distribution of black Sigatoka, a banana leaf disease
caused by the ascomycete fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis, in
Summary of positive spots detected between 20/09/2010 and 16/09/2011.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Study of epidemiological processes of insect-borne diseases


Part of the research carried out by the Plant Epidemiology and
Vector Transmission team (UMR BGPI) is aimed at gaining insight
into the dissemination process of plant diseases transmitted by aerial
vectors. The challenge is to develop models to quantify, explain and/or
simulate epidemics associated with model pathogens:

The epidemiology of these diseases is partly based on biological
parameters (population dynamics, lifecycle, feeding behaviour, etc.) of
the associated vectors. Global warming cannot be considered as a
neutral factor in this setting although it is currently not a major line of
research for UMR BGPI.

 plum pox—a quarantine disease caused by the Plum pox virus

This abiotic parameter—by favouring or not the establishment of
vectors in cropping areas and wild pathogen reservoirs—indirectly
impacts the emergence, installation and propagation processes of
diseases that the unit studies. Moreover, this variable should ultimately
be taken into consideration in the design of risk assessment models
to manage plant diseases such as those being developed by UMR

(PPV), a potyvirus that is transmitted in a non-persistent manner by
many aphid species

 European stone fruit yellows—a disease caused by Candidatus
Phytoplasma prunorum, a phytoplasm that is transmitted in a
persistent manner by the psyllid (Cacopsylla pruni)

 wheat dwarf—a disease caused by the Wheat dwarf virus (WDV),
a mastrevirus that is transmitted in a persistant manner by
leafhoppers of the Psammotettix genus.

Contact: Emmanuel Jacquot,
For further information:

 The pointed snail Cochlicella acuta, native
to Mediterranean and Atlantic regions of
France, was introduced in Australia, where it
has an invasive behaviour.
© F. Welter Schultes

The CSIRO European Laboratory
(Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organisation)
focuses research on the delivery of
ecosystem services for Australian
agriculture and the environment
generated through the introduction and
release of exotic beneficial organisms.
On the one hand, it is widely recognised
that, under future climatic conditions,
the impacts of invasive species on
agricultural production, biodiversity
and ecosystem function are likely to
On the other hand, there is a need to
maximise soil carbon sequestration
and storage to mitigate climate
associated increases in atmospheric
carbon. The introduction of certain
invertebrates that are recognised
ecosystem engineers could increase soil
carbon, at least in extensive agricultural
The research conducted in Montpellier
aims to tackle both of these issues
in the context of regionally scaled

changing climatic patterns
across Australia, as projected by
internationally recognised CSIRO
climate models.
Pest management is the primary
ecosystem service we are working
towards increasing. Australia, as
is increasingly evident globally, is
under significant ecosystem change
driven by biological invasions.
As parts of the continent become
drier, invasive alien species from
the Mediterranean will increasingly
spread into currently productive
temperate climate regions,
reducing agricultural production
and disrupting the resilience of
associated native ecosystems.
To curb this process, research is
being undertaken into the natural
enemies of such species in the native
Mediterranean range. The aim is to
ensure effective delivery of targeted
pest management through biological
control services via the selection,
risk assessment and release of such
biocontrol agents into Australia in
order to mitigate further impacts
of such widespread pests and
weeds. The team is currently
focusing on Mediterranean snails

and perennial leguminous weeds of
extensive grazing systems and natural
woodlands in southern Australia.
The second ecosystem service the
CSIRO European Lab is working to
enhance is soil carbon sequestration
and storage. Dung beetles are widely
recognised as effective ecosystem
engineers that return carbon
belowground and improve soil
conditions for water storage. CSIRO is
working on the selection, rearing and
risk assessment of several European
dung beetle species to be able to more
effectively provide such services in
Australia under both Mediterranean
and temperate climatic conditions.
Australian pastures and rangelands
have been significantly modified
for grazing industries. Dung beetles
adapted to utilising livestock dung
currently not present in Australia are
ideal ecosystem engineers to improve
carbon storage in such modified
landscapes. Through their release and
action, such ecosystems will be better
adapted to cope with future climate
change impacts associated with these
services. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Biological control for
Australian agriculture
and the environment


Climate change & interactions between organisms
 Asian longhorn beetles
(Anoplophora glabripennis)
are invasive in North America
and Central Europe.


Biological control
for American agriculture
and the environment

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Changing global climatic conditions
can thus affect the invasiveness of
these species, while also altering
the effectiveness of their biological
control agents. Climatic changes

 Olive fruit fly
(Bactrocera oleae).

in the Eastern Hemisphere can
likewise affect the distribution of
target plants and arthropods in their
‘native’ ranges, which is important
to understand in order to be able to
find well-adapted effective biological
control agents.
Geographically based climatic
analysis is typically carried out early
in each project: 1) to evaluate the
known and projected distribution
of the target in USA, and 2) to select
regions in Eurasia to explore in
order to find well-adapted biological
control agents. Plants that are
currently studied include giant reed
(Arundo donax), yellow starthistle
(Centaurea solstitialis), Russian olive
(Elaeagnus angustifolia), French


The European Biological Control
Laboratory (EBCL) of the USDA/
ARS (United States Department of
Agriculture/Agriculture Research
Service), located on the Agropolis
Campus, conducts research on
the biological control of invasive
arthropods and plants. As many
of the target species are originally
from Europe, Asia or Africa, EBCL is
exploring this region for prospective
biological control agents to use in
USA. The geographical distribution
and extent of invasiveness of each of
these target species is affected by a
variety of environmental conditions,
including seasonal precipitation and
temperature patterns.

broom (Genista monspessulana),
Russian thistle (Salsola tragus),
medusahead rye (Taeniatherum
caput-medusae) and Ventenata
grass (Ventenata dubia). Invasive
insects include Asian and citrus
longhorned beetles (Anoplophora
glabripennis, A. chinensis), the olive
fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae), stink
bugs (Bagrada hilaris, Halyomorpha
halys), Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) and
cattle fever ticks (Rhipicephalus
annulatus). Research is also being
conducted at EBCL field station in
Thessaloniki (Greece) on the effects
of climate on mosquito populations,
including the Asian tiger mosquito
(Aedes albopictus), and West Nile
virus transmission.

Influence of environmental
change on host/pathogen
interactions responsible
for epidemics/epizooties
The joint research unit HostPathogen-Environment Interactions
CNRS) conducts studies on different
interacting biological systems
involving invertebrate species of
concern in the following fields:
 medical and veterinary (molluscschistosome interactions)
 aquaculture (oyster-pathogenenvironment interactions)
 ecology (coral-pathogenenvironment interactions).
The IHPE research unit develops
integrative approaches that take
environmental parameters affecting
these interactions into account
at different scales, ranging from
molecular mechanisms to population
and evolutionary integration. Its
research is thus at the crossroads
of functional biology, population
biology, ecology and evolution.
Over the last decade, IHPE has
acquired substantial expertise,
ranging from environmental
genomics (‘omic’ approaches)

to ecology, bioinformatics and
epigenetics in order to fulfil these
objectives. It is also supported by
technical platforms set up at its two
sites in Montpellier and Perpignan
(France). The regionally-funded
TECNOVIV platform in Perpignan,
for instance, thus recently acquired
technological and human resources as
part of its high-throughput sequencing
data analysis activity. It can now
comprehensively and exhaustively
process large-scale (meta)genomic
and transcriptomic datasets on
hosts and their microorganisms or
associated parasites.

These include, for example, two ANR
projects carried out in collaboration
with Agropolis laboratories:
 An analysis of behavioural
manipulation by a virus in a host/
parasitoid interaction (ANR Blanc
Bodyguard, coordinated by UMR
 A study on the mechanisms of
coral adaptation to fluctuating
environments (ANR Bioadapt
‘Adaptive processes in cnidarians:
integrative study of the response
to thermal stress and climate
change, from genes to populations’,
in collaboration with ISEM).

Global changes and increased
host and pathogen population
movements have serious impacts on
the emergence or re-emergence of
epidemics, as well as epizootic and
zoonotic diseases. Several projects
carried out by the IHPE laboratory
concern processes by which these
environmental changes affect host/
pathogen interactions from genome
to ecosystem levels. This research
is based on the integration of
many approaches via partnership
collaborations with other laboratories.
These partnerships recently yielded
both national and international

UMR IHPE also participates in the
‘Microorganism-Host Interactions’
network coordinated by the
University of Montpellier. •••

(Re)emergence of schistosomiasis
in a global change setting

Moreover, indigenous cases of schistosomiasis have been reported
for the first time in Corsica, where the average river temperature
has increased by 1°C. The parasite emerged very recently in this
region (2011), and IHPE showed that it is actually a hybrid population
between Schistosoma bovis, an animal parasite, and Schistosoma
haematobium, the causative agent of human urinary schistosomiasis.
The persistence of an adult phase in a reservoir host and the capacity
of change of the host—via behavioural changes or hybridization
between closely related species—make this a zoonotic pathogen
whose range is affected by global change.

 The mollusc Bulinus truncatus, an intermediate host
of Schistosoma haematobium, was detected in three river
in southeastern Corsica.

UMR IHPE has set up multidisciplinary projects (funded by WHO,
ANR and the European Commission) that combine eco-epidemiology,
genome-wide analysis and functional studies to manage this issue.
More multidisciplinary approaches are indeed essential to gain
greater insight into the risk factors involved in the (re)emergence of
schistosomiasis and to enhance its control.
Contact: Jérôme Boissier,
For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Global change (changes in the range of the mollusc vectors,
movement of infected populations) is prompting the emergence or
even re-emergence of this disease in several regions worldwide. In
Oman, for instance, where new cases of acute schistosomiasis have
been detected, a new Schistosoma mansoni population was identified
by the IHPE laboratory. It seems that a chronobiological modification
has enabled this parasite to adapt to the presence of crepuscular
rodents that serve as reservoir hosts.

© A. Théron

Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a human parasitic disease endemic to
tropical and subtropical countries. According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), this disease affects around 200 million people
and causes 250 000 deaths a year. The causative agent, a flatworm of
the Schistosoma genus, has a complex life cycle involving two aquatic
larval phases, an intermediate mollusc host and a final vertebrate host
in which it achieves its sexual reproduction.


Climate change & interactions between organisms

French Guiana—linkages between the evolution
of Buruli ulcer and climate change
Little is known about the route of transmission of Mycobacterium
ulcerans, the mycobacterium causative agent of Buruli ulcer, the third
world ranking mycobacterial disease of humans after leprosy and
tuberculosis. No historical (time-series) data has been available so far on
the prevalence of this skin disease to enable a biomathematical study of
the dynamics of Buruli ulcer cases. In particular, it was unknown whether
there are seasonal variations in cases of this disease.
Through a study carried out by UMR MIVEGEC on Buruli ulcer cases
in French Guiana since 1969, evidence of marked seasonal patterns
between March and April in this territory was reported for the first time.
This seasonality is influenced by the environment either because of the
presence of reservoirs or vectors-hosts whose numbers increase during
this period or because the environment is especially favourable for the
microbe at this time of the year (e.g. dry wetlands increase the risk of
exposure to this persistent microorganism).
This study also revealed, for the first time, a longer term impact of the El
Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomenon, which disrupts rainfall patterns in
this area, thus leading to changes in wetland habitats through drying. The
result is that these areas are used to a greater extent by humans (e.g.
hunting or fishing), in turn leading to greater exposure to the microbe.
This study, which was carried out in French Guiana within the framework
of LabEx CEBA (Center for the Study of Biodiversity in Amazonia),
thus highlights the possibility of an increase in Buruli ulcer cases
associated with climatic conditions that have prevailed in recent years.
This means that climate change—by generating habitat and ecosystem
modifications—contributes to increasing the number of infections by this
Contact: Jean-François Guégan,
For further information:

 Wetland areas like this one in French Guiana
are favourable habitats for the bacterium that causes
Buruli ulcer.
R. Gozlan © IRD

Environmental change
and infectious diseases

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The joint research unit Genetics
and Evolution of Infectious Diseases
focuses studies on complementary
topics regarding evolutionary ecology
and the control of infectious agent
transmission—direct or indirect, via
vectors or reservoirs.


The unit’s scientific research fields
include ecology, evolution, genetics,
infectious diseases and public health.
As infectious agents or their vector or
reservoir hosts may depend heavily
on the bioclimatic conditions, the
research teams take the issue of
global environmental change—
particularly climate change—into
account to gain insight into and

predict the expansion (expected or
probable) in the range of infectious
human or animal diseases.
MIVEGEC’s research may be divided
into several organization levels
regarding the living world:
 ecosystem (including physical,
biological and socioeconomic
 host (vertebrates and
invertebrates) and pathogen
(viruses, bacteria, parasites)
populations, with their
phenotypic, genetic, evolutionary
and life history traits
 pathogens (from genetic and cell
biology viewpoints)
 relationships between different
system components (hostpathogen or genome-genome

MIVEGEC conducts research in many
parts of the world: Bolivia, Benin,
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon,
Thailand, Vietnam and French
overseas regions (French Guiana, New
Caledonia, Réunion).
The MIVEGEC community is also
highly involved in training and
educational activities in Montpellier
(UM), elsewhere in France and

 A cattle breed in Burkina Faso.

Environment and human and
animal trypanosome diseases
The joint research unit Host-VectorParasit-Environment Interactions in
Neglected Tropical Diseases caused by
Trypanosomatidae (UMR InterTryp –
CIRAD, IRD) conducts research on
sleeping sickness and Chagas disease
in humans, animal trypanosomiasis
and leishmaniasis. InterTryp
develops methods to prevent and
control these neglected diseases,
while adapting to the constraints of
developing countries. The research
aims to enhance knowledge on the
parasite-vector-host triad while
taking the climatic, ecological and
socioeconomic factors into account.

The unit is thus developing a unique
approach, that is: (i) common to
humans and animals, (ii) integrated
by taking all components of the
parasite transmission cycle into
consideration, and (iii) based on
issues encountered in the field.
The UMR is focusing particularly
on studies of cattle-trypanosome
interactions and of adaptive traits
that some West African cattle breeds
have developed. These breeds
are able to tolerate trypanosome
infections and are remarkably
well adapted to the especially
harsh agroecological environment
(extremely high temperatures,
drought with a major shortage of

grazing resources). A study on the
neutral and adaptive genetic diversity
of tropical breeds is thus being
carried out in close collaboration
with the INRA Animal Genetics
Division and with other partners in
developing countries, such as the
Centre international de recherchedéveloppement sur l’élevage en zone
sub-humide (CIRDES) in Burkina
Faso. InterTryp is also participating,
along with INRA and UMR SELMET,
in a project on the adaptation of
cattle breeds to Mediterranean
See an example of a project
in which UMR InterTryp
is a partner on page 82. •••

How can we explain the distribution of malaria in Amazonia? Why
are there heavy outbreaks some years when the river waters are
rising rather than when they are falling, as is usually the case? Why is
leishmaniasis so virulent at the border between Pará and Maranhão in
Brazil? What impacts will climate change have on vector-borne disease
distributions in Amazonia? How will new dams under construction,
such as that on Xingu river, change the environment and increase the
risk of new disease outbreaks?
The answers to these complex questions may be found in datasets
describing the environment and society on scales ranging from the
mosquito to state jurisdiction.

Epidemiological threats in Amazonia should be correlated with global
warming and the creation of large-scale territorial development
infrastructures. Brazilian and French researchers have designed the
Regional Epidemiological Landscape Amazon Information System
(RELAIS) project, mainly in partnership with UMR ESPACE-DEV
(see page 20) and MIVEGEC, to gain further insight into these risks.
These researchers are from very different backgrounds, ranging from
molecular biology to remote sensing, entomology, medicine and
anthropology. Together they will strive to better understand processes
involved in interactions between the environment and human health.
Contact: Laurent Durieux,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

RELAIS project and epidemic risks in Latin America—
gaining insight into interactions between the environment
and human health


Climate change & interactions between organisms

© H. Guis

 Bluetongue propagation parameters.
Each map shows variations (between the 1961-1999 reference period and
the 2000-2008 period) in a specific parameter associated with bluetongue
transmission in ruminants: (a) biting rate, (b) mean extrinsic incubation period
(i.e. time required for the vector-ingested virus to make the vector ‘infective’ at the
next blood meal), (c) vector mortality rate, and the (d) vector/host ratio.

 Variations in the bluetongue transmission risk.

© H. Guis

Each spatial map shows variations in the disease transmission risk over given
periods between 1961 and 2008. Reference period: August to October.
Map (a): Mean R0 for the 1961-1999 period.
Maps (b) to (f): Variations (in % and per decade) relative to the reference value for
the 1961-1999 period.

Assessment of the impact of climate
on the risk of bluetongue transmission in Europe
Variations in the basic reproduction ratio (R0, corresponding to the
transmission risk) of bluetongue were assessed for past and recent
(1960-2008) and future (up to 2050) periods using a set of 11 climate
models. These assessments were conducted using models of the
effect of temperature on the biting rate, vector abundance, length of
the extrinsic incubation period and the vector mortality rate. These
spatial models generated risk maps and enabled assessment of the
uncertainty associated with these simulations.
The results suggest that the risk has increased and will continue
doing so in the coming years, and also that different mechanisms are
involved in southern and northern Europe.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Animal and zoonotic
disease monitoring
and management


The joint research unit Emerging
and Exotic Animal Disease Control
conducts integrated research aimed
at improving monitoring and
forecasting of the risk of animal and
zoonotic disease emergence and
dissemination, thus optimising their
prevention and control. This research
focuses on interactions between
pathogenic microorganisms, their
domestic and wild hosts, and vectors
of these pathogens.

The following partners collaborated in this research project: CIRAD
(via AGIRS, CMAEE and TETIS research units), University of Liverpool
(UK) and the Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria
(Spain). Funding was from the following European projects:
ENSEMBLES, CIRCE, NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)
and the Leverhulme Trust (UK).
Contact: Hélène Guis,
For further information:

The unit takes both environmental
and socioeconomic factors into
account as well as global change
(including climatic). Research
carried out by CMAEE aims to
describe and characterise:
 the factors that determine the
emergence of pathogens, their
transmission and dissemination
 infectious processes and the
dynamics of vector populations.
The analyses implemented in
these operations are conducted on
molecular to population scales.

The scientific strategy is based on
three themes:
 Disease and vector dynamics
 Disease and vector control
 Forecasting risks and surveillance.
Within these three themes, the unit’s
teams are striving to permanently
combine research and surveillance
on the focuses of the research, i.e.
emerging or enzootic diseases in
developed and developing countries
(vector-borne or direct transmission)
and some zoonotic diseases.

 Capturing a buffalo in Zimbabwe.
© D. Cornélis

Managing animal health
to mitigate epizootic
disease risks

out on various AGIRS study sites
in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa,
Madagascar and the Mediterranean

The aim of the research unit Animal
and Integrated Risk Management
(UR AGIRS – CIRAD) is to
understand, predict and manage
health risks associated with domestic
and wild animals in developing
countries in a changing global setting
(environmental simplification,
biodiversity loss, urbanization,
deforestation, trade globalization
and global warming). A large body
of methods are used to achieve
this: descriptive epidemiology,
ecology, geomatics, biostatistics,
health geography, anthropology,
quantitative epidemiology and
modelling of complex systems.

The first approach aims to identify
factors that determine the behaviour,
as well as the spatiotemporal
patterns, of animal diseases (zoonotic
or not) that have marked health and
economic impacts. These diseases
may be emerging, endemic, vectorborne or directly transmitted (avian
influenza, foot-and-mouth disease,
tuberculosis, African swine fever, Rift
Valley fever, etc.). These diseases—by
the mortality, morbidity or decreased
milk or meat production that
they cause—weigh heavily on the
economy and subsistence capacity of
small family livestock farms.

Two complementary approaches
are jointly implemented within the
programmes and projects carried

The second approach is focused on
the functioning of socioecosystems
in which hosts (wild and domestic

animals, humans, i.e. farmers and/
or consumers) and pathogens
coexist. The aims are to assess the
animal and public health risks and
develop methods for managing
these risks (monitoring and control)
that are tailored and optimised for
the targeted socioecosystems. It is
essential to be ready to react quickly
upon the emergence of an epizootic
disease to ensure efficient control
of animal diseases. Meeting this
challenge is crucial in developing
countries where resources (specific
expertise, funding, computer tools,
etc.) are limited.
AGIRS has close collaborations
with many partner research and
development institutes in France and
in developing countries (Africa and
Asia) while also being involved in
several international networks. 

The necessary adaptation of health strategies and policies in
response to climate change is part of a broader setting of global
change concerning increased demand for animal products and their
trade globalisation, as well as the impact of many key environmental,
socioeconomic and climatic factors on human and animal health. These
contextual elements boost the risk of the emergence, spread and
maintenance of parasitic and infectious animal and zoonotic diseases.
Through adaptation measures, it is therefore essential to increase the
resilience of livestock production and health sectors against climatesensitive diseases.

This adaptation requires disease prioritization, risk assessment,
and risk reduction methods (monitoring, prevention and control),
supported by ad hoc legislation under a ‘one health’ approach.
Research conducted by AGIRS is hinged on all of these dimensions.
The unit focuses specifically on optimising monitoring through
research projects in Southeast Asia and Europe.
Contact: François Roger,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Health strategies and policies under climate change


Climate change: impact and adaptation

 Agricultural landscape
in the Western High Atlas region of Morocco.
V. Simonneaux © IRD

Climate change
& agricultural and livestock
production systems

World agriculture (crops and livestock) plays a dual role
in this setting. First this activity accounts for almost 12%
of global GHG emissions (around 70% of non-CO2 GHG
emissions, especially methane) which therefore have to be
reduced, while at the same time it must adapt to climate
Several issues make this a particularly delicate adaptation.
First, it should not take place at the expense of the
production function. The growing world population,
the persistence of malnourished people and the recent
food riots in the most vulnerable countries, combined
with agricultural price volatility, have pushed food and
nutritional security to front stage. Secondly, crop varieties
are the result of a long domestication process associated
with human needs and with abiotic (climate, soil) and
biotic (pollinators, symbiont microorganisms, pests and
diseases) environmental constraints. The rapidly changing
weather conditions, including water and thermal regimes
could have a substantial effect on all of these constraints,
leading to breakdowns and bridling the adaptation
capacity. Finally, the resources that could be used to
regulate the production capacity, e.g. water for irrigation
or pesticides to stall the emergence of new diseases, are
in turn affected, subject to competing uses or severely
constrained by other issues such as environmental health
and preservation.

Current and future research challenges regarding the
adaptation of agriculture to climate change are thus
considerable—to design with and for farmers, especially
the poorest and most vulnerable, solutions that will help
them adapt to climate change, reduce the percentage of
agriculture-related GHG emissions, while maintaining or
increasing production. These three pillars are pivotal to
the climate-smart agriculture concept put forward by
FAO since 2010.
The research presented hereafter partially illustrates
the diverse scope of research carried out in this area
by research units members of Agropolis International:
genetic and evolutionary processes involved in the
adaptation of crops and livestock to climate change;
the impact of cropping and livestock production systems
on GHG emissions; characterization of the impact
of climate change on agricultural production in West
Africa; analysis and development of the climate change
adaptation capacity of different cropping and production
systems, etc.
This chapter ‘Climate change & agricultural and livestock
production systems’ has very close links with the other
chapters in this Dossier, from the standpoint of resources
and territorial development, plant and ecosystem
adaptations, and the evolution of interactions between
organisms triggered by climate change.
Global research, assembled in March 2015 in Montpellier
within the framework of the international scientific
Climate Smart Agriculture 2015 conference, will further
contribute to this debate and outline scientific fronts that
could help agriculture cope with the accelerating climate
change process. The role of agriculture in international
conventions, especially in the UNFCCC, could thus
be strengthened and further enhanced at the 21st
Conference of the Parties (COP21) of this Convention at
Paris in late 2015.
Jean-Luc Chotte (UMR Eco&Sols)
& Pascal Kosuth (Agropolis Fondation,
LabEx Agro)

Climate change: impact and adaptation


he IPCC Fifth Assessment Report unequivocally
concludes that global, ocean and surface
warming has been under way since 1950 and
states that is “extremely likely” that the human influence
is the main cause of the observed warming. The different
climate models used by IPCC, based on different
greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenarios, predict
an amplification of this warming trend—if emissions
continue to increase at the same pace as in previous
years, it is estimated that the global average temperature
will rise by between 2.6 and 4.8°C over the next century.
In order to mitigate the disastrous impacts of such a
scenario, the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has set a goal to limit
the global rise in temperature to less than +2°C relative
to the preindustrial era. This requires a substantial and
sustained GHG reduction.


Climate change
& agricultural and livestock
production systems
Developing research on plants
of agricultural interest, from
genes to production systems,
processing systems, and
issues that link society and

Main teams
LabEx Agro
Agronomy and Sustainable Development
IRSTEA/Montpellier SupAgro/UAPV/
1500 scientists
Genetic Improvement and Adaptation
of Mediterranean and Tropical Plants
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
176 scientists
Crop Diversity,Adaptation
and Development
75 scientists
UMR Eco&Sols
Functional Ecology & Bio-geochemistry
of Soils & Agro-ecosystems
(INRA/CIRAD/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
60 scientists

Climate change: impact and adaptation

UMR Innovation
Innovation and Development
in Agriculture and the Agrifoods Sector
(INRA/CIRAD/Montpellier SupAgro)
58 scientists


Laboratoire d’Écophysiologie des Plantes
sous Stress Environnementaux
(INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
15 scientists
Laboratoire d’étude des Interactions entre
Sol – Agrosystème – Hydrosystème
(INRA/IRD/Montpellier SupAgro)
27 scientists
and Plant Molecular Physiology
(INRA/CNRS/Montpellier SupAgro/UM)
47 scientists
…continued on page 71

LabEx Agro – Agronomy and
sustainable development
(Programme Investissements d’Avenir
2011-2019), supported by Agropolis
Fondation, pools a continuum of
multidisciplinary expertise (biological
science, engineering, humanities
and social science). This expertise is
internationally recognized regarding
many different plant species—
temperate, Mediterranean and
tropical—and production systems
and corresponding processing
The aims are to understand:
 ecophysiological functioning of
plants—genetic determinants in
cells, tissues and organs; processes
of adaptation to biotic and abiotic
 processes of crop plant
domestication, plant improvement
and agrobiodiversity management
 functioning, evolution and
adaptation of cropping systems
and production systems according
to climatic, environmental,
societal, technical, economic and
regulatory settings
 processes involved in food and
nonfood product processing and
the resulting quality
 social organization associated
with agriculture, and product
provisioning, food and health
issues regarding communities, land
and environmental management.
This knowledge is also mobilized to
benefit society for:
 streamlining production; plant
improvement and crop protection
against diseases and pests
 improvement of agroecosystems
under stress and management
of their impact on resources,
environments and biodiversity

 improvement of food and non-food
product quality
 formulation of public agricultural
and environmental policies.
LabEx Agro includes 37 research units,
1500 senior scientists, and 800 support
staff working within 12 institutions
(INRA, CIRAD, Montpellier SupAgro,
IRD, Universities of Montpellier,
Perpignan, Avignon and La Réunion,
AgroParisTech). It hosts 800 PhD and
postdoctoral students, and foreign
LabEx Agro is organized in five closely
linked scientific fields: (1) Genetics and
genomics, ecophysiology and plant
improvement; (2) Plant/microorganism
interactions, diseases and pests,
population ecology and integrated
pest management; (3) Agroecosystems,
resource management, environmental
impacts, agroenvironmental
innovations; (4) Agrifood systems,
processing and quality of food and
nonfood products; (5) Agriculture/
society interactions, innovation
processes and social management of
It acts by:
 supporting management of its
scientific community
 supporting research and higher
education projects in all of its
scientific fields (research fronts) or
on cross-sectoral issues involving
these different fields (future plant
phenotype building; sustainability
of crop and production systems;
agroecological transition;
integrated approaches to product
quality; evolution, adaptation and
sustainability of agricultural and
food systems, etc.)
 supporting the transfer of research
results to economic stakeholders,
especially via public-private
 showcasing the LabEx community to
enhance its international visibility
and attractiveness.

Cultivated landscape in the West Indies.

The Laboratoire d’étude des
Interactions entre Sol-AgrosystèmeHydrosystème (UMR LISAH – INRA,
IRD, Montpellier SupAgro) generates

Main teams
and Tropical Livestock Systems
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro)
42 scientists
Tropical and Mediterranean Cropping
System Functioning and Management
(CIRAD/INRA/Montpellier SupAgro/
22 scientists
Agro-ecology and Sustainable
Intensification of Annual Crops
60 scientists
UR HortSys
Agro-ecological Functioning
and Performances of Horticultural
Cropping Systems
26 scientists

knowledge for engineering cultivated
landscapes for sustainable water
and soil resource management. In
response to global change (climate
variations, new agricultural and
food needs, etc.), the research unit
contributes to the development of
cultivated landscape management
methods through streamlining of the
spatial organization of agricultural
activities (land use, soil and water
conservation practices crop rotations
and treatment practices, etc.) and
infrastructures (ditch networks, small
dams, embankments, etc.).
LISAH’s specific research objectives
are to:
 develop knowledge on mass
transfers and on the ecodynamics
of pollutants in soils and
catchments, while considering their
spatial and temporal organization
(natural or anthropogenic)
 develop tools for the assessment
and prevention of hazards caused
by human activities, regarding
changes in hydrological regimes
or in water and soil resources in
cultivated environments
 contribute to developing new
sustainable management methods
for cultivated landscapes

 train students on analysis and
modelling concepts and tools
regarding the spatial organization,
soil and hydrology of cultivated
LISAH manages the Mediterranean
Observatory of Rural Environment
and Water (OMERE) and is developing
the OpenFLUID software platform
to simulate flows in landscapes. In
this setting, the research is primarily
focused on Mediterranean cultivated
landscapes, and secondarily on
tropical cultivated landscapes. The
laboratory is thus involved in North
African countries with the support of
a network of partners:
 in Tunisia: the Institut National
Agronomique de Tunisie, the Institut
National de Recherches en Génie
Rural, Eaux et Forêts and the École
Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Tunis
 in Morocco: the Institut
Agronomique et Vétérinaire
Hassan II (IAV), the Institut
National de Recherche Agronomique
and the École Nationale Forestière
See and example of a project conducted
by UMR LISAH on page 11. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Cultivated landscape
engineering for sustainable
water and soil resource

© J.B. Charlier


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

The joint research unit Tropical and
Mediterranean Cropping System
Functioning and Management (UMR
SYSTEM – CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier
SupAgro, CIHEAM-IAMM) studies
the features of multispecies
cropping systems. It identifies the
management leeway to ensure
efficient sustainable management
of the different ecosystem services
that societies expect from agriculture.
Research conducted by UMR
SYSTEM is focused especially
on two themes:
 Studying properties associated
with plant diversity in cropping
systems. The association of
different plant species (annual
or perennial, herbaceous or
woody) within the same area
leads to competition for light
and soil resources. The aim is to
gain insight into the mechanisms
of this competition in order to
identify facilitation conditions to
ensure high overall productivity or
The structure and spatial
organization of these complex
systems govern the access to
resources and the provision of
different environmental services,
including soil protection and
water dynamics, regulation of
pathogenic, pest and beneficial
organisms, or biodiversity

© C. Dupraz

For multifunctional
and ecologically intensive
cropping systems

 Harvesting peas in an agroforestry
system at the Restinclières research
site (France).

Perennial cropping systems are set
up over long periods. The unit then
focuses on the dynamics of the
installation and growth patterns of
these species, and on the impact
of plant diversity on the stability
of their performance and on their
resilience towards climate change
and hazards.
 Designing ecologically intensive
and multifunctional cropping
systems. The unit studies
change scenarios regarding
cropping systems based on crop
diversification. These scenarios
are the focus of multicriteria
assessments through experiments
and prototype simulations carried
out in collaboration with the
stakeholders involved.

To support these technical changes,
the unit also takes changes in
the biophysical and technical
components of transitional
cropping systems into account. It
designs cropping systems adapted
to prevalent hazards. At the farm
scale, the unit studies ways in which
strategic choices and cropping
systems evolve and how they could
maintain their performances in a
climate, regulatory and economic
change setting, or via modification
of the techniques used (e.g. switch to
organic farming).

Impact of agroforestry development on greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change: impact and adaptation

A study carried out by INRA in 2014 (on behalf of the French
Environment and Energy Management Agency, the French Ministry
of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, and the French Ministry of
Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy) estimated the GHG
mitigation potential of innovative agricultural practices in France.
This included agroforestry (rows of trees planted in farm fields).


A review of the relevant scientific literature revealed that, in
20 years, carbon storage in biomass and soil may reach 3.7 t of
CO2 equivalent/ha/year. This additional carbon sequestration is from
storage in perennial plant biomass (which varies depending on the
fate of the timber produced) and organic matter recycling in the
soil. This study also accounted for other GHG emissions resulting
from the introduction and management of trees in agricultural
fields, as well as the cost of these operations and the so-called
Maximum Technical Potential Applicability (MTPA), i.e. the potentially
concerned agricultural area.

Two slow and limited dissemination hypotheses (between 4 and
10% of the MPTA by 2030) were considered regarding agroforestry,
which represents a major innovation for farmers. The analysis
highlighted that it is possible to introduce trees in crop fields
and still maintain the French agricultural production level. Under
these hypotheses, the study concluded that, in France, by 2030
agroforestry could allow “saving” carbon stocks by 1.5 million t
CO2e, for an approximate cost of €14/t of CO2e. This cost is
moderate in comparison to other initiatives considered in the study,
indicating that agroforestry is a priority agricultural practice that
should be politically promoted for the many environmental services
it can provide.
Contact: Aurélie Metay,
For further information:

 A flowering mango orchard in La Réunion.

Agroecology for innovative
sustainable tropical horticulture
The main aim of the research unit
Agro-ecological Functioning and
Performances of Horticultural
Cropping Systems (UR HortSys –
CIRAD) is to develop scientific bases
for the agroecological transformation
of horticultural systems (i.e. based on
ecological intensification principles) and
to contribute to designing innovative
sustainable horticulture cropping
Research on cropping systems applied
to tropical horticultural production
is a priority of HortSys. The aim is to
substantially contribute to applied
agroecological research and to the
development of sustainable tropical
horticulture. This specifically involves
designing new systems that are adapted
to climate change while also being
ecologically innovative. The unit also
provides support and training in this field
for its partners in developing countries.
HortSys has formalized its research
on cropping systems by focusing its
scientific investigations in two distinct
but complementary priority areas:
(i) the agroecological functioning
of horticultural systems, and (ii) the
assessment and design of horticultural
systems that address new economic,
ecological and health challenges.

The key hypothesis underlying
this research is that some
conditions regarding the
increase in plant biodiversity
in agroecosystems could lead
to natural regulation of pests
(soilborne or above-ground).
The team’s overall objective is
to gain greater insight into the
mechanisms involved in order
to explain, predict and quantify
the impacts of interactions
between biodiversity and crop
plants for enhanced pest control
and to facilitate the provision of
associated ecosystem services.

 The disciplines studied by
the ‘Assessment and Design
of Sustainable Horticultural
Cropping Systems’ team are
mainly systemic agronomy, but
also environmental and economic
assessment. Horticultural systems
are complex and varied and
have marked environmental
(frequent pesticide use) and
socioeconomic (high value-added
activities) impacts. The team’s
overall objective is to design
and implement local and global
methods for system assessment
(life-cycle assessment–LCA),
and methods to facilitate the
design of ecologically innovative
cropping systems (reduction
of pesticide use, biological
regulation, optimized biodiversity
management). Ecodesign requires
the assessment of agricultural,
environmental, economic and
social performances of the
systems, so it is a methodological
as well as scientific challenge.
See an example of a project
conducted by UR HortSys
on page 59. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

© UR HortSys

The unit is thus organized around
two research teams:
 The disciplines studied by the
‘Agroecological Functioning,
Interactions and Biological
Regulations in Horticulture
Systems’ team include agronomy,
ecophysiology, ecology,
entomology and phytopathology.
The team uses representative
model systems (shared with the
other team) to study exemplary
and contrasted situations from
the standpoint of economic and
scientific issues: mango orchards
in West Africa and La Réunion;
citrus orchards in West Africa and
Martinique; vegetable cropping
areas in Benin, Kenya, Senegal
and Martinique.


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

Remote sensing to predict yields and analyse
the impact of climate scenarios on agricultural production
A broad range of data, knowledge, tools and methods involving
many scientific disciplines—meteorology, climatology (global and
regional climate models), remote sensing, modelling and agricultural
statistics—are required to characterize the impact of climate
change and differentiate it from the effects of climate variability. The
problem is that these different types of information concern very
different spatiotemporal scales, e.g. plot to region, day to year, etc.
However, at the operational scale, spatiotemporal variability and
parametering have very substantial impacts on the predictive quality
of climate models. For instance, in Senegal, mean interannual yields
simulated by the SARRA-H (Système d’Analyse Régionale des Risques
Agroclimatologiques, Version H) crop model, using data generated by
nine regional climate models, showed significant bias (from 200 to
700 kg/ha).

variabilities (cultivated area, cropping system, phenology, biomass,
etc.) in order to generate descriptors to parameter the models
used for predicting yields, while analysing the impact of climate
scenarios on agricultural production. These studies are supported
by several projects (Programme National de Télédétection Spatiale;
Analyse Multidisciplinaire de la Mousson Africaine; Agricultural
Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project) along with
many institutes and partners (CIRAD, CNRS, INRA, IRD, CNES,
Contacts: Christian Baron,
Agnès Bégué,
Élodie Vintrou,
Louise Leroux,
For further information:

© C. Baron

These data may be compared to the mean 600 kg/ha yield
obtained using data from the ground station network. However,
the SARRA-H model clearly identified major trends concerning the
impact of increased temperatures on crop yields. Regarding the
Sudanian-Sahelian area, it thus seems that, beyond a 2°C increase in
temperature, increased rainfall would not prevent a decline in crop
yield, as photoperiodic varieties have a better capacity of adaptation
to such change.
UMR TETIS (see page 21) researchers are striving to enhance
documentation of these variabilities through a better combination
of spatiotemporal scales by seeking consistencies between satellite
imagery and modelling indicators. For instance, they are developing
national and regional maps that characterize cropping systems and
identify crop production anomolies associated with stresses affecting
crops. Based on objective, repetitive and comprehensive satellite
images, the aim of these studies is to characterize spatiotemporal
 Satellite data providing large-scale
information on land cover and temporal
variations relative to reference periods.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Sustainable annual crop
intensification in stressed
tropical environments


The research unit Agro-ecology
and Sustainable Intensification of
Annual Crops (UR AIDA – CIRAD)
conducts research on the sustainable
intensification of annual crop
production in tropical environments.
Its research adresses effective
uses of available resources for
crop production. The focus is on
optimising agro-ecological processes
within agrosystems through e.g.
integrated management of trophic
resources, integrated control of pests
and diseases and sustainable use of
genetic diversity of crops.
The unit develops a broad range of
methods and tools (e.g. crop growth
modelling and spatial information
analysis) for assessment of crop
production systems at different
spatial and temporal scales.

In collaboration with producers
and local stakeholders AIDA
seeks to co-design innovative
crop production systems and
technologies that are tailored to the
farming context and production
orientations of smallholder
farmers in developing countries
(e.g.conservation agriculture
based cropping systems, pest
control techniques for cotton and
AIDA also aims to document major
societal issues and fuel debates
on global food security, trade-offs
between agricultural production and
environmental quality, reduction
of greenhouse gas emissions,
conservation of water resources
and on interactions between agroecosystems, biodiversity and climate
See an example of a project
conducted by UR AIDA on page 18.

 A cotton producer in Burkina Faso.
K. Naudin © CIRAD

Ecological intensification
of livestock systems
The joint research unit
Mediterranean and Tropical
Livestock Systems (UMR SELMET –
CIRAD, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro)
develops alternative management
strategies that meet the challenges
of ecological intensification of
agroecosystems while maintaining,
or even improving, their capacities
to provide the ecosystem services
that societies expect from livestock
The unit has set three objectives to
fulfil this mission:
 To analyse and understand changes
in livestock agroecosystems and

their settings—under the many and
increasingly harsh constraints they
are facing, these agroecosystems
could show a capacity to adapt or,
instead, decline and pave the way
for other activities and livelihoods.
The aim is thus to analyse their
development trajectories, which
may also be driven by certain, and
usually economic, opportunities.
 To assess—in their biophysical and
biotechnical environments—the
production potential of livestock
and crop resources, according to
the prevailing opportunities and
constraints, in order to assess the
situations and develop innovations
regarding livestock agroecosystems.
These assessments are based on

 El Hammam region (Egypt): cropping
and grazing forage crops (Alexandrian
clover in winter and maize in summer) on
new land irrigated by the El Nars canal.
V. Alary © CIRAD

 To design—in collaboration with
concerned stakeholders— more
efficient systems in a setting
in which livestock systems are
increasingly constrained by their
environments. This involves
drawing up development strategies
that are sustainable from social,
economic and environmental
standpoints and that are in line
with ecological transition of
agriculture objectives. •••

Future of Mediterranean livestock systems

The challenge is twofold:

 to help farmers, local communities, researchers and policymakers
better understand and predict future livestock farming trends in
the Mediterranean region

 to set priorities, rules and policies that are better able to
perceive socioenvironmental issues related to demographic
and land pressure, in a setting of rising demand and changes in
international competition.

The main objectives of the CLIMED project are thus:
 identification and understanding of crop-livestock farming systems
to enhance resource use (water, soil, crop residue, grassland
fodder, etc.) and to achieve greater socioeconomic efficiency
(increased production to meet the rising demand for top quality
animal products)
 assessment of the adaptation capacities of these systems and
their extent of vulnerability and flexibility regarding current
pressures and changes
 assessment of the socioecological coviability and resilience of
these systems with respect to population growth and from a
historical perspective
 development of future scenarios and formulation of priorities for
the development of livestock farming in Mediterranean situations
so as to enhance the adaptation capacities of these systems.
The project will also—via the sharing of research methods and
databases—strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration between
different teams from several Mediterranean countries.
Contact: Véronique Alary,

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Livestock systems in the Mediterranean region must adapt to
a broad range of complex changes linked with the region’s past
and present history. The CLIMED project, conducted by UMR
SELMET and involving CIRAD, INRA, IRD, the Agricultural Research
Center (Egypt) and the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II
(Morocco), aims to gain insight into and assess the technical,
economic and socioecological viability of integrated crop-livestock
farming systems in the Mediterranean setting.


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

LACCAVE project
Adaptation to climate change in viticulture and oenology
The LACCAVE project aims to study the impacts of climate change on vines
and wine and potential adaptation strategies for French wine regions. It is
based on a systemic representation for the analysis of the wine sector in
order to analyse both the impacts of climate change (advanced harvest dates,
exacerbated water stress, wines with more alcohol and less acidity, etc.) and
the diversity of levers for potential adaptation. This analysis is performed
at several levels (plant, plot, farm, regional and wine sector) while focusing
specifically on regional levels where climate impacts differ and adaptation
strategies may be coordinated.

 Collaboration between researchers and wine growers
for the adaptation of vineyards to climate change
(here near Banyuls, France).

Coordinated by UMR Innovation in Montpellier and Écophysiologie et génomique
fonctionnelle de la vigne in Bordeaux (EGFV – INRA, Bordeaux University,
Bordeaux Sciences Agro), this project brings together 21 INRA research
units, 8 of which are located in Montpellier. Many initiatives are under way:
review of knowledge on climate change on a vineyard scale; studies on the
physiological and genetic basis of vine responses to climate change parameters;
analysis of innovations that could contribute to adaptation and conditions
for their implementation on local scales; studies on the costs of adaptation
to climate change impacts and on consumer willingness to pay for wines that
reflect these costs, etc. These initiatives feed a foresight study, conducted in
collaboration with FranceAgrimer that investigates adaptation strategies for
different French wine regions.

© E. Delay

Contact: Jean-Marc Touzard,
For further information: :

Changes in agricultural and
agrifood practices
and innovations
The joint research unit Innovation
and Development in Agriculture
and the Agrifoods Sector (UMR
Innovation – INRA, CIRAD,
Montpellier SupAgro) conducts
multidisciplinary research in France
and abroad on agricultural and
agrifood innovation processes to
address agroecological transition and
climate change adaptation issues.
This research concerns all processes
related to adaptation initiatives,
ranging from the analysis of
stakeholders’ motivations and aims

regarding innovation, to concrete
measures to implement the changes,
and the development effects induced
by these changes. The studies are
focused mainly on changes in
practices and innovations ‘in the
making’—they are potential levers
for adaptation to climate change
in the future. This work specifically
stresses the role of research and the
importance of building the capacities
of farmers to cope with these issues.

The research may focus on current
practices while taking climate
variability into account, or on the
need to mitigate the impacts of
climate change (effects on crop
yields and product quality). The unit
thus directly contributes to different
foresight studies on the adaptation of
agriculture to climate change.

The unit has expertise in agronomy
and social science, with perennial
crops (vines, cocoa, coffee, lavender,
etc.) and annual cropping systems
(rice, cereals, cotton, etc.) as topics of

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Co-design of climate-smart farming systems


Research on climate-smart agriculture aims to investigate
institutional changes (new support services, novel arrangements
between stakeholders, etc.), innovative practices (use of agroclimatic
information, precision irrigation, etc.) or long-promoted
agroecological practices (use of compost, crop associations, etc.),
while assessing them according to food security, adaptation and
GHG mitigation criteria. These studies are carried out by UMR
Innovation in collaboration with CIAT (International Center for
Tropical Agriculture, Colombia) in different countries (Burkina Faso,
Colombia, France) and include participative approaches involving
farmers. They aim is to co-design innovative strategies while
simulating their short- and long-term effects according to climatesmart agriculture criteria.

These simulations are combined with on farm experiments that
facilitate farmers’ appropriation of available solutions and their
implementation methods.
This research contributes to the development of new farmer
decision support tools. They help train public and private extension
services on current short- and long-term uncertainties, and
assessment of possible future scenarios via simulation tools.
Contact: Nadine Andrieu,

MACACC: on-farm testing of
adaptive management scenarios
The overall aim of the MACACC project (Modelling to Accompany
Stakeholders Towards Adaptation of Forestry and Agroforestry
Systems to Global Changes) is to define different adaptive
management scenarios and estimate farmers’ willingness to adopt
them. Three perennial crop plantations were selected for the case
studies on the basis of their economic importance, origin (tropical
or temperate area) and structure (single- or multi-layer, main crop in
upper- or under-storey): eucalyptus in Brazil, coffee in Costa Rica and
maritime pine in France.

In many cases the production of ecosystem services is beneficial for
adaptation. For instance, shaded coffee plantations provide various
ecological services, such as high biodiversity, soil protection, erosion
control, and carbon sequestration. This production of public goods
legitimates the use of external financial incentives to promote the
adoption of adaptation practices.

Ecological processes in soil—
the role of plants and soil
organisms regarding carbon
and nutrient flows
The joint research unit Functional
Ecology & Bio-geochemistry of Soils
& Agro-ecosystems (UMR Eco&Sols –
INRA, CIRAD, IRD, Montpellier
SupAgro) conducts research in
Europe (Montpellier, France), Africa
(Senegal, Burkina Faso, Congo,
Kenya, Madagascar), South America
(Costa Rica, Brazil) and Southeast
Asia (Thailand).
Eco&Sols conducts research involving
a functional ecology approach and
addresses the question of the role
of plants and soil organisms (roots,
soil fauna and microorganisms) on
coupled carbon and nutrient (mainly
nitrogen and phosphorus) flows in
soils and agroecosystems. Research
carried out in Mediterranean
and tropical areas can involve
agroecosystems, perennial tree
plantations, agroforestry areas or

 Coffee plants growing in the shade
of Erythrina poeppigiana trees.

B. Rapidel © CIRAD

A variety of systems already encourage producers to adopt a climate
change adaptation strategy, such as payment for environmental
services. However, environmental service production is mainstreamed
in a complex social, economic and institutional setting. Then it
is necessary to analyse the factors that determine producers’
participation in these conservation/adaptation initiatives. LAMETA
and MOISA economists are therefore seeking to highlight the
heterogeneity of producers’ preference for different features
of contracts offered within the framework of payments for
environmental services. This type of research highlights ways by which
conservation initiatives could be effectively implemented.
Contact: Julie Subervie,
For further information:

annual crops. Different agricultural
practices are tested, such as crop
associations (grasses/legumes,
genotype mixtures, mixed
plantations), low-input crops or
organic farming.
This approach is developed in the
framework of land-use and climate
changes. The aim of Eco&Sols
research is to develop practices
geared towards maintaining
and improving the agricultural
and environmental functions of
agroecosystems in a changing
environment (climate, land-use
Enhanced knowledge on the
biological functioning of soil
is required in order to develop
agricultural practices able to
promote ecological processes, this
 the role of organisms
(bacteria, fungi, rhizosphere
microorganisms, microfauna,
macrofauna), the impacts of their

trophic or non-trophic interactions
on nutrient (N, P) dynamics in soil
and on the bioavailability of these
nutrients for plants
 biogeochemical processes
that determine the nutrient
(N, P) acquisition, use and
recycling efficiency in low-input
 major factors and processes
regarding carbon production and
sequestration in agroecosystems.
Several types of land-use and
management methods are thus
assessed and modelled in terms of
their productivity, the ecosystem
services they provide and their
vulnerability to global change.
See an example of a project conducted
by UMR Eco&Sols on page 38. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Many published articles have dealt with the impacts of climate change
on agriculture, but there has been little coverage of other agricultural
economics issues. This is the case regarding an assessment of the
adaptation capacity of an agricultural system to climate change.
Economists are involved in a project of UMR LAMETA (see page 25)
and MOISA (Markets, Organisations, Institutions and Stakeholders
Strategies – CIRAD, INRA, CIHEAM-IAMM, Montpellier SupAgro) in
which these issues are studied using recent experimental economics
and microeconometric advances. The evaluation of adaptation
strategy sustainability should take interactions and feedbacks between
crop growth, resource availability and economic factors on the farm
scale into account. Models that simulate farmers’ decision rules
are thus required to explore potential strategies for adaptation to
environmental change.


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

The joint research unit Genetic
Improvement and Adaptation
of Mediterranean and Tropical
INRA, Montpellier SupAgro) brings
together a broad range of expertise
to form a major research cluster for
biology, ecophysiology and targeted
plant genetics research, including
agents from its supervisory bodies, as
well as from the Institut français de la
vigne et du vin and the Conservatoire
botanique national méditerranéen de
In a rapidly changing global
environment, the ability to produce
plant material adapted to a range
of different changing agricultural
conditions, and to new needs, is a key
priority. Genomics, informatics and
mathematical modelling open new
avenues for studying relationships
between genetic diversity, agronomic
behaviour and selection responses.
AGAP is working towards developing
plant material adapted to production
systems while taking climate change
factors into account.
The unit’s research is focused
on around 20 tropical and
Mediterranean plant species, with
four scientific objectives:
 understanding factors concerning
plant development and adaptation
to environmental constraints
 characterization and understanding
of genome organization and

J.C. Glaszmann © CIRAD

Genetic improvement
of Mediterranean and
tropical plants

 Rice varieties studied in
the laboratory at CIRAD
(Montpellier, France) in crop
biotechnology and genetic
resources research projects.

 study and management of
agrobiodiversity and related data
while taking different biological,
ecogeographical, spatiotemporal
and societal scales into account
 acquisition and mobilization of
knowledge to define ideotypes and
create innovative plant material.
The unit is structured in three
thematic areas:
 Diversity and genomes,
domestication, environments,
societies: studying population
responses to environmental
constraints and understanding
the evolutionary dynamics
of agrobiodiversity from a
spatiotemporal standpoint
enhances the development of
diversity management strategies;
understanding genome organization
and diversity in turn enables
assessment of their impact on the
transmission and expression of
genes and traits of interest.

 Functioning of plants and stands: in
a climate change and environmental
constraint setting, the aim is
to highlight and analyse the
physiological, molecular, genetic,
epigenetic and environmental
control of traits of interest, especially
mechanisms of adaptation to abiotic
and biotic constraints.
 Integrative approaches for varietal
innovation: advances in integrative
biology, the increased availability
of ‘high-speed’ data and simulation
tools offers new opportunities for
defining ideotypes and optimising
plant improvement schemes to
obtain innovative plant material,
combining stress resistance and
product quality.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Plant adaptation to climate change—study of genetic
and evolutionary mechanisms involved in phenological changes


It is now clear that climate change affects many biological and
ecological processes, with consequences ranging from major
phenological changes to modifications in species’ ranges. Gaining
insight into and predicting the impact of climate change on the genetic
and phenotypic diversity of crop plants and related wild forms are
major challenges, especially for developing countries where human
communities rely primarily on conventional rainfed cropping systems.
In order to progress on these issues, it is essential to have a clear
understanding of the genetic architecture of adaptive traits as well
as the adaptive trajectories of natural and artificial plant populations
subjected to changing environmental conditions.
To meet these objectives, UMR AGAP uses high throughput
methods for the analysis of nucleotide polymorphism and study
genotype/phenotype and genotype/climate interactions of the

original populations so as to detect genomic regions involved in
plant responses to climatic heterogeneity. This research, developed
in close collaboration with UMR DIADE, involves methodological
studies in population genomics and experimental approaches focused
on four species: two rice species (Oriza sativa and Oriza glaberima),
millet (Pennisetum glaucum) and Medicago truncatula, a model species
for legumes genetics and genomics. The flowering date is the target
adaptive trait studied because it is a key plant fitness and seed yield
The diversity studied encompasses spatial (species range) and
temporal (monitoring and sampling over time at the same site)
climatic gradients. This research is conducted under the ARCAD
Contact: Joëlle Ronfort,

© Projet ARCAD

Adaptation of millet to drought
Millet and sorghum are two cereal crops that are widely grown in Sahelian
dryland regions. These regions have, however, experienced a series of
droughts since the 1970s. How have these crop varieties adapted and
what genes are associated with these adaptations? The Agropolis Resource
Center for Crop Conservation and Adaptation (ARCAD) project is
addressing these two questions as part of a collaboration between UMR
DIADE, AGAP and the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey (Niger). It is
supported by funding from ANR and Agropolis Fondation.
These studies highlighted the evolution of millet varieties in Niger between
1976 and 2003 on the basis of field sampling experiments carried out
during these two periods. At these two times, spontaneous selection of
an allele of the phytochrome C gene was found to have occurred—this is
one of the genes that mediates variation in the millet cycle. These results
provide direct solutions that are especially relevant now since current
forecasts indicate that the rainy season in the Sahel could be reduced by
10-20% in the future. Gaining insight into natural mechanisms of genetic
adaptation could thus help identify strategies of adaptation to future
climatic conditions.
Contact:Yves Vigouroux,

 The high diversity in millet varieties is
an asset for the adaptation of this crop to climate
variability in Niger.
 A coffee plot in La Réunion where
UMR DIADE studies the impact of climate
on seed development and coffee quality.

Genomics for enhanced
adaptation of crops
to their environment
Research conducted by the joint
research unit Crop Diversity,
Adaptation and Development
(UMR DIADE – IRD, UM) aims
to gain insight into the nature
and role of structural and functional
diversification mechanisms: (i) of
the genome of tropical plants, and
(ii) of their populations, during
speciation and adaptation to natural
environmental variations
or human-induced changes.

The unit’s studies are generally
based on comparisons of model
plants (rice, Arabidopsis, tomato,
poplar) and species of agricultural
or ecological interest (coffee,
casuarina, yam, maize, palm,
millet). Analyses are focused on
different levels, ranging from the
cell to the species complex.

UMR DIADE thus studies:
 fine regulation of key genes of
 control of developmental
 evolutionary history of gene
 molecular determinants (genes
or gene networks) of phenotypic
variations in traits of agricultural
or ecological interest
 genome dynamics and plasticity
and population dynamics
and diversity in response to
ecological, human (genetic

diversity structuring, adaptation
to environmental change,
domestication) or biological
(genomic shocks) factors.
This functional and evolutionary
biology research integrates tools
and concepts of modern genomics.
These have radically altered
the scientific understanding
of how genomes and heredity
mechanisms function, and also
the way genotype and phenotype
contributions are now assessed. •••

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The research relies primarily on
expertise in genetics, epigenetics,
development biology, physiology,
systematics and evolution. Other
approaches such as modelling,
remote sensing and ecology are also
integrated in some collaborative


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

Models for tailoring crop management to climate change
Hard to overcome experimental problems may arise when
analysing crop management methods and developing climate
change adaptation strategies, especially for crops with complex and
highly developed canopies. This is the case for vines, where many
conventional management methods could be gradually replaced by
systems that are better adapted to future climatic conditions. The
concepts underlying current practices thus require reassessment by
incorporating the impacts of thermal and hydric constraints when
designing the systems.
A LEPSE team combined several models to address this issue—
one reconstructs the vine canopy structure, another distributes
radiation in this architecture, while the last predicts the adaptation
in the photosynthetic capacity of leaves according to the light
microenvironment. This calculation chain dynamically simulates
carbon assimilation and leaf transpiration according to the local
microclimate perceived by the leaves.

The parameters were adjusted for different canopy architectures
in large assimilation chambers in the vineyard. Simulations were
carried out for various management methods and they confirmed
that the overall photosynthesis performances were closely linked
to the quantity of absorbed radiation. They thus highlighted, and
quantified for the first time, the key role of the self-shading rate
of the different canopy structures on the water-use efficiency. This
approach will enable in silico assessment of vine cultivar-management
strategy combinations better adapted to future climate scenarios
expected in the different wine growing areas.
This study is the result of a collaboration between French
(INRA Domaine de Pech-Rouge research unit at Gruissan, France)
and Argentinian (Estación experimental agropecuaria de l’Instituto
Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria — INTA) scientists.
Contact: Éric Lebon,

 Simulation of the quantity of radiation
intercepted under different vineyard management
methods during a sunny day.
Narrow espalier (VSPh), broad espalier (VSPl), lyre-shaped, single
screen (SC), free cordon (LSW). PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux
density): amount of solar radiation above the crop (dashed lines)
and amount intercepted by the plants (solid lines) according to the
solar time (Time).

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Physiological responses of
plants to drought and high
varieties adapted to climate


The Laboratoire d’Écophysiologie
des Plantes sous Stress
Environnementaux (UMR LEPSE –
INRA, Montpellier SupAgro)
primarily aims to help find the
most stress-tolerant, efficient and
economic varieties for tomorrow’s
agriculture. It analyses and models
genetic variability in plant responses
to a range of environmental
conditions, especially drought and
high temperatures. Knowledge
gained through this research is
injected into models incorporating
genetic and environmental variability
to predict the behaviour of genotypes
and species under current or future
climate conditions.
The LEPSE environmental ‘Stress
and Processes Involved in the
Control of Growth’ research team
conducts studies to identify the
factors determining plant capacities
for adaptation to drought and heat

stress. It tests hypotheses on the
model species Arabidopsis thaliana—
which shows high natural or artificial
genetic variability, as characterized
using molecular techniques—
combining ecophysiology,
quantitative genetics, physiology and
molecular biology approaches along
with modelling.
The ‘Efficiency of Transpiration and
Adaptation of Plants to Dry Climates’
research team aims to identify
genetic and agronomic levers for
improving water-use efficiency in
vineyard systems subject to abiotic
constraints. Genetic variability
in tolerance to drought and high
temperatures is then assessed via
the development and use of models
simulating plant transpiration
and water status, as well as
photosynthetic activity from the leaf
to the canopy scale.
Studies on cereals carried out
by the ‘Modelling and Analysing
Genotype by Environment
Interactions’ research team aim to
identify the effects of gene alleles
on important plant functions (leaf

growth, reproductive development,
transpiration) according to
environmental conditions. The aim
is to develop tools (models) that can
be used to determining combinations
of favourable alleles within a given
climate scenario. The researchers
thus model the studied functions,
analyse genetic variability in the model
parameters and incorporate everything
in crop models that are then tested in
the field.
LEPSE is a pioneer in the development
of automated phenotyping platforms,
which are effective in exposing large
collections of genotypes (varieties,
lines, accessions) to controlled
environmental stress, while
measuring (often through imaging)
their growth or development. These
platforms are also used to study gene
expression and functions at different
organizational levels—from the cell
to the whole plant—under controlled
environmental conditions.

this system in response to abiotic
constraints are also studied, along
with metabolic aspects associated
with mineral applications, their
assimilation or toxicity.

The joint research unit Biochemistry
and Plant Molecular Physiology
Montpellier SupAgro, UM) focuses
on studying mechanisms that govern
the hydromineral status of plants
under different abiotic conditions.
This research includes disciplines
such as biochemistry, molecular and
cell biology, physiology, biophysics
and genetics, while relying primarily
on studies of the Arabidopsis plant
model. The laboratory has recently
participated in systems biology
programmes involving mathematical
modelling approaches.

Several research themes of B&PMP
are focused directly on climate
change impacts. Overall fresh water
shortages and repeated droughts
are two of the most serious threats
associated with climate change,
even in temperate areas. Moreover,
the excessive levels of CO2 which
cause these changes reduce the
capacity of plants to take up nitrate
or use certain micronutrients like
iron or zinc. These phenomena
could significantly reduce yields of
crops and their nutritional qualities.

The B&PMP research unit is
recognized worldwide for its studies
on plant cell transport activities
(membrane transport proteins and
channels) and its physiological
analyses on mineral nutrition.
In addition, the laboratory’s
research programmes are focused
on perception and signalling
mechanisms that enable plants to
adapt to environmental constraints
(water stress, salt stress, mineral
deficiencies, metal toxicity). Root
system development processes
and morphological adaptation of

B&PMP has all of the scientific
and technical expertise required
to analyse physiological and
genetic mechanisms involved
in plant responses to these new
environmental constraints. The
unit’s studies will help develop
unique phenotype screening
procedures for crop improvement
or for new cropping practices so
as to offset the negative impacts of
climate change on crops.

C. Maurel © B&PMP

Adaptation of plants to
environmental constraints—
from perception to molecular
and physiological responses

 Genetic screening
of plants with
nutrient perception
and assimilation

See an example of a project
conducted by UMR B&PMP
on page 18. •••

Impact of agricultural practices
on the local microclimate and
on plant diseases

Via the MISTRAL project, the presence of high diversity in genetic
strains (pathogenic and nonpathogenic) was highlighted for several
phytopathogens, especially for the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae.
This bacterial species, which is also known for its ice nucleation
properties and ability to disseminate in the troposphere and within
the cloud layer, is an interesting focus of study because of its link to
the hydrological cycle—it is involved in key atmospheric rain-making
This team is striving to enhance insight into the bioprecipitation cycle
in which ice nucleation microorganisms such as P. syringae are at the
interface of plant cover/atmosphere exchanges.

 The bioprecipitation cycle—interactions between vegetation
and atmospheric processes via
microorganisms associated with plants.
(Morris et al., 2014. Global Change Biology 20: 341-351).

This research is aimed at assessing the extent to which agricultural
practices—through crop varieties, their spatial organization in the
landscape and crop protection treatments—are levers for drought
mitigation on a regional scale and for plant health protection.
Contact: Cindy Morris,
For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

The MISTRAL team conducts studies on the ecology of
phytopathogenic microorganisms that disseminate in air and water,
while also managing an interdisciplinary international network on
adaptation to climate change.

© C. Morris

‘Microbiology of Agroecosystems: Translational Research from
Pathogen Life Histories’ (MISTRAL) is the name of a research project
and the team that conducts it in the Plant Pathology research unit
(see page 59).


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

Genetic basis of adaptation of local cattle breeds
in the Mediterranean region
©Corsica Vaccaghji

This project will enhance knowledge on local cattle breeds in the
Mediterranean region so as to come up with conservation solutions
and determine ways to cope with the impacts of global climate
This project is based on three types of collected data regarding local
Mediterranean breeds:

 genotypes obtained using a bovine 50K SNP (single nucleotide
polymorphism) chip

 soil-climate data
 information obtained through several surveys and questionnaires
on breeding systems and on breeders’ views regarding climate
adaptation in livestock.

 A Corsican cattle breed—one of the Mediterranean
breeds studied in the GALIMED project.

The GALIMED research project—through a multidisciplinary approach
combining population genetics, soil-climate studies and production
system surveys—studies the genetic basis of the local cattle breed
adaptation in the Mediterranean region. The specific aims of this
project are:

to genetically characterize 19 Mediterranean cattle breeds
to study their environment and their different breeding systems
to describe the covariation between these different factors
and to identify footprints of selection in their genome associated
with environmental adaptation.

The 19 cattle populations in the study were all sampled, genotyped
and genetically characterized (e.g. through a principal component
analysis and unsupervised hierarchical clustering). Previously obtained
genotypes of 20 cattle breeds representative of the three main
bovine groups, i.e. European taurine breeds, African taurine breeds
and zebus, were used. This exploratory analysis identified the genetic
proximity between breeds in the Mediterranean Basin.
Moreover, climatic data for the study areas and information on the
different breeding systems were also collected. Four in-depth surveys
focused on Moroccan, Corsican, Italian and Egyptian breeds are
currently under way. A joint analysis of genetic and environmental
data will represent the main outcome of this project.
The GALIMED project is supported by the joint research unit
Génétique Animale et Biologie Intégrative (INRA, AgroParisTech), in
collaboration with UMR InterTryp (see page 65) and SELMET and
12 other partners in the Mediterranean region. This project is funded
by the INRA metaprogramme ‘Adaptation of Agriculture and Forests
to Climate Change’.
Contact: Laurence Flori,
For further information:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Helping farmers in East African highlands to adapt to climate change


The 4-year R&D project ‘Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem
Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa’ (CHIESA) focuses
research on agriculture, hydrology, ecology and geomatics. This
project aims to overcome the lack of knowledge on the impacts
of climate change on food security, livelihoods and on the economic
development of communities living in highland East African
ecosystem hotspots.

By getting local communities to participate in their research, the
project stakeholders will thus develop, test and disseminate climate
change adaptation tools and propose options and production
strategies that are relevant at the farm level. The project is thus
improving existing monitoring and forecasting systems by installing
automatic weather stations and it disseminates the scientific results
to all stakeholders—from farmers to decision makers.

CHIESA’s activities are focused especially on three ecosystems:
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Taita Hills in Kenya and Jimma
Highlands in Ethiopia. In these three hotspots, the teams monitor
the meteorological conditions and detect changes in vegetation
and those associated with land use. They also study pest pressure,
ecosystem services, the food security concept, along with biophysical
and socioeconomic factors that impact crop yield.

UR B-AMR (see page 58) manages the ‘coffee’ component of the
CHIESA project, while the overall project is coordinated by the
International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) based
in Nairobi (Kenya) and it is funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign

The research and training initiatives strengthen the capacities of
research organizations, extension agents and decision makers
involved regarding environmental research and climate change
adaptation strategies.

Contacts: Régis Babin,
Fabrice Pinard,
For further information:

A global agricultural research
partnership for a future
without hunger
CGIAR, a Consortium of
15 international agricultural
research centers, is dedicated to
reducing rural poverty, increasing
food security, improving human
health and nutrition, and ensuring
sustainable management of natural
resources. CGIAR centers conduct
research in close collaboration with
hundreds of public and private

International partners
based in Montpellier
CGIAR Consortium
External Laboratory Without Walls
of the Empresa Brasileira
de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Brazil)
External Laboratory Without Walls of
the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología
Agropecuaria (Argentina)

organizations, including national
and regional research institutes,
organizations of civil society, academic
institutions and the private sector.
These centers generate and
share demand-driven knowledge
and approaches for agricultural
development through multipartner
research programmes, known as
CRPs (CGIAR Research Programs).
Based in Montpellier (France), the
CGIAR Consortium Office maintains
close relations with members of the
Agropolis community and beyond
with French and European partners.
The multidonor CGIAR Fund supports
research conducted by these centers
through research programmes. As a
cross-cutting issue, climate change
finds relevance across all the work of
Coordinating research efforts on
climate change adaptation among
CGIAR centers and partners is one
of the key responsibilities of the CRP
on Climate Change, Agriculture and
Food Security (CCAFS), while also
collaborating with other CRPs. CCAFS
structures its coordination effort

around four interlinked global
research flagships, all of which
have a climate change adaptation
 Climate-smart practices—to
test and scale up technologies
and practices that are needed
to build adaptive capacity and
food security with mitigation
 Climate information services
and climate-informed safety
nets—to deliver improved farmer
advisories, better management of
safety nets and enhanced design
of weather-indexed insurance.
 Low-emissions agricultural
development—to develop and test
incentive mechanisms, policies
and metrics for low-emissions
pathways that benefit both
mitigation and adaptation.
 Policies and institutions for
climate-resilient food systems—
to address adaptation and food
security policies, largely at the
national level but also up to the
global level, including modelling,
scenario assessment and
governance work. •••

Coordinated research to foster the adaptation
of global farming systems to climate change

On another continent, the International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Center (CIMMYT) recently launched the ‘Dissemination
of climate-smart agro-advisories to farmers in CCAFS benchmark
sites of India’ in four villages in the north of the country. Farmers thus
receive information on their mobile phones that helps them adopt
climate-smart technologies that could mitigate risks associated with
climate change.
In another area, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in
collaboration with other global partners, leads the ‘Climate Change
Affecting Land Use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of Rice-based
Cropping Systems’ (CLUES) project. The aim of the work is to
alleviate constraints on farmers’ ability to adapt to an altered Mekong
hydrological regime resulting from climate change.

Improved practices are also being promoted, such as alternate
wetting and drying (AWD)—a water management technique that
reduces water use by 15-30%, lowers GHG emissions, whilst
maintaining yields. Other initiatives include the development
and dissemination of varieties adapted to local environmental
conditions—rice cultivars with improved tolerance to submergence
and salinity are, for instance, are developed at IRRI. At the
International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a cowpea
germplasm catalog has been collated to strengthen the genetic
diversity and support the development of more resistant germplasm
that can better cope with drought, pests and diseases stresses.
Furthermore, outputs from CGIAR research centres also
demonstrate the progress being made in affecting wider policy
change. The work of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture
(CIAT) on climate change impacts on small-scale coffee production
has aided the Nicaraguan government in the creation of a National
Adaptation Plan for Agriculture. This plan includes measures for
adapting smallholder coffee farmers’ livelihoods to climate change
and diversifying coffee-based incomes. The plan attracted major
investment from the International Fund for Agricultural Development
(IFAD)—some US$24 million—to help coffee and cocoa farmers
adapt to climate change.
Contact: Alain Vidal,

 Field work under the Roots,
Tubers & Bananas CRP in East Africa.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Coordination work carried out
under the CCAFS program has
stimulated cooperation and
generated positive results. For
example, the program has brought
together scientists to collaborate
with the national meteorological
er © CIAT
services of several African countries to
produce and disseminate climate information at a scale that is relevant
to rural communities. In Senegal, for instance, seasonal and 10-day
forecasts are broadcasted on community radio stations in 14 local
languages throughout the rainy season. The advisory bulletin, which
initially started as a small pilot project, is now estimated to reach over
two million people.


Climate change & agricultural and livestock production systems

 A cultivated landscape in Brazil.
© Katia Pichelli/EMBRAPA

Promoting agriculture with a
low carbon footprint in Brazil
Laboratory Without Walls of
EMBRAPA (Empresa Brasileira de
Pesquisa Agropecuária), based in
Montpellier on the Agropolis campus
for over 10 years, is a gateway to
European research for Brazilian
Knowledge-based natural resource
management is a prerequisite for
sustainable efficient agriculture,
providing a unique opportunity
for development in harmony with
environmental conservation.

Agriculture thus becomes a
solution—not a problem—when
biodiversity and environmental
conservation are taken in to full
account. Over the last 40 years, crop
yields and agricultural areas have
increased by 4% per year (200%
overall!) and 30%, respectively.
Agricultural technology development
has increased intensive agricultural
land use, thus preserving 60% of all
land in Brazil, which is now classified
as biology reserves, natural parks
and indigenous land. The Lowcarbon Agriculture Program that
has been under way for 4 years in
Brazil has provided the necessary

funding and incentives for farmers
to adopt sustainable agricultural
practices and technologies. The
Brazilian agricultural research
system, coordinated by EMBRAPA
and including over 70 universities
and agricultural research institutions,
is developing agricultural
intensification practices, which
are sustainable from technological
and political standpoints, to boost
productivity while generating
environmental services. Research has
thus contributed to the development
of alternative forest protection
policies and practices, leading to
a reduction in deforestation in the
Amazon region.

Strengthened collaborations with Brazil through EMBRAPA LABEX
Through EMBRAPA LABEX, three Brazilian researchers have been
hosted by Agropolis research units, contributing to the sustainable
natural resource management theme:

Climate change: impact and adaptation

 Dr. José Madeira joined the Laboratoire d’étude des Interactions Sol,


Agrosystème et Hydrosystème (UMR LISAH) to study the hydrology
of cultivated environments. His work involved modelling interactions
between agricultural practices and environmental indices through
model development and validation and the development of
vegetation indices for crops with a discontinuous canopy (vineyards,
orchards, etc.). Image analysis data, obtained in collaboration with
UMR TETIS, were used in this research. The developed models
describe water flows and the impact of management practices in
microcatchments where intensive agricultural land use is under way.

 Dr. Geraldo Stachetti Rodrigues was hosted by the Performance
of Tree Crop-Based Systems research unit (CIRAD) to carry out
an impact study and develop integrated system indicators for
environmental management of rural activities. The team used an

integrated approach to assess palm oil according to international
environmental certification standards and senso strictu sustainability
criteria. This research was aimed at developing indicators for tree
crop-based systems: ecological integrity, economic vitality, social
equity of rural production activities geared towards promoting
local sustainable development. This work consolidated the partners’
scientific advance with respect to agricultural sustainability.

 Remote sensing and image analysis methods are now essential tools
for agricultural and land-use monitoring. Dr. Margareth Simões
integrated the joint research unit Spatial Information and Analysis
for Territories and Ecosystems (UMR TETIS) to study land use and
land cover dynamics assessment for a sustainable agriculture. The
results will generate reliable tools to support public policymaking
during the crucial transition from extensive agriculture to an
ecologically intensive model.
Contact: Claudio Carvalho,

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
by livestock farming in Argentina
LABINTEX is currently developing, in collaboration with UMR
Herbivores (INRA, VetAgroSup) at Clermont-Ferrand (France) and
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) at Edinburgh (Scotland, UK), a joint
research project (JRP) on the theme ‘Environmental sustainability
of intensified grazing livestock systems’. These units contribute to
training INTA technicians on methods for measuring enteric methane
emissions in grazing livestock. The aims of this JRP are to evaluate
these enteric methane emissions, develop technology for GHG
mitigation and study a systemic approach, at the rural farm level,
regarding the GHG mitigation technologies applied.
In accordance with the JRP recommendations,
assessments of enteric methane emissions
were carried out in different agroecological
regions of Argentina. Hence, in 2014, SRUC
provided Argentina with instruments and
technical equipment for the measurement
of these emissions, and advised INTA on

the installation of two gas exchange chambers at experimental
stations located in temperate and subtropical regions of the country.
As a member of the Global Research Alliance, Argentina also
participates—via INTA within the Livestock Research Group—in
the FONTAGRO project, which aims to adjust inventoried GHG
estimates regarding livestock in Latin America.
Contact: Daniel Rearte,

 INTA develops
backpacks for cows, which
capture methane to be
transformed into green

LABINTEX External Laboratory
Without Walls of INTA (Instituto
Nacional de Tecnología
Agropecuaria/Argentinian National
Institute of Agricultural Technology),
based in Montpellier on the Agropolis
campus for 3 years, is a gateway to
European research for Argentinian
researchers. One of its four priority
themes concerns technologies for
environmental conservation and
sustainable management. More
generally, INTA focuses primarily on
natural resource conservation and the
environmental, economic and social
sustainability of agriculture.
The agricultural sector is the
backbone of the Argentine economy,
providing 9.5% of the national GDP.
Globally, Argentina is the top exporter
of soybean flour, the 2nd exporter of
maize, sorghum, sunflower oil and
honey, the 3rd exporter of soybeans,
the 4th exporter of lemons and the
5th exporter of beef. In a setting
of increased global demand for
food (especially animal products),
population growth, urbanization
and increased overall revenues, and
taking the necessary adaptation of
the agricultural sector to climate
change into account, it is essential
for the country to sustainably boost

its food production capacity. In order
to take up the economic opportunity
offered by the international market,
Argentina especially needs to boost
its beef and veal production capacity.

animals has decreased. The more
digestible livestock feed has increased
productivity, thus indirectly leading
to a reduction in the intensity of
enteric methane emissions.

In addition, growing demand for
cereals and oilseed products over
the last two decades has led to a
marked increase in the area devoted
to these crops. This phenomenon,
combined with constraints imposed
by national deforestation policies,
caused a 15 million ha reduction in
the livestock farming area over the
last 15 years. Production has thus
been intensified so as to maintain
a consistent supply of beef, with a
switch from 100% pastoral systems
to systems supplemented by cereal
and fodder inputs and, in some cases
the animals are even enclosed in
fattening pens prior to slaughter.

In collaboration with Empresa
Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária
(EMBRAPA, Brazil) and the
Instituto Nacional de Investigación
Agropecuaria (INIA, Uruguay), INTA
is studying issues regarding the
adaptation of livestock farming to
climate change and GHG mitigation
in pastoral livestock systems.
Beef exports represent a major
component of the economies of
these three countries as well as that
of Paraguay—together these four
countries produce a fifth of all bovine
livestock in the world—a figure that
clearly indicates how important it
is to mitigate GHG emissions from
livestock worldwide. 

As a result of these changes, the
reproductive performance of
cattle herds have improved, the
weaning rate has increased and
the proportion of non-performing

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Promoting the environmental
sustainability of livestock
farming systems in Argentina


List of acronyms
and abbreviations
ANR French National Research Agency / Agence Nationale de la Recherche
BRGM French Geological Survey / Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières

French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission /
Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives

International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies – Montpellier
CIHEAM-IAMM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute / Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques
Méditerranéennes – Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier (France)

Agricultural Research for Development / Centre de coopération internationale en recherche
agronomique pour le développement (France)

CNES National Centre for Space Studies / Centre National d'Études Spatiales (France)

National Center for Scientific Research /
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)

CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
EQUIPEX Équipement d'Excellence (French projects)
EMA École des Mines d'Alès (France)
EMBRAPA Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation / Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária
ENSCM École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier (France)
EPHE École Pratique des Hautes Études (France)
EU European Union
GHG Greenhouse gas

French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea /
Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer
National Institute for Agricultural Research /
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France)
National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research /
Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (France)


National Institute of Sciences of the Universe /
Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers (France)


Institute of Agricultural Technology /
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (Argentina)

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IRD Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France)
National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture /
IRSTEA Institut national de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et
l'Agriculture (France)
LabEx Laboratory of Excellence
L-R Languedoc-Roussillon Region (France)
OSU Observatory for Science of the Universe / Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers (France)
R&D Research and development

University of the French West Indies and Guiana /
Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (France)

UAPV Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse (France)
UM Université de Montpellier (France)
Climate change: impact and adaptation

UMR Joint research unit / Unité mixte de recherche


UMS Joint service unit / Unité mixte de service
UNîmes Université de Nîmes (France)
UPMC Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France)
UPVD Université de Perpignan Via Domitia (France)
UPVM Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier (France)

Université de la Réunion (France)
or Research unit / Unité de recherche

USDA/ARS United States Department of Agriculture / Agriculture Research Service (USA)
USR Service and research unit / Unité de service et de recherche
UVSQ Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France)

This document was published
with the support of the French government
and Languedoc-Roussillon Region.
Member organizations and partners
of Agropolis International involved in this Dossier
Agropolis Fondation
CGIAR Consortium
Montpellier SupAgro

Director in Chief: Bernard Hubert
Scientific Coordination: Sandra Ardoin-Bardin (IRD),
Nicolas Arnaud (CNRS), Sophie Boutin (UM),
Jean-Luc Chotte (IRD), Philippe Jarne (CNRS),
Pascal Kosuth (Agropolis Fondation),
Philippe Lebaron (UPMC), Éric Servat (IRD)

Communication: Claudine Soudais, Nathalie Villeméjeanne
Layout and Computer Graphics:
Olivier Piau (Agropolis Productions)
Translation: David Manley
Participated in this issue: François Affholder, Véronique Alary,
Nadine Andrieu, Sandra Ardoin-Bardoin, Nicolas Arnaud,
Andrée Avogadri, Régis Babin, Christian Baron, Olivier Barrière,
Éric Blanchart, Jean-Louis Bodinier, Jérôme Boissier, Aurélie Botta,
François-Yves Bouget, Sophie Boutin, Yvan Caballero,
Claudio Carvalho, Tiphaine Chevallier, Jean-Luc Chotte,
Christian Cilas, Pascal Conan, Marc Corbeels, Pierre Couteron,
Laurent Dagorn, Gauthier Dobigny, David Dorchies,
Robin Duponnois, Laurent Durieux, Katrin Erdlenbruch,
Frédérique Espinasse,Bruno Fady, Jack Falcón, Denis Fargette,
Laurence Flori, Richard Franck, Grégoire Freschet, Patrice Garin,
Christian Gary, Denis Gautier, Alain Givaudan, Catherine Gonzales,
Jean-François Guegan, Hélène Guis, Katell Guizien,
Stephan Hättenschwiler, Serge Heussner, Nathalie Hodebert,
Marie Hrabanski, Alexandre Ickowicz, Frédéric Jacob,
Emmanuel Jacquot, Philippe Jarne, Richard Joffre, Anne Johannet,
Mireille Jourdan, Fabien Joux, Carole Kerdelhue, Pascal Kosuth,
Franck Lartaud, Pierre-Éric Lauri, Philippe Lebaron, Éric Lebon,
Nadine Le Bris, Grégoire Leclerc, François Lefèvre, Thierry Lefrancois,
Thérèse Libourel, Bruno Locatelli, Éric Malezieux,
Jean-Christophe Maréchal, Sébastien Mas, Christophe Maurel,
Philippe Méral, Aurélie Metay, Agnès Mignot, Guillaume Mitta,
Jérôme Molénat, Hervé Moreau, Cindy Morris, Behzad Mostajir,
David Mouillot, Krishna Naudin, Claire Neema, Didier Peuze,
Daniel Rearte, Pierre Renault, Sandrine Renoir, Éric Rigolot,
François Roger, Ophélie Ronce, Joëlle Ronfort, Jacques Roy,
Denis Ruelland, Bertrand Schatz, Jose Serin, Georges Serpantié,
Éric Servat, Andy Sheppard, Frédéric Simard, Lincoln Smith,
Michelle Stuckey, Julie Subervie, Marcelino Suzuki, Olivier Thaler,
Didier Tharreau, Patrice This, Thierry Thomann,
Jean-Philippe Tonneau, Ève Toulza, Jean-Marc Touzard, Julie Trottier,
Olivier Turc, Valérie Verdier, Anne-Aliénor Very, Alain Vidal,
Yves Vigouroux, Nathalie Volkoff
we thank all contributors to this Dossier
and Photothèque INDIGO, IRD.
Printing: Les Petites Affiches (Montpellier, France)
ISSN: 1628-4240 • Copyright: February 2015
Also available in French

July 2012
68 pages (2nd edition)
English / French

August 2011
68 pages
English / French

March 2012
72 pages
English / French /

October 2012
48 pages
English / French

February 2013
48 pages
English / French /

October 2013
76 pages

December 2013
72 pages

February 2014
64 pages
English / French /

Dossiers d’Agropolis International
The Dossiers d’Agropolis International series is a deliverable of Agropolis International that is
produced within the scope of its mission to promote expertise of the scientific community.
Each Dossier is devoted to a broad scientific theme, and includes a clear overview that is a ready
reference for all laboratories and teams associated with Agropolis International that are conducting
research on the target theme.
This series is meant to boost the awareness of our different partners on the expertise and
potential available within our scientific community, but also to facilitate contacts for the
development of scientific and technical cooperation and exchange.

Climate change: impact and adaptation

Scientific Writing and Editing: Édith Rolland,
Isabelle Amsallem (Agropolis Productions)

Twenty dossiers published in the same collection, including:

Agropolis International Coordination: Mélanie Broin


For further information:

1000 avenue Agropolis
F-34394 Montpellier CEDEX 5
Tel.: +33 (0)4 67 04 75 75
Fax: +33 (0)4 67 04 75 99

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