Le Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement de Polynésie Française (CRIOBE)


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The Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etude (EPHE) was created in 1868, with the objective to introduce research into the University world and to become a model for training. Over time the EPHE has been known through some of the most famous scientists known worldwide such as Emile Benveniste, Teilhard de Chardin or William Henry Waddington to mention only a few. Nowadays the EPHE is labelled as an «Etablissement public à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel» (http://www.ephe.sorbonne.fr/). It is made up of 3 sections of which one is the «Life and Earth sciences» and 3 institutes of which there is the «Institut des Récifs Coralliens du Pacifique». The central office of EPHE is based in Paris with several antennas in the countryside and a centre in French Polynesia dedicated to coral reef studies. Infact EPHE has oriented research on coral reefs since the 60’s and established a research station in French Polynesia in 1971. This was the earliest involvement of France into the science of coral reef ecosystems. Since 1971, things have changed and the group is now based on the campus of the University of Perpignan (since 1989) and at a centre in French Polynesia called CRIOBE (Centre de Recherches Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement) presently known and recognized worldwide. In fact in a special edition on coral reefs by ISI Web of science in 2004 (http://esi-topics.com/coralreef/inst/c1a.html), our research group was ranked as #10 regarding the number of citations and as #5 regarding the number of publications on an analysis covering the 10 past years and including worldwide institutions.

The Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory is a field station for French as well as international researchers. Located in Moorea, French Polynesia, the CRIOBE is connected with the Practical School of High Studies and is part of the CNRS French marine stations national network. The CRIOBE’s scientific activities are focused on applied and fundamental research, education and training (Thesis and master’s degree student’s internships) and information (press articles, awareness rising, science fair). Research is mostly focused on the Polynesian coralline ecosystem but may also concern ground insular topics related to the previous. The center is directed by Serge Planes, Research Director at the CNRS and studies Director at the EPHE. Several permanent employees are in charge of the maintenance of the buildings and equipments and are welcoming the researchers and technicians coming for specific projects.

Mission of CRIOBE is supported in by 3 pillars.

  • Observatory of the coral ecosystem in the South Pacific.
  • A hosting and promotion center for research on island (marine and terrestrial) environments and societies in the South Pacific.
  • One entity for awareness and dissemination around the coral ecosystems and any other environmental issue that could affect them.

CRIOBE has an important interest in and contribution to the MER MSc, as associated partner. Coral reefs are decreasing rapidly and present global change, in this case we use global to mean both increases in demography and climate change, is adding even more pressure to coastal ecosystems that already face direct use from human populations. We target most of our effort in promoting Doctoral schools at Universities from French overseas territories.

  • Added value: The participation of CRIOBE as associate partner will allow to boost the small Universities in the South Pacific (e.g. French Polynesia University, University of South Pacific) and favour their development. CRIOBE wish to promote international co-tutored PhD’s and also allocate some funding for overseas exchanges, MER MSc holders are suitable candidates for these purposes.