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Coastal ecosystem ecology and functioning

Coastal ecosystems provide many services to an increasing human population, but their intensive use modify the conditions for marine life. This course is devoted to understand, in an integrated manner, the functioning of coastal ecosystem, detailing processes that are involved. The course focuses on the functional ecology of coastal ecosystems. We will use the diversity of benthic habitats in the Mediterranean Sea to study the drivers that control coastal ecosystem functioning and sustainability. The course is at the interface between ecology and biogeochemistry. The processes studied and the new practical competencies are transferable to other benthic environments: deep benthic environments (hydrothermal, cold seeps ...), mangroves ..but also pelagic ones (ex. use of fatty acid biomarkers to study food webs,…).


Course Contents

•  Introduction to coastal ecosystems: their diversity and particularities

•  Integrated view of main biogeochemical and biological processes in coastal environments

•  Comprehensive understanding of coastal sediment ecology: properties, functioning and

•  relationship between the organisms and the sediments

•  Comprehensive understanding of the role of benthic organisms on carbon cycling (engineer •  species)

•  Knowledge of the methods for the study of benthic processes

Final Competencies

1  Students will understand what are the main processes that govern marine ecosystem functioning in coastal waters.

2  Students will understand how marine organisms affect these processes.

3  Students will understand how to study the bentho-pelagic coupling in coastal ecosystems.

4  Students will understand how to use these new competencies to manage and protect marine coastal environments.

5  Students will have acquired transferable tools for: Designing and performing mesocosm experiments.


Further course information can be found here: