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Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography

Explore and Understand the Ocean !


The MIO research laboratory is a component of the OSU-Pytheas Institute and is under the joint direction of Aix-Marseille University, Toulon University, the CNRS and the IRD. Our goal is to better understand the oceanic system and its evolution in response to global change. The MIO constitutes a center of expertise in marine biology, ecology, biodiversity, microbiology, halieutics, physics, chemistry, biogeochemistry and sedimentology. Our working environment is the world ocean, alongside its continental, atmospheric and sediment interfaces. We strive for an ocean environment with a future !

Areas of Intervention: Arctic, Antarctic, North & South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Vietnam, Pacific
Staff working at the M.I.O
Challenges, 5 technical shared services, 5 transverse technical platforms and 3 technical platforms (CEM Team)
Public and private partnership contracts since 2012
Theses defended since the creation of the MIO


Oceanographic Cruises

GreenEdge : Expedition
The MOBYDICK cruise

The Sargasso Program respond to a major concern of the populations of the French West Indies, who have been repeatedly confronted, since 2011, with brown tides followed by considerable strandings. This has catastrophic consequences for wildlife and florebenthics as well as for human health and activities. Our scientists then set out on expeditions to take samples and carry out analyses to learn more about these brown algae.


The overall objective of this research project is to understand the dynamics of the PSB and determine its role in the Arctic Ocean of tomorrow, including for human populations.


The OUTPACE oceanographic campaign took place from February 18 to April 3, 2015 in the Pacific Ocean aboard the N/O L'Atalante.

The objective of this project is to provide a zonal description of biogeochemistry and biological diversity in the tropical southwest Pacific along a nutrient availability gradient, and to produce a detailed study of organic production and its future in 3 contrasting sites, with particular attention to production supported by nitrogen fixation.


The objective of MOBYDICK is to study the links between the biological carbon pump and the structure of the food web. To solve this problem, MOBYDICK proposes a new approach by considering the entire food web, from microbes to top predators, and by studying the poorly studied relationships between biogeochemical flows and biodiversity. The data set needed to test the hypotheses proposed in MOBYDICK will be acquired during an oceanographic survey off Kerguelen Island (Southern Ocean).


The PEACETIME oceanographic cruise is scheduled in the western and central Mediterranean from May 10 to June 11, 2017. The purpose of this expedition is to study the critical processes induced by atmospheric deposition, in particular Saharan dust, occurring at the air-sea interface in the Mediterranean.


The EMSO ANTARES site, located at 2500 m depth offshore Toulon is part the European EMSO-ERIC infrastructure and EMSO France Research Infrastructure (European Multidisciplinary Subsea Observatory-European Research Infrastructure Consortium). The EMSO ERIC aims at collecting long term time series over 12 years all around Europe with the objective to follow up the consequences of global change on heat content, ocenaic acidification, de-oxygenation, deep water marine ecosystem. Also EMSO aims to provide tools services for management and mitigation of the ecosystem.

EMSO France is a research built or multidisciplinary observatories, real time ior delayed tilme based on mooring line and deep-sea observatories. The EMSO-ANTARES is supported by the MOOSE national network.


In the framework of the BioSWOT project supported by CNES (PI F.d’Ovidio, LOCEAN), the MIO (Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography) has developed a collaboration with SHOM (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine).

A.Doglioli et G.Grégori have been onboard the BHO Beautemps Beaupré for the PROTEVS1-SWOT2 cruise (PI F.Dumas) in the Occidental Mediterranean Sea, South of the Balearic Islands from April 28th to May 16th. In close interaction with a team on land (A.Petrenko, S.Barrillon, L.Rousselet, M.Thyssen) and in contact with colleagues from the IMEDEA and SOCIB (PI A.Pascual and J.Allen) onboard the r.v. "Garcia del Cid" , the researchers from MIO studied the role played by the currents on the structure and dynamics of the phytoplankton community.


The FUMSECK (Facilities for Updating the Mediterranean Submesoscale - Ecosystem Coupling Knowledge, chief scientist S. Barrillon, MIO) cruise is a one-week technological cruise, from April, 30, 2019 to May, 05, 2019, in the Genoa gulf in the Mediterranean Sea, onboard the R/V Téthys II. It aims at performing several technological tests of some instruments used for the study of the fine scale processes and dynamics (from 0.1 to 100 km for a lifetime from several days to several weeks).


The MERITE-HIPPOCAMPE project (2018-2020) of the INSU MISTRALS "Pollution & Contaminants" Transverse Action aims to evaluate the levels of metallic and organic contamination at the base of pelagic food webs (plankton) under the influence of atmospheric and continental forcing via a north-south trans-Mediterranean approach targeting areas of scientific and economic interest: primary production areas, fishing zones, ecoregions, and urbanized bays. The strategy is based on coupled atmosphere-ocean studies combining observation and modeling.


TONGA is a multidisciplinary project dedicated to the study of the control of ocean productivity and carbon export driven by micronutrients from hydrothermal origin. It is based both on a 37-day oceanographic cruise in the Western Tropical South Pacific (R/V L’Atalante) and modelling work and involves hydrothermal geochemists, physical oceanographers, trace element chemists (ocean and atmosphere), biogeochemists, biologists and modellers


The aim of the VAHINE project is to study the fate of fixed nitrogen in the oceanic pelagic food web and its potential impact on carbon export. The field campaign of VAHINE took place in the South West Pacific (New Caledonia) in 2013, involving 45 scientists from France, Israel, Germany and USA.