Physical, Littoral and Coastal Oceanography team (OPLC)



Headers : Stéphanie Barrillon and Anne Molcard



Improving our knowledge of the ocean state and its predictability requires a thorough description of the physical processes that are involved in ocean dynamics through a large continuum of scales.

Investigating these processes at different scales in the ocean and at its upper and lower boundaries is the main objective of the OPLC research team at the MIO laboratory. Documenting the interactions between scales is a major focus of the team because such interactions are generally poorly understood and, thus, neglected or empirically represented[Ed.1]  in ocean models.

The perspective of scale interactions dictates the activities of our team, the members of which have skills that cover a wide range of fields in the areas of physical modelling and experimentation. In the context of global change, the environmental and societal applications of the aforementioned fundamental research take a growing role in the activities of the team, with a specific transverse thematic approach now devoted to this research at the MIO laboratory.


See the team's publications


Our Three Topics

Vertical exchanges inside the water column and through its interfaces

  • Vertical fluxes through the atmospheric and bottom boundary layers
  • Turbulent processes inside the water column and in atmospheric and bottom boundary layers
  • Electromagnetic signatures of water states


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Towards a better representation of ocean dynamics through a better knowledge of multi-scale processes

  • Bathymetric effects and wave/current interactions
  • Dynamics of the swash zone and morphodynamics of sandy beaches
  • Lagoon and cross-shore reef barrier dynamics
  • Effects of (sub)-mesoscale dynamics on circulation and mass transport (including biogenic tracers)
  • Meso-scale variability of boundary currents
  • Interactions in the coastal transitional zone, and in-shore/off-shore exchanges


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Environmental and societal issues

  • Anthropogenic forcing of lagoons dynamics
  • Renewable marine energies
  • Lagrangian tracking of macro-waste
  • Dispersion of contaminants
  • Climatic scenarios in the Mediterranean Sea


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The OPLC team's activity relies on a panel of complementary skills in experimentation – observation – and modelling. This background is essential for the development of multi-scale approaches, which are required to study the complex dynamics of coastal oceans. A wide variety of measurement techniques are mastered and enforced by the OPLC team :

  • HF and VHF radar teledetection for the characterization of sea states and the measurement of water and wind velocities
  • Design and deployment of instrumented moorings
  • Towed instrumented fishes (MVP and minibat)
  • Use of drifting buoys
  • Instrumentation of the littoral domain, neighboring beaches and of the surf-zone
  • Use of satellite data (visible and micro-wave frequencies)
  • Experiments with wave flumes, oceanic basins, air-sea interaction facilities, erodimeters, etc...

Physics in oceanology