Theoretical ECOlogy, Modeling & Data Analysis (ECOMAD)

Responsibles : David Nerini and Séverine Martini





The ECOMAD team (ECOlogie Théorique, Modélisation & Analyse de Données - Theoretical Ecology, Modeling & Data Analysis) has emerged from a desire to focus on the interdisciplinary study of oceanic systems, from regional to global scales, combining the tools of theoretical ecology, quantitative ecology and physics.

This team's project is structured around 3 ambitions:

  1. Clearly identify multi-scale modeling and data analysis activities in marine ecology and oceanography within the MIO via the development of tools and methods that can be made available to the scientific community.
  2. Understand how marine ecosystems function as complex systems, and study their structural response and functioning in the face of endogenous (natural variability) or exogenous (anthropogenic impacts) disturbances.
  3. Increase the MIO's national and international attractiveness in the field of ecological modeling, both in terms of welcoming colleagues and future recruits (engineers, researchers), and in terms of master's and doctoral training.

In a national context, efforts are focused on the development and use of historical data, as well as on the acquisition of new data, accompanied by the development of new sensors, some of which are automated. The aim is to provide models with an operational orientation (calibration, validation), for example, in the context of the IPCC, using food web models to predict the dynamics of target species. The growing complexity and richness of our data means that we need to adapt our data processing methods.

Our tools are based on holistic, integrative modeling approaches and on a hypothetico-deductive approach founded on the triptych "Theory/Experiments/Observations", enabling theory and experiments to be coupled. The team's researchers are involved at different levels of this triptych, from the development of ecological models, using deterministic or stochastic modeling approaches, to the development of data analysis methods, to the joint use of different data from experiments, observations or models to address marine biology issues.


See the team's publications

The figure below shows the objects of study, their properties, the analysis tools and the planned methodology.


Scientific orientations


Partnership strategy


Academic (local, national, European, international)

ECOMAD is fully integrated into academic partnerships at national level via current ANR funding (MANA, FORESEA) and new ANR projects submitted, LEFE funding, OFB, EC2CO, Instrumentation innovante transverse (CNRS-IIT), mission pour l'interdisciplinarité (CNRS-MITI), PIA3- DeepSea'nnovation as well as at international level (Copernicus funding, CNES, ESA, interreg), oceanographic campaign (BIOSWOT, APERO).

Socio-economic partnerships

The team is involved in partnerships with public bodies such as the Agence de l'Eau (to model the impact of the Aix-Marseille metropolis on the Bay of Marseille), the GIPREB (ecosystem impacts on the Etang de Berre) and the Parc National de Port-Cros (study of larval dispersal of flagship species). These members are experts on scientific committees (GIS Posidonie, etc.) and members of learned societies (SFDS, SFBT, SMF, GDR, etc.).