Marine scientific and oceanographic research

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Observation of symbiotic microbial communities associated with the deep sea shrimp (Rimicaris exoculata) 

France’s oceanographic research has been a pioneer in exploring the maritime spaces and ocean deeps for almost 50 years. Its expertise in this field and especially in deep sea exploration is recognised the world over. Ifremer, in addition to being a research institute, is one of only three institutions in the world to have a fleet of research vessels and several deep sea vehicleswhich can operate at a depth of up to 6,000 metres, including the manned submersible Nautile, the ROV Victor 6000 and the new HROV Ariane. France also has international expertise in satellite oceanography (water temperature, currents, water colour and salinity), especially important for the study of climate and fish. 

To make this French expertise more visible and more readable internationally, the French Ministry of research decided in 2011 to create the French Oceanographic Fleet TGIR (Very Large-scale Research Infrastructure). It integrates all marine assets belonging to these bodies: ocean going vessels, coastal vessels and station tenders, their related heavy equipment (submersibles, Victor 6000 ROV, seismic capabilities) and standard movable equipment (gliders, core samplers...) of the French institutes CNRS, Ifremer, IPEV and IRD. 

The TGIR fleet occupies a front rank position internationally with a range of vessels and equipment giving it access to all the world’s oceans, achieved by integration of all French naval assets belonging to the four founding organisations. 

Another grouping is the National Alliance for Environmental Research (ALllEnvi), created in 2010 with 12 French research bodies, and including 16 partners concerned about the environmental research. A theme entitled “Programme Mer” has been developed within this alliance, with the objective of gaining greater knowledge of the marine environment and producing a strategy for the maritime spaces, based on principles of integrated management of the sea and coastlines. 



Scientific research and services organisations


Cerema - Centre For Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility, and Urban and Country Planning 

Cerema is a public agency of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, and the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Equality. 

DTecEMF - Technical Division for Water, Sea and Waterways 

The DTecEMF deals with research, engineering and technical expertise. Working in the fields of sustainable development and risk prevention, it provides solutions of public interest for the national community (State, public agencies, local authorities...). Its international reputation is reflected in its involvement in several European research programs and international networks: knowledge-sharing platforms, scientific societies, trade associations and international conferences. 

It has 3 main missions: 

  • R&D, 
  • engineering and methodology, 
  • safety and intelligence. 

In 5 fields: 

  • port engineering, 
  • navigation safety, 
  • inland waterways engineering, 
  • coastal engineering, 
  • telecommunications. 

For the benefit of: 

  • the French state, 
  • local authorities, 
  • ports, 
  • Voies Navigables de France (inland waterways authority), 
  • and the whole maritime and inland waterways community. 


Corrodys is a technical center for corrosion, marine corrosion and biocorrosion (Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion - MIC). 

Their multidisciplinary team assesses and studies all aspects of the corrosion phenomena. 


  • expert assessments: identification of the origin of corrosion damage and recommendation of corrective action, 
  • applied studies: validation, qualification tests of materials, protective coatings, biocides (customized or standard tests). 

In the laboratory (reactors), testing hall (testloop in renewed environment) or on site. 

  • consultancy: design of structures - choice of materials, their assembly, their protective treatment (anti-corrosion, anti-fouling), risk assessment, 
  • analyses: metallographic, physicochemical, microbiological. 

Research & Development: 

  • collaborative R&D study programs on the interface between material, biofilm and fouling, 
  • research tax credit authorized. 

A number of organisations contribute to marine scientific research, for example the company CRÉOCÉAN, or tool development, carried out by the Laboratoire de Recherche en Hydrodynamique, Energétique et Environnement Atmosphérique de l'Ecole Centrale de Nantes together with the company HydrOcean


Set up in 1984 and operating with an annual budget of € 214,2 million and a staff of 1.432 people spread over 25 locations in continental France and overseas, Ifremer is a publicly owned Industrial/Commercial Establishment (EPIC). It is placed under the dual administrative supervision of the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. 

Through its work and expert investigations, Ifremer contributes to our knowledge of the oceans and their resources, monitoring the marine environment and coastlines and the sustainable development of maritime activities. In pursuit of these ends, it designs and operates tools for observation, experimentation and surveillance. 

To perform these missions, Ifremer has 8 ships including 4 ocean going vessels, one manned submersible Nautile, the ROV VICTOR 6000 remotely operated vehicle capable to dive to 6,000 metres, the new Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle Ariane and 2 (autonomous underater vehicules. Since 2008 the naval facilities of Ifremer have been part of the Very Large-scale Research Infrastructure (TGIR) fleet. The French oceanographic fleet is managed within a joint UMS with CNRS, Ifremer, the IPEV and the IRD. 

Ifremer is a partner in several Competitiveness Clusters dealing with issues related with the sea and coastline. The Institute is also a member of AllEnvi, the National Research Alliance for the Environment, and Ancre, the French National Alliance for Coordinating Energy Research. 

With regard to future investment, Ifremer is coordinator of Equipex NAOS2, a partner of Laboratoires d’Excellence LabEx MER3, CORAIL4, COTE5, and of the Institute for Energy Transition dedicated to marine renewable energies France Énergies Marines. 

Mercator Océan

In real time or in deferred time, on the surface or at depth, Mercator Ocean's numerical models and systems describe, analyze and predict the physical and biogeochemical state of the ocean at any moment, whether on a global scale or for a specific zone: temperature, salinity, sea-surface height, ice thickness, currents, chlorophyll, phytoplankton, etc. A highly sophisticated French service provider of ocean information, Mercator Ocean is a non-profit company whose funding organisations, CNRS, IFREMER, IRD, Météo-France and SHOM, are its primary users. Mercator Ocean has been selected by the European Commission to implement the EU's Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (2014-2021). This service provides an open and free access to regular and systematic reference Ocean information (Observations and Models) for the global ocean and the European regional seas. 


Neotek provides and integrates a wide range of high-tech marine and positioning equipment, offering a complete range of leading edge products for data transmission, monitoring and analysis in the following areas: 

  • marine acoustics, 
  • oceanography, 
  • bathymetry, 
  • meteorology. 

Neotek’s value: 

  • 25 years of involvement in this branch of business, 
  • privileged and exclusive relationships with leading manufacturers, 
  • an outstanding capacity to integrate high technology products (sensors, electronic systems…). 



SHOM (Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service) has the task of ensuring the availability of accurate data on the marine, coastal and ocean physical environment, which it carries out by coordinating the collection, archiving and dissemination of information to meet public, military and civilian requirements cost effectively. 

3 major missions: 

  • national hydrographic service: General hydrography for the benefit of all seafarers; charts and nautical publications. 
  • defence service: SHOM provides defence expertise and supports operational requirements in the maritime environment. 
  • support for government maritime policies: operational oceanography; delimitation and maritime boundaries; management of tidal observatories; in cooperation with IGN, establishment of a high resolution littoral elevation and hydrodynamical model (Litto3D®), … 

The national Litto3D® programme, a joint project between SHOM and IGN (French National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information), is a seamless altimetric model to support coastal zone management. It forms the essential database for implementing government policy on the sea and coast: risk prevention, coastal protection, delimitation of maritime boundaries, land use planning,... 

Tromelin Island - Scattered Islands. 


SINAY is a company specializing in the marine and coastal environment. SINAY supports the development of maritime activities by offering services and innovations in the field of marine environment, underwater acoustic, fisheries, geophysic and geotechnics. 

Some numbers: 

  • the team is composed of 18 employees, 
  • SINAY have achieved 1,922 days at sea, 1,021 socio-economic surveys, 90,120 km transects, 
  • SINAY have observed or measured : 72,832 fishes, 3,533 cetaceans, 35,000 birds, 820 turtles and 905 sharks. 

Some of the services and innovations: 

  • impact studies on the marine environment, 
  • marine mammals, birds, fish and benthos survey, 
  • scientific observation of fisheries, 
  • monitoring the quality of water and sediment, 
  • study of the socio-economic impacts of maritime activities, 
  • modeling and acoustic mapping:, 
  • sonobuoy for real time monitoring of noise and cetaceans, 
  • advice and expertise. 

SINAY's activities applies to the areas of MRE, harbour, scientific research, seismic exploration and fishing.