The Mollusc Health, Genetics and Microbiology (Santé, Génétique et Microbiologie des Mollusques — SG2M) research unit in the RBE Department is structured around the integrated approach to animal health and microbiological quality of coastal areas that potentially have an impact on human health, and carries out its work across the full range of the scientific continuum (research-monitoring-assessment).
The Mollusc Health, Genetics and Microbiology unit is composed of three research laboratories:
- The Marine Mollusc Genetics and Pathology laboratory (Génétique et Pathologie des Mollusques Marins — LGPMM), located in La Tremblade (Charente Maritime département). This laboratory carries out research on the genetics and diseases of marine molluscs, particularly those of commercial interest. It is also involved in the monitoring of resources and carries out shellfish monitoring with regard to animal health. The laboratory has a national and international dimension, through its role as the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) and European Union Reference Laboratory (EU-RL) for marine mollusc diseases. It is also a Reference Laboratory for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for two parasitic shellfish diseases (bonamiosis and marteiliosis).
- The Health, Environment and Microbiology laboratory (Santé, Environnement et Microbiologie — LSEM) located in Nantes (Loire Atlantique département) and in Brest (Finistère département). The objectives of this laboratory involve current public health issues, sustainable sea use and preservation of the quality of the environment. This laboratory is the NRL for Shellfish microbiology. As part of its NRL activities, LSEM provides scientific support services for local government agencies and organises inter-laboratory proficiency tests. The laboratory uses a global approach to coastal water and shellfish quality in shellfish production areas. More basic research involving the mechanisms of human-induced pathogen persistence in shellfish, particularly noroviruses.
- The Shellfish Safety laboratory (Sécurisation des Productions en Conchyliculture — LSPC) located in Bouin (Vendée département). This laboratory focuses on developing methods to control the quality of water that enters and exits shellfish production areas. Through its mission as a Regional Innovation Platform (PRI), it hosts scientists and shellfish professionals to carry out R&D studies.
In addition to these activities, the REMI (Microbiological testing in shellfish production areas) and REPAMO (Mollusc pathology network) networks are part of the laboratories of this unit. Finally, the unit depends on aquaculture infrastructures (hatcheries, nurseries, and experimental chambers) for research projects and offers support for the shellfish sector (through the production and supply of tetraploid Pacific oysters).
As a key player in the acquisition and use of knowledge on ecosystems and aquaculture species in the marine environment, the SG2M unit develops research to help manage biodiversity in coastal areas and shellfish ecosystems. Its mission is to support sustainable development and production activities and also to help design tools to assess the effects of production activities on the environment, measure their acceptability and the risk of microbiological contamination in shellfish production areas.
Given the current issues of global change and sustainable aquaculture, the unit seeks to develop knowledge on the interactions between pathogens, hosts and the environment in marine molluscs and on contamination cycles. The unit’s research revolves around four themes:
- microbiological quality and the transmission pathways and dynamics of human pathogens in the coastal environment,
- the study of marine mollusc diseases,
- the study of bivalve genomes, domestication and selection,
- shellfish safety by controlling water quality.