Ecology and Models for Fisheries research unit

The Ecology and Models for Fisheries (Écologie et modèles pour l'halieutique — EMH) research unit carries out research on ecosystems of fisheries interest, to contribute to the definition of the conditions necessary for the sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources and their associated ecosystems in particular by developing the knowledge and the tools to carry out integrated assessments. The unit develops scientific approaches for the observation, characterisation and modelling of complexity..


The EMH unit located in Nantes is composed of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, engineers and technicians with roughly 20 permanent positions and 10 students.


The research at the EMH unit focuses on three research topics:

  • Fish population and community responses to human-induced and climate pressures: role of community structure and their functional diversity, role of the climate, behaviour, trophic relationships, in the organisation of life cycles (habitats, migrations);
  • Integrated assessment of populations and ecosystems: methods for monitoring the ecosystem during oceanographic cruises, particularly for the MSFD, methods for the integrated assessment of the state of populations and ecosystems using indicators combining various sources of data;
  • Scenario-based forecasting and assessment of management strategies: models coupling environment, biology, fishing and management measures, assessment of fisheries management strategies combining human-induced and climatic pressures on spatially explicit simulation platforms.

This research is conducted using expertise in:

  • Biology and ecology of populations and communities: characterisation and understanding the mechanisms of recruitment in species of fishery interest; identification, characterisation and modelling of the essential fish habitats for the basic biological functions of populations on the short and long term; characterisation of their effects on the dynamics of fished populations in terms of spatial organisation, individual organisation and modification of life-history traits;
  • Integrated fisheries modelling: development of population-environment interaction models  as well as population-fishing-regulation models;
  • Integrated fisheries observations: design of observation plans of fisheries systems, direct in situ observation for archival and data management as well as for processing and analysing data.

The missions of the unit are

  • To develop models to predict the combined effects on fisheries and fishing resources;
  • To observe and quantify the effects of human-induced pressures and environmental variation on the dynamics of fishery populations, their recruitment, their life cycle, habitats, community structure and trophic relationships;
  • To develop indicators for fishery management and the MSFD and methods for the integrated assessment of ecosystems;
  • To contribute to the quality of collection, storage and processing of French data (oceanographic cruises and fisheries).