The QUASARE research topic is studying the responses of mainland hydrosystems (estuaries, rivers, lakes), and the biological communities living in them, to local and global human pressures. The main challenge for the research is to develop methods for maintaining or restoring the correct functioning of these ecosystems, communities and populations.
The research group is now recognised as a point of reference, both nationally and internationally, in 4 fields: habitat modelling and the relationships between environmental variables and animal aquatic biocenoses, the development of reference bioindication methods used when implementing the Water Framework Directive, the conservation biology of diadromous fish populations (including allis shad, eels, sturgeon), and monitoring and assessing anthropic impacts on environments and species.
Social context and issues
The main socio-economic issues for the collective are:
- Implementing the European Water Framework Directive, as part of supporting the MEEDDM (Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing), and collaborating closely with ONEMA (assessment and restoration of water bodies, producing standards). Organising joint centres (MALY-LHQ, HYAX-EL, EPBX at the planning stage).
- Implementing SDAGEs (Water planning and management master plans) from the Grenelle Environment Round Table (blue belt) and Grenelle of the Sea (estuaries).
- Taking account of impacts associated with running electricity producing structures within the context of production constraints (in connection with the Energy Directive), especially setting up a joint Cemagref-EDF (French Electricity Board) HYNES team.
- Conserving migratory fish populations as part of implementing the Fauna and Flora Habitat Directive (Natura 2000) and specific regulations.
- Analysing the potential impacts of global changes on aquatic systems.
Scientific questions and issues
- To integrate the temporal dynamics of both habitats and populations/biocenoses into habitat models. Emphasis will be placed on the roles of hydrology/sedimentary dynamics, temperature and the non-independence of conditions in a time series. The aim of this work is to construct tools that can predict the responses of habitat/organisms to global changes and restoration/remedial processes.
- To integrate physical forcing factors (especially thermal factors) into population-based approaches, in addition to density-dependent regulatory processes and phenotypic plasticity. The aim of this work is to produce prediction tools validated on water courses or basins that can be used as support tools for population management.
- As often as possible, to think about the influence of context on a larger scale, beyond the local environment (connectivity and dispersion/colonisation processes, spatial structure of functional habitats, etc.). The aim of this work is to develop useful tools for sustainable management on catchment-area level.
- To aim to develop tools for assessing ecological conditions that use functions and their dynamics more than biotic features and associated structures.
In addition, in the longer-term (strategic plan) we will seek to gradually but systematically include sociological and economic aspects in our approach. The establishment's originality in the field of aquatic anthroposystem management lies in possessing complementary skills in the various fields needed to understand and produce sustainable management methods for anthroposystems. We must make the most of this wealth by encouraging integration between the research topic's various skills and components.
Water course ecosystems
Diadromous migratory fish
- Estuary Ecosystems