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Observatoire océanologique de Banyuls sur mer
Laboratoire Arago

Partner University Fund (PUF)

The laboratory participates in an exchange program for researchers and students with the Marine Station of Lewes (School of Marine Science and Policy), in the State of Delaware in the United States. This program started in 2009 enables researchers and PhD students to stay for several weeks in the partner station to follow a specific training or collaborate on research topics in the field of biological oceanography, microbiology or biogeochemistry. This program is funded until 2013. (contact (directeur @


The specific objectives of the proposed collaboration are to examine biogeochemical cycles in two contrasting coastal marine ecosystems (Mediterranean Sea coast and the Mid-Atlantic Bight) and to enhance the education and research experience of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scientists. The disciplines involved in this project include marine microbiology, marine molecular ecology, and marine geochemistry. The partners have established coastal observing stations in their respective coastal waters in response to the global need for more data over long time scales in order to understand the response to and the role of these important ecosystems in climate change. Ongoing work at these coastal stations already is examining several of the same basic parameters of microbial communities (e.g. production, biomass and diversity) and biogeochemical processes (e.g. nutrient concentrations and oxygen). The project leaders (Kirchman and LeBaron) have already collaborated to examine microbial processes, specifically photoheterotrophic microbes, in the oceans. LeBaron spent a sabbatical year in Delaware (2004-2005) and Kirchman worked in Banyuls in October-November 2007.

The proposed project would build on this on-going collaboration and would broaden it substantially. It would allow a more thorough and direct comparison of coastal processes occurring in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean.  The French coastal station is in nutrient-poor waters unaffected by terrestrial inputs, such as from large rivers.  In contrast, Delaware coastal waters are nutrient-rich in part because of large inputs from the Delaware River and estuary. A more thorough comparison of these two contrasting sites, which this project would make possible, is likely to yield insights into general processes governing the carbon cycle and other biogeochemical processes in global coastal waters.


History of the Partnership

This partnership started in 2004 when the French project leader (Lebaron) spent a sabbatical year in the American project leader’s (Kirchman) lab in Delaware.  Since that time LeBaron has visited Delaware and Kirchman has been to Banyuls several times, including a month-long stay in 2007.  Kirchman was on the Ph.D. committee for a student of Lebaron.

This student, Raphaël Lami, is now doing postdoctorate work in Kirchman’s lab. Starting in 2009, he and Kirchman will continue to collaborate with LeBaron on the analyses of samples from expeditions to the Mediterranean Sea and South Pacific Ocean and newPHDand post-doc students will be involved from both sides.

In addition to the project leaders, other Delaware faculty have been or are planning on spending significant time periods in Banyuls.


France :  The Laboratoire d’Océanographie Biologique (LOB) of Banyuls-sur-Mer (France) is one of the more important research centers along the French Mediterranean coast for biological marine sciences. Approximately 150 persons are currently appointed. The institute has a large variety of instrumentation and is operating modern research vessels for coastal and ocean studies (

U.S :  The College of Marine and Earth Studies at the University of Delaware has campuses in Lewes and Newark, Delaware. The College has 40 faculty and 130 graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.) in all areas of the marine sciences and policy ( ).  The Lewes Campus has several modern laboratories for advanced molecular, microbiology and biogeochemical studies, is close to salt marshes, inland bays, the Delaware Estuary and Atlantic coastal waters, and is home to the UNOLS vessel, the R.V. Hugh R. Sharp, plus several small boats for local work.  Here are some of the presentations by the US partners at national and international meetings.




Microorganisms in the ocean : From the genome to climate

Every drop of seawater contains thousands of bacteria and microalgae. How do these microorganisms contribute to the functioning of the ocean ecosystem and how can they influence the global climate? What is their diversity and how can we benefit from them? What tools can we imagine to anticipate negative effects (toxic algae, pathogenic bacteria) ? These questions were actively debated at the international conference "The microbial view of biogeochemical cycle" organized by the Laboratory of Microbial Oceanography (LOMIC - UMR 7621) with financial support from the PUF from May 19 to 21 2010 at the Observatory of Banyuls. Seventy researchers from 14 countries presented their latest results in this area, covering a large array of topics and techniques that have received much attention over the past years. Abstract book final (384 KB)


Workshop Lewes - 2011, March (245 KB)







L'Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-mer a accueilli du 29 mai au 1er Juin 2012 un workshop qui rassemblait une dizaine de chercheurs, d'enseignants et d'étudiants de l'Université du Delaware, située à proximité de Philadelphie aux Etats Unis et une trentaine de chercheurs, enseignants et étudiants de Banyuls. Ces rencontres ont été financées par le programme "Partner University Fund", soutenu par l'ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis, et ont été co-organisées par David L Kirchman (professeur aux USA), Philippe Lebaron (directeur du Laboratoire Arago) et Raphaël Lami (Maitre de conférences au Laboratoire Arago). Ces rencontres scientifiques ont permis aux chercheurs français et américains mais également à des étudiants en master et en doctorat de confronter leurs résultats dans leurs domaines communs de recherche, en particulier en océanographie, microbiologie et virologie. Ces échanges fructueux ont aussi permis de discuter de perspectives de recherches communes et d'initier des programmes scientifiques pour les années à venir en collaboration entre les deux institutions. Un second séminaire sera d'ailleurs organisé cet automne aux USA, où cette fois les chercheurs et étudiants français seront accueillis par leurs homologues américains. Par ailleurs, des échanges d'étudiants et de chercheurs des deux institutions se poursuivront tout au long de l'année pour pérenniser ces rencontres.

Biodiversity and Functioning of marine ecosystems - The third Banyuls-Delaware PUF Banyuls - May 30 to June 1, 2012 (1 MB)


Bioinformatic Workshop le 28 Octobre 2013

Le Laboratoire d'Ecogéochimie des Environnements Benthique (LECOB - UMR 8222) avec l'aide du PUf (Partner University Fund) organise un Workshop de bioinformatique le 28 octobre 2013 à l'amphithéâtre A. Guille, bâtiment B, animé par  J. F. Biddle,  J. Russel et G. Christmas de l' Université de Delaware Etats-Unis.

Programme (121 KB)

Article published on the website of the University of Delaware


Seniors Visits

William J. ULLMAN spent three months at the Observatoire Oceanologique de Banyuls-sur-mer (september to November) in 2009. He was an invited researcher of the Univeristy Pierre et Marie Curie and invited by the Laboratoire d'Oceanographie Microbienne (LOMIC). In visit to the laboratory, he developped collaborations with the college of Earth and Marine Studies at the University of delaware and reinforce the expertise of the differents teams working in the field of oceagraphy at the UPMC.





Matt COTTRELL spent one month at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls-sur-mer in September 2011. He was an invited professor of the University Pierre et Marie Curie and invited by the Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne (LOMIC). Matt Cottrell is an associate Professor at the School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware USA. He is well recognized at the international level for his work on photoheterotrophs and more genrally for innovative researches on the development and use of molecular and cellular tools to link functions and diversity in microbial ecology. His stay at OOB was supported by a grant from the University Pierre et Marie Curie and from the Partner University Funds.



Dave KIRCHMAN spent one week in August 2011 to work on different papers with Raphael Lami and Philippe Lebaron. He took advantage of his visit to discuss the organization of the next workshop that will be organized in Banyuls in May or June 2012 and the one that will be organized in Lewes at fall 2012. It was a nice opportunity for him to meet different students and to share ideas with people working on the monitoring of microbial parameters at fixed stations in the coastal environment.




Raphaël LAMI


Students Visits

The PUF program offered Marine LANDA-BEZWIERCHY, a first year PhD student at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, the possibility to spend the month of October 2010 in the lab of David Kirchman. The main objective of Marine’s visit was to receive training in the bioinformatic analyses of 454 pyrosequenced data. During her stay, Marine was able to treat the results of experiments that she performed previously in Banyuls sur mer. Marine learnt how to denoise and clean the raw data received from the sequencing platform. She further received training in using of the program Qijme. During her stay, Marine had also the possibility to give a presentation on her experimental work and to discuss some first results with the members of Dr. Kirchman’s research team. Once back to Banyuls, Marine has remained in intense contact with Dr. Kirchman’s group to resolve questions on the analyses of her data. Marine has highly appreciated her stay in Lewes and her thesis has greatly benefited from this scientific experience.


The PUF program offered Dimitri KALENITCHENKO, a first year PhD student at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, the opportunity to spend two weeks at the marine station of Lewes (November 26 to December 9, 2012), in the Laboratory of Jennifer Biddle. Durant his stay, he was able to strengthen its knowledge in terms analysis of data from metagenomics sequencing illuimina.

Two new stays funded under the PUF (16 to 20 June and from 20 to 26 July 2013) allowed him to take a high-level training in bioinformatics for the treatment of sequencing results and apply with Glenn Christman , bioinfomraticien, tools learned during his training samples Banyuls / Mer


The PUF program gave to Tatiana SEVERIN the opportunity to spent 1 week in the School of Marine Science and Policy in November 2012. Matthew Oliver gave her a training in the use of remote sensing. She were then able to apply this knowledge on his PhD thesis, by determining the evolution of the convection area and the ensuing spring bloom in the Gulf of Lion thanks to satellite data. Matthew Oliver and she  are still contact and a paper is in preparation with Matthew as a co-author.




The PUF Program offered Margot DOBERVA, a first year Ph Student à the Observatoire Oceanologique de Banyuls, the opportunity to spend two weeks at the marine station of Lewes (December 5th 2012 to December 20th, 2012).

Sophie Sanchez (sophie.sanchez @ - 07/11/16

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