Welcome to the COMPLEx website!
COMPutational PLankton Ecology

Current research activities

The COMPLEx team studies the ecology of marine plankton and the oceanic component of biogeochemical cycles. To performs such studies, at sea and in the lab, we develop quantitative imaging approaches and use metagenomics.

The team’s research is focused around three questions:

The team studies the relationships between hydrology, biogeochemistry, plankton and organic particles, in global data sets but also in long term time series.

In addition to characterizing the abundance of plastics, the team is interested in the communities attached to them, that drift with them.

The team conducts approaches based on functional traits, extracted from imagery and metagenomic data.


To carry out its research, the team uses three types of tools:

such as the UVP (deployed at sea) and the ZooScan (used in the laboratory) as well as associated software, such as ZooProcess and EcoTaxa. We run the imagery platform that implements these tools at IMEV, as well as the Plankton Collection Center  J-C Pomerol which stores the corresponding physical samples.

in France and abroad, in order to use together the data that they generate.

to accelerate the classification of images, the assignment of functions to sequences, the detection of correlations at large scales, etc.


A little bit of history...

The diversity of plankton in the bay of Villefranche is the reason why a marine station was established there in the 19th century. Systematic monitoring of these populations with traditional methods began in 1966. In the early 1990s, researchers and engineers in Villefranche began to create instruments to record and analyze images of plankton in the ocean and in the laboratory. Those are now used for the weekly plankton monitoring time series carried out in the bay and are part of numerous oceanographic campaigns. Since 2009, quantitative plankton imaging has been coupled with metagenomics through the Tara Oceans campaigns, providing access to rich and complex information that the team now exploit, in collaboration with research groups in France and abroad.