Pacific Coral Reef Institute

New partnership with Air Tahit Nui

Director of the IRCP, Serge Planes and Communication & Marketing director of the Air Tahiti Nui airline, Torea Colas signed an agreement to assist scientific Research.

Serge Planes and Toera Colas signing the agreement

Serge Planes and Torea Colas signing the agreement

With its workshop organised each year in Polynesia (Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, French Polynesia) attracting participants from the Pacific, United States of America and Europe, the IRCP requested support from the Air Tahiti Nui compagny for travels of the scientist (students or researchers).

French Overseas Minister in Official Visit to the CRIOBE

On February 23, CRIOBE’s Director, Serge Planes, welcomed French Overseas Minister George Pau-Langevin to CRIOBE and the island of Moorea. Minister Pau-Langevin accompanied the President of France, François Hollande, as part the delegation for his recent tour of the Pacific, and Moorea was an important stop for the Minister during this visit.


Welcome of Madame the Minister by the Directeur of the Criobe

Minister Pau-Laugevin was accompanied by the President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch, members of his government, Senator Lana Tetuanui, members of Parliament Maina Sage and Jean-Paul Tuaiva, the President of the Assembly Marcel Tuihani,  Mayor of Moorea Evans Haumani, locally elected officials and the High Commissioner Lionel Beffre. Dr Planes and other CRIOBE researchers provided the Minister and her delegation with a summary of the CRIOBE, highlighting results from more than four decades of research and data collected from the coral reefs of the South Pacific. Dr Planes made specific reference to the many projects supported by the French and French Polynesian Governments during this time.

Haut-Commissaire Lionel Beffre, Mme la Ministre George Pau-Langevin, Monsieur Président de la Polynésie française Edouard Fritch et Monsieur le président de l'Assemblée

from left to right : High Commissioner Lionel Beffre, French Overseas Minister George Pau-Langevin, President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch and President of the Assembly Marcel Tuihani


Serge Planes introducing the CRIOBE

The visitors were treated to a tour of CRIOBE’s many facilities and several of CRIOBE’s scientists presented their research, including: Manon Amiguet (Master student EPHE, shark physiology), Anthoine Puisay (PhD student, Cifre grant, Coral Biology) and Pierre Sasal (CNRS researcher, Eels).

Manon explique les expériences faites sur les aptitudes physiologiques des requins dans le contexte du changement climatique

Manon explains experiences done on shark physiology  in the contexte of climate change

Pierre Sasal expose son étude sur les anguilles dans le contexte du projet de barrage hydraulique dans la vallée de la Vaiiha

Pierre Sasal speak about his eels survey

The visite ended under the Fare Pote of the CRIOBE, where Tamatoa Bambridge (CNRS researcher), Joachim Claudet (CNRS researcher) and three of their students presented on some of the social science work being done at the CRIOBE.

Présentation SHS sous le Fare Pote du CRIOBE

Presentation under the Fare Pote of the  CRIOBE


After a group photo, the ministerial delegation continued her visite with the Opunohu highschool.


More information on this official visit : Tahiti Info and Tahiti News

Recurrent Disturbances on Coral Reef Change Fish Assemblage Over Decades

This is what this study published in Coral Reef show thanks to 3 decades of data of the Service of Obersation SO CORAIL.

Here is the abstract :

Coral reefs are increasingly being altered by a myriad of anthropogenic activities and natural disturbances. Long-term studies offer unique opportunities to understand how multiple and recurrent disturbances can influence coral reef resilience and long-term dynamics. While the long-term dynamics of coral assemblages have been extensively documented, the long-term dynamics of coral reef fish assemblages have received less attention. Here, we describe the changes in fish assemblages on Tiahura reef, Moorea, from 1979 to 2011. During this 33-yr period, Tiahura was exposed to multiple disturbances (crown-of-thorns seastar outbreaks and cyclones) that caused recurrent declines and recoveries of coral cover and changes in the dominant coral genera. These shifts in coral composition were associated with long-term cascading effects on fish assemblages. The composition and trophic structure of fish assemblages continuously shifted without returning to their initial composition, whereas fish species richness remained stable, albeit with a small increase over time. We detected nonlinear responses of fish density when corals were most degraded. When coral cover dropped below 10 % following a severe crown-of-thorns sea star outbreak, the density of most fish trophic groups sharply decreased. Our study shows that historical contingency may potentially be an important but largely underestimated factor explaining the contemporary structure of reef fish assemblages and suggests that temporal stability in their structure and function should not necessarily be the target of management strategies that aim at increasing or maintaining coral reef resilience.

Fish Assemblage

The « Pixels » of Manini (surgeon fish) under scrutiny at the CRIOBE – French Embassy Grant

Thanks to a French Embassy Grant (Fiji), Anastasha Savura, undergraduate student at the USP (Suva – Fiji), did an intership during three weeks at the Insular Research Center and Environment Observatory – Moorea.

In collaboration with Marc Besson, PhD student working on the metamorphosis process by coral reefs fishes, Anastasha focused on the pigmentation of Manini (Acanthurus triostegus). Those fishes are completly transparent during their oceanic phase. While they enter the lagoon, pigmentation will begin. And this pigmentation allows researchers to assess the healthy state of fishes.

Click on the image to read the article

Click on the image to read the article (in French)

Best Wishes for the New Year!

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Meeting session on Larval recruitment facing global change in coral reefs – ICRS 13th – June 2016 – Hawaii

ICRS2016Danielle Dixson and David Lecchini (IRCP) would like to draw your attention to a meeting session on: Larval recruitment facing global change in coral reefs (fish, coral, mollusks and crustacean) at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, which is being held 19-24 June 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. We are both very excited to organize session 16 which focuses on the importance and impacts of larval recruitment to coral reefs in the context of global change. The information for the session can be found through this link.

*Abstract Deadline: 15 January 2016 *



Topic of session: The replenishment and persistence of most marine species in coral reefs are contingent upon dispersing larvae finding and becoming established on a reef habitat. However, one of the great mysteries of marine ecology is how oceanic larvae locate the relatively rare patches of coral reef on to which they recruit. Moreover, some recent studies have shown that the decline in adult populations in degraded coral reefs was a reflection on larval recruitment failure rather than adult mortality, suggesting the “rescue” effect of recruitment may be ineffective in degraded habitats. Unfortunately, the mechanisms that determine how marine larvae respond to different stages of coral stress and the extent of coral loss during larval recruitment remain poorly understood. Marine larvae experience a major challenge when facing recruitment in a multi-threat environment, within which, using recruitment cues, they need to select a suitable habitat. Our session will aim to present recent research on larval recruitment in coral, fish, crustacean and mollusks facing global change. Overall, predicting how anthropogenic and natural changes will affect recruitment in coral reefs is important, as the larval dispersion between reefs is a key component of the population dynamics of reef organisms.

Expected audience, both in terms of size and discipline: One session is not restricted to only one taxa in coral reefs, but to coral, fish, crustacean and mollusks. Thus, many participants could be registered their abstract in our session. Moreover, the thematic of larval recruitment is one of the most studied since 1990s, after biodiversity and resilience in coral reefs. Lastly, we focus the thematic of larval recruitment facing global change. All these points will allow us to have many participants from different coral reef taxa and from different disciplines (ecology, behavior, biology of larval swimming abilities and larval sensory abilities, management with marine protected area, …) in our session.

Dr. DaDixonnielle DIXSON

School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware

11 Robinson Hall, Newark DE 19716 USA


davidDr. David LECCHINI


 98729 Moorea, French Polynesia



Applications for IRCP GRANTS 2016 are now open!



In the context of a partnership between the Institute for Pacific Coral Reefs (IRCP) and two French Polynesian firms, Société des Nouveaux Hôtels (SNH) et Société Polynésienne de Développement Durable (SPDD), four grants are available in 2016 to young scientists (PhD, Post-doctorate or degrees of similar levels; < 35 yrs) of French nationality or Foreigners to conduct a scientific project in the French Polynesia coral reefs ( The candidates will be selected by the IRCP scientific committee in which some members of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are included. Among the 4 candidates selected, at least one candidate will come from South Pacific Island States in order to promote training for scientific research in these countries. The sum of each grant will be 4500 €uros in order to cover travel expenses to and from French Polynesia, accommodation and research costs at the Criobe station.


Société des Nouveaux Hôtels (SNH) et la Société Polynésienne de Développement Durable (SPDD)

Selected candidates will perform their respective projects in no more than 12 months, following the grant notification. A preliminary report will be written in the month following the end of field work. A final report, including at least one publication project in a peer reviewed scientific journal of a high standard, will be provided by the successful candidate in the following year. The grant should be mentioned in reports and publications under the name “IRCP – Société des Nouveaux Hôtels – Société Polynésienne de Développement Durable”.

Photo Thomas Vignaud

For 2016, four young scientists will be selected. Applications will include a CV (2 pages max), a research project (5 pages max), an abstract of research project (100-200 words) and a financial appendix (including estimated expenses – 1 page max).

Please send applications before January 25th 2016 to: or

The final answer of the four selected candidates will be announced on February 25th 2016

Climat Change : a real threat to Coral Reefs


The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) calls on, through a consensus statement, all nations and negotiators at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) to commit to limiting atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to no more than 450 ppm in the short-term, and reducing them to 350ppm in the long-term.
This should keep average global temperature increase to less than 2°C (or 3.6oF) in the short-term, and less than 1.5oC (or 2.7oF) in the long-term, relative to the pre-industrial period. This would prevent global collapse of coral reef ecosystems and allow coral reefs to survive in perpetuity.

Here is the ISRS consensus Statement:


Click on the image to access the consensus statement

Polynesia Mana team publish in PLOSOne

« Understanding how communities respond to natural disturbances is fundamental to assess the mechanisms of ecosystem resistance and resilience. However, ecosystem responses to natural disturbances are rarely monitored both through space and time, while the factors promoting ecosystem stability act at various temporal and spatial scales. Hence, assessing both the spatial and temporal variations in species composition is important to comprehensively explore the effects of natural disturbances […]. »


Clic on the PLOS ONE logo to access the publication


Service d’Observation CORAIL: a Long-Term Monitoring Program for the Coral Reefs of the South Pacific

Serge Planes and the team of the Service d’Observation SO CORAIL from the IRCP published an article in the  Reef Encounter journal (of l’International Society for Reef Studies.) in september 2015.

Explanations can be found about the long-term coral reef monitoring program, the physicochemical parameters taken into account, the automated instruments currently used, the geographic coverage of the Polynesia Mana Network and the use of data.

SO CORAIL Reef Encounter

Click on the image to read the article

Enjoy reading!