Collège de France

Année 2023-2024

Grand événement

Grand événement - Vers une société résiliente au changement climatique / Building a Climate Resilient Society : The Climate Biodiversity Nexus in the Ocean

Chris Bowler

Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). Professeur invité, Collège de France


Marine ecosystems play a crucial role in supporting societal needs and human well-being by providing resources like food, carbon storage, coastal protection, and recreational opportunities. However, the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is a significant concern. The ocean acts as a sink for heat, CO2, and waste, mitigating climate change, but this also alters its chemical composition. Simultaneously, the ocean faces a biodiversity crisis, with over-exploited fisheries and unprecedented rates of environmental change. These twin threats fundamentally affect marine biological systems and the services they provide. Currently, there is little connection between climate change and biodiversity research, particularly in the marine context. Uncovering the nexus between marine biodiversity and climate is crucial for understanding the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems. By improving observational capacity, advancing modelling capabilities, and integrating theory, such studies can have a profound impact on local, regional and global ocean governance, and particularly with respect to pollution control, ocean health, and the management of marine resources from fisheries to mineral exploitation.

Chris Bowler is research director at the CNRS and director of the Plant and Algae Genomics Laboratory at the Institut de biologie de l'École normale supérieure in Paris. He received his PhD from the University of Ghent in Belgium, followed by postdoctoral studies at the Rockefeller University in New York. In 1994 he established his own laboratory working on signaling in plants and marine diatoms at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples, Italy, and in 2003 he took up his current position in Paris. He has been a member of EMBO since 1995, received the CNRS Silver Medal in 2010, ERC Advanced Awards in 2012 and 2018 and the Grand Prix Scientifique de la Fondation Louis D de l'Institut de France in 2015. In 2016-2017 he was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies at Harvard University, USA. In 2018 he was elected member of the French Academy of Agriculture, and during the academic year 2020-2021 he held the annual chair as Professor in biodiversity and ecosystems at the Collège de France. His main research interest is the understanding of the response of plants and marine diatoms to environmental signals, through functional and comparative genomics. Since 2021 he is the scientific director of the Tara Oceans project to explore the biodiversity, ecology and evolution of plankton in the world's ocean. In 2023 he was elected member of the Accademia dei Lincei in Italy.