UBO University of Western Brittany Brest

Welcome to UBO
Université de Bretagne Occidentale
Brest | Quimper | Morlaix

Marine sciences

The marine activities field represents excellence and interdisciplinary cooperation, supported by the consolidation of nationally-recognised teams and their international partnerships.

Organisational structure

Most of these teams are part of a school within UBO, the IUEM (Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer). The IUEM is an interdisciplinary centre with the objectives of spreading knowledge of the marine world, studying and observing its interactions with the atmosphere and continental areas, training researchers and staff in these fields, and contributing to the observation of both natural and human-instigated changes to these environments.

IUEM became an Observatory for the Sciences of the Universe (OSU) in 2005, under the authority of UBO, CNRS, and IRD. One laboratory at the Université de Bretagne Sud is also part of IUEM. The network is complemented by a mechanics laboratory linking UBO, ENSTA Bretagne, and ENI Brest. Ifremer works in partnership with four of the six mixed research units at IUEM.

Our fields of study include both coastal and offshore areas:

  • Offshore

Offshore research examines life in the extreme environments of the ocean depths, the creation and evolution of the Earth's crust in undersea zones, as well as ocean circulation and its relationship with climate.

  • Coastal

Coastal research teams study biodiversity, coastal dynamics, the impact of climate and human-instigated phenomena, as well as maritime economics and law.

The principal areas of study are Earth Sciences, Biology, Microbiology, Ecology, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanics, Geography, Law, and Economics. Monitoring these fields is an important part of OSU’s activity.

Marine sciences

In the marine sciences field, UBO has developed a specific approach to training and instruction that is unique in France: Marine and Coastal Sciences (SML).

Both Master's and PhD courses are run in these fields. PhD-level courses are carried out at the Ecole Doctorale des Sciences de la Mer.

IUEM's geographical location, neighbouring other research organisations active in marine sciences, has allowed the creation of collaborative technical structures and platforms, such as Bibliothèque La Pérouse (the marine documentation centre shared between UBO, Ifremer, and IRD), the Ocean Spectrometry Centre (PSO), and the High-Performance Computing Centre for the Ocean (PCIM).

Flagship Projects


To address the increasing challenges facing ocean and coastal ecosystems, the “Interdisciplinary graduate School for the blue planet” (ISblue) was created to train the next generation of ocean innovators and science leaders and place them at the forefront of research to answer the needs of the growing blue economy through top level research-based training.
ISblue gathers most of the forces in marine science and technology in West and South Brittany, belonging to the universities (UBO, UBS), research national organisms (CNRS, Ifremer, IRD), engineering schools (IMT-Atlantique, ENSTA Bretagne, ENIB) and the French naval academy. 

Marine Board

UBO also heads a consortium of 13 French universities working in the marine sector, and serves alongside CNRS and Ifremer on the European Marine Board.


Europôle Mer

UBO is a key player in the Europôle Mer, scientific interest group, which is recognised and supported by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, CNRS, and Ifremer. Europôle Mer is a consortium uniting IUEM (UBO, CNRS, INSU) with the following: Ifremer, Station Biologique de Roscoff (UPMC, CNRS, INSU), Université de Bretagne Sud, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Concarneau, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the French Polar Institute (IPEV) and Service Hydrographique de la Marine (SHOM). There are also five engineering schools involved in marine education and research (Ecole Navale, Télécom Bretagne, ENSTA Bretagne, ENIB, and ISEN), and Océanopolis (the ocean discovery centre and aquarium in Brest).

Research unit Code
Affiliations Contact
Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer [European Institute of Marine Science]
UMS 3113 CNRS, IRD, UBO direction.iuem@univ-brest.fr
Tel. +33 2 98 49 86 00
Institut de Recherche Dupuy de Lôme [Dupuy de Lôme Research Institut]
UMR 6027 CNRS, UBS, ENSTA Bretagne, UBO, ENIB Contacts
Laboratoire Géosciences Océan [Ocean Geosciences Laboratory]
UMR 6538 CNRS, UBO, UBS Contacts
Laboratoires des sciences des environnements marins [Marine Environmental Sciences Laboratory]
Littoral, environnement, télédétection, géomatique [Coast, Environment, Remote Sensing, Geomatics]
UMR 6554 Univ Caen Normandie, Univ Nantes, Univ Rennes2, UBO, CNRS, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Études Contacts
Laboratoire de Microbiologie des Environnements Extrêmes [Extreme Environment Microbiology Laboratory]
UMR 6197 UBO, IFREMER, CNRS Contacts
Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale [Physical and spatial Oceanography Laboratory]
Aménagement des usages des ressources et des espaces marins et littoraux [Development of Uses of Resources and of Marine and Coastal Areas] – Centre for Law and Economics of the Sea
UMR 6308 UBO, IFREMER Contacts
Biologie et Génétique des Mammifères Marins dans leur Environnement [Biology and Genetics of Marine Mammals in their Environment]
Equipe Reconnue
par la Commission Recherche
UBO Jean-luc.jung@univ-brest.fr