Wimereux Summer School – 24-28 June 2024 | Wimereux, France – Deadline 20 May 2024

 The summer school promises an innovative curriculum, delving into cutting-edge topics such as in-situ measurement techniques, experimental approaches, and methods in modelling ecology. Our focus on the essential connection between observation and research lays the foundation for an enriching educational experience.

This immersive event will be conducted entirely in English, fostering an inclusive environment aimed at attracting a diverse, global audience. Participants will not only delve into theoretical aspects but also engage in hands-on group projects, experiencing the entire research process firsthand — from data acquisition to analysis and interpretation.

Prepare to be challenged, inspired, and equipped with invaluable insights as you navigate through this dynamic blend of theory and practical application in the fascinating realm of coastal ecology.

Why “Cross-cutting topics in coastal ecology”

Coastal ecosystems, including estuarine and intertidal habitats, experience significant pressure due to global changes. At the boundary between terrestrial and marine realms, these diverse environments encounter mounting challenges from anthropogenic pollutants such as plastics and the pervasive impacts of climate change, resulting in coastline alterations, temperature shifts, and the intensification of extreme events. Comprehending these habitats is pivotal for the sustainability of coastal ecosystems. This summer school delves into these emerging topics, fostering insights crucial for managing and conserving these critical coastal ecosystems.

Target Group :

This summer school caters to a wide range of academic levels, offering tailored content and experiences suitable for master’s students, doctoral candidates, and post-doctoral researchers passionate about advancing their knowledge in cutting-edge aspects of coastal ecology.

This training is certified by the University of Lille, allowing participants to obtain a certificate corresponding to a 30h training (ECTS Doctoral credits).

Project Details

There are four innovative projects for your consideration. During the registration process, kindly indicate your first and second preferences among these projects.

Once you have chosen your preferred project during the registration, you will be actively engaged in that specific project throughout the week of the summer school. However, you will not miss out on the other exciting projects. You will have the opportunity to follow lectures and updates from each group, maximising your learning experience and gaining insights into diverse aspects of the scientific work undertaken by your peers.

Here below a brief description of each project.

Project 1
Microphytobenthos production and behaviour in intertidal soft sediments through small scale measurements

Who is involved : Prof. Lionel Denis, Dr. François Gevaert, Dr. Fabienne Goulard, G. Duong

Brief description of the topic

Microphytobenthos (MPB) is a key primary producer in soft coastal sediments, where it supports a large part of primary production. In many coastal estuaries and embayments, research studies have demonstrated a strong influence of microphytobenthic organisms throughout the trophic networks, either being directly consumed in the surficial biofilm by surface deposit feeders, or being resuspended in the water column and thereby serving as food for filter feeders.

MPB is generally located in the surface biofilm of soft muddy sediments, where it can migrate upwards to benefit from sunlight during emersion, but also downwards to avoid resuspension at high tide. However, recent studies have shown that the behavior of MPB also depends on several parameters, that are hardly hierarchized in estuarine systems.

 The aim of this project is to estimate the migratory behavior and production budgets of MPB originating from intertidal estuarine mudflats when subjected to various light constrains in laboratory-controlled experiments. The behavior of microphytobenthos in terms of protective strategy when facing strong light radiations will also be described. This project will involve field sampling, as well as the specific use of small-scale measurements, such as oxygen microprofiling or PAM fluorometer, and larger scale measurements by using clear/dark benthic chambers.

Project 2
Do well in statistics: Opportunities and caveats in linear or non-linear regressions and multivariate analyses for ecological datasets

Who is involved : Prof. Sebastien Lefebvre

Brief description of the topic

The use of statistics in ecology is essential for extracting meaningful information from data, making informed decisions, and advancing our understanding of complex ecological systems. It enhances the rigor and reliability of ecological research and contributes to effective conservation and management strategies. Ecological data sets often contain complex patterns and relationships. Statistics help ecologists identify and understand these patterns, such as spatial distributions, temporal trends, and population dynamics. They also enable ecologists to make inferences about entire populations based on samples of data. This is particularly important in ecology where it may be impractical to collect data on every individual or every location within a study area. Ecological systems are complex, and statistical models help ecologists represent and understand these systems. Models can be used to simulate ecological processes, predict future trends, and assess the impact of environmental changes.

Finally, statistics play a key role in monitoring ecosystems over time. By analysing trends and changes in ecological data, researchers and managers can adapt their strategies to address emerging issues or unexpected shifts in the ecosystem.

Numerous methods and packages exist to support statistics. However, this highlights the importance of a deeper understanding of when and how to use them effectively. The aim of this project is to introduce the main methods in linear, non-linear regressions and multi-variate analyses and to present their opportunities and caveats for ecological datasets. Applicants are invited to specify their level in statistics, and to provide any datasets they may want to analyse with our help. Alternatively, many examples would be provided by the team. The idea is to tailor the project to the participants’ needs and capabilities as much as possible.

Project 3
Under Stress : Exploring intertidal animal behavior and the impact of heat stress, plastic pollution, and their combined effects

Who is involved : Prof. Nicolas Spilmont, Dr. Laurent Seuront, Dr. Gerardo Zardi, Dr. Katy Nicastro

Brief description of the topic

Intertidal rocky shores are dynamic ecosystems situated at the intersection of land and sea, characterised by the ebb and flow of tides. These habitats harbor a rich diversity of marine life. Because of the huge daily environmental fluctuations, intertidal animals experience a large variability in abiotic factors and live close to their physiological tolerance limit.

Heat waves and plastic pollution emerge as pressing, additional stressors in the delicate balance of rocky intertidal ecosystems. Elevated temperatures associated with heat waves have been challenging the resilience of intertidal organisms, impacting their reproduction, and overall survival. Simultaneously, plastic pollution has been shown to pose a direct threat of intertidal animals’ physiological functioning.

The impact that environmental changes have on an organism is often mediated by behavioral responses, particularly at the early stage of environmental change before evolutionary changes have occurred at the species level. Focusing research efforts on the behavioral reactions to global change can yield crucial insights into how environmental disruptions impact intertidal species and the fundamental mechanisms involved.

The aim of the project is to investigate intertidal animal behavior in the context of heat stress and plastic pollution and shed the light on the intricate interplay between natural and anthropogenic stressors. We will do so using common garden laboratory set-ups. By assessing changes in intertidal animals’ behaviour, we will measure the response to these stressors alone and combined and try to unravel the complexity of intertidal systems in a changing planet.

Project 4
Troublemakers : Characterizing the sediment mixing activity of benthic foraminifera

Who is involved : Dr. Vincent Bouchet, Dr. Julien Richirt, Manon Doutrelant

Brief description of the topic

Bioturbation, which is the biological transport of particles and associated dis-solved elements, constitutes a major process driving the benthic ecosystem functioning of intertidal soft-sediment, contributing to carbon and nutrient cycling and organic matter mineralization. Conversely to macrofaunal taxa, the contribution of meiofauna to fluxes (i.e. sediment particles and dissolved elements) at the sediment–water interface has been far less studied.

Benthic foraminifera is one of the most abundant group within meiobenthic communities. Foraminiferal species display distinct biological activities (e.g. crawling, burrowing, construction and maintenance of burrows, cyst building) suggesting a significant contribution to sediment reworking processes. Horizontal and vertical movements of benthic foraminifera may (i) have major impacts on the stability and erodibility of the surficial sediment layer, (ii) produce a substantial downward transport of particles and (iii) enhance fluxes of dissolved oxygen and solutes at the sediment–water interface.

The aim of this project is to estimate how motion-behavior of benthic foraminifera is involved in sediment-mixing. This will serve to further quantify their role in particulate fluxes at the sediment-water interface. We will do so using well established experimental set-ups and considering different key foraminiferal species from intertidal mudflats. By exploring the fairly untapped question of meiofaunal bioturbation, we will shed the light on these minute size organisms, likely involved in the benthic ecosystem functioning.


To apply to the Wimereux Summer School, Please fill the application form and send it with a short CV by 30 April 2024 to wimereuxsummerschooluniv-lillefr

This form below is designed to help us understand your preferences and skills, ensuring that you get the most out of your experience. Please provide accurate and complete information. After the deadline, participants will be selected, and you will be notified via email to formally register. At that point, payment details will be provided via an online system (more details will be available soon).

Your input will play a crucial role in shaping your summer school journey. We appreciate your time and interest. If you have any questions, feel free to include them in the additional comments section. Thank you for being a part of this exciting opportunity!

Cost : 350 € covers accommodation, lunch, coffee breaks, and social events – Except for students enrolled in Master 2 FOGEM (U. Lille) and CMBE (U. Salento), for whom the fee is 250€.

Where :

The Summer School 2024 will take place in the Station Marine de Wimereux, Department of the Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of Lille, one of the oldest marine stations in France.

The first research in marine biology in Wimereux dates back to 1874, when Alfred GIARD (1846-1908), Professor at the Institute of Zoology of Lille, settled in a basic laboratory, in the chalet called “le Sorézien”, located in the dunes, near the sea, the Wimereux river and the old napoleonian port.

The Station Marine de Wimereux is presently member of the French national network of marine stations.

Further information about the Station Marine de Wimereux can be found on the Website (historical overvieworganizationfield trainees on marine ecology at Lille University, Master studies on marine ecology at Lille University, hosting of foreign traineesresearch works).

Accommodation :

Accommodation for the whole duration of the Summer School 2024 (arrival 23th of June, departure 28th of June) will be proposed in bungalows of the Camping ‘l’Eté Indien’, located a couple of minutes away from the Marine Station of Wimereux and Wimereux town center.
The price of the inscription includes the accommodation in collective mobil-homes (2 to 3 participants per mobil-home).

All information about the accommodation in Standard or Comfort Mobil-homes can be found at L’été Indien • Camping 4 étoiles à Wimereux • Côte d’Opale (eteindien.eu).

Travel :

By plane :

  • Arrival at Lille Lesquin airport (1h30 from Wimereux by car)
  • Arrival at Paris Airport (2h30 from Wimereux by car or 2h by train to Calais Fréthun)
  • Arrival at Brussels airport (2h40 from Wimereux by car or 2h by train to Calais Fréthun)

By train :

  • Train from Lille to Calais Frethun or Calais Ville (30 minutes)
  • Train from Paris Gare du Nord or Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to Calais Frethun (2 to 3h)
  • Train from Paris Gare du Nord or Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to Boulogne sur Mer (2 to 3h)
  • Train from Brussels to Calais Frethun (2h to 3h)

The Summer School 2024 will organize a shuttle transfer by car from the train stations of Boulogne sur Mer and Calais (Calais Frethun or Calais Ville) to Wimereux and back to train stations on 24th of June and 28th of June upon request.

Learn more about this opportunity here.


For further information about the Wimereux Summer School 2024 : WimereuxSummerSchooluniv-lillefr.  

More information available here.

via Universite de Lille
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