ECOLA: Open Sea – Coasts Exchanges

ECOLA: Open Sea – Coasts Exchanges

Publisher: Direction– Updated on 06/05/2021

Scientific objectives

The ECOLA team studies the processes involved at different spatio-temporal scales in the functioning and variability of hydrodynamics along the estuary/delta/lagoon-regional ocean continuum, and their influence on marine ecosystems and sediment transport. Our objective is to deepen our understanding of the physical and biogeochemical processes involved, to determine their observability (especially in satellite measurements) and to improve their modelling. These objectives are articulated in three axes.

A – Role of scale interactions in regional and coastal dynamics and influence on ecosystems:

  • Specific dynamic processes of coastal and regional dynamics involved in the formation, transport, dispersion, mixing and exchange of water masses.
  • Response of dynamics and water masses to different variability factors.
  • Ocean-atmosphere interactions.
  • Influence of ocean dynamics and their variability on planktonic ecosystems.

B – Transport and fate of water and associated matter along the delta/estuary/lagoon/shelf/regional ocean continuum :

  • Hydrodynamic processes, from the estuarine zone to the shelf.
  • Influence of dynamics and variability on sediment transport.
  • Transport of contaminants (plastics, etc.).

C – Tides :

  • Predictability of tide and internal tide in the global ocean.
  • Barotropic tide in coastal and estuarine areas.
  • Barotropic and internal tide dynamics and associated processes.
  • Internal tide and circulation/stratification interaction.
  • Impact of tides on biogeochemistry, biology and air/sea interactions.

Strategy and tools

The ECOLA team’s expertise in modelling and numerical development (FES, T-UGO, NEMO, SYMPHONIE, CROCO, SDAP, ECO3M-S, OASIS, with in particular the SIROCCO community code) enables us to answer these questions, but also to address specific modelling issues :

  • Representability (and quantification of associated uncertainties) in models of dynamical processes of interest and associated flows.
  • Characterisation and quantification of the representativeness in models of observed processes and their variability, and development of methodologies for model/observation comparisons.

These studies are partly based on the use of ensemble methods for sensitivity, observability and predictability studies.

In-situ and satellite measurements are essential for assessing the realism of models and their improvement, optimising configurations, but also represent working tools for identifying processes, spatio-temporal scales of variability, etc.

  • We work on the observability of the processes studied at all scales in satellite data. ECOLA and several other LEGOS teams are involved in the exploitation of altimetry data and in the preparation of new missions (SWOT, WISA): CTOH, OSTST Sciences Team (Jason, Sentinel-3), SWOT preparation, research projects funded by CNES or ESA on data exploitation… In parallel, we are focusing our efforts on the processing and exploitation of optical data, in connection with modelling and in-situ observations.
  • We are investing in setting up and carrying out long-term observation campaigns (SURVOSTRAL in the Southern Ocean, since 1992; monthly monitoring of Lake Nokoué) or specifically dedicated to the processes studied (PERLE in the Mediterranean, 2018-2020; AMAZOMIX in Brazil, 2021; PLUME in Vietnam, 2023), but also in participating in the efforts of community campaigns (CalVal Altimetry and SWOT). Modelling is an essential component of these campaigns, from plan development to data exploitation.


The team’s activities are largely carried out within the framework of structuring projects based on a solid and long-standing partnership:

  • Southeast Asian Seas, from the Indonesian Seas and the South China Sea to the Vietnamese coast.
  • European Seas: Mediterranean and Bay of Biscay
  • The Gulf of Guinea (including the Nokoué lagoon)
  • The Terre Adélie sector in the Southern Ocean (SURVOSTRAL programme).
  • The Brazilian Plateau (including the Amazon basin and estuary), in collaboration with several teams (ECHOS and OLVAC).


Non classé

December 2022. D-1 before the launch of SWOT !

SWOT, the NASA/CNES high-resolution oceanographic and hydrological satellite mission, will make the first global survey of the Earth’s surface waters and of our changing oceans and coastal waters, over 90% of the Earth’s […]

Current thesis

Improving the understanding of Southeast Asia climate: a regional coupled modelling approach

Name: Quentin DESMET Start date: 2020/12/01 Thesis supervisor: Marine HERRMANN Co-supervision 1: Thanh NGO DUC Keywords: Southeast Asia, Air-Sea Interactions, Regional Climate Modelling

Current thesis

Characterization of turbulent mixing induced by internal tidal waves and impact on primary production

Name: Fernand Bernie ASSENE MVONGO Start date: 2020/10/01 Thesis supervisor: Ariane KOCH-LARROUY Co-supervision 1: Isabelle DADOU Keywords: Internal tidal wave, Turbulent mixing, Primary production, Nutrients.

Current thesis

Functioning and variability of the planktonic ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles in the Levantine basin: coupled modeling of physics and biogeochemistry

Name: Joelle HABIB Start date: 2019/10/01 Thesis supervisor: Claude ESTOURNEL Co-supervision 1: Milad FAKHRI Keywords: Planktonic ecosystem, Biogeochemistry, Levantine Basin

Current thesis

Ensemble modeling of the Red River delta-ocean hydrodynamical continuum in the Gulf of Tonkin

Name: Duy Tung NGUYEN Start date:  2018/12/01 Thesis supervisor: Pierre DE MEY Co-supervision 1: Thanh NGO DUC Keywords: Atmospheric forcing, Quantification of uncertainty, Numerical modelling, Delta-ocean continuum, Gulf of Tonkin, […]

Current thesis

Mesoscale eddies in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean: characterization and impacts on marine biology and the West African monsoon.

Name: Habib AGUEDJOU Start date: 2018/10/01 Thesis supervisor: Isabelle DADOU Co-supervision 1: Ezinvi BALOÏTCHA Co-supervision 2:  Alexis CHAIGNEAU Keywords: West African monsoon, Mesoscale, Eddy, Tropical Atlantic Ocean, Turbulent flow, Gulf […]

Current thesis

The South Vietnam upwelling:how do planktonic ecosystems respond to physical oceanic and atmospheric forcing?

Name: Duy Thai TO Start date: 2018/01/19 Thesis supervisor:  Claude ESTOURNEL Co-supervision 1: Marine HERRMANN Keywords: Hydrodynamics, Biogeochemistry, South Vietnamese upwelling, Modelling, Planktonic ecosystems

Current thesis

Internal tide realistic modeling and its surface signature

Name: Simon BARBOT Start date:  2018/01/08 Thesis supervisor:  Florent LYARD Co-supervision 1: Loren CARRERE Co-supervision 2: Keywords: Tide, Internal waves, Spectral modelling, Unstructured modelling, SWOT.


Permanent staff

First name LAST NAMEGrade – Employer
Marine HERRMANNTeam Leader
Senior Scientist – IRD
Damien ALLAINResearch Engineer – IRD
Nadia AYOUBResearch Scientist – CNRS
Florence BIROLSenior Scientist – CNAP
Alexis CHAIGNEAUSenior Scientist – IRD
Isabelle DADOUProfessor – UT3
Pierre DE MEYSenior Scientist – CNRS
Yves DU PENHOATSenior Scientist – IRD
Thomas DUHAUTResearch Engineer – CNRS
Claude ESTOURNELSenior Scientist – CNRS
Elodie KESTENAREResearch Engineer – IRD
Ariane KOCH-LARROUYResearch Scientist – IRD
Florent LYARDSenior Scientist – CNRS
Patrick MARSALEIXResearch Scientist – CNRS
Yves MORELSenior Scientist – CNRS
Rosemary MORROWSenior Scientist – CNAP
Guillaume MORVANEngineer – IRD
Sylvain OUILLONSenior Scientist – IRD
Florence TOUBLANCResearch Engineer – CNRS
Caroline ULSESResearch Scientist – CNAP

All team members