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Welcome to Institut de la mer de Villefranche
Institut de la mer de Villefranche
Research Federation FR3761


research laboratory foundation
years of history
Research units

L'Institut de la Mer de Villefranche : a Marine Station

In January 2019, the Oceanologic Observatory of Villefranche (OOV) changed its name in Institut de la Mer de Villefranche (IMEV). IMEV is one of the 3 marine stations affiliated to Sorbonne University (SU) and the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). IMEV is a center for research, training, outreach and scientific or trainng visit, which are its 5 missions.
Villefranche sur Mer, one of the municipalities of the metropole Côté d’Azur (MNCA) has two ports, including the port de la Darse. There is well preserved 18th century ensemble, including 3 IMEV buildings (Corderie, Vieille Forge & Bâtiment des Galériens). The absence of a continental shelf at the level of Villefranche bay and the particular currents which run along the coast make easy the collect of highly diversified planktonic populations. Since the 19th century, this rich marine biodiversity was already well known among scientists. IMEV is pursuing this tradition to study plankton diversity and ecology by exploiting the most recent methods from microscopy and quantitative imaging to genomics.

Mission statement

« The french Government has recently decided to establish at Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice, a natural history laboratory intended to give the manu foreign naturalists and scholars who have visited this place for so long the ressources needed to work efficiently. This step being completed with benefits for the scientific community at large, without any of nationality, and with the unique goal of being useful to all, it seemed to me that foreign scientists could only be happy to support the project …<> fully approving the idea of creating an international laboratory in Villefranche-sur-Mer. A letter from you would be a highly valuable encouragement, and provide incredible support for the future and development of our new institute. » Signed by Jules Barrois ( excerpt from a letter to Charles Darwin, 6 march 1882) While growing and fostering new disciplines, the marine station located in Villefranche-sur-Mer still fullfils the scientific and societal goals set up by Jules Barrois, one of its founders.
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