Professor, Sorbonne University

Eric Thiebault

scientific interests

  • Species and functional diversity of marine benthic communities: spatial structure of communities; long-term changes of benthic communities in response to environmental changes (climate change, anthropogenic stressors)
  • Larval dispersal and connectivity of marine benthic invertebrates: interactions between biological and physical factors and consequences on marine population dynamics
  • Management of coastal ecosystems: exploited resources, assessment of ecosystem services



Professor at Sorbonne Université since 2015, I am currently deputy director of the Roscoff Biological Station, more specifically in charge of the coordination of observation and teaching activities. My research focuses on the scientific exploitation of data from long-term time series to better understand the spatial and temporal variability of the structure and functioning of coastal benthic ecosystems. I also have a particular interest in studying the larval phase of benthic invertebrates.



I have obtained a pPhD in Biological Oceanology at the University Pierre & Marie Curie in January 1994. After a one-year post-doctoral contract in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), I was then recruited as a lecturer at the University Pierre & Marie Curie. I joined the Roscoff Biological Station in September 2006 and became a university professor in 2015.

Since my PhD thesis, much of my research has focused on evaluating the dispersal patterns of benthic invertebrate larvae and identifying the consequences of dispersal variability on population and community dynamics. In particular, I paid particular attention to determine the spatial scales of dispersal, to identify the main physical and biological factors that regulate larval dispersal, and to define the spatial framework within which population dynamics must be analysed. This research was based on the analysis of larval distribution patterns at different time and space scales, and the development of coupled biophysical models of larval dispersal in collaboration with physicists.

This work on the larval phase led me to focus on the analysis of the spatio-temporal variability of benthic populations and communities, and then more broadly, to assess the consequences of environmental changes and different anthropogenic pressures on the specific and functional diversity of the macrobenthos, and on the functioning of coastal benthic communities (e. g. production, food web). The guiding principle of these various studies, beyond the acquisition of fundamental knowledge, was also to provide the decision-maker or manager with the scientific elements for a rational management of coastal areas. This research has led me to contribute to expert missions on marine ecosystems by being a member of the scientific council of the Marine Protected Areas Agency, a member of the steering committee of a Natura 2000 site or by contributing to various working groups on the sensitivity of benthic habitats.

Recruited as a lecturer to contribute to the management of teaching in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the master level, and to the renewal of biostatistics teaching at the bachelor and master levels in biology, I have taken on increasing responsibilities in the coordination of teaching. From 2004 to 2014, I was in charge of the Master's degree specialization "Oceanography and Marine Environments" and since 2018 I have been co-responsible for the specialization path "Biodiversity and conservation of marine ecosystems" of the Master's degree in Marine Sciences. Since 2017, I have been coordinating the Blue Train training program "Initial and continuing training for the development of the blue bio-economy", winner of the Future Investment Program in the context of the call "Partnerships for vocational training and employment". Supported by Sorbonne University and bringing together 25 academic and private partners, the project's objective over 5 years is to build a new initial (Bachelor and Master degrees) and continuing training offer that meets the challenges of marine biotechnology development in the Brittany region, and includes a scientific mediation component.


current teaching


Marine population dynamics

Marine biogeography

Diversity measures

Coastal ecosystem management, responses to human pressures, marine protected areas


MAIN  Collaborations

ENSTA Bretagne : Amandine Nicolle

Centre Ifremer de Brest : Stanislas Dubois, Marjolaine Matabos

LER Ifremer Dinard : Nicolas Desroy, Patrick Le Mao

IUEM Brest : Jacques Grall, Olivier Gauthier, Grégory Charrier

Station marine de Concarneau : Sandrine Derrien

Université de Caen : Jean-Claude Dauvin

Plymouth Marine Laboratory : Paul J. Somerfield

Université d’Aveiro : Henrique Queiroga, Jesus Dubert

Université d’Evora : Teresa Cruz

Université d’Oviedo : José Luis Acuña



Handal W., Szostek C., Hold N., Andrello M., Thiébaut É., Harney E., Lefebvre G., Borcier E., Jolivet A., Nicolle A., Boyé A., Foucher E., Boudry P. & Charrier G. 2020. New insights on the population genetic structure of the great scallop (Pecten maximus) in the English Channel, coupling microsatellite data and demogenetic simulations. Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Freshwat. Ecosyst.

Bacouillard L., Baux N., Dauvin J.-C., Desroy N., Geiger K.J., Gentil F. & Thiébaut É. 2020. Long-term spatio-temporal changes of the muddy fine sand benthic community of the Bay of Seine (eastern English Channel). Mar. Env. Res., 161: 105062.  10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105062 

Guillam M., Bessin C., Blanchet-Aurigny A., Cugier P., Nicolle A., Thiébaut É. & Comtet T. 2020. Vertical distribution of brittle star larvae in two contrasting coastal embayments: implications for larval transport. Scientific Reports, 10: 12033.  10.1038/s41598-020-68750-4 

Boyé A., Thiébaut E., Grall J., Legendre P., Broudin C., Houbin C., Le Garrec V., Maguer M., Droual G., Gauthier O. (2019) Trait-based approach to monitoring marine benthic data along 500 km of coastline. Diversity and Distribution. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12987

Le Mao P., Desroy N., Fournier J., Godet L., Thiébaut E. (2018) De la nuisibilité à la patrimonialité en milieu marin : l’histoire d’une ambiguïté entretenue. Actes du colloque de l’AHPNE Sales bêtes! Mauvaises herbes! “Nuisible”, une notion en débat. Presses Universitaires de Rennes (sous presse).

Gallon R.K., Lavesque N., Grall J., Labrune C., Grémare A., Bachelet G., Blanchet H., Bouchet V., Desroy N., Gentil F., Guérin L., Houbin C., Jourde J., Laurand S., Le Duff M., Le Garrec V., Orvain F., Sauriau P.-G., Thiébaut E., Gauthier O. (2017) Regional and latitudinal patterns of macrobenthic invertebrates along the French coast : results from the RESOMAR database. J. Sea Res.,

Robuchon M., Valero M., Thiébaut E., Le Gall L. (2017) Multi-scale drivers of community diversity and composition across tidal heights: an example on temperate seaweed communities. J. Ecol.,

Nicolle A., Ogor J., Moitié R., Dumas F., Foveau A., Foucher E., Thiébaut E. (2017) Modelling larval dispersal of Pecten maximus in the English Channel: a tool for the spatial management of the stocks. ICES J. Mar. Sci., 74, 1812-1825.

Charles M., Mongruel R., Beaumont N., Hooper T., Levrel H., Thiébaut E., Pendleton L. (2016) Towards effective coastal and marine ecosystem service assessment in marine management. In Potschin M., Haines-Young R., Fish R. and Turner R.K. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services. Routledge, London and New York. pp. 359-373.  

Dubois S.F., Dérian F., Caisey X., Rigolet C., Caprais J.C., Thiébaut E. (2015) Role of pockmarks in diversity and species assemblages of coastal macrobenthic communities. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 529, 91-105.

Rigolet C., Thiébaut E., Brind’Amour A., Dubois S.F. (2015) Investigating isotopic functional indices to reveal changes in the structure and functioning of benthic communities. Funct. Ecol., 29, 1350-1360.

Gaudron S.M., Marqué L., Thiébaut E., Riera P., Duperron S., Zbinden M. (2015) How are microbial and detrital sources partitioning among and within gastropods species at East Pacific Rise hydrothermal vents? Mar. Ecol., Suppl. 1, 18-34.

Cabral P., Levrel H., Schoenn J., Thiébaut E., Le Mao P., Mongruel R., Rollet C., Dedieu K., Carrier S., Morisseau F., Daures F. (2015) Marine habitats ecosystem service potential: a vulnerability approach in the Normand-Breton (Saint Malo) Gulf, France. Ecosyst. Serv., 16, 306-318.

Rigolet C., Thiébaut E., Dubois S.F. (2014) Food web structures of subtidal benthic muddy habitats: evidence of microphytobenthos contribution supported by an engineer species. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 500, 25-41.

Jolly M.T., Thiébaut E., Guyard P., Gentil F., Jollivet D. (2014) Meso-scale hydrodynamic and patch selection affect the source-sink metapopulation functioning of the coastal polychaete Pectinaria koreni. Mar. Biol., 161, 367-382.

Rigolet C., Dubois S.F., Thiébaut E. (2014) Benthic control freaks: effects of the tubicolous amphipod Haploops nirae on the specific diversity and functional structure of benthic communities. J. Sea Res., 85, 413-427.