sophie bonnet Photo de Sophie Bonnet © IRD

Sophie Bonnet, French Researcher Awarded an Exceptional European Research Grant

Sophie Bonnet is Director of Research at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology (MIO Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, IRD, University of Toulon). She has just won an exceptional European grant for an innovative research project that will examine the biological mechanisms of CO2 sequestration by the ocean, from the study of the cell to the ecosystem as a whole.

Work on ocean biogeochemistry

Sophie Bonnet is Director of Research at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology in Marseille. After completing her doctoral thesis at Sorbonne University (Paris), she did a post-doctoral fellowship in the United States at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) before being recruited as a permanent researcher in 2007 at the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement).

Her work focuses on the biogeochemistry of the ocean, and more specifically on the role of phytoplankton (or micro-algae) in ocean carbon sequestration. She is particularly interested in the different mechanisms of the biological carbon pump and its consequences on the ocean’s capacity to absorb anthropogenic carbon.
For many years, Sophie Bonnet has coordinated several large-scale oceanographic expeditions in the Pacific Ocean, and has participated in numerous missions, totalling over 450 days at sea. She is also the author of numerous international publications and participates in the supervision of doctoral and postdoctoral students.

In 2019, Sophie Bonnet was the winner of the Christian Le Provost Oceanographer Award.

A major European grant to innovate on CO2 sequestration in tropical oceans

Thanks to a European grant of €2.5 million awarded by the ERC (European Research Council), Sophie Bonnet will be able to implement her HOPE project for “How do diazotrophs shape the ocean biological carbon pump? A global approach, from the single cell to the ecosystem”.

This project aims to study the capacity of our tropical oceans to sequester CO2 via an alternative carbon pump, using innovative tools to:

  • to observe the surface and bottom ocean, simultaneously, and at high frequency (hourly/day scale for several years);
  • to understand the complexity of processes, from the scale of the cell to the ecosystem.

A total of 313 grants across 24 countries, 5 European grants of this type were awarded to projects carried out in laboratories co-directed by the University of Aix-Marseille.

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