M2 - Marine Ecosystem Functioning and Global Change course (FEMaCG)

This course focuses on the impact of climatic and anthropogenic changes on biodiversity and the functioning of marine ecosystems, on different time and space scales. The skills and knowledge acquired on completion of the course will enable students to move on to a PhD in Marine Environmental Sciences, or to jobs as environmental experts or engineers in public or private organisations.

M2 - Marine Ecosystem Functioning and Global Change course (FEMaCG)


The ocean plays a key role in regulating climate, notably as the site of major biogeochemical cycle processes. Biological production at lower trophic levels depends on physical and biogeochemical forces. It forms the basis of the food chain and determines the oceans' capacity to sequester carbon. Changes in the physical and biogeochemical properties of water bodies modify habitats and thus marine biocoenoses and the functions they provide, altering ecosystem services. In turn, changes in biodiversity and its functioning can modify elemental cycles. These interactions between environmental factors and biocenoses are established at all temporal and spatial scales, and need to be studied if we are to predict the consequences of the changes underway.

The Functioning of Marine Ecosystems and Global Change (FEMaCG) course enables students to identify and prioritize the various components of marine ecosystems subject to external forces. Among these components, students will be able to distinguish between those caused by anthropogenic pressures and those due to natural processes. Students will also be able to design the approaches needed to respond to a scientific and/or societal challenge. To do so, they will be able to acquire or produce appropriate data using field approaches (ships, foreshore sampling, etc.), laboratory approaches (cultures, measuring instruments, experimental set-ups) and modeling. Students will be able to analyze and process acquired data and use data from databases, identifying the appropriate statistical tools. They will be able to calculate and design indicators of the state and functioning of ecosystems, taking into account different spatio-temporal scales; from the individual to communities, in terms of both diversity and biogeochemical flows. By considering processes in small scales, students will be able to explain the impacts of global change on ecosystem functioning, and argue for their relative importance depending on the case studied. In line with students’ career plans, they will be able to choose the courses they wish to specialize in (e.g. coastal/shore and benthic/pelagic, or experimental/digital).



First half-year

A minimum of 21 ECTS specific to a training pathway is required to consider that the corresponding competency has been acquired.

List of UE courses :

  • Ecology of coastal communities (6 ECTS)
  • Material flows and food webs (coastal zones) (6 ECTS)
  • Instrumentation and data acquisition in oceanography (6 ECTS)
  • Ecology and functioning of coastal ecosystems (6 ECTS)
  • Oceanographic data processing methods (6 ECTS)
  • Characterization, trend forecasting (oceano-biological) (6 ECTS)
  • Pelagos response to environmental change (6 ECTS)
  • Major challenges facing polar oceans: biogeochemistry and ecosystems (6 ECTS)
  • Marine microorganisms and molecular tools (6 ECTS)
  • Marine Environment Modeling (6 ECTS)
  • Concepts and practices in oceanography: biodiversity (6 ECTS)
  • Diversity and ecology of Mediterranean marine organisms (6 ECTS)
  • Deep-sea ecosystems, global change constraints (3 ECTS)
  • Concepts and practices in oceanography: ecology (6 ECTS)
  • Functioning of Mediterranean marine ecosystems (6 ECTS)
  • Biogeochemical processes at ocean interfaces (3 ECTS)

Second semester

Long master's internship (30 ECTS, 6 months) runs from January to June, in a laboratory or company. The internship can be carried out in France or abroad, and leads to the writing of a thesis, to be defended in June.



Responsables du parcours





Campus Pierre et Marie Curie
Tour 46/00 – 1er étage – porte 105

Sorbonne Université
Département SDUEE
Case courrier 210
4 place Jussieu
75252 Paris cedex 05