Team leaders Nanée Chahinian, Jérome Demarty

Key words Hydrology, Eco-hydrology, Climate, Extreme events, Drought, Soil-Plant-Vegetation-Atmosphere continuum, Modelling


The HEC team (Hydrology, Eco-hydrology, Climate) is involved in problems inherent to major environmental and societal challenges, such as climate change, the evolution of hydrological and plant resources, and land use planning under demographic pressure.

It is committed to: Improving the understanding and characterisation of interactions between phenomena and hydrological, ecohydrological and atmospheric processes in tropical, subtropical and Mediterranean environments. Promoting the conversion of knowledge into statistical, conceptual and/or physically-based models applicable on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.


HEC’s research focuses on five major topics: Interactions between the water cycle and eco(hydro)systems in rural areas (temporal dynamics, land use); Isotopic composition of precipitation and water vapour (atmospheric processes); Surface-atmosphere interactions through energy and matter exchange and water isotope tracing (soil – vegetation – atmosphere); Impacts of varying climatic and anthropogenic conditions on the behaviour(functioning) of eco-hydro-systems and their components, ; Analysis of hydrological extremes and their impact on water and mass transport (soil-vegetation-atmosphere).

Its study sites are part of labelled observatories in France (SO MEDYCYSS, OHM-CV) and in countries of the Global South (SNO AMMA-CATCH, SNO OPAR) and in two Zones Ateliers[1] namely ZABR and “Bassins côtiers méditerranéens”.

Ongoing projects ANR TypHic (2021-2024): Project leader C. Peugeot (UMR HSM), collaboration UMRs HSM, GET, IGE, iEES, INRAe/DEPE, U. Utrecht, U. Niamey, U. Bamako, U. Cotonou.

[1] The Zones Ateliers form a vast network of interdisciplinary research on the environment and anthroposystems in relation to societal issues of national interest.



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Urban Stormwater Hydraulics and Hydrology (H2U)

Team Leader : Christian Salles

keywords : runoff and flooding; transfers; hydrological hazards; coastal cities; African Metropolitan Areas; modeling; metrology and sampling; remote sensing and geomatics; non-parametric and extreme value statistics; artificial intelligence and data mining; aggregation/disaggregation


In urban areas, the impervious and the artificialised surfaces emphasize rain runoff and leaching processes. Water flow through the urban environment is made easier by networks such as roads, stormwater drainage and waterways, but also redirected or slowed down by buildings, urban infrastructure and sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS). The dynamics of water and sediment transfer in an urban catchment area depends on the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall combined with the hydrological connectedness of the urban infrastructure. The H2U team’s research focuses on runoff and wash-off in urbanized areas with the aim of improving the understanding and management of hydrological hazards, floods and the transfer of sediments and associated pollutants.

The issues addressed in this context include the characterization of natural forcings and the parameterization of the environment, and the identification and development of robust and fast hydrological, hydraulic and water quality models to manage flood events and to assess the impact of planning and changes scenarios. The methodologies are based on measurements systems, non-parametric and extreme value statistics, remote sensing and geomatics, flood and transfer modelling within heterogeneous urban environments.

Our mains researches are dedicated: (1) to develop statistical and disaggregation methods to better define spatio-temporal rainfall fields at the scale of the city, following two approaches: the observation and statistical characterization of the structural properties of rainfall based on scale laws and the development of rainfield disaggregation methods towards hectometric scales. (2) to apply data mining and textual analysis techniques on open documents and databases for the refinement of model parameterization. (3) to further develop the hydrological (ATHYS platform) and hydraulic (SW2D) models while following two directions: the regionalization of the hydrological parameters and the statistical properties of the urban structure and shallow water porosity models. (4) to implement hyrdrological water quality model adapted to the time and space scales of urban processes in order to evaluate the impacts of stormwater management and expected changes on runoff and sediments transfers at the basin scale in a changing environment.

The methodological developments and modelling and the observation actions enhance each other from a seeder-feeder mechanism. The Urban Observatory of HSM which has two sites: to the North, the urban catchment area of Verdanson and more broadly the area of the coastal river Lez and its tributaries; in mirror, to the South on the suburbs of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) the catchment area of the Aghien lagoon and the Palmeraie Riviera basin. In addition, sites located in West Africa and sub-Saharan Africa (Bamako, Dakar, Djibouti, Fes, Ouagadougou…) bring together a variety of climatic and urban planning conditions. Monitoring and data acquisition actions rely on the resources and skills of the HSM Field Team.




Team Leader : Corinne Casiot

Keywords : Organo-metallic contaminants; metalloids; biogeochemical cycles; exposure, health, populations, impacts; bioremediation; microbial ecotoxicology, environmental genomics, circular economy; isotopic tracking, speciation; mining environments; watershed-shoreline continuum.


The development of low-carbon energy, the industrialization of emerging countries and the explosion of new technologies have led to an intensification of metal use worldwide. The release of toxic metals and metalloids into the environment raises crucial questions about their impacts on water resources and health. Thus, the control of metal pollution remains a major sustainable development issue, an essential condition for improving health (ODD3), protecting ecosystems (ODD15), improving access to good quality water (ODD6) and support the transition to a circular economy (ODD12).

The PEnSTer team’s research focuses on metal and organo-metallic pollution, dealing with the processes that control their behaviour in the aquatic environment, the analysis of their effects on microbial communities, the assessment of human exposure and subsequent health impact.

The PEnSTer team brings together geochemists, microbiologists, epidemiologists and specialists in the circular economy from the CNRS, the IRD, the University of Montpellier and the IMT Mines Alès.


  • deciphering the biogeochemical processes controlling the mobility of metals, metalloids and organo-metallic compounds and the dynamics of microbial communities ; exploit some of these processes in bioremediation.
  • documenting environmental exposures to toxic metals and metalloids and assess their impact on human health using an epidemiological approach.
  • developping methodologies for analysing and evaluating the pressures and impacts associated with pollution at the scale of a territory.
  • developping tools and methods for knowledge transfer to collect representations and practices of contaminated territories and co-build solutions to strengthen the capacity of territorial actors to address these issues.

Our research focuses on sites with specific challenges (mining environments, urban, industrial and harbour environments, coastal lagoons) located in three major geographical areas: the Mediterranean area, West Africa and South America.

Our projects rely on analytical platforms for metal (bio)geochemistry (speciation and stable isotope analysis, environmental genomics) involved in the national network RéGEF (CNRS/INSU): the ABIHS platform (HSM) and the AETE-ISO platform (OSU OREME).

The team is involved in regional, national and international networks and observatories (OSU OREME, OHM LM, ZABR, LMI MINERWA, LMI COSYS-MED II, Micro-ToxBol Network, AMEDEE, IMGA, AFEM, Ecotoxicomic) and two IMT Chairs (Mineral Industry and Territories ; ELSA PACT2). It works in collaboration with private companies and local authorities in the fields of bioremediation, coastal management and the circular economy.



Team Leaders : Estelle Jumas-Bilak, Patricia Licznar-Fajardo

Keywords: Pathogens, spread, persistence, transmission, public health risks, antibiotic resistance, water ecosystems, prevention, public health.

Vision and activities

Water, as an integrative system, is a key component in the emergence, spread, persistence and transmission of pathogens. The anthropization and artificialization of hydrosystems generate and may increase new infectious risks. The objectives of the PHySE team studies concern the analysis of the conditions affecting the transmission of waterborne pathogens to humans, which generates different levels of public health risks, and the highly complex interactions between these two inseparable elements, pathogens and humans.

The diversity of pathogens and their vectors at the population and community level remains the main focus of PHySE’s scientific issues. The recent integration of virologists and a medical entomologist broadens the spectrum of PHySE study objects initially focused exclusively on bacteria.

PHySE study objects can therefore be defined as Water-Related Infectious Systems (WRIS), which are studied based on an integrated approach combining activities around vulnerability and artificialization of population ecosystems:

(i) vulnerability of human populations and ecosystems (healthcare, cystic fibrosis or mucoviscidosis, dysimmunity, epidemics, South) and vulnerability of eco-hydrosystems, especially in the Mediterranean and African regions (karst, watersheds, coastal systems) and;

(ii) artificialization of living conditions and hydrosystems (urbanization, hospital, home).

These diverse contexts are studied through on-going research projects in France and in the South (Africa, Asia), where training and capacity building, teaching, workshops, observatories, surveillance networks, integration into the health systems and follow up of patient cohorts are being implemented. Structuration around these particular contexts allows in some cases to go as far as clinical-epidemiological studies and to propose a research strategy from the hydrosystem to human health with the long-term objective of establishing causal links and thus being able to predict and prevent risks.

Resistance phenomenon is a federating research axis of PhySE ranging from resistance to biocides and resistance to vector control methods to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance, in particular, is a major health issue recognized as an obstacle to achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 3, associated to human health. The links between antibiotic resistance problems, water resource quality, global health and development implications in France as in the South are clear priorities for global agencies and institutions.

PhySE a multidisciplinary team

Although specialized in infectious systems, PHySE is a multidisciplinary team with longstanding and highly recognized expertise on microbial and viral ecology and evolution, microbiology, virology, immunopathology (dysimmunity), diagnostic methods and biosensors, medical entomology, epidemiology, prevention of infectious risks, vector control, clinical research, circular economy. This diversity, including health professionals, allows synergistic actions around the unifying theme of “water-pathogens-human in diverse ecological contexts”.


The approach is essentially experimental, covering a wide technological spectrum, and relies on the means of the MicrobiH2O-Man-HSM and the Bio-Campus platforms, as well as complementary technologies provided by our partners including:

i) detection, optimized identification and quantification of pathogens by culturomics and vectors by molecular approaches;

(ii) studies of microbial populations and communities using genetic, genomic, (exo)proteomic and phenotypic approaches;

iii) evaluation of cellular and immune mechanisms in cellular and alternative models to provide diagnostic and therapeutic targets.