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Marine Functional Connectivity knowledge use for MPA positioning within a French national park

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

In March-April 2023, a practical workshop on the Ecological coherence for selecting sites under strong protection in the French Gironde Estuary & Pertuis Sea natural marine park was organized by SEA-UNICORN, in collaboration with the marine park management team and the French OFB.

The exercise started with a half day online webinar (on 28 March 2023) to present the objectives of the workshop and share basic knowledge about the area and local human activities with the 3 SEA-UNICORN experts involved (Michael Elliot - UK, David Goldsborough - Netherlands, and Audrey Darnaude - France).

The main 2-days hybrid workshop then took place on 4-5th April 2023 in La Rochelle. It gathered 16 participants from 3 countries, including the 3 SEA-UNICORN members, bringing in their expertise on connectivity and its use in maritime spatial planning, and >10 local scientific experts with extensive knowledge on the diverse species and habitats found within the marine park.

Drawing on their complementary expertises, it endeavored identifying the main ecological criteria to be followed in order to effectively integrate functional connectivity conservation into the process for selecting the best candidate sites to be classified as strong protection zones within this vast estuarine and coastal area. The resulting recommendations will be translated into French and shared in the coming months with the multi-stakeholder committee responsible for decision-making on the management of the national park, in order to actively contribute to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services management in this key area of the French Atlantic coast.

Contact: Audrey Darnaude (

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