Marie-Morgane ROUYER

PhD Candidate – Marine ecology and conservation MarieMorganeROUYER

I am a PhD candidate, working at the interface between movement ecology and marine conservation. My PhD project aims to deliver science-based, conservation-oriented evidence to inform the conservation of highly mobile seabirds in the Atlantic. It is a partnership between the CEFE, the University of Lisbon, BirdLife International and the UN Evironment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).

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Contact information

CEFE UMR5175 - Campus du CNRS - 1919, route de Mende - 34293 Montpellier 5 - France


 PhD project: Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas at conserving seabirds

Supervisors: Ana Rodrigues (CEFE-CNRS), Maria Dias (University of Lisbon),
Tammy Davies (BirdLife International), Nina Bhola (UNEP-WCMC)


About me

I am a conservation-driven early-career marine researcher. After graduating from an International Master’s in Applied Ecology, I worked for 2 years at the CEFE as a research fellow, in the Inspire4nature Innovative Training Network (H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). During this time, I was trained to work at the science-policy interface of international biodiversity conservation. I collated a large tracking dataset from more than 190 collaborators across the Atlantic, in order to be able to use science-derived evidence of Atlantic seabird space-use, to inform their conservation. This data is now the foundation for my PhD.

Previously, I did my master’s thesis on identifying critical foraging sites for Antarctic penguins and evaluating how well these sites would be covered by an envisioned network of marine protected areas, supporting the use of evidence to inform policy and management. In parallel to my academic education, I volunteered/worked with local and international NGOs, to ground my experience in local and/or international contexts.


Project outline

Seabirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds, with 31% of species risking extinction1 and almost half of them (47%) experiencing declining population trends2. Many seabird species are highly mobile, undertaking long-distance movements on a yearly basis. As a result, they are exposed to multiple anthropogenic stressors varying across space and time3,4 and require protection measures fitting their dynamic life cycles5. While the main threats to seabirds at-sea are known2 (bycatch in fishing nets, overfishing, light and oil pollution, risk from wind turbines), the spatial and temporal exposure to these threats has not yet been assessed and gaps in protection remain unclear.         

This PhD project analyses tracking data for Atlantic highly mobile seabirds (43 species, >150 colonies) in order to reveal their spatio-temporal distribution at the scale of the Atlantic ocean basin, assess when and where species are the most likely to be threatened at-sea, and uncover protection gaps, in terms of Marine Protected Area coverage.


  1. BirdLife International, . State of the world’s birds: taking the pulse of the planet. (BirdLife International, 2018). doi:10.1007/BF01322725.
  2. Dias, M. P. et al. Threats to seabirds: A global assessment. Biol. Conserv. 237, 525–537 (2019).
  3. Halpern, B. S. et al. Recent pace of change in human impact on the world’s ocean. Sci. Rep. 9, 1–8 (2019).
  4. Carneiro, A. P. B. et al. A framework for mapping the distribution of seabirds by integrating tracking, demography and phenology. J. Appl. Ecol. 57, 514–525 (2020).
  5. Dunn, D. C. et al. The importance of migratory connectivity for global ocean policy. Proc. R. Soc. B Biol. Sci. 286, (2019).



  • 2021-2024 / PhD Candidate, University of Montpellier - Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas at conserving seabirds.
    • Spatial analysis of a large tracking dataset to inform the conservation of highly mobile seabirds.
  • 2020-2021 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions early-stage research fellow (Inspire4nature Innovative Training Network), French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas at conserving important sites for migratory seabirds in the Atlantic Ocean
    • Compilation, cleaning and formatting of a large tracking dataset of highly mobile Atlantic seabirds (43 species, >190 collaborators). Project management.
  • 2017-2019 / International Master in Applied Ecology (joint-degree from the University of Poitiers (France), Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Germany) and the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom)).
    • Master’s thesis (with BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK): Conserving Antarctic Penguins: identification of critical foraging sites in support of a marine protected area network
  • 2014-2017 / Undergraduate Degree in Biology, with a specialization in Ecology and Organism Biology; Université de Poitiers, France. 1 year exchange program in Oregon State University, USA.



Peer-reviewed papers

  • Chowdhury, S., Gonzalez, K., Aytekin, M. Ç. K., Baek, S. Y., Bełcik, M., Bertolino, S., Duijns, S., Han, Y., Jantke, K., Katayose, R., Lin, M. M., Nourani, E., Ramos, D. L., Rouyer, M. M., Sidemo-Holm, W., Vozykova, S., Zamora-Gutierrez, V., & Amano, T. (2022). Growth of non-English-language literature on biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology, 36(4), e13883.
  • Amano, T., [+ 42 authors] Rouyer, M.-M. [+ 19 authors]. (2021). Tapping into non-English-language science for the conservation of global biodiversity. PLOS Biology, 19(10), e3001296.  
  • Handley, J*., Rouyer, M. M.*, Pearmain, E. J., Warwick-Evans, V., Teschke, K., Hinke, J. T., Lynch, H., Emmerson, L., Southwell, C., Griffith, G., Cárdenas, C. A., Franco, A. M. A., Trathan, P., & Dias, M. P. (2021). Marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas for Penguins in Antarctica, Targets for Conservation Action. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 1190. - (*co-lead authors).

Technical reports

  • Handley, J*., Rouyer, M. M.*, Pearmain, E. J., Warwick-Evans, V., Trathan, P., & Dias, M. P. (2019). Towards the development of Marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (mIBAs) for penguins in Antarctica – an update. [Report given to the Working Group on Ecosystem Monitoring and Management of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources]. (*co-lead authors).