The Station Biologique de Roscoff  (SBR) is a research and training center in marine biology and oceanography and was founded in 1872 by Henri de Lacaze Duthiers, Professor at the Sorbonne University. Based on the high biodiversity and variety of habitats in the area. Today, it has become a world-renowned research and training centre in marine biology and ecology, with circa 300 staff on a 20.000 m2 campus, jointly operated by the Sorbonne Université (SU) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The Station Biologique de Roscoff is part of the National Infrastructure EMBRC France – french node of EMBRC.

Mission and research
SBR’s missions are (1) to promote research and training on the biology of marine organisms and ecosystems; (2) to provide access, both for staff and non-resident researchers, to the ecological and biological resources of the site; (3) to carry out long-term observations of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the coastal environment in the vicinity of Roscoff; (4) to contribute to the regional ecosystem of innovation.

Research covers aspects from genes to the marine environment and includes the study of biological processes in marine organisms, the discovery of bioactive molecules of marine origin for potential therapeutic applications, the study of the marine environment and the way it shapes ecosystems, populations and organisms, and the functional and evolutionary processes that structure marine biodiversity.

The Station Biologique de Roscoff provide access to the following research infrastructures:

Ecosystem access

  • Coastal research vessels (On-site service)
    • Research vessel Neomysis (length 12 m) for coastal fishing, dredging, plankton net, hydrology, etc. sampling gears and instrumentation available on board. This unit operates up to 30 miles off shore.
    • Two smaller boats (length 6 m). versatile and transportable, these units provide access to the coastal waters (<5 miles), including on very shallow depths (ex. estuaries). Used in particular for diving operations.
  • Sampling equipment (On-site service)
    • Dredge, grab, sieving table, fishing gear (trawl, net, traps) plancton net, water sampling, sensors, etc. This entire list can be provided for the Neomysis, and some also for the smaller vessels
  • Scuba diving facilities (On-site service)
    • Implementation of visual inspection methods, sampling protocols or experiments.
    • Deployment of moored sensors and maintenance. Can operate autonomously (up to 3 divers) or in support to welcomed scientific divers.
  • Other ecosystem access
    • Access to marine biodiversity of the Bay de Morlaix is also possible at low tide by foot

Biological resources

  • Culture collections (On-site and remote service)
    • Roscoff Culture Collection (RCC) maintains over 5000 strains of marine phytoplankton, bacteria and viruses.
    • Microalgae
      • cyanobacteria: Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus;
      • prasinophytes: Ostreococcus tauri, Bathycoccus prasinos and Micromonas pusilla;
      • coccolithophore: Emiliania huxleyi
  • Marine model organisms (On-site and remote service)
    • Access provided on-site and remotely of:
      • Dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula) eggs
      • Ascidians (Ciona intestinalis, Phallusia mammilata)
      • Sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus)
      • Acoel (Symsattigifera roscoffensis
  • Species collected upon request (On-site and remote service)
    • Collection and supply of local marine flora and fauna specimens from Morlaix Bay / Brittany coast (collection on foot, by diving or by boat)
    • All organisms can be provided on site / most organisms can be sent to external labs


Experimental facilities

  • Dry labs (On-site service)
    • One laboratory equipped for observation and cellular biology (microscope and binocular with camera - laminar flow cabinet - incubator basic consumables and reagents)
    • One laboratory equipped for Molecular Biology, PCR hood, transilluminator UV, nanodrop,spectrophotometer consumables reagents),
  • Wet labs (On-site service)
    • Running seawater, fumehood, microscope, stereomicroscope, incubator, fridge and freezer, field equipment, consumables reagents
  • Aquaria and tanks (On-site service)
    • Access to open/closed circuit running seawater experimental infrastructures
    • Aquaria/tanks from 15 to 4000 L; regulation of temperature, pH, salinity, tide, etc. possible.
  • Climate controlled rooms (On-site service)
    • Space in a temperature controlled room in the Ressource Biological Center


Technology platforms

  • Imaging (On-site service)
    • Confocal, Fluorescence, Transmission Electron Microscopy



  • Data sets (Remote service)
    • Biodiversity
    • Ecotaxa
    • English Channel
    • Picocyanobacteria comparative genomics
    • sensor data
    • plankton symbiosis
    • radiolaria
    • sulfatase enzime families
  • Data analysis tools and software (Remote service)
    • Bioinformatics tools
    • Virtual Research Environments
    • Statistical Processing
    • Sequence Similarity Search
  • Computing and storage infrastructure (Remote service)
    • HPC cluster: 2000 CPU (from 64Gb up to 2Tb RAM) with 2 Pb data storage 


Expert advice

  • Experiment design (On-site service)
    • Zootechnical/phytotechnical and technical support - Biological and/or technical advice/assistance with experimental design and set-up


Success stories at SBR

Establishment of cell fates in the early branching annelid Owenia fusiformis

Chema Martin
Queen Mary University
of London (United Kingdom)

"I applied to ASSEMBLE Plus to get remote access to the segmented worm Owenia fusiformis, a marine species that inhabits the costs near the Station Biologique de Roscoff (SBR) in France. Over the last years, I have established this marine worm as a research system in evolutionary developmental biology to understand the origins of segmented (annelid) worms, one of the most diverse animal groups on Earth.

The ASSEMBLE Plus program allows me to study the same natural population of Owenia fusiformis over the years, thus assuring a more or less constant genetic diversity in our studies.

Thanks to the remote access provided by ASSEMBLE Plus, my lab has collected samples to investigate how this fascinating marine worm reproduces and develops. Overall, the experience and interaction with the people in charge of ASSEMBLE Plus has been fantastic, always willing to help and make the most out of my research project."


Station Biologique de Roscoff
Place Georges Teissier
29680 Roscoff
Liaison officer: Cécile Cabresin ( ), cc to: 

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