You will find below our main fields of activities. Our methods and collaborative approach can be adapted to suit your particular needs, and we can bring our knowledge to help solve your management problem. Do not hesitate to consult us.
A new field that is starting to develop in biodiversity conservation, especially in North America (USA and Canada) and South Africa: its function is to act as intermediary between scientists producing knowledge and innovations, and managers/policy makers who need to integrate these scientific advances into their actions and decision-making. The general purpose of this new field is to reduce biodiversity loss by integrating as early as possible recent scientific research into policy-making. The need for this comes from a worldwide scientific observation: in the past 20 years, research in applied ecology has never been more productive while the amount of species endangered or disappearing has continued to increase. Scientific knowledge on its own will not stop biodiversity loss: it needs to be communicated to managers and policy makers, and properly applied. To ensure efficiency, knowledge brokering must be aimed at the direct manager, the one that acts daily on the habitat and whose actions will impact biodiversity locally (associations, local authorities, hydropower producers, motorway operating companies, etc.). In opposition to the scientist who produces knowledge but is not involved in decision-making, the knowledge broker is pro-actively supporting and assisting managers in drafting policies and engaging actions. We deal of course here with a voluntary initiative on the part of managers, who accept unfettered advice from a third party. From the scientific works in any area, we established a knowledge brokering process in several steps. This process allows for the development of a roadmap from any inquiry, problem or idea, and to go forward in an efficient way during its operational phase.
Fish and ecological continuity
We assist stakeholders in their restoration projects, especially when dealing with fish species, in both upstream and downstream migration. The past ten years have seen an increase in scientific works on the subject which deserve to be shared with the decision-makers. Knowledge-transfer would then be particularly worthwhile. We take part in projects at different levels: habitat fragmentation diagnosis, establishing essential biological corridors, help in prioritizing actions, developing decision-making tools, designing tailored solutions, works assessment and existing works improvement. To answer perfectly your needs, we use different tools and technologies developed by science, such as individual marking, population genetics, prioritizing models, etc. We develop as well tailored soutions to very specific issues, such as our patented culvert-crossing device for fish, a good example of an interface consideration to find a scientific-based operational solution to a management problem.
Fish stocking is still widely used, for recreational reasons, support to overexploited stocks or in restoration projects. We support managers of fisheries who wish to evaluate their practice in different types of environments (rivers, lakes, sea) and for different species. We have a panel of research-based tools at our disposal that can adapt to any situation. We often use different mass-marking techniques, individual tags (PIT-tags), and genetic markers. In specific situations, we can deploy other types of marking – extrinsic (voluntarily applied) or intrinsic (naturally acquired) ones – and we can also help setting alternative solutions to restoration, conservation and stocking actions.
Actions seeking to improve physical quality of habitats (restoration work, restoration of ecological continuity, creation of biological corridors, increase of flow rates…) are often costly, but fulfill clearly defined management purposes. A solid assessment of the impact of such actions is essential in terms of feedback about experiences and best practices. There is no “turnkey” solution available for such assessments, and a simple “before/after” comparison is not enough for an effective evaluation. Monitoring design must be adapted and evaluated with reference to set objectives. Monitoring must be set with pertinent indicators and frequent data harvesting, during the whole project and with methods of analysis and statistical review. Monitoring must indeed be ideally thought up as early on as possible. Scientific literature on the subject is abundant, and new evaluation methods and tools are being implemented, as well as the use of new technologies. All these improvements deserve to be integrated into decision- and policy-making. Our role will be to support your post-development evaluations and bring our scientific expertise to your monitoring, while putting our tools at your disposal. If needed, we can develop specific tools adapted to your situation thanks to our ongoing scientific collaborations.
A sustainable management of populations must rely on a good knowledge of its dynamics. This is particularly true with regards to fish populations that are exploited by recreational or professional fishing. What are the impacts of my intended action on the population/resource I am managing? This is an essential question for any managers. To know well a population and its mortality rates in key development phases is essential in population dynamics, and a good estimate of these elements is necessary to ensure efficient management actions. Various methods are used in scientific projects to study fish species, and progress in methodology and studies are constantly made available. However, few end up being transferred and applied in management projects. Electric and net fishing operations are among the most widely used techniques to study fish stocks in rivers and lakes, but cannot comply with every situation. For particular habitats such as large rivers, ponds and great lakes, fisheries stakeholders do not have the necessary tools at their disposal to know precisely the status of populations. To address this shortcoming, we can help you apply alternative methods initially set-up in scientific projects on your specific habitats (genetics, capture-marking-recapture, acoustics…)
The introduction of species conservation plans implies to have a profound knowledge of local biodiversity, to identify the priority areas for safeguarding and to set adapted methods of conservation and restoration. Conservation biology and Restoration ecology are rather newly applied scientific disciplines, and their development is significant. However, they are little known to stakeholders, and there is a real gap between scientific progress and efficient applicable action plans. SCIMABIO intervenes in all levels of conservation and restoration actions: initial assessment, key issue identification, functionality of target populations, sustainability issues, prioritization of strategies, scenario building, implementing and evaluating the action plan.
In addition to providing scientific knowledge to management actions, SCIMABIO pursues applied scientific research in order to answer the expectations of managers. These projects can be directly engaged by SCIMABIO, or in collaboration with public research institutes, such as the INRA Hydrobiological Lake Station (Thonon-les-Bains) or the University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland, hepia (Geneva). These projects can be used to monitor master and PhD students.
To provide scientific knowledge to managers implies their training in different techniques. SCIMABIO offers thematic training on fish monitoring, management planning, assessing the impact of new developments/works, genetic monitoring…). These applied training sessions provide the necessary scientific and technical information to meet the manager’s aims. Emphasis will be put upon supervised personal projects. Moreover, SCIMABIO can offer on-demand unbiased legal expertise.