The Institut de la MEr de Villefranche (IMEV) | Assemble+

The Institut de la MEr de Villefranche (IMEV)


The Institut de la MEr de Villefranche (IMEV), formerly known as the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche-sur-Mer (OOV), is located on the Ligurian coast between Nice and Monaco in the bay of Villefranche which is known internationally for its richness of offshore pelagic organisms. IMEV was formerly a small research marine station. established in 1885 by Alexis de Korotneff (University of Kiev) and Carl Vogt (University of Geneva) in buildings leased from the Russian Navy. Since the 1930s, the facility has been administered by the University of Paris. Today, IMEV is composed of two joint laboratories (LBDV: Developmental Biology Laboratory and LOV: Oceanography Laboratory) and has become a world-renown research and training centre in marine ecology, oceanography and developmental biology, with about 200 staff on a 10,000 m2 campus. It is jointly operated by the Sorbonne Université (SU) (ex-UPMC), the French partner of ASSEMBLE Plus, and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

IMEV operates and maintains one of the three longest-running deep marine environmental monitoring stations in the world, and an important long-term pelagic observation programme. IMEV’s research topics include developmental biology, pelagic and coastal oceanography at regional and global scales, biological and biogeochemical cycles in marine environment, carbon cycling, phytoplankton production and biological diversity of zooplankton communities.

Note: IMEV research infrastructures and services are listed under OOV in the ASSEMBLE Plus application system.


  • Mediterranean ecosystems


Ecosystem access

  • Research vessels (12 m and 6 m) for sampling of plankton (phyto and zoo – different sizes of nets : Regent 680 µm , Manta (surface, 330 µm), WP2 (50 & 200 µm), Bogorov 300 µm)
  • Diving facilities
  • Access to all research equipment and technical support from the vessel and diving crews


Biological resources

  • Collection of Marine fauna and flora in situ Villefranche bay (chaetognaths, ctenophores, siphonophores..)
  • A large range of Metazoan Marine model organisms such as echinoderms (e.g. Paracentrotus lividus), tunicates (e.g. Phallusia mammillata, Ciona intestinalis, Botryllus schlosseri), the cephalochordate Branchiostoma lanceolatum, cnidarians (e.g. Pelagia noctiluca, Clytia hemisphaerica).
  • Mediterranean Culture Collection of Villefranche (MCCV): collection of microalgae including the toxic dinogflagellate Ostreopsis isolated from the Villefranche Bay
  • Collection of more than 20,000 planktonic fixed samples from worldwide & Tara expeditions (Ocean, Med, Polar Circle), and long-term monitoring dataset of local environmental physico-chemical and biological parameters (Moose, Dyfamed, Point B)


Experimental facilities and technology platforms

  • 1 running water and equipped laboratory (Kreisel and standard aquaria) for 2 to 4 people 
  • 1 dry laboratory equipped for standard molecular biology experiments (PCR machine, nanodrop…) for 2 people
  • Climate-controlled rooms with access to all basic research equipment 
  • Imaging Platform for Planktonic taxonomy by using Zooscan, Flowcam & UVP5 imaging system and Ecotaxa software
  • Imaging Platform for Developmental Biology studies by using Confocal (SP5 & SP8) and Full Field microscopes


Associated services

  • A restaurant and accommodation facilities that can host up to 70 visitors
  • Computer and conference rooms equipped with visio meeting system


181 Chemin du Lazaret
06230 Villefranche-sur-Me
Liaison officer: Magali Siaut (, cc to:

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