Centre for the synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB

CESAB : Time and Space for Biodiversity Research


CESAB proposes a new approach to biodiversity research, fostering a better use of existing data, information and knowledge. CESAB hosts research groups during working sessions of undisturbed, slow time. Biodiversity research is an area of study that requires the manipulation of large data sets collected in different locations, at different scales, on different variables: species distribution, time series, biological, climatic, socio-economic, remote sensing data, etc. The answer to a number of questions requires to assemble and combine such multiple and heterogeneous data sets, allowing researchers to conduct new analyses, beyond those possible from the use of data collected in individual studies or research programmes. The potential for new analyses and synthesis of these data collected during different and uncoordinated studies remains largely under-valued.

A tool created and developed by FRB

logofrb-complet-q-cs3CESAB was created and has been developed by the French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB), since 2010. The FRB is a converging point between the different scientific and society actors in biodiversity. Launched in 2008 after the "Grenelle de l'Environnement" by the Ministries for research and for ecology, it was created by eight public research institutions (BRGMCIRADCNRSIFREMERINRA, IRDIRSTEA, and MNHN), joined in 2014 by LVMH and in 2017 by the University of Montpellier.

Research at CESAB brings together the multitude of heterogeneous data specific to biodiversity research.

The study of biodiversity is a field of research that often requires the mobilization of large datasets collected in different places, at different scales, on different variables (species distribution, monitoring over time, biological, climatic, socio-economic data). -economic, remote sensing, etc.).

The answer to some major questions needs to be able to gather these heterogeneous data by nature into a coherent whole that can be analyzed in a robust and repeatable way. Heterogeneity and data dispersion are two major barriers that limit the potential for analysis and synthesis from these collected data.

Research at CESAB must remove these barriers in order to answer key scientific questions in the field of biodiversity.


This research is conducted at two levels:

  • that of the working groups funded in the context of CESAB calls for projects
  • that of the CESAB team, which relies in particular on the work of the groups, to develop approaches and methods at the interfaces between biodiversity sciences and information sciences. These activities contribute to the emerging disciplinary field of ecoinformatics.


The dissemination media developed at CESAB are numerous:

  • publications : articles and groups of articles in scientific reviews, synthesis volumnes etc.
  • the creation of databases from the work of the groups
  • contribution by the CESAB team to the "Databases" network of the CNRS Mission for Resources and Technical Competences
  • participation à des enseignements, des formations, etc.
  • transfer and extension
  • education
  • visibility in diverse media