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The CEBA: a decade of innovative science in French Guiana

Since 2011, French Guiana hosts a Laboratory of excellence: The center for the study of biodiversity in Amazonia (LabEx CEBA).

The year 2020 marks the renewal of the CEBA program. Public research institutions have endorsed the extension of the program and the funding to the end of 2024 marking an important step for the CEBA.

A community across borders

In 2020, 13 research laboratories are affiliated to the CEBA. They are located in French Guiana, the French Antilles and mainland France. The CEBA gathers researchers from several top research institutions: the Pasteur Institute, Universities ( French Guiana , Antilles, Toulouse and Montpellier), hospital of Cayenne, IRD, CNRS, CIRAD, INRAE and AgroParisTech. All the researchers in this scientific network are putting their efforts at understanding the multifaceted Amazonian biodiversity and are actively working in the territory of French Guiana.

CEBA regularly launches grant opportunities in order to fund research projects. Since 2011, a total of 109 projects have been funded. The projects span various topics such as: the mega-diverse biodiversity of Amazonia, the use of therapeutic plants, the human populations inhabiting the forest in the pre-Columbian times , or the response of species to drought and climate change. These research projects have produced over a thousand scientific publications in national or international journals. This work has also been presented in many international conferences.

A new generation of scientists trained in French Guiana

Where would science be today without generations of students passionate about research? Since the beginning of the CEBA project, 32 doctoral have had the opportunity to carry out their CEBA funded PhD thesis. After three years in the field and in the lab, they now hold positions and continue their mission as researchers, engineers, environmental educators and environmental managers. CEBA is also involved in three different master degrees.

Every year, CEBA is participating to science thematic schools. These schools are aimed at training the scientific community in different techniques and research fields. The schools are hold in French Guiana or in the Amazonian such as Ecuador and Brazil in 2019 or Mexico in 2014. The next two thematic schools will be held in Peru and Brasilia and will allow CEBA to continue forging close relationships and collaborating with other Amazonian countries.

“For almost a decade, the Center for the study of biodiversity in Amazonia has worked closely with local stakeholders. Perhaps have you already crossed paths with a CEBA scientist? CEBA researchers are involved in cultural events and science outreach in French Guiana, such as the “science festival” (Fête de la Science), school education and photo exhibits. A partnership has also been established with the journal Boukan” (formerly known as“Une saison en Guyane”) to promote knowledge on Guyanese biodiversity.

With the renewal of CEBA’s to 2024, the science network shows a strong commitment to scientific excellence and innovative projects to unravel biodiversity patterns in the Amazonian forest.