Francis Marsac

Dr Francis Marsac

IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement)
UMR 212 “Exploited Marine Ecosystems”
Department of Oceanography
RW James Building
University Avenue
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701, RSA

Ph: # (0)21 650 3279
Fax (0)21 650 3979

Email: francis.marsac(at)


Tuna behavior and ecology. Tropical tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean, their impacts on the high seas ecosystems and how they interplay with the physical and biogeochemical environment and its variability. Mesoscale studies (Mozambique Channel), how mesoscale eddies affect the distribution of phytoplankton and marine top predators. This research work is based on at-sea measurements (including physical oceanography, experimental fishing and electronic tagging of tuna and billfish), satellite imagery (SST, sea colour, altimetry) and ocean and ecosystem models products.

Professional Affiliations:

Chairperson of the Scientific Committee of the IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission)
French representative at the Steering Committee of the ASCLME (Agulhas Somali Currents Large Marine Ecosystems)
French focal point of the SWIOFP (South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project)
Co-director of the ICEMASA project
Member of the Advisory Board of the Foundation of the University of Seychelles
Member of the editoral board of the Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science of the WIOMSA

Latest Publications:

  1. Kaplan, D.M., P. Bach, S. Bonhommeau, E. Chassot, P. Chavance, L. Dagorn, T. Davies, S. Dueri, R. Fletcher, A. Fonteneau, J-M Fromentin, D. Gaertner, J. Hampton, R. Hilborn, A. Hobday, R. Kearney, P. Kleiber, P. Lehodey, F. Marsac, O. Maury, C. Mees, F. Menard, J. Pearce & J. Sibert (2013). The True Challenge of Giant Marine Reserves. Science 340, 810–811.
  2. Anderson, R.C., T.A. Branch, A. Alagiyawadu, R. Baldwin. & F. Marsac (2012). Seasonal distribution, movements and taxonomic status of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in the northern Indian Ocean (2012). J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 12(2): 203–218
  3. Robinson, J., P. Guillotreau, R.Jimenez-Toribio, F. Lantz, L. Nadzon, J. Dorizo, C. Gerry & F. Marsac (in press). Impacts of climate variability on the tuna economy of Seychelles. Climate Research
  4. Tew-Kai, E. & F. Marsac (in press). Influence of mesoscale eddies on spatial structuring of top predators’ communities in the Mozambique Channel. Progress in Oceanography
  5. Weimerskirch, H., M. Le Corre, E. Tew-Kai & F. Marsac (in press). Foraging movements of great frigatebirds from Aldabra Island : relationships with environmental variables and interactions with fisheries. Progress in Oceanography
  6. Tew-Kai, E., V. Rossi, J. Sudre, H. Weimerskirch, C. Lopez, E. Hernandez-Garcia, F. Marsac & V. Garçon (2009). Top marine predators track Lagrangian coherent structures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106 (20): 8245-8250
  7. Tew-Kai, E. & F. Marsac (2009). Patterns of variability of sea surface chlorophyll in the Mozambique Channel: a quantitative approach. J. Marine Systems, 77 : 77-88
  8. Van der Elst, R.P., J.C. Groeneveld, A.P. Baloi, F. Marsac, K.I. Katonda, R.K. Ruwa & W.L. Lane (2009). Nine nations, one ocean: a benchmark appraisal of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (2007-2011). Ocean & Coastal Management 52: 258-267
  9. Vialard, J., J.P Duvel, M. McPhaden, P. Bouruet-Aubertot, B. Ward, E. Key, D. Bourras, R. Weller, P. Minnett, A. Weill, C. Cassou, L. Eymard, T. Fristedt, C. Basdevant, Y. Dandonneau, O. Duteil, T. Izumo, C. de Boyer Mentegut, S. Masson, F. Marsac, C. Menkes & S. Kennan (2009). Air-sea interactions in the Seychelles-Chagos thermocline


Phil Massie, University of Cape Town, 2012 (South African)
Ameil Harikishun, University of Cape Town, 2013 (South African)

Ibrahim Toihir, University of Marseille, 2008 (Comorian)
Stewart Norman, University of Cape Town, 2012-13 (South African)
Steven Ndegwa, University of Nairobi, 2011-13 (Kenyan)

Emilie Tew-Kai, University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, 2009 (French)
John Bemiasa, Université of Tulear, Madagascar, 2009 (Malagasy)
Beenesh A. Motah, University of Cape Town, 2011-2014 (Maurician)
Bernardino Malauene, University of Cape Town, 2012-2015 (Mozambican)
Antonin Blaison, Université de La Réunion, 2012-2015 (French)