Programme scientifique

As human activities transform the whole planet, societies and Earth processes intermingle in unprecedented ways. This calls for researchers across multiple disciplines – life sciences, geosciences, social sciences, and humanities – to team up and embrace the complexity of how entire communities of organisms, people, and the physical environment interact, feed back on one another, and change all together. The UMI iGLOBES aims at facilitating and fostering collaborative research between scientists from France and the University of Arizona at the crossroad of ecosystem science, Earth and planetary sciences, and social sciences and humanities.


The research axes below capitalize on the strengths of the University of Arizona (ecology, geosciences, space studies, astronomy, Biosphere 2 transdisciplinary program) and French partners (CNRS Interdisciplinary Incubator "Manufacturing and domestication of the living" and "Eco-Evo-Devo", interdisciplinary strategic program “Origin and Conditions of Emergence of Life” at PSL, national experimental platform Ecotron based at ENS). This agenda will extend the scope of integrated research at the UMI, strengthen the opportunities for international cooperation led by the UMI, and produce innovative research.


To achieve these objectives the UMI will support theoretical and field research and visits of scientists (faculty and students) from or to the UMI base in Tucson. The CNRS International Human-Environment Observatory (OHMI) "Pima County" based at the UMI is an integral part of this program; the OHMI will specifically support environmental research at the regional geographic scale surrounding the UMI base.

Water policies in the arid regions of the Americas

The issue of water policies in the arid regions of the Americas, in line with previous projects supported by the ANR BLUEGRASS and within the framework of the close collaboration established with the UA Udall Center for Public Policy.

Governance of natural resources

The governance of natural resources, renewable and non-renewable, in a cross-socio- ecological and geo-political approach applied to the open spaces of the Americas. The aim of this research axis is to analyze the institutional mechanisms of the governance of resources and spaces and to quantify their effects on the ground in terms of changes in the use of space or changes in ecological dynamics. The analysis of governance is intended to show the articulations and conflicts between the real occupants of space and the power structures that intervene on them at a distance (for example, metropolises). In both cases, individual factors of the relation to space and the environment (in particular the sense of belonging) must be elucidated because they are at the root of bottom-up processes that underlie the phenomena of interest. 

Ecological and societal responses to extreme climate events

The question of ecological and societal responses to extreme climate events will be applied to the arid and semi-arid Amerindian regions. It will be approached from a historical perspective, raising the question of the memory of phenomena and the transmission of the answers to these phenomena (technical and political devices, systems of values): How does this memory of past climatic events manifest itself in the history of societies and their cultural and political dynamics? Is there a memory process in  ecosystems? If so, what role do cultural memory and ecosystem memory play in the processes of learning, adaptation, anticipation and pre- (or counter-) adaptation of societies and their ecosystems to climate change?

Quantitative modeling of ecosystems and the contribution of modeling to the study of the changing Human-Earth system

We will also address quantitative modeling of ecosystems and the contribution of modeling to the study of the changing Human-Earth system from a comparative anthropological perspective: How do Amerindian societies conceptualize ecosystems? How does this conceptualization influence their relationship to ecosystems: assessment, exploitation, governance, conservation, domestication? What are the cultural and societal conditions of a transition from "domestication" to "manufacturing", how does the aspiration to "manufacture" ecological processes take root in traditional knowledge and what role does it play in contemporary research on "environmental alternatives"?

Conditions for planet habitability and the origin and disappearance of life in the universe

 The question of conditions for planet habitability and the origin and disappearance of life in the universe, around which fundamental research on the biological and geochemical mechanisms involved will be placed in the perspective of an anthropology of nature and life “at its limits”.

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Que peuvent nous dire les sons sur Pima County, Arizona ? Dans le cadre des OHMI, Anne Sourdril & Luc Barbaro réalisent des enregistrements de paysages acoustiques 
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