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In the context of climate change, mountain environments are dramatically affected. Glaciers are retreating, lake levels are falling, the supply of water to rivers and streams is endangered. At all elevations, all environments such as forests, mountain pastures, snow cover, are affected. We are facing visible changes but also invisible ones. Ecosystems exposed to the effects of climate change are particularly affected. Understanding these upheavals and developing conservation strategies require the knowledge of the living beings that inhabit these environments, and monitoring their evolution. The ALPALGA project focuses on microscopic, invisible organisms, which are at the heart of environmental changes, whose role in ecosystems is major, but whose biodiversity is largely unknown: microalgae.


Scientists from all disciplines

The Cell and Plant Physiology Laboratory

The Laboratory of Cellular and Plant Physiology (LPCV) carries out all the studies of microalgae collected in the natural environment, by isolating and cultivating them under laboratory conditions. The LPCV analyzes the genomes of new species and develops conservation strategies.

The Lautaret garden

The Lautaret garden is present at the Lautaret pass at an altitude of 2,100 meters (Alpine botanical garden, Mirande chalet, Chalet-laboratory and Galerie de l'Alpe) and in Grenoble (Robert Ruffier-Lanche arboretum and greenhouses). It provides logistical and experimental support for all field campaigns.

The Alpine Ecology Laboratory

The Alpine Ecology Laboratory (LECA) analyzes the DNA sequences contained in samples collected in nature. By using mathematical approaches, it identify DNAs that can be used as signatures or markers for the presence of microalgae, their biodiversity, their ecological structure.

The Snow Study Center

The Snow Study Center is part of the National Center for Meteorological Research. It seeks to understand the impact of the presence of microalgae and microorganisms on the structure and evolution of the snowpack at high altitudes.

The Institute of Environmental Geosciences

The Institute of Environmental Geosciences (IGE) studies the impact of global warming on the snowpack, and develops tools to measure the presence of pigmented microalgae.

Grenoble Interdisciplinary Research Institute

The Grenoble Interdisciplinary Research Institute (IRIG) gathers ten research units, including the LPCV, and provides technological means (electronic imaging, analytical platforms) for the study of microalgae collected in the environment.

Grenoble Observatory of Sciences of the Universe

The Grenoble Observatory for Sciences of the Universe (OSUG) is a research federation comprising fifteen research units and associated units, including the LECA, the IGE, the Centre d'Etude de la Neige and the Jardin du Lautaret.

Long-term socio-ecological research

Le Lautaret is one of the European “Long-term socio-ecological research” (LTSER) sites for the study and preservation of biodiversity. A significant part of the field campaigns are carried out in this perimeter.

Kilian Jornet Foundation

The main mission of the Kilian Jornet Foundation is the preservation of mountains and their environment. Mountains have played an essential role in the sporting and personal growth of Kilian Jornet, which is why their preservation has become both a passion and a priority. The Kilian Jornet Foundation supports the ALPALGA program through two priority actions. On the one hand, it helps to disseminate science to the public and to children, in order to raise awareness of the fact that snow is alive and that this common good must be respected. On the other hand, the Kilian Jornet Foundation and its partners support research actions at the frontiers of knowledge, to explore this unknown ocean that inhabit the snow.