Marine megafauna are charismatic species that can play the rôle of umbrella species of ocean biodiversity conservation. From coastal to pelagic waters, these species (turtles, birds, marine mammals and large fish) occupy a wide diversity of ecological niches, play an essential role in the regulation of food webs ,and have been recognized for the value of their ecosystem services. My research activities focus on the spatial ecology and conservation of marine megafauna in a context of climate change and conflicts of use generated by global anthropization. I thus study the dynamics of distribution, habitats, and movements of marine mammals under the influence of environmental and anthropogenic forcings in order to provide the knowledge needed for conservation policies such as the delimitation and management of marine protected areas. 

My research contributes to providing the spatial knowledge essential to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030 and respond to the global challenges of biodiversity conservation raised by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the IUCN. Faced with the difficulties of studying marine megafauna at sea, I use a multidisciplinary methodology combining data from biological sciences, physical sciences, and human sciences. Anchored in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, my research project is organized around three questions: 

  • What are the distribution dynamics of marine megafauna in response to environmental and anthropogenic forcing, at both individual and population scales? 
  • What are the adaptive processes of marine megafauna in the face of climate change and growing human footprint? 
  • What is the best strategy for sustainable management of megafauna for the benefit of biodiversity and societies?



Derville, S., Buell, T. V., Corbett, K. C., Hayslip, C., & Torres, L. G. (2023). Exposure of whales to entanglement risk in Dungeness crab fishing gear in Oregon, USA, reveals distinctive spatio-temporal and climatic patterns. Biological Conservation, 281, 109989,

Derville, S., Torres, L. G., Newsome, S. D., Somes, C. J., Valenzuela, L. O., Vander Zandenh, H. B. V, Baker, C. S., Bérubé, M., Busquets-Vass, G., Carlyon, K., Childerhouse, S. J., Constantine, R., Dunshea, G., Flores, P. A. C., Goldsworthy, S. D., Graham, B., Groch, K., Gröcke, D. R., Harcourt, R., Hindell, M. A., Hulva, P., Jackson, J. A., Kennedy, A. S., Lundquist, D., Mackays, A. I., Neveceralova, P., Oliveira, L., Ott, P. H., Palsbøll, P. J., Patenaude, N. J., Rowntree, V., Sironi, M., Vermeuelen, Els, Watson, M., Zerbini, A. N., & Carroll, E. L.* (2023). Long-term stability in the circumpolar foraging range of a Southern Ocean predator between the eras of whaling and rapid climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120, e2214035120. https://doi:10.1073/pnas.2214035120 

Thompson, K. F., Miller, K. A., Wacker, J., Derville, S., Laing, C., Santillo, D., & Johnston, P. (2023). Urgent Assessment Needed to Evaluate Potential Impacts on Cetaceans from Deep Seabed Mining. Frontiers in Marine Science 10, 1-7.

Derville, S., Cleguer, C., Garrigue. C., Ecoregional and temporal dynamics of dugong habitat use in a complex coral reef lagoon ecosystem. Scientific Reports (2022), 12, 552,

Andréfouët, S., Derville, S., Buttin, J., Dirberg, G., Wabnitz, C. C. C., Garrigue, C., Payri, C. E., Nation-wide hierarchical and spatially-explicit framework to characterize seagrass meadows in New Caledonia, and its potential application to the Indo-Pacific. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2021), 173, 113036.

Derville, S., Torres, L. G., Zerbini, A., Oremus, M., Garrigue, C., Horizontal and vertical movements of humpback whales inform the use of critical pelagic habitats in the western South Pacific. Scientific Reports (2020), 10:4871.

Derville, S., Torres, L. G., Albertson, R., Andrews, O., Baker, C. S., Carzon, P., Constantine, R., Donoghue, M., Dutheil, C., Gannier, A., Oremus, M., Poole, M. M., Robbins, J., Garrigue, C., Whales in warming water : assessing breeding habitat diversity and adaptability in Oceania’s changing climate. Global Change Biology (2019), 25(4), 1466–1481.

Derville, S., Torres, L., Iovan, C., Garrigue, C., Finding the right fit: Comparative cetacean distribution models using multiple data sources and statistical approaches. Diversity and Distribution (2018), 24, 1657-1673.

Derville, S., Jean, C., Dalleau, M., Le Gall, J.-Y., Ciccione, S. Bourjea, J.*, Long term monitoring of green turtle nesting on Tromelin Island demonstrates stable reproduction and population parameters. Chelonian Conservation and Biology (2015), 14, 11–20.