Alain Sournia, phycologist and philosopher (1940-2018)


Alain Sournia passed away on May 28th, 2018 at 77. After his Master degree in Biological Oceanography from the Faculty of Science of the Paris University (France) in 1962, he obtained a position in 1965 as research assistant at the Overseas Fisheries Laboratory of the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN, Paris, France). He then completed a PhD thesis on planktonic diatoms from the Mozambique Channel and Mauritius, which he defended in 1968. He was a laureate of the ‘Foundation for the Vocation’ in 1969. In the late 70’s-early 80’s, Alain Sournia worked at the MNHN antenna on Moorea Island and at Takapoto (French Polynesia). He became Assistant Professor in Zoology at the MNHN (1981) where he worked in the General and Applied Ichthyology Laboratory. In 1983, he joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as ‘Directeur de Recherche’. He spent several years at the Roscoff Marine Station (1984-1987) and then at the Geology Laboratory of MNHN (1987-1995). The last ten years of his career in Paris were devoted to the research management, acting as ‘chargé de mission’ (policy officer) first at the CNRS ‘National Institute of Sciences of the Universe’ (INSU), from 1994 to 1999, then at the Living Resources Department of the French “National Research Institute for Sustainable Development” (IRD) from 2000 to 2005, notably as a member of the ‘National Fleet Commission’.

Cahiers de Biologie Marine 59: 403–7