Marie Arnaud


Project overview

Mangrove forests support a variety of ecosystem services, notably protection from tsunamis and carbon sequestration (IUCN, 2015). Soil carbon density in mangroves is approximately five times that in terrestrial tropical forest soils (Alongi, 2009). Recent research has highlighted the global importance of carbon stored in vegetated coastal ecosystems, so called “Blue carbon”, especially in mangroves (McLeod et al., 2011). Owing to their valuable ecosystem services and the REDD+ scheme, there is a growing interest in how mangroves damaged by human activities can be restored and whether they will continue to offset anthropogenic emission in the 21st Century, or whether they will become a net carbon source. Such questions require an improved understanding of carbon cycling in mangroves. Below-ground carbon dynamics in mangroves are poorly understood in comparison to above-ground, despite the fact that below-ground stores exceed above-ground by a factor of five or more (Bouillon et al. 2008).


My project aim is to investigate below-ground carbon cycling in mangroves. By combining field observations and laboratory experiments I will examine the environmental controls on below-ground production and decay. Additionally, my research will investigate the lateral export of inorganic carbon from soils to surface water bodies (rivers and the ocean), which may represent an important route for mangrove carbon loss. Field sites will be located in one of the largest area of restored mangrove in the world, the Mekong Delta in the south of Vietnam. Mangroves here were destroyed by a combination of “Agent Orange” defoliant and napalm during the Vietnam-USA war, and have gradually been replanted in the decades since. My research will be carried out in collaboration with the Vietnamese National University, Hanoi.

My work will help to close the carbon balance in mangroves, in order to inform improvements to ongoing mangrove restoration and protection projects, and subsequently to help safeguard the mangrove ecosystem services for local, regional and global communities.


Research Affiliations

Funding: University Research Scholarship

Conferences/training courses attended

  • 2015 COP 21 – Side events: Adaptation to Climate Change using Natural Infrastructure Solutions for Water Management, Paris, France
  • 2015 Ecohydrology, International Hydrology Program VIII (UNESCO), Lyon, France
  • 2014 Water Information for Sustainable Water Resources, Iguacu, Brazil


  • Arnaud, M. (2015) Antibiotic exposition of the surface water in the north of Germany, Ecohydrology conference, International Hydrology Program VIII (UNESCO), Lyon, France
  • Brekenfeld, N., Arnaud, M. et al. (2014) Ecohydrology science to develop nature based solution, Water Information for Sustainable Water Resources, Iguacu, Brazil


  • 2016 Erasmus + training scholarship- 2 months (640 €)
  • 2014 Erasmus mundus scholarship- 2 years (23 000 €)
  • 2012 Explora’ Sup & International mobility scholarship- 1 year (3000 €)
  • 2009 Laureate “Desir to act”, French ministry for Youth (700 €)
  • 2009 Laureate participant UNESCO World Youth Festival


2016 - 2019: PhD student at School of Geography, University of Leeds (UK)
Thesis title: Belowground Carbon in Mangrove forest

2013 - 2015: MSc Ecohydrology- Erasmus Mundus (1st class)
Kiel University (DE), Algarve University (PT), University of Espirito Santos (BR)
Thesis title: Antibiotic exposition in the aquatic ecosystem of Schleswig-Holstein

2011 - 2013: MSc Geography, Environment and Development (1st class)
Lumiere University (FR), UFC (FR)
Thesis title: High altitude wetland and ecosystem services- A participatory study in the Himalayan community of the Pinder River Headwater

2008 - 2011: BSc in Geography (Distinction)
Lumiere University (FR), Goethe University (DE)

Work experience

  • 2016 Research scholars – Institute of Research for Development, Eco&Sol Institute (Fr)
  • 2015 Consultant- Indo-German Center for Sustainability (De)
  • 2013 Research scholars- UNESCO Natural Science Sector (In)
  • 2012 Research scholars- School of Physical and chemical Sciences, Pondicherry University (In)
  • 2011 Consultant Intern- Office de l’eau (Fr)
  • 2009 Assistant Intern- CNRS, National Center for Scientific Research (Fr)


  • Msc Ecohydrology, Erasmus mundus master Algarve University, Kiel University
  • Msc Geography, Environment and Development; University of Lyon, University of Franche-Comte