Résumé: A multidisciplinary programme, MESOBIO (Influence of mesoscale dynamics on biological productivity at multiple trophic levels in the Mozambique Channel) was undertaken in the Mozambique Channel within the framework of a scientific partnership between France and South Africa. MESOBIO focused on the signature of the highly energetic eddy dynamics in the Mozambique Channel. The Channel, which is known to be one of the most turbulent areas in the world ocean, has a great diversity of marine organisms and is the site of active pelagic fisheries. MESOBIO was mostly based on observations at sea during 12 multidisciplinary cruises between 2002 and 2010. Hydrographic measurements, sampling of biological organisms ranging from phytoplankton to top predators, and experiments on primary production and energy transfer through the food web, were conducted onboard various research vessels. The data were analysed in relation to eddy field characteristics for the periods of the cruises, including seasonal or inter-annual variability in mesoscale activity. A modelling approach was also developed within MESOBIO for both the circulation in the Channel and the biogeochemical response to eddy forcing. This paper introduces the suite of articles on the MESOBIO investigations by summarizing background knowledge for the different disciplines and the key issues that were addressed within the programme.