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UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE

Country: France
19 Projects, page 1 of 4
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 330103
    Partners: UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 896866
    Overall Budget: 184,708 EURFunder Contribution: 184,708 EUR
    Partners: UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE

    The arctic marine biota is vulnerable to effects of climate change and anthropogenic contaminants. The artic is warming rapidly and is a sink for pollutants, including methylmercury (MeHg), which bioaccumulates in marine food chains. Ecotoxicological studies in the arctic have not adequately considered effects of contaminants on animal behaviour and fitness, or interactions between contaminants and climate change. This study (BehavToxArc) will address these urgent research areas using a keystone arctic seabird, the little auk (Alle alle). I will collect data from two colonies that are experiencing different environmental conditions and climate change impacts, and explore whether disruption of behaviour or stress physiology by Hg might limit adjustments to environmental change. I will use ultralight GPSs and accelerometers to collect unique behavioural data, which will be linked to state-of-the-art Hg measurements, and complemented by a long-term dataset (from accelerometers since 2009). I will also perform cutting-edge experiments to manipulate stress physiology, and explore cross-generational effects of Hg exposure in the context of climate change, focusing on telomeres. I will work with Dr. Jérôme Fort within the AMARE (Responses of Marine Organisms to Environmental Variability) group at La Rochelle University’s Institute Littoral Environnement et Sociétés. BehavToxArc will synthesize my expertise in behavioural ecotoxicology and telomere biology with Dr. Fort’s expertise in arctic ecotoxicology and spatial ecology. The project will introduce me to state-of-the art methods to monitor movement behaviour and measure telomeres, and the highly topical fields of arctic ecotoxicology and global change biology. Results will be disseminated by top-tier publications, conferences and public engagement, and used to advance scientific knowledge and environmental policy. The project will pivotally advance my career and propel me towards a permanent research position.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101025549
    Overall Budget: 184,708 EURFunder Contribution: 184,708 EUR
    Partners: UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE

    Global climate change and anthropogenic contamination are pressing problems of international scope. A paucity of knowledge exists regarding combined effects of climate change and contaminant exposure on bioenergetics and thermoregulation, effects which are projected to be especially pronounced in the high Arctic. Indeed, understanding joint effects of climate change and anthropogenic contaminants is a current research priority of the Arctic Council. In this project (BioenergArc), I will collaborate with leading French scientists at La Rochelle University to address this research area from a bioenergetic perspective, using a keystone Arctic seabird species, the little auk (Alle alle), as a model system. I will use field respirometry to elucidate whether exposure to a suite of contaminants (methylmercury, organochlorines, perfluoroalkyls) affects resting metabolic rate and thermoregulatory capacity in a fashion that could undermine the capacity to cope with climate change. I will also use accelerometry in combination with experimental manipulations to examine whether contaminant exposure affects field metabolic rate, activity patterns and responses to increased workloads. Finally, I will investigate whether variation in thermoregulatory capacity and energy budgeting affects spatial habitat use and fitness. BioenergArc will combine my expertise in behavioural and physiological responses to environmental change with my collaborators’ complementary expertise in Arctic ecophysiology, ecotoxicology and spatial ecology. I will receive advanced training in field respirometry and biologging, and expand my research in highly topical new directions. Results will be disseminated through top-tier publications, international conferences and public engagement, and communicated to working groups of the Arctic Council to promote conservation initiatives. The project will solidify my scientific reputation and serve as a critical stepping stone towards a permanent research position.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 631203
    Partners: UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE
  • Open Access mandate for Publications and Research data
    Funder: EC Project Code: 101024166
    Overall Budget: 184,708 EURFunder Contribution: 184,708 EUR
    Partners: UNIVERSITE DE LA ROCHELLE

    Mercury (Hg) concentrations in the oceans have tripled in the last centuries, even in remote areas such as the Arctic. Hg is bioaccumulated in food webs and can produce toxic effects affecting breeding and survival probabilities in wildlife. Selenium (Se) has been proved to have a protective effect against Hg toxicity, but no long-term studies have been carried out to evaluate reproductive output and population dynamics in relation to Se or the interaction Se-Hg. Using as a population model the most abundant breeding bird in the Arctic, the little auk (Alle alle), I aim to 1) evaluate the temporal trends of Se/Hg and on which intrinsic/extrinsic factors they depend on; 2) investigate if Se/Hg concentrations affect the reproductive output of little auks (i.e., at the individual level); and 3) evaluate the effects of Se/Hg at the population levels in the context of climate change (i.e., considering environmental conditions). To do so, I will use data of 15 years of monitoring on little auks from west Greenland (Kape Høegh). I will analyse pollutants on blood samples at the host laboratory, and I will perform different statistical approaches to investigate our objectives. In particular, we will look for functional relationships to evaluate pollutants temporal/environmental trends and their toxic effects on the reproductive output of little auks; and demographic models (multistate mark-recapture models and matrix population models) to evaluate the projected population growth rate and its sensitivity to Hg/Se and environmental conditions. This research program will gather knowledge from a large interdisciplinary team, with expertise in ecotoxicology and demography. We anticipate major public interest for the results of DeToxSea: the unique long-term study about demographic effects of Se/Hg toxic contamination in Arctic wildlife, that will give light to one of the Challenges of Horizon 2020 about Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials.