drapeau-taaf.jpgThis part of the blog describes the experience of working as a field assistant on Kerguelen Islands. My mission was to gather data on the foraging ecology of marine birds and mammals. 6 months that I will never forget in one of the most remote locations on earth! 


Hi folks,
welcome to this new blog, which will allow me to share my experience as a volunteer field assistant during 6 months in Kerguelen Islands. I'll try to describe as best as I can this unique adventure.Feel free to comment, and to contact me if you have any question! Enjoy!

Kerguelen: what for?

Hopefully, this article will allow you to better understand what I'm gonna do in Kerguelen. First of all, my employer is the French Polar Institute Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV in short) located in Brest, Brittany (France). This institute is in charge of managing the scientific research in the French Antarctic and Southern Lands (TAAF in short in French). The IPEV is associated with some French laboratories. One of them is the Center for Biological Studies in Chizé (CEBC-CNRS in French). To be even more precise, I'm gonna work on the programme number 394 entitled "diving birds", managed by Charly Bost. The goal of this programme is to study the energetic strategies of marine predators and the physical and trophic variability of the Southern Ocean. To give only one example, we're trying to understand the foraging ecology  of predators like penguins and shags. Another programme also runs in parallel, the number 109, managed by Henri Weimerskirch, and entitled "Marine birds and mammals sentinel of global changes in the Southern Ocean". This programme includes more species than the 394 (25 in total) et Maxime and Thibaut will take care of it for the most part (although Maxime will work part-time on my programme as well). I should also take part in other programmes, for which I'll be working on elephant seals and fur seals. I wanted to maintain the suspense but I can't, so let me introduce you to the different animals I'll be lucky to work with thanks to a few photos! And I'm also adding a few links to the IPEV's website, the TAAF one, and to a presentation of my research programme in case you're a bit more curious (sorry, as far as I know, those websites are only in French, but they are some cool photos you can look at)!Oh yeah, and I almost forgot my lesson of the day: auks and penguins are different! Some people might be mistaken as they look quite similar. But they are in two different bird families. Plus auks fly and live in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas penguins are flightless and are found in the Southern Hemisphere. And I'm also taking advantage of this article to correct another common mistake people make: there are no polar bear in the South Pole. The etymology of the word "Arctic" (the North Pole) comes from the latin word meaning "bear", and Antarctic means "without bear".  So now you have no excuse for not knowing that there are no bears and auks where I'm going!  

So here they go, all "my" animals! Aren't they cute?

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