Impact of mercury in neotropical crocodilians
My thesis work focuses on the study of mercury and other heavy metal contamination and its impact on the ecology and physiology of caimans in French Guiana.
My work is carried out jointly by the CEBC, the LINKS and the MNHN.
Gold panning and industrial activities cause contamination of aquatic environments, in particular through the mobilisation of naturally occurring mercury stored in soils, in addition to direct inputs of mercury from illegal gold panning and possible other heavy metals. These contaminations are a problem, on the one hand for the ecosystem itself, and on the other hand for the health status of human populations consuming food resources from rivers and streams. To understand the effects of these anthropogenic activities on the ecosystems of French Guyana, we use caimans as indicator species. The presence of four different caiman species in French Guiana (Paleosuchus trigonatus (Photograph), Paleosuchus palpebrosus, Melanosuchus niger, Caiman crocodilus) makes them very good bio-indicators. We are also studying the physiological impacts related to this contamination. Moreover, our study allows us to improve our knowledge of an emblematic, unknown and threatened group. Despite the adaptations they have shown for millions of years, caimans are in decline and are increasingly threatened by anthropic effects, land use planning, pollution, deforestation, global warming and data on their ecology are lacking in South America, particularly in Guyana.
PhD student -ECOPHY team
PhD supervisor : François Brischoux ( CEBC)-co-framed by Paco Bustamante (LINKS – univ. La Rochelle) and Olivier Marquis (MNHN – Paris Zoo)
Doctoral School of La Rochelle
Funding: French Guiana Water Office (OEG); French Biodiversity Office (OFB); Directorate General of Territories and the Sea (DGTM); Hermès Corporate Foundation Member of the IUCN jeremy “Crocodile Specialist Group”. ca.lemaire(at)gmail.com – jeremy.lemaire(at)univ-lr.fr
Tel +33 (0)546 458 749 / +33 (0)760 077 987