Olivier Chastel

Stress, Hormones and Contaminants in Seabirds

My work focuses on the relationships between contaminants (organic pollutants and mercury), hormonal mechanisms and fitness (reproduction, survival). Specifically I study the ability of contaminants to alter the normal functioning of major hormonal mechanisms (endocrine disruption) such as those involved in the regulation of adaptive trade-offs. This work is carried out in seabirds, which accumulate numerous contaminants, in polar (Svalbard and French Antarctic Lands), tropical (French Guiana) environments and recently in metropolitan France.The contaminants I study are trace elements (e.g. mercury), legacy persistent organic pollutants (DDT, PCBs) and certain pollutants of increasing concern: Poly- and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) which are used as surfactants in a multitude of manufactured products (non-stick cookware, fire-fighting foams, food packaging, waterproof clothing and stain-resistant clothing). I am developing my research thanks to the internationally recognized specialization of the CEBC into vertebrate endocrinology.

Research Director CNRS – Team Leader ECOPHY
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Contaminants exposure and maternal effects in arctic seabirds

My reserach programm ORNITHO-ENDOCRINO, funded by IPEV, aims at investigating the consequences of contaminants exposure on maternal effects in two arctic seabirds from Svalbard. The selective deposition of avian maternal hormones could allow females to strategically adjust the phenotype of their offspring to the environmental situation encountered. Less is known however on how females transfer their pollutants to the eggs and how these pollutants could disrupt such adaptive maternal deposition.

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Multistress Programm

The objective of this project is to measure the combined effects of environmental contaminants and habitat degradation on the biodiversity of the Nouvelle Aquitaine Region. The models studied are birds, reptiles and amphibians present in the vineyard, cereal plain, bocage, wetlands, urban and coastal areas. In this framework, I am carrying out work on contaminants and their effects in four species of gulls breeding in the Lilleau des Niges National Reserve, Ile de Ré (CEBC – Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) partnership).

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