William Jouanneau

Maternal transfer and endocrine disruption in a polar seabird

In my thesis, I study the disruption of maternal hormonal transfer by certain classes of contaminants during ovogenesis and their impact on embryo and chick development. My study model is an Arctic seabird, the black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), which is undergoing long-term hormonal and demographic toxicological monitoring in Svalbard by the CEBC. Although far from industrial and agricultural centres, the Arctic is particularly contaminated by persistent organic pollutants and trace elements such as mercury. Added to this is the increasing presence of so-called “emerging” pollutants such as poly- and per-fluorinated compounds (PFASs) used as surfactants, non-stick and waterproofing agents. As some of these substances are bioaccumulative and extremely persistent, they affect top predators, they affect top predators (birds and marine mammals) at many levels. I am therefore testing the hypothesis that the contaminants may cause changes in the transmitted levels of maternal hormones (androgens, estrogens and glucocorticoids). Thus, females exposed to endocrine disruptors during egg synthesis could transfer altered levels of hormones into the eggs, which could affect the development of embryos and then chicks. This project is carried out with the support of the French Polar Institute (IPEV; Prog. 330) and the University of La Rochelle, under the direction of Olivier Chastel (CEBC) and Geir Wing Gabrielsen (Norwegian Polar Institute).

PhD student –  ECOPHY
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