Elva Fuentes

Pesticides effects on Montagu’s harrier chicks

For the last 50 years, farmland birds have been in constant decline, such as the Montagu’s harrier, a small migratory raptor nesting in cereal plots. Chicks are particularly exposed to several threats, such as the intensification of agricultural practices. This entails a risk of destruction of the nest by machines during harvesting or even exposure to crop protection products used in conventional crops. For this species that feeds mainly on voles and invertebrates, the use of pesticides can reduce the available resources. Plant protection products can also cause sublethal effects, i.e. delayed effects linked to chronic exposure of individuals to pesticides. Deleterious effects on the life history traits of individuals can have serious consequences on Montagu’s harrier populations and more generally on communities.

It is in this context that my thesis takes place. The sublethal effects of pesticides, identified in some species, have rarely been studied in wild raptors. The Montagu’s harrier broods within the ZA-PVS (Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre) have been monitored for 28 years, which allows me to study these effects on the immun e system, physiology and life history traits of chicks in natural conditions.

PhD student – AGRIPOP team (2021-2024)
Supervisors: Karine MONCEAU (LR University – AGRIPOP) et Jérôme MOREAU (University of Burgundy – AGRIPOP)
Funding: PESTISTRESS (ANR) and BIOBIRD (Nouvelle-Aquitaine region) projects.
Doctoral school: Euclide (LR University)
Academic background: Master BEE course DyCoB (University of Burgundy).
Photos © Sorenza Phelippeau