Julie Mestre

Southern elephant seals ecology and foraging strategies over a decade

My PhD assesses the effects of the variability in oceanographic conditions on southern elephant seals foraging strategies and reproductive success over a decade, as part of the SENtinels of the SEa Ice project. I specifically work on southern elephant seals from Kerguelen Islands, and infer their foraging strategies and habitat use relying on bio-logging (tracks and diving behaviour), carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, and biometrics. The concomitant study of such datasets enables understanding southern elephant seals foraging strategies and their respective importance within the Kerguelen population. Moreover, top predators integrate spatio-temporal variability of oceanographic conditions and underlying trophic levels. Hence, southern elephant seals may be considered as sentinels of the Southern Ocean. Studying their foraging behaviour and reproductive success over more than a decade may shed light on the functioning of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic ecosystems in a context of global change.

Ph.D. candidate (3rd year) in Marine Predators team (2017-2020)
Supervisors : Christophe Guinet (CEBC) and Jean-Benoit Charrassin (LOCEAN)
University : ED129, Sorbonne Université.
Contact : julie.mestre(at)cebc.cnrs.fr (until November) or j.mestre(at)hotmail.fr