Yann Planque

Foraging ecology of marine mammals

My research focuses on the foraging / trophic ecology of marine mammal species, and on their strategies to acquire food resources (from the individual scale to the population scale). I am currently employed as a research engineer / post-doc and I am working on these research topics, following the work I have made during my PhD at the CEBC from 2018 to 2021 on Trophic ecology of two sympatric seal species at the limit of their distribution range (see the PDF of the thesis). Thus, I have developed an expertise on the foraging ecology and strategies of marine top predators in recent years (diet analyses, stable isotope analyses, and study of foraging strategies in space from telemetry tracking).

My current research is conducted as part of the environmental impact studies made for an offshore windfarm project in the North of France called “Eoliennes en Mer Dieppe Le Tréport” (EMDT), and these studies aim at improving the knowledges on the foraging ecology of harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) and grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) populations in this area (Baie de Somme, Baie d’Authie and Baie de Canche, France). My objective is to identify the diet of both species by analysing the content of seal scats in prey remains with classic methods (analyses of non-digested hard parts), but also to test molecular biology methods that have not yet been used in this study area (DNA sequencing of prey remains in scats). My objective is also to study the ecology of both species with stable isotope analyses (e.g. isotopic niches, mixing models).

During this research contract, I also closely work with the Observatoire Pelagis laboratory (UAR 3462 CNRS / La Rochelle Université) on questions related to the trophic ecology of other marine mammal species such as harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), mostly by performing stable isotope analyses.

Research contract in the Marine Predators team (2022-2023)

Mail : yann.planque(at)univ-lr.fr
Tel : +33 (0)5 46 50 76 42


« Phoques en Crottes »

Dive into the feeding habits of two species of seals: the seal calf and the grey seal. Find out a little more about the diet of these species in the North-East Channel by analysing the contents of their droppings. You can also find out about their movements thanks to telemetric tracking beacons placed on the fur of some individuals.
The field presented in this film was carried out in the Bay of the Somme, and the laboratory analyses in La Rochelle.
Short film made for the Festival du Film [Pas Trop] Scientifique (FFPTS), organized by the ADocs (association of doctoral students and young researchers of La Rochelle University). Film broadcast on October 12, 2019 in La Rochelle.
As part of Yann Planque’s thesis on the “Trophic ecology of two sympatric species of seals at the edge of their range”, carried out at the Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC, CNRS / La Rochelle University).