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Meet Gérald Darnis, a French marine biologist who studies zooplankton in the Arctic on the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen.
After completing a PhD in oceanography, Gerald went on his first expedition in the Arctic. I asked him to share his first memories of going into a place of the world where very few of us will ever go.
What is plankton? How and why is it interesting to study these tiny organisms? Why studying it in the Arctic? These are some of the questions we’ll answer to in this first episode with Gérald.
Plankton is an essential part of the marine ecosystem while the Arctic region is directly impacted by climate change. Therefore, studying the impact of the global warming on the zooplankton in the Arctic helps scientists to understand how all the ecosystem may be impacted.
azote (nm) = nitrogen
baleine (nf) = whale
brise-glace (nm) = icebreaker, iceboat
crevette (nf) = shrimp
doctorat (nm) = PhD
échantillon (nm) = sample
effet de serre (nm) = greenhouse effect
embarquer = to embark, to board, to get onboard
équipage (nm) = crew
fer (nm) = iron
filet (nm) = net
le plus clair de… = most of, the most part of
méduse (nf) = jellyfish
plancton (nm) = plankton
réchauffement climatique (nm) = global warming
s’alimenter = to feed oneself
subside (nm) = subsidy, allowance ; grant
- How is it possible to estimate how much plankton is at a given place in the ocean?
- How do people get onboard the Amundsen when the icebreaker is at sea in the Arctic?
- How do the peoples inhabiting the Canadian Arctic areas live and feed themselves?
- The use of acoustic instruments allows to assess the quantity of plankton based on the echo it sends back when reverberating on an obstacle / an organism.
- In summer, the crew first lands in a small populated area then is transferred by helicopter. In winter (when the boat is surrounded by ice), people make a landing strip directly on the ice near the boat.
- They hunt, fish and receive grants from the government
Links & Resources
- ArcticNet : http://www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca
- Groupement de recherche Québec-Océan : http://www.quebec-ocean.ulaval.ca
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