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Biological Records of the Environment

Head of the Module Julien THEBAULT (Associate Professor, UBO)
Type Compulsory
Number of hours 32
Teachers Julien Thébault (UBO)/ Anne Lorrain (IRD), Eric Dabas (IRD), Hélène de Pontual (Ifremer), Ronan Fablet (Telecom Bretagne), Yves-Marie Paulet (UBO), Maylis Labonne (IRD), Claire Bassoulet (UBO)
Learning outcomes Allow students to become familiar with the use of “hard” structures of biological origin (mollusk shells, fish otoliths...) as records of past ecosystem functioning and evidence of recent change in these ecosystems and the climate system, as well as tools to study life history traits and manage populations of exploited or protected species.
Aims Present the different types of records most commonly used, show how the structural and geochemical information can be extracted from these records, and interpret the information in paleoecologic, paleoclimatic and population management terms.
Course content
  • Overview of proxies, diversity of biogenic records, stable isotope tracing, use of otoliths for an ecosystem approach to fisheries, modeling and processing of structural data, use of bivalve shells as environmental records...
  • Practical work and tutorials focus on (1) extraction and observation of otoliths + case study (otolithometry), (2) preparation of bivalve shells + elemental analysis (laser ablation ICP-MS) + processing / result interpretation, and (3) dendrochronology analysis of raw data and signal processing (cross-dating, detrending ...) + paleoclimatic interpretation