Hard-ass Amazonian Queen

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is one of the most inspiring books I ever read. If you don’t want to be spoiled about even one word of this book, come back after you read it, I couldn’t help myself to quote her!

What first really interested me reading Wild is that, unlike Mike Horn or Sylvain Tesson, who, in very different ways, are well prepared/trained for their hike, Cheryl realised that she was absolutely not prepared to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. To me, these 3 authors/travellers highlight 3 different ways to travel, guided by very different reasons to travel and this is deeply fascinating and open-minding.

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Endangered Green Turtle

Picture credit: Stone Fish Movie

The green turtle, Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758), is highly exposed and affected by human activities and pollution, resulting in  CITES and  IUCN status « endangered ». According to scientists, plastic particles could have impacts on tissue and cellular levels within marine organisms. Thus, to develop effective measures to protect turtles against threats they face we need to know what exactly affect them, in which ways and with which intensity.
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Plastic Turtles Project

Plastic Turtles Project

I arrived in Australia at the end of February to do my 6 months Master’s internship. So cool to see wallabies on the campus instead of pigeons (in Paris) and boars (in Marseille) ! Wildlife is so beautiful here. My MSc minor project tooks place at the Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research Center (TropWATER), James Cook University, Townsville.

Plastic pollution has become a ubiquitous problem in the marine environment. It can cause problems to marine species and affect habitat quality. The amount of plastic produced every year is increasing and so  the negative impacts of plastic pollution are increasing in both spatial scale and severity. In this context, the aim of this project is to develop a repeatable protocole to recover and quantify plastic macro (> 5 mm in diametrer) and micro (< 5 mm in diameter) particles in biological samples.
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koh tao

A stopover in Koh Tao

My Koh Tao story started 3 years ago, when I first came with my family to end a trip in Thailand : we needed to relax ! I did my Rescue Diver Certification at Scuba Junction and then we enjoyed Fundives with my sister, father and stepmother. It was an amazing experience to share diving with my family !

Two years later I followed my father’s good advice and I came back to Koh Tao for a 6 weeks Divemaster training. I was diving with Carabao and instructor Xav, the best instructor of Koh Tao ! I chose Carabao because it is an international dive school and I have not been disappointed. I met people from all around the world and we have been diving on the best dive sites of Koh Tao almost every day : Sail Rock, Chumphon and South West. I learnt a lot assisting courses with Xav, Mike, Julien and Gisella and had a lot of fun with divemasters Noellie and Fred. Actually, we were 3 dive schools working together on the same boats : Carabao, French Kiss Divers and Ihasia : great team from France, Spain, Netherland, Germany and of course Switzerland !
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Internship wanted !

Currently studying marine biology and ecology in Marseille University, I am looking for a 6 months internship !

I already had some experiences in research at the marine observatory of Villefranche-sur-mer and at the National Natural History Museum of Paris. My project is to work on conservation programs.
To achieve this goal I have to undertake a Masters internship for 6 months commencing at the beginning of the year 2015 (January/March). I definitely want to do my internship about coral reefs or large marine vertebrates conservation and/or research.

So if you are marine biologist, conservationist, diver or explorator, I am sure some help can be appreciated. I am waiting for your email !
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Sylvain Tesson

Geographer, journalist, traveler, Sylvain Tesson travel the world on foot, horseback or bicycle. With only a few technical details about his trips, Sylvain Tesson share with us his thoughts and phylosophical reflexions, inspired by both lonely walks and encounters. Fascinated by the Eurasian wild, culture and history, he brings us in the Siberian taiga, on the shores of Lake Baikal, in the desert of Gobi and far beyond these remote places. In his own words, ‘The recipe for happiness: a window on Baikal, a table by the window.’ Sensitive to environmental and cultural diversity conservation and feminist, his engaged thinkings are truly enjoyable and will let you thoughtful.
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Conqueror of the impossible

Latitude zero and Conquering the impossible, by Mike Horn are two books that will blow your mind.

Mike Horn realised physical feats over his journeys, and moreover he realised impressive mental feats. I enjoyed a lot the fact that he gives us a lot of technical details about his gear and how to do what you have to do to survive in extreme situations. I really felt like my adventurous skills were improving… sitting in a chair reading a book!
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Diving in Marseille

Are you planning to dive along the French Riviera ? Don’t forget to visit Marseille and its spectacular nature. The sun is shining almost every day and the water temperature is never colder than 13°C ! Here is a small overview of my amazing experience diving in Marseille.
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Settlement ecology of fin whales

Here is a presentation of the results of a study on the settlement ecology of fin whales in the Mediterranean by conducting an isotopic investigation.

Do not hesitate to click on it to watch it full size !

Cystoseira forests

Cystoseira species belong to the genus Fucaceae within the realm of chloroalveolata. They are widespread in the Mediterranean Sea and are very good bioindicators because of their sensitivity to the composition of the water. Here is on the left a picture of Cystoseira fibrosa and a photograph of Cystoseira amentacea on the right.


Geographic repartition

About 30 species of Cystoseira live in the Mediterranean Sea of which 20 are endemic. Cystoseira sp. inhabits the infralittoral level corresponding to a permanently immersed level (the top part can be emerged at low tide) down to the deepest limit where photophile algea can live. One forest of Cystoseira can be composed of one or several species mixed. These are ecosystems engineer.

Life history traits

The vegetative system has a seasonal cycle :
> Winter : The plant presents stems and bulbs containing reserves in the form of mannitol.
> Spring : Edification of photosynthetic branches from bulb’s reserves. These are withered.
> Summer : Photosynthetic products are exported from stems to new bulbs growing at a higher level.
> Autumn : Branches and old bulbs are deciduous.

The biocycle of Cystoseira is monogenetic meaning that it contains only one generation, and diplontic meaning that the diploid stage is multicellular and haploid gametes are formed, meiosis is « gametic ».
Cystoseira sp. are K strategists : they are long-lived (several dozen years),  zygotes are heavy and disseminated to some meters, the re-settlement  is very  slow, seedlings germination is photophile and some of them have defenses in the form of phoroglucinol.

Participating organisms and succession

Organisms that inhabit Cystoseira forests are distributed between different levels characterizing the ecosystem. Here is an exemple of organisms inhabiting a forest of Cystoseira funkii.
The tree layer is composed of Cystoseira funkii and Halopteris incurvus (rhodophyta). Padina pavonica and Halopteris scoparia (both stramenopiles) are part of the shrub layer. Sciaphilous and turf level contains Ceramium ciliatum, Peyssonnelia squamaria (both rhodophyta). Encrusting Lithophyllum (rhodophyta corallinaceae) constitute the encrusting level.  The bivalve mollusc Lithophaga lithophaga is endolithic level. Finally, Jania rubens and Falkenbergia rufolanosa (rhodophyta) form the epibiont level.
Here are images of (from right to left) Padina pavonica, Peyssonnelia squamaria, Lithophaga lithophaga and Jania rubens.


The Leaf Area Index (LAI) of Cystoseira is high : 20 m²/m², consequently these forests are an important support for epibionts as MPOs (multicellular photosynthetic organisms), cnidarians, bryozoa, ect.

The succession is the same as that of Posidonia oceanica (described in this article : Posidonia oceanica ), and it can continue until the P. oceanica pasture is a cutting settles. This is a case of nested climax. There is the succession :
After a few hours a bacterial film is deposited on the substrate. A few days/weeks after a turf of chromobiontes takes place. A few months/years after, chromobiontes Padina pavonica and Halopteris scoparia and the rhodobionte Jania rubens start to grow on the substrate. A few years/decades after rhodobionte Litophyllum and chromobionte Cystoseira grow on the substrate.

Bioindication and threats

Cystoseira depend on good water quality, and can be used for bioindication. These stands are very sensitive to pollution and the gradual substitution thereof by more resistant species stands with a broader ecological distribution is observed: Padina pavonica, Stypocaulon scoparium, etc.. Overgrazing by sea urchins can have very negative effects on the Cystoseira stands up to make them disappear completely if the population density is too high. The regeneration of these is slow, and several years may elapse before the Cystoseiretum reappears.