At 27, researcher Elyne Dugény becomes “ambassador” of the ocean

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Dans son laboratoire, à Plouzané (Finistère), la doctorante veille sur ses huîtres, support de sa thèse intitulée « L'influence des êtres vivants sur le risque de maladie dans les écosystèmes marins »

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Posted on Jan 22, 2021, 1:00 PMUpdated Jan 28, 2021, 11:00 AM

His mission has only just begun. It was in December that Elyne Dugény learned that she had been chosen to represent London within an Alliance for Atlantic Research made up of 24 researchers aged 25 to 30, from all the countries bordering this ocean. As an ambassador, the young researcher will be brought to “Bring the voice of the ocean to decision-makers” and the general public by participating in scientific mediation events. Intimidated? Not really. Rather, one more opportunity for her to raise awareness on a subject that fascinates her.

For the past three years, Elyne Dugény has been working on a thesis entitled “The influence of living beings on the risk of disease in marine ecosystems”. In her laboratory in Plouzané (Finistère), the doctoral student watches over her oysters, which supports her project. “This species is subject to many episodes of illness and spends its entire life in one place, so it can give us valuable information about its environment. In addition, certain living species which surround it protect it, others on the contrary have a negative effect on it ”, explains the young woman of 27 years.

The click of the field

For this adopted Breton woman, studying this mollusk is bringing her little stone to the edifice of knowledge about the ocean. It was her partner, keen on diving and oceanography, who made her aware of this fragile and increasingly threatened environment. The two met during their license in life sciences at the University of Paris-VI.

During her internships, she has to do field work to study the endemic corals of New Caledonia or the fish of the reefs of Indonesia. But it was above all a one-month international scientific expedition, in 2016, aboard a Russian icebreaker sailing on the Atlantic, that triggered a click: “It confirmed me in the idea that I could do research and work for the promotion of the protection of the ocean”, confides the doctoral student, who aspires to become a teacher-researcher.

In parallel with her thesis, which she is due to defend next June, Elyne Dugény has participated in several scientific mediation events, such as My thesis in 180 seconds, an event where doctoral students have three minutes to present their subject to an audience of novices. . A popularization exercise certainly useful for defending the preservation of the oceans to politicians.

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