2e concours de vulgarisation scientifique – Anaïs Remili

 Anaïs Remili est étudiante au doctorat à l’Université McGill sous la supervision de Melissa McKinney (Université McGill) et de Robert Letcher (Carleton University). Son projet de recherche est intitulé « Icelandic killer whales’ diets and their impacts on contaminants ». En voici un court résumé en anglais :

Résumé du projet de recherche

We found that Icelandic killer whales with a mixed diet, including seals or porpoises, had nine times more contaminants than Icelandic killer whales that primarily eat fish. It is a significant difference for killer whales within one population. When we looked at the contaminant percentages, killer whales that ate marine mammals had higher percentages of the more persistent and harmful chemicals, characteristic of being higher in the food chain. Still, we know that these killer whales seasonally feed on fish and socialize with fish-eating killer whales. We cannot tell yet how much of their diet includes marine mammals. We also found that all these “mixed-diet” killer whales had contaminant quantities above all the thresholds for harmful effects. It means that their health could be at risk because they eat marine mammals. This is an important finding because other studies had previously found that the Icelandic population as a whole was not facing health risks. Most of the killer whales that ate seals or porpoises were the ones that seasonally travel between Iceland and Scotland. As more and more photo-id matches are being found between Iceland and Scotland, we need to continue our research to better understand Icelandic killer whales’ ecology.