Carnet de Mission Rencontres : Philippe Dubois

Carnet de Mission Rencontres est un format complémentaire à Carnet de Mission qui vous présente plus en détails les protagonistes de l’aventure Kerguelens. Une ouverture sur les différentes vocations que l’on croise sur la route des Terres Australes Françaises !

Interview de Philippe Dubois.


Short news from DDU

The acidification experiment on the sea urchins is now running rather smoothly. An aquarium system has been set up and the Aquatronica material is doing a very good job for controlling the pH. The first results indicate that Sterechinus neumayeri is reacting very quickly to acidification: the acid-base balance of the inner fluid is already controlled after 4 days of progressive decrease of the sea water pH. This supports the hypothesis emitted in our previous work on Antarctic sea urchins and published in Global Change Biology (Collard et al. 2014, GCB doi: 10.1111/gcb.12735 )

vERSO Team arrives at DDU

The vERSO team has finally arrived at the Dumont D’Urville station (Terre Adélie, Antarctica), after crossing the Southern Ocean onboard the IPEV’s RV Astrolabe. Here are their first impressions (translated from French):

“I’m finally installed at the Dumont d’Urville (DDU) station in Terre Adélie, part of the  “Terres Australes et antarctiques françaises” (TAAFs).

It took me 13 days to get their:  2,5 days in the planes, 4 days waiting in Hobart (Tasmania) awaiting the fixing of the ship’s generator, and 6 days at sea, on one of the most unconfortable ships I’ve ever been onboard, the Astrolabe. Even if the weather was good, the ship would roll, up to 35° on both sides! When you’re in such a roller coaster, the only things you can do is avoid getting sea sick and trying not to bang yourself everywhere… Little sleep, as we are constantly rolling from one side to the other in our berths. On the bright side, beautiful albatrosses are following us along the way.

Once arrived at DDU, the transfer to the station is carried out using helicopters, the sea ice extending up to 28km from the station. The helicopter carry the equipement (up to 1T per rotation). After two days, we were able to gather our personal equipment and part of our research and diving gear.

Firs sounding show that the sea ice thickness in the places where we are planning to dive is around  2 to 3m!

The station is located in a beautiful area, where I meet Adélie penguins, fulmars and snow petrels every day. From my room, I have a view on the continental glacier (l’Astrolabe) and on penguin colonies (noisy and smelly!). The logistics here are impressive, and we received a lot of lab space. We still need to find a solution to bring sea water to the container where we will be running acidification experiments in controlled conditions. Our only fear now is that time is flying by extremely quickly!

Wishing you the best for the end of the year,



Leaving South, part I: Dumont D’Urville

Last week, Philippe Dubois headed South, on an expedition to the Dumont D’Urville station, managed by the french IPEV. Together with Loïc Michel, from the University of Liège, the team will be running ecophysiology experiments and collecting samples for trophic networks analysis, in the framework of the vERSO project. Once they have reached the station (see their current location here), Philippe and Loïc will be diving under 3m of ice to access the samples they will need to work.

We’re expecting news soon, and will be posting photos and other material as we receive it!

You can find more information about the vERSO project on the dedicated website.