The Marine Station of Concarneau (Finistère) expands its team of ornithologists around Antoine Chabrolle, coordinator of the National Seabird Network (Resom) and the scientific interest group on seabirds (Gisom). Timothée Poupart and Clément Jourdan, who arrived in succession and discreetly in October 2021 and March 2021, joined the “ornithological center” of the Marine Station to comply with European guidelines. In particular, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (SPSF) whose ambition, at the level of coastal countries, is to maintain or restore the good ecological status of marine ecosystems, which are home to, among other things, seabirds.
Requested by the Ministry of the Environment and the French Biodiversity Office (OFB), its mission is basically to collect, analyze and centralize the data collected by collaborators at the national level, research laboratories or associations.
Objective: to see if the populations are doing well and, by extension, if the territories, breeding birds among others, are in a good ecological state in terms of the pressures exerted on them. If a hundred species, the team focuses on “Sixty of the most emblematic species that regularly visit French waters in summer, winter or during migrations. “.
A job of collecting data, not only local but from the entire coast of metropolitan France. “We pass on the experience of many associative management structures, explains Antoine Chabrolle. I have about 450 contacts nationwide. We try to centralize information and expertise to provide public policies with monitoring strategies, establish protocols at sea or on land, and define studies. »
Natura 2000 sites
Timothée Poupart, 33, of the Ardennes, PhD in environmental biology, populations and ecology, has the task of verifying whether the Natura 2000 network, areas of special protection for seabirds, is adapted to the current distribution of birds.
“These areas were created between 1986 and 2019 by the state on the basis of scientific data, explain. Except that since then, science has evolved a lot. We know more than in the past and Europe is asking us to report to see if the areas are well positioned against current data. »
“Improve your luck”
Its function is to go “They knock on the door of people or structures that collect data on the distribution of seabirds. » Those who do counts at sea like Bretagne Vivante, the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) or even Pélagis in La Rochelle. “ With this data, I can calculate its abundance in areas and say the relevance of putting a perimeter of protection in this or that place. »
Clément Jourdan, 27, of Saint-Malo, is a biologist in charge of an ornithology mission. “My mission is to assess for each species, the quality of terrestrial and marine habitat with different indicators: the distribution and reproductive success of the species, its abundance, the amount of waste found in nests, details. These indicators will tell if the species is in good or bad condition. “. And evaluate at the end “whether there are actions to be taken to improve its destiny and the ecosystem on which it depends.”
The herring gull, a protected species to consider
Abundant on our coasts and coastal towns such as Concarneau, the seagull, a protected species, is, however, a declining seabird. “Its population had reached a very high level in Brittany, but since the closure of landfills in the 1970s, its food resource, its population has collapsed locally,” explains Antoine Chabrolle. A decrease that is also explained by the disappearance of natural spaces, one of the factors of disturbance to birds. “Then we can move these colonies to urban areas where egg sterilization policies are carried out, often at the request of users. As a result, the population continues to decline. The seagull is not necessarily in good condition “, he continues.
So what can be done to protect these “urban seagulls” while trying to minimize nuisance to coastal cities? “We must continue to preserve their natural habitats as much as possible to provide them with nesting capabilities in their historic territories.”, insists Antoine Chabrolle. The islands among others. But also thinking locally, in the city, to better manage populations. “Seagulls are loyal. When we sterilize their nest, they interpret it as if their mate is unreliable. So they disperse. Now the seagulls will hunt inland. Especially in wastewater treatment plants. Our problem is that we have trouble counting in this urban context. »