Aquatic Organisms, Ecosystems, and Stressors

RESEARCH OVERVIEW

Freshwater and marine ecosystems are facing increasingly frequent and severe anthropogenic perturbations.

These stressors can be very diverse (e.g. heat waves, chemical and plastic pollution, habitat changes) and can independently and/or synergistically affect the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and the biology of aquatic organisms.

I am particularly interested in the effects of stressors on key ecological processes, e.g. predator-prey dynamics and resilience loss, and on critical life-history transitions, e.g. bottlenecks and important developmental steps such as metamorphosis.

I like to use experimental and integrative approaches, from the molecule to species interactions, to investigate the inner biological mechanisms explaining how broader ecological processes can be affected by multiple stressors.

ABOUT ME

I am currently a Research Associate at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, where my research aims to assess the impacts of multiple stressors on resilience loss in laboratory systems, using gantries, AI and experimental arenas.


From 2018 to 2020, I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the IAEA Environment Laboratories (Monaco), where I studied the effects of microplastics on fish ecophysiology, behavior and histology, using radio-nuclear techniques.


Before that, I did my PhD at CRIOBE, PSL Research University (French Polynesia) on the metamorphosis of coral reef fishes, its inner molecular mechanisms, sensorial and ecological importance, and sensitivity to stressors. My PhD was also conducted within the Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle (Lyon, France) and the OOB (Banyuls-sur-Mer, France), with a fellowship from the ENSL (Lyon, France).

MAIN INTERESTS & EXPERTISES

Experimental Ecology

I seek to uncover the effects of stressors on the biology and ecology of aquatic organisms using laboratory systems. To do so, I like to build arenas, mesocosms, and to use automated measurements and functional treatments to investigate how specific biological and ecological processes respond to stressors.

Ecophysiology

I aim at understanding the inner mechanisms underlying the effects of stressors on aquatic ecosystems functioning. For this, I use integrative approaches, from the molecule to the behavior and species interactions, to examine how the biology of aquatic organisms can explain their ecological response to stressors.

Multiple Stressors

I look at how multiple stressors such as habitat/temperature changes and pollutants can impact the biology and ecology of aquatic systems. I perform in situ and laboratory experiments to assess stress levels in the environment & organisms, and to scrutinize how they can disrupt key biological and ecological processes.

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

  • PROTISTRESSORS

    Effects of multiple stressors on the resilience of protist communities

    This project aims at understanding the effects of multiple stressors and the resilience of ecological communities, using protist microcosms, automated gantries and AI.

    This project is part of my Research Associate position within the School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Dr. Chris Clements (University of Bristol) and the University of Sheffield.

  • MICROPLASTICS

    Effects of microplastic pollution on aquatic organisms

    This project examines the effects and toxicology of microplastics on the physiology of aquatic organisms, using radio-nuclear techniques.

    This project was part of my postdoctoral work at the IAEA in Monaco (2018-2020), and continues since then in collaboration with Dr. Marc Metian and Dr. Peter Swarzenski (IAEA).

  • FEESH

    Fish Ecophysio Ecotoxico and Sensory-ecology in nursery Habitats

    This project investigates the importance of thyroid hormones in reef fish metamorphic and recruitment processes, as well as the sensitivity of the thyroid signaling to anthropogenic stressors.

    This project was part of my PhD (2014-2017) and first postdoc (2018) within the CRIOBE, and continues since then in collaboration with Dr. David Lecchini (CRIOBE) and Dr. Vincent Laudet (OIST).

  • MARINE TURTLES

    Sea turtle populations, migrations, and nesting sites in French Polynesia

    This project is part of the monitoring of sea turtles migrations, populations and nesting sites in French Polynesia operated by Te mana o te moana association, led by Dr. Cécile Gaspar.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Anthropogenic stressors impact fish sensory development and survival via thyroid disruption

1st authorResearch Article
Besson M., Feeney W.E., Moniz I., François L., Brooker R.M., Holzer G., Metian M., Roux N., Laudet V., Lecchini D.
Nature Communications
Publication year: 2020

Effects of Virgin Micro- and Nanoplastics on Fish - Trends, Meta-Analysis, and Perspectives

1st authorReview
Jacob H., Besson M., Swarzenski P., Lecchini D., Metian M.
Environmental Science & Technology
Publication year: 2020

Predation drives recurrent convergence of an interspecies mutualism

Research Article
Feeney W.E., Brooker R.M., Johnson L.N., Gilbert J.D., Besson M., Lecchini D., Dixson D.L., Cowman P.F., Manica A.
Ecology Letters
Publication year: 2019

Fish larval recruitment to reefs is a thyroid hormone-mediated metamorphosis sensitive to the pesticide chlorpyrifos

1st authorResearch Article
Holzer G., Besson M., Lambert A., François L., Barth P., Gillet B., Hughes S., Piganeau G., Leulier F., Viriot L., Lecchini D., Laudet V.
eLife
Publication year: 2017