IsoEcol 2018: Getting ready to tell more about POM and Blue Mussel

isoecol 2018 - Here we go !

10 / 05 /2018 – C. Liénart

Now my abstract has been both accepted for poster presentation, I am figuring out how to tell a nice but scientific story about my two topics:

– My PhD research about POM compositon and forcings along the French littoral (poster session 2, Tuesday 31th of july

– My current postdoc research on M.edulis diet in the Baltic Sea (poster session 3, Thursday 2nd of August)

More info about the projects on my RG profile and check for updates during the conference on Twitter!


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When amino acids reveal blue mussel secrets

When amino acids reveal blue mussel secrets

03 / 06 /2018 – C. Liénart

Processing samples for further analysis takes time and can be sometimes quite boring … but working hard is worse when it comes to results and especially good results!

After few weeks packing my mussel for SI analysis, I finally flew to Vilnius (Lithuania) at he Center for Physical Sciences and Technology where our colleagues were waiting for us with nice Lithuanian beer !

Bulk SI samples ready for analysis

Beside classic analysis of bulk carbon and nitrogen SI (δ15N and δ13C), our colleagues are working with compound specific isotopic analysis (CSIA) on amino acids and fatty acids. They also have a new and very impressive machine to measure carbon isotopic ratio by accelerator mass spectrometry, a technique used in archaeological dating, environment and biology research.

Among these very impressive machines and expensive and time consuming analysis, my little cute bivalves would be processed to reveal the δ15N signature of their amino-acids. Amino-acid are the building blocks of proteins, the latest plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes. Tracing these compounds would help understanding metabolism status, body condition and in our case, get more clues about blue mussel diet and trophic position.

Cation exchange in progress under the fumehood

Samples ready for the first step of AA extraction (hydrolysis)

Processing samples, once again takes time, as it requires 4 main steps performed over 2 days: Hydrolysis, Cation exchange, derivatization and phase extraction and then samples can be injected on the CG-C-IRMS (cute name of the machine that looks like the one on the photo but doesn’t like photo that much !)

EA-MS for bulk SI analysis

The two weeks working for 9h/day in the lab were fruitful as the signal appears to be clear enough to get interesting and exploitable data!

Let’s see now what these data will say about M.edulis diet and trophic position !


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The secret life of blue mussel …


10 / 05 /2018 – C. Liénart

Mytilus edulis from the Baltic Sea

Every year, mussels (Mytilus edulis) and other species (vegetal and animal) of the phytobenthic community are sampled at different sites in the Baltic sea by the Swedish monitoring program of phytobenthic communities.

After sampling, mussels are counted and oven-dehydrated for a week at 60°C. Then, they are stored dried in aluminum foil, grouped per replicates, transects and station in big cardboard boxes in the basement of the lab… 

This is where fun things starts for me !


My study focuses on Mytilus edulis sampled at 5-6m depth on 3 specific sites: one up north in the Bothnian Bay (Höga Kusten), one at Askö (Isskären), a Swedish island well known from marine researchers as it host a very nice scientific station, and a third down south in the Baltic Proper around Gotland Island (Hobourg). 
Sampling occurs once a year at the end of august since 1993.

3 stations used now for this study … hope we can have more soon ! (Vilnius is also tagged as the partner lab where are performed our isotopic analysis)

Information about each individual is recorded

This one has been waiting for 20 years already …

Mussels are measured and weighted (NB: manipulations are usually performed with gloves) and the ‘flesh’ is kept for elemental (C, N and P) and isotopic (δ15N, δ13C and CSIA on amino acid) analysis.

Dessicator to keep the mussels ‘dry’ !

The bivalve M.edulis is a key species in the Baltic Sea as it dominates benthic biomass and strongly influences benthic-pelagic coupling through its suspension-feeding activity. We are studying changes in its diet and aim to detect changes occurring over time, especially regarding the increase of cyanobacterial blooms in the Baltic Sea in the recent decades.  

Studying mussel’s on a long-term perspective in association with environmental parameters like salinity, sea water temperature or phytoplankton communities composition will reveal possible changes in communities structures or functioning in the Baltic Sea ecosystems.

This leads to a better understanding of the ecosystems response to climate- or anthropogenic-related changes. It helps to better predict the evolution of these ecosystems in the future and to adapt management strategies.


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IsoEcol 2018 – Here we go !

isoecol 2018 - Here we go !

10 / 05 /2018 – C. Liénart

Both abstracts have been accepted as posters for IsoEcol 2018 conference.


  • Stable isotope analyses of archived blue mussels from long-term environmental monitoring programs in the Baltic Sea 
    (current postdoctoral project)
  • Dynamics of particulate organic matter composition in coastal systems: forcing of the spatio-temporal variability at multi-systems scale (from Liénart et al. 2018)

IsoEcol 2018 is the 11th International Conference on the Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies. A great opportunity to meet people for all around the world working with the same tools with similar research thematic. Getting excited to see the program !

Hope results from the δ15N on Amino Acids of the blue mussels will be ready to be presented.

More info soon about the days of the sessions for these posters.


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New paper finally out today !

New paper finally out today !

27 / 03 /2018 – C. Liénart

Here it is ! Freshly available …

Liénart et al. 2018 – « Dynamics of particulate organic matter composition in coastal systems: forcing of spatio-temporal variability at multi-systems scale »

Thanks to the huge collaborative work performed with the SOMLIT network and UPPA collegues.


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Deep spinach soup … We all see green !

Deep spinach soup ... we all see green !

21 / 03 /2018 – C. Liénart

On march 21-22 is the annual meeting of the DEEP (Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University) where I just started a few days ago my first postdoctoral project.

Two days during which mainly Ph.D students and postdoc share their research. This meeting aims to present our daily work to each other as the department covers very broad scientific thematic (from plants to sea), all in a relax and friendly atmosphere !

A quick look to my talk first slide …

Hungry now ?

Follow the meeting updates and colleagues talks on tweeter !


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Attending to IsoEcol2018

Attending to isoecol2018

03 / 03 /2018 – C. Liénart

Two abstract sumitted for the IsoEcol2018 international conference on the applications of Stable Isotope techniques to ecological studies. A first is about my last paper (Liénart et al. 2018) on my Ph.D research, the other one about the first results of my new postdoctoral project ! (See research section)

The conference will be held  at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Viña del Mar (Chile), from July 30 to August 3. Finger crossed both get accepted !



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