Threat of Environmental Contaminants in Marine Mammals

PhD defence, Thursday 7 December 2017, Jean-Pierre Desforges.

2017.12.07 | Trine Berndt Turtiainen Scheelke

Jean-Pierre Desforges

Jean-Pierre Desforges has spent the last years studying environmental contaminants in marine mammals. Thousands of chemicals make their way to the environment and eventually end-up accumulating in top predators like polar bears, toothed whales and seals. Many environmental contaminants are known to effect the immune system, thus putting humans and wildlife at increased risk of disease and reduced overall health. Jean-Pierre Desforges has been collecting live immune cells from multiple marine mammal species in the North-Atlantic in order to experimentally evaluate the influence of contaminants on important immune functions. He has also utilized modelling tools to mechanistically link contaminant uptake in the environment to target health effects and ultimately individual and population-level effects. The new tools developed during this PhD as well as new research findings provide novel insights into how real world chemical mixtures affect the health of marine mammal populations in the North-Atlantic.


The PhD degree was completed at the Department of Bioscience in Roskilde, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Thursday 7 December 2017 at 13:00.
Place: Niels Bohr Auditorium, building 112, DTU Risø Campus, Roskilde
Title of dissertation: Immune and individual level effects of environmental pollutants in North-Atlantic top predators
Contact information: Jean-Pierre Desforges, e-mail:, tel.: +45 91854686
Members of the assessment committee:
Senior Researcher Associate Krishna Das, Laboratoire d’Océanologie, Université de Liège, Belgium
Professor Maria Cristina Fossi, Department of Environment, Earth and Physical Sciences, University of Siena, Italy
Senior Researcher Morten Frederiksen (chair), Bioscience Department, Aarhus University, Denmark
Main supervisor:
Professor Rune Dietz, Bioscience, Aarhus University
Professor Christian Sonne, Bioscience, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST,
Ny Munkegade 120, building 1520, rooms 128-134, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 23.02.2018