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Élyne Dugény, the doctoral student from Brest who wanted to protect the cupped oyster

How do you sum up in three short minutes more than three and a half years of research and experience? How can a complex and rich thesis subject be made comprehensible to the general public? This is all the magic of the “My thesis in 180 seconds” competition, which doctoral students have been taking part in for seven years now, as they approach the end of their studies. This Thursday, June 10, from 6.30 p.m., sixteen of them will participate in the national final of the competition, which will take place in Boulogne-Billancourt (92). And among these brilliant candidates, a representative from Brest.

The risk of cupped oyster disease

Although originally from Paris, but having Breton origins on the maternal side, Élyne Dugény, aged 27 (she will be 28 this Saturday), is preparing her thesis within the Lemar laboratory (marine environmental sciences) in Brest. Its subject: the influence of surrounding species on the risk of cupped oyster disease in oyster farming. Already winner of the Brittany-Pays de la Loire regional competition at the start of 2021, Élyne Dugény will now face the cream of the crop at the national level. All this, a few weeks before the presentation of his thesis and the end of his doctorate.

Participating in the competition allowed me to take a step back from my own thesis topic

But is it really reconcilable to write your final thesis, while participating in such a tough competition? “I say yes, assures Elyne Dugény straight away. I find that it even allows you to refocus your ideas. Participating in the competition allowed me to take a step back from my own thesis topic. It helps for the drafting of the manuscript and scientific publications. We manage to better target the why of such and such an approach, such or such experience… ”.

Popularization, citizenship and societal issue

This popularization work taken to the extreme, since condensed in just a few words, is a priority for the young woman, who is destined for a career as a teacher-researcher. “In my job, I also plan to save time for scientific mediation, because I consider it a societal issue”, explains the Brest doctoral student.

The role of the researcher is to contribute to the scientific community. But he must also account for his work to the general public

“The role of the researcher is to contribute to the scientific community, by publishing his work in specialized journals. But not all of these magazines are accessible to citizens. On the one hand, it’s a shame because in public research, we are funded with public money. And it seems important to me, in my opinion, to report on our work. On the other hand, it can give people the keys to understanding, so that they themselves can act at their level in favor of a more sustainable future ”.

The oyster is part of our heritage

Her thesis subject led her to work with oysters, “a delicacy that is even part of our heritage”. “Because it lives fixed all its existence in the same place, the oyster is the perfect animal model for science, describes the future teacher-researcher in her presentation. The slightest change, she undergoes it ”.

Élyne Dugény carried out field experiments, at the tip of the Castle, in Logonna-Daoulas, in the harbor of Brest (Matthias Huber)

From the moment we destabilize the ecosystem …

During her presentation on the oyster, Élyne will be keen to show how human activity has an impact on aquatic flora and fauna. “What I’m trying to convey is that there is an ecosystem that is balanced. There are interactions going on there that are natural. As soon as we destabilize this environment, we can have opportunistic species that take over. There, we have the emergence of diseases, we have a loss of biodiversity. The oyster, in this case, is a species that is also cultivated. There is a profession (oyster farming) which depends on it. We have every interest in maintaining good biodiversity in our ecosystems for the benefit of all ”.

The national final, this Thursday, June 10 from 6.30 pm. To be continued on the YouTube channel of “My thesis in 180 seconds” or on the Facebook page

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