Grunst Melissa

Postdoctoral researcher

La Rochelle Université

I am doing a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (BioenergArc) project at LIENSs in collaboration with Dr. Jerôme Fort. There is a dearth of knowledge regarding the independent and combined effects of climate change and anthropogenic contaminant exposure on the bioenergetics and thermoregulatory capacity of organisms. These effects are projected to be particularly pronounced in the high Arctic, which is warming more than twice as rapidly as other regions of the globe and which serves as a sink for volatile contaminants. In-line with a current research priority of the Arctic council, the aim of the EU-funded project BioenergArc is to adopt a bioenergetic approach to elucidate interactive effects of climate change and contaminant exposure, using a keystone Arctic species, the little auk (Alle alle), as a model system.

Keywords : Bioenergetics, behavioral ecology, ecotoxicology, stress endocrinology, anthropogenic disturbance

Research topics
My research specialties are in stress physiology, behavioral ecology, senescence, anthropogenic impacts, and ecotoxicology. In particular, my research focuses on three main areas : (1) interactive effects of climate change and chemical contaminant exposure on bioenergetic, (2) effects of light, noise and chemical pollution on behavior and physiology, and (3) variation in adrenocortical stress physiology, behavior, and patterns of senescence in natural populations.

Major Publications :

  • Grunst ML, Grunst AS, Pinxten R, Eens M. 2021. Variable and consistent traffic noise negatively affect the sleep behavior of a free-living songbird. Sci Tot Environ. 778:146338. doi : 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146338.
  • Grunst ML, Grunst AS, Pinxten R, Eens M. 2021. Little parental response to anthropogenic noise in an urban songbird, but evidence for individual differences in sensitivity. Sci Tot Environ. 769:144554. doi : 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144554.
  • Grunst ML, Raap T, Grunst AS, Pinxten R, Parenteau C, Angelier F, Eens M. 2020. Early-life exposure to artificial light at night elevates physiological stress in free-living songbirds. Environ Pollut. 259:113895. doi : 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113895.
  • Grunst ML, Grunst AS, Pinxten R, Eens M. 2020. Anthropogenic noise is associated with telomere length and carotenoid-based coloration in free-living nestling songbirds. Environ Pollut. 26 : 114032. doi : 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114032.
  • Grunst ML, Grunst AS, Pinxten R, Bervoets L, Eens M. 2019. Carotenoid- but not melanin-based plumage coloration is negatively related to metal exposure and proximity to the road in an urban songbird. Environ Pollut. 256 : 113473. doi : 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113473.