3MT 2022 Finalist Camille Jodouin

Camille Jodouin

Biological Sciences, College of Natural + Applied Sciences

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So how are the polar bears REALLY doing?

Introduce yourself...

Hello! I’m currently completing my M.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Alberta. I’ve always been fascinated by large carnivores, so when I was accepted in my current polar bear research lab, it was like a dream come true! Outside of research, I also enjoy jazz piano, theatre improv and hiking.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My thesis focuses on polar bear movement, but I’m also involved a side project with a colleague, which is what I decided to present for my 3mt. This project looks at how much data we’ve gathered on polar bears, and whether we have enough data to say whether the species is declining or staying stable (spoiler alert: we don’t). I hope its results will encourage other polar bear scientists to focus on arctic regions with the least polar bear data, so we can start filling in the gaps.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

Presenting my research as a 3mt has made me a better science communicator. I learned to remove jargon and tell my research as a story, instead of just reciting facts. Creating my slide also helped me improve my visual design skills and condense months of work into a single image. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned and will continue working on those skills after the competition!

What inspires you to do research?

I’m inspired to do research because you’re always looking for solutions to a problem. Because of that, your brain is always working and you’re never bored. And getting an interesting result is oh-so-satisfying, especially when you get to share it with people and see its impacts! In my case I also get to travel to cool places like the subarctic tundra and interact with amazing species, so that’s definitely inspiring too.

What are three keywords important to your 3MT?

Polar bears, status, review

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

While my research will mostly impact polar bear researchers (and hopefully the polar bears themselves!), I hope its results will encourage communities to think more critically. When explaining scientific research, the media often portrays the results as black and white (e.g. polar bears are all dying because of climate change), whereas the reality is usually more complicated (e.g. we don't know for most of the species' range). I hope my research will help the public realize this, and encourage them to not jump to conclusions and to do more fact-checking.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future—who would it be and why?

Research isn’t always easy; in fact, it can get very frustrating, and you’ll want to quit more than once. Because of this, I would dedicate my research to everyone who’s helped me push through and not give up when it got difficult. This includes my parents, my partner, my amazing supervisor, and of course, my incredibly supportive labmates!

3MT Image Description - A map of the world with the boundaries of all 19 polar bear populations shown in the northern hemisphere. 17 of them are blue with question marks (unknown), and two are bright yellow (known). There is an image of a polar bear on the tundra on the bottom left corner of the slide.

Watch Camille's Three Minute Thesis