6 March 2019

Prof. Alexandre Roulin

« Why is a barn owl red and another white? Why do young owls negotiate who will get the next prey brought by a parent instead of fighting over it? These are the questions that our research group is working on. »

This series was exhibited at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival 2017.

At the wild bird care center, La Vaux-Lierre, in Etoy. Currently recovering, this owl has been struck by a car. Scientists often bring suffering birds to this establishment. La Vaux-Lierre, Etoy, February 2017
Petri dishes used for DNA cloning. The blue and white colourings are used to verify the efficiency of cloning. Biophore Unil, Ecublens, February 2017
Prof. Alexandre Roulin, 49. Passionate ornithologist since his teens, he is now the Director of the Department of Computational Biology and Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Lausanne.
The meadows of the plain of Broye are a favorite hunting ground for barn owls. They can catch up to 15 rodents per night to feed their offspring. Morat, May 2017
350 nest boxes were installed in barns and tobacco sheds of the plain of Broye and Orbe for the observation of the barn owl. For over 30 years of career, Prof. Alexandre Roulin and his team have been collecting data about these birds. Biophore Unil, Ecublens, April 2017
Nightlife captured by a camera trap placed at the entrance of a nest box. Scientists can thus observe the first flight of the young, their various behaviors and supervise the disturbance of the nest by predators such as martens or other birds of prey. Plaine de la Broye, June 2016
Many blood samples are carefully stored in freezers. Biophore Unil, Ecublens, February 2017
The scientists take from each captured individual some feathers, that will be carefully analysed and indexed in order to understand the possible causes of the different melanin collocations. Biophore Unil, Ecublens, April 2017
In the "owlbooth". In order to take pictures, the owl is immobilised in a sort of sarcophagus. These photos will then be calibrated and analysed. Avenches, May 2017
Birdhouses chipboard waiting to be installed. They are usually screwed inside a barn in the wall where a hole has been cut in advance. There are now more than 350 nest boxes on the plains of La Broye and Orbe. Biophore Unil, Ecublens, February 2017
Eggs are laid at the rate of one every two to three days. Scientists number them in order of lay. Egg exchanges between nest boxes are carried out in order to determine whether any behaviour of the future owl is of genetic or acquired origin. Avenches, May 2017
The capture of owls is usually done at night. Scientists sometimes wait for long hours before the owl gets trapped inside its nest box. Morat, May 2017
Kim Schalcher, 27, future doctoral student of the group Alexandre Roulin. He’s carrying a long metal rod with a net to capture owls. Morat, May 2017