November 2021 – The GNUFC (Groupe Naturaliste Universitaire de Franche-Comté) is a student association whose goal is to organize outings, conferences and other projects on the subject of biology and nature in general. This year’s EMME Master 1 and 2 students participated in three of these outings so far. You can read more about the GNUFC on gnufc.fr
The first two excursions were held on the nights of the 28th of September and the 1st of October in the forests of Haute-Saone. These excursions allowed the students to partake in a classic autumnal ritual of the Franche-Comté region: listening to the clashing of deer antlers. This ritual involves looking for clearings in forests at dusk and waiting to listen for the calls of red deer in the area. Fights among bucks (male deer) are typically well choreographed and proceed through an escalating series of vocalizations and body posturing before reaching the fighting stage that begins with the bucks locking antlers and then pushing each other. This fighting is done to ensure males pass down their genes to the next generation during mating season and to defend marked territory.
Early in the morning of November 13th, the second excursion was held to collect mushrooms in the Chailluz forests, towards the periphery of the city of Besançon. Students were encouraged to wander throughout the forest in small groups collecting mushrooms in many shapes, sizes and colours, and to then return to the excursion guide; Andgelo Mombert, professional gardener for the city of Besançon and France’s youngest expert mycologist. Andgelo would then give the students detailed information about the name, family, key features and edibility of the collected mushrooms. Students were surprised to find that some of the most dangerous looking mushrooms in shades of deep purples, blacks and subtle pinks were in fact edible! During this excursion more than 40 species of fungi were identified.