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Obituary: Yves Frenot

Yves Frenot, 1958-2022

It is with great sadness that the European Polar Board hears the news that Dr. Yves Frenot died on Monday, 7th February, in La Rochelle. Yves was a titan of the polar community in France, Europe and globally, and a true champion of international cooperation. Director of the French Polar Instiute (IPEV) from 2010 to 2018, Yves served on the EPB’s Executive Committee from 2013 to 2017, helping to guide the organisation into its new independent era since 2015. Yves was an assured, fair and highly respected presence in the EPB Plenary, sharing his wealth of experience and knowledge with dedication and diplomacy. Yves’ work strengthened collaboration and cooperation between all EPB Members to advance European science in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The EPB’s long and successful collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) is a direct result of Yves’ efforts, and he had a leading role in the development of the European Polar Infrastructure Database and Catalogue. His contributions to the EPB cannot be overstated.

Yves served in several distinguished international roles, including Chair of the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) to the Antarctic Treaty, Vice Chair of the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP), and as the French national representative to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), among others. Yves played a pivotal role in the development and successes of EU-PolarNet, with the impact of his work still clear across a breadth of activities and ongoing developments today.

Prior to joining IPEV in 2003, Dr. Frenot had a distinguished research career. As a CNRS scientist with the ECOBIO unit of the Université de Rennes 1, Yves became established as a great specialist in the terrestrial biodiversity of sub-Antarctic islands and invasive species, completing numerous field campaigns, including overwintering on the island of Crozet.

In 2018 Dr. Frenot took on a new challenge as a scientific advisor to the French Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC – yet another chapter in a formidable career.

Yves leaves a highly respected legacy of greatly strengthened science, international cooperation and environmental protection throughout the polar regions. The EPB offers condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

An obituary by IPEV is available here (in French only):