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Aurélie Chagnon-Lafortune


Master student

Department of biology, chemistry and geography, UQAR

Des Ursulines Building
300 Allée des Ursulines
Quebec, Canada
G5L 3A1

418 723.1986 extension 1236




Projet de recherche

Modelisation of arthropod availability for insectivorous birds in the Arctic : past, present, future.

Arctic ecosystems are highly seasonal, with long winters and short cool summers. Terrestrial arthropods adapt in several ways which allow for an early and synchronized emergence, making it possible for many of them to complete their life-cycle in one summer and thus creates an abundance peak. Arthropods are poikilotherms meaning their phenology and activity are particularly sensitive to climate change.

Arthropods are also are a major food resource for many birds nesting in the Arctic tundra, especially shorebirds and passerines. Considering the short period of arthropod availability, these birds have to synchronize their reproduction with the peak in arthropod availability as their reproductive success can be linked to synchrony with resource availability.

As many shorebirds populations nesting in the Arctic are facing a decline, it is especially relevant to refine our understanding of the effect of climate change on arthropod dynamics at key moments of insectivorous birds’ reproduction cycle.

The main goal of my project is to develop a global predictive model for arthropod availability in relationship with weather variables. The second goal of my project is to apply this model to historic and predicted weather data in order to allow a broad scale view of arthropod availability variations in a climate change context.

To gather the necessary data, I will collaborate with different teams working along a wide latitudinal gradient in the Arctic, with most sites in Canada and Greenland. Arthropod sampling is done with passive traps which are emptied every other day, allowing for an estimation of the daily arthropod availability to insectivorous birds.

By combining for the first time arthropod data from several long term monitoring projects, weather data and modelisation, this project will provide a broader understanding of variation in arthropod availability for insectivorous birds nesting in the Arctic.

Location of the research site
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