News archives

Twenty thousand leagues under nordic lakes

10 juillet 2017

Photo : Warwick Vincent CEN

Microorganisms biofilm at the bottom of Ward Hunt lake, Nunavut.

To the great surprise of researchers, the bottom of the centre of Lake Ward Hunt, the northern most lake of the American continent, is not completely frozen and is the home of over 1500 species of bacteria, archaea and eukaryotic microbes. A recent study published in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes by post-doctoral fellow Vani Mohit, CEN researchers Warwick Vincent, Alex Culley and Connie Lovejoy, and Frédéric Bouchard, describe for the first time the stunning diversity of life found in this hostile environment. Some of these microbes can survive in anoxic conditions and produce greenhouse gases which may amplify climate warming.

For more information you can read a short summary of the work in Le Fil (in French), refer to the primary research or listen to a CBC radio interview.

Serge Payette nominated Knight of the Ordre national du Quebec

29 juin 2017

Serge Payette

The Ordre national du Québec confers each year esteemed titles to exceptional citizens who, by their achievements, values and ideals, have marked the evolution and global reach of Québec. CEN researcher and past director Serge Payette received the grade of Knight of the Order, a distinction among the most prestigious in Québec, in recognition of his incomparable contribution in the field of northern plant ecology. Dr Payette’s internationally recognized work, addresses, among other topics, the responses of northern ecosystems to environmental and climate change. Congratulations to Dr Payette C.Q.!

Room with a view

20 juin 2017

The rough-legged hawk, a circumpolar bird of prey nesting in the North, built its nest on rocky cliffs or steep slopes which are threatened by natural hazards linked to climate change. A study published in Arctic Science and signed by Andréanne Beardsell, a CEN student, with her supervisors Gilles Gauthier and Daniel Fortier, by Joël Bêty and their collaborator, relate the results from the monitoring of dozens of nests on Bylot Island in the Canadian Arctic. The researchers have found that some nests were destroyed by geomorphological events such as mass movements. These events had little effect on the hawks’ reproductive success during the period of the study, however, with the recent intensification of the changes in the Arctic, the availability of safe, stable nesting sites could be limited thereby affecting the abundance and distribution of the species.

For more information: La Fil May 2017, original paper on Arctic Science and also Le Fil September 2016 (in French) .


CEN Bulletin no. 17 now available!

31 mai 2017

The 17th edition of the CEN Bulletin is now available

Read the recent news:

  • New CEN awards;
  • NSERC grant for our infrastructures;
  • International agreements;
  • CEN researcher : Christophe Kinnard;
  • A student's perspective by Isabelle Fournier;
  • and more…

New CEN award for undergraduates

29 mai 2017

A new scholarship was created to acknowledge the incredible work done by undergraduate students. More specifically, this scholarship aims to support students who participate to conferences or who publish a paper as first author.

For more information about the prizes and scholarships, please visit the section “CEN scholarships and awards (in French)” on the CEN webpage,

Also, we would like to welcome Edgardo Jose Alvarado who recently joined your devoted student committee. Samuel, Yannick, Audrey et Caroline will be pleased to represent you for another year.

Your devoted student committee: Samuel Gagnon (ULaval), Yannick Seyer (ULaval), Audrey Le Pogam (UQAR), Caroline Dolant (UdeS) et Edgardo Jose Alvarado (INRS)

Futur Arctic : International Workshop on Arctic Bryophytes and Lichens

5 avril 2017

The International Futur Arctic workshop is a research initiative on arctic bryophytes and lichens, from species to ecosystem levels, and is co-organised by Juan Carlos Villarreal and Line Rochefort. The workshop, perfectly aligned with CEN’s scientific program, will take place at Université Laval’s Forêt Montmorency from the 24th to the 26th of May 2017 and will bring together specialists from multiple countries. Workshop objectives are to: 1) Synthesize the current understanding of Arctic cryptogamic research; 2) Place emphasis on the interplay between biogeochemical processes, microbial ecophysiology and biodiversity of cryptogams; 3) Encourage multidisciplinary collaboration among Arctic researchers; and 4) Highlight future research initiatives.

For more information and to register, click here.

The meeting was highlighted by the following media (and institutional) outlets at national and international level: Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteLe FilRadio Canada. 

Caribou reality TV

6 mars 2017

Professor Steeve Côté and his research team have installed camera-collars on 14 gestating females of the Rivière aux feuilles herd in 2016. These cameras, programmed to record a 10 seconds video every 20 minutes, are revealing unprecedented images about the behavior, diet and living environment of the caribous. Doctoral student Barbara Vuillaume will examine hundreds of hours of video footage during her PhD on the environmental determinants of annual survival in a population of migratory caribou. The team hope, with the help of this technology, to find explanations for the high fawn mortality rates in this declining population.

You can learn more by reading this piece in Le Fil or this article in the Journal de Québec.

FRQNT February Étudiant chercheur étoile

6 mars 2017

Manuel Helbig

Manuel Helbig, doctoral student in geography under the supervision of Oliver Sonnentag at Université de Montréal is laureate of the FRQNT Étudiants-chercheurs-étoiles contest for the month of February. Manuel was awarded the prize for his recent publication in Global Change Biology. This study quantifies, for the first time, the local climate effects of the loss of boreal forest induced by permafrost thaw in a lowland boreal forest region. Congratulations!

First study of Inuit’s microbiome

22 février 2017

Photo : Pilipoosie Iqaluk

Catherine Girard

Catherine Girard, a Université de Montréal doctoral student in Environmental Biology under the supervision of Marc Amyot, is known in Resolute (Nunavut) as the « Poop lady » ever since she collected stool samples for her study of Inuit microbiome. Catherine compared the Inuit microbiome to that of Montréal residents and was surprised to find that differences between the two were also impossible to detect. These results were recently published in the scientific journal MSphere. Unsurprisingly, her research has attracted much media attention. You can read a few articles by clicking on the links below.



Médium Large (ICI Radio-Canada) 

Les Éclaireurs (ICI Radio-Canada)

CBC North

Radio-Canada International - Eye on the Arctic

La Presse

American Society for Microbiology

CEN 2017 annual meeting?: another success!

21 février 2017

Communication prizes winners from left to right: C. Girard, A. Gagnon-Poiré, Y. Seyer, M. Poirier and M. Tétreault

The organising committee of the CEN Annual Meeting wishes to thank all who participated and contributed to the success of the 2017 edition of the meeting at Université Laval. Nearly 150 researchers, students and collaborators came to the meeting from Sherbrooke, Montréal, Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Rimouski (UQAR), Chicoutimi (UQAC), Moncton, Québec and the North. We warmly thank our plenary speaker, Dr Akira S Mori, from the Yokohama National University, Japan, as well as our invited speakers, Véronique Nadeau (Parks Nunavik), Oliver Sonnentag (Université de Montréal) and Alain Royer (Université de Sherbrooke).

Congratulations are extended to all the students who presented their research as oral presentations, express-presentations or posters, and especially those who were attributed prizes to underscore their excellence.

Catherine Girard (UdeM) – Best oral presentation orale / Louis-Edmond Hamelin Prize
Mathieu Tétreault (UQAR) – Best express-presentatiojn
Yannick Seyer (ULaval) - Ex-aequo best PhD poster

Antoine Gagnon-Poiré (INRS-ETE) - Ex-aequo best PhD poster

Mathilde Poirier (ULaval) – Best MSc poster


It is with great pleasure that we announce that the 2018 edition of CEN’s annual meeting will be hosted by Université de Sherbrooke!

Two CEN students receive FRQNT International internship awards

3 février 2017

Students Chloé Martineau and Jean-Benoit Madore, from the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les milieux polaires (GRIMP, UdeSherbrooke) and under the supervision of Alexandre Langlois have been awarded FRQNT international mobility scholarships. Chloé Martineau, a Master’s degree student, will complete an intership in the laboratory of her co-supervisor, Dr Gouttevin at the Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture in France. Her colleague, Jean-Benoît Madore, will visit, in 2017, the Swiss WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, to improve the thermodynamic model he uses in his doctoral studies. Congratulations to them both!

The Martin Bergmann Medal to Professor Vincent

21 décembre 2016

Created in 2012 by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Martin Bergmann Medal recognizes achievement for “excellence in Arctic leadership and science”. Professor Warwick Vincent, past director and scientific director of the CEN for many years until just recently, received the prestigious medal during a ceremony in Ottawa last month. Dr Vincent is particularly touched by this honor, because when he was first appointed Director of the CEN, he had the chance of working alongside Mr Bergmann who was then director of the Polar Continental Shelf Program.

Launch of the Circumpolar Diatom Database

20 décembre 2016

CEN researcher Reinhard Pienitz and CEN research staff Luc Cournoyer recently published a paper describing the newly launched Circumpolar Diatom Database (CDD). This open-access online database (db) is a resource for the analysis of species distribution and abundance of diatoms in high-latittude circumpolar regions. In addition, the paper published in the Journal of Paleolomnology, describes various opportunities offered by the db for data exchange and input, which will be useful to paleolimnologists, limnologists, and northern researchers in related disciplines.

Pietnitz & Cournoyer. 2016. Circumpolar Diatom Database (CDD): a new database for use in paleolimnology and limnology. J. Paleolimnol. DOI 10.1007/s10933-016-9932-0

CEN students shine at the FFGG faculty science meeting

20 décembre 2016

Julien Lebrun (on the left) and Samuel Gagnon

Two CEN students were awarded communication prizes during the last edition of the Faculté de foresterie, géographie et géomatique meeting at Université Laval. Samuel Gagnon, doctoral student and active member of CEN’s student committee, won the first prize for the quality of his oral presentation on the permafrost research he is leading under the supervision of Michel Allard. Julien Lebrun, Master’s student under the supervision of Najat Bhiry, was also granted a first prize for the best student poster overall. Congratulations!

You can see the event’s photos by following the meeting’s link (in French).

The researcher Richard Fortier honored

13 octobre 2016

CEN researcher Richard Fortier was awarded the 2016 CAN-AM Civil Engineering Amity Award 2016 from the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering. Dr Fortier was selected thanks to more than two decades of advancing professional relationships between civil engineers in the USA and Canada, by sharing his extensive knowledge of field geophysical methods used to characterize permafrost terrain and improve ground ice characterization. The award was given to Dr Fortier during the American Society of Civil Engineering’s annual conference, held in Portland at the end of last month. Congratulations!

Warwick Vincent receives the Polar Medal

13 octobre 2016


CEN would like to warmly congratulate Warwick Vincent who was recently rewarded for his outstanding scientific research on polar environments. Specialist in Polar Regions’ limnology, Dr. Vincent received the Polar Medal from the Governor General of Canada, the Honorable David Johnston, during a ceremony at the Citadel in Quebec City. This prestigious medal distinguishes those who render extraordinary services in Polar Regions and in Canada’s North. Dr. Vincent’s research interests focus on the microbial diversity of Polar Regions. These microbial communities are notably used as indicators of climate change. Dr. Vincent was CEN’s director between 2008 and 2012, and the scientific director from 2012 to 2016.

You can read more news by clicking on the following links: Impact Campus, le fil, Governor General Web site.

K-C Irving Research Chair in Northern Studies

4 octobre 2016

Marie-Andrée Giroux

The new holder of the K-C Irving Research Chair in environmental sciences and sustainable development at Université de Moncton, Marie-Andrée Giroux, was a CEN affiliated postdoctoral fellow at the time of her nomination. The mandate of the research Chair is to contribute to the development and mobilization of knowledge, as well as to train HQP to acquire the necessary knowledge and tools required to face the challenges of today’s environmental issues in sustainable development. Dr Giroux’s research activities will fulfilling the mandate of the Chair through her expertise in ecology of northern and temperate environments. This expertise is fueled by the strong links she developed working in other disciplines via her large network of collaborators, many of whom are CEN members. Congratulations to Marie-Andrée!

You can listen to an interview with Marie-Andrée Giroux Radio-Canada Website.

You can read the news about her nomination on Université de Moncton’s Website here.

Professor Dominique Berteaux receives a Université du Québec Excellency prize

16 septembre 2016

Professor Dominique Berteaux was given the prize Excellency in research and creation, section realization, by Université du Québec to highlight the quality and originality of his research, his outstanding capacity to valorize it, and its impact on the Québec society. The researcher is a specialist on northern biodiversity and climate changes. His research thematic is mainly concerned with the ecology and behavior of mammals, as well as ecosystems functions and conservation in the Arctic. The list of his research realization is extensive but they include his leading role in the redaction of the global impact scientific report « Arctic Biodiversity Assessment » and the publication and wide appreciation of his science popularization book on the effects of climate change on Québec’s biodiversity.

You can read some press reviews by clicking on the links below:

Web Site Université du QuébecL’Avantage, Rimouski and UQAR-Info

Canadian Armed Forces Assisting Northern Science

8 septembre 2016

Photo : Private Itsvan Zsarik

Snow bunting chick

Audrey LePogam, PhD student in the avian ecophysiology lab of the researcher François Vézina, has obtained precious data thanks to the support of a team from the Canadian Armed Forces compsed of linemen visiting the Alert station in the far North. The student, known at the station as “Snowbird 1”, was able to take measurements and samples from the four chicks the Master caporal Henry found in a snow bunting nest lodged in a cliff. The securely strapped lineman then returned the chicks to the nest. This is a great example of collaboration between the Armed Forces and scientists in the Arctic. The story was reported in a weekly military journal.

You can read the text by second lieutenant Watson on The Contact newspaper (Vol.51, Issue 29, page 4).

The science report of the Polar Continental Shelf Program features Sonnentag's research

12 août 2016

Oliver Sonnentag’s research was selected as a feature story for the science report 2015 of the Polar continental shelf program (PCSP). The researcher and his team have been studying greenhouse gas and heat fluxes in the Taiga Plains of the Northwest Territories since 2013. Thanks to a network of four instrumented towers spanning 1000km across various environmental gradients, the team can continue to study how boreal, peatland and tundra ecosystems respond to the changing environment.

You can read the story on page 20 of the PCSP science report 2015.

Black bears and urban expansion

6 août 2016

Photo : Frédéric Lesmerises

Black bears are now frequently sighted in residential areas of south-western Ontario. CEN researcher Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, specialist in animal ecology and conservation, says this phenomenon may be explained by the intensification of urban expansion. The increased number of houses built on farm land and in wooded areas means that these lots are occupying areas that are also suitable for black bears. The researcher reminds readers that although encounters with black bears leading to human injuries are rare, it is recommended to keep away from them when seen.

You can read here the short piece on Radio-Canada’s website (in French).

Expert opinion on the discovery of a new Viking site

3 août 2016

CEN researcher James Woollett was interviewed on the Midi info program of Radio-Canada first channel as an expert regarding the recent discovery of a new Viking site on the Newfoundland coast. The researcher highlight the potential scope of this discovery, which still need to be confirmed, for example by illustrating the types of resources which were exploited by these remarkable explorers on site.

To listen to the interview (in French), select the 1st April 2016 episode following this link. The interview, which last about 4 minutes, starts at 44 min into the first part of the program.

Visit of the Governor General of Canada in WK

27 juin 2016

Photo : Christine Barnard

CEN's scientific director Warwick Vincent, with the Governor General of Canada, David Johnson and his wife.

The Governor General of Canada and his wife visited in May CEN research complex at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik during a tour of the Hudson Bay region communities. The scientific director, Warwick Vincent, Christine Barnard, Science Coordinator, and Maxime Saunier, Station Manager, presented a variety of ongoing research projects, gave them a tour of the Community Science Centre, and showcased the unique outreach methods used to facilitate knowledge sharing with the local communities.

You can read here a comment written by the Governor after his return from the Hudson bay.

More scientists in the Arctic

3 juin 2016

A recent article published in La Presse + relates an observation made by the Polar continental shelf’s program (PCSP) Director stating that interest in Arctic research is growing amongst the scientific community. A higher number of applications for logistical support was received by the PCSP this year. However, this increased demand was not accompanied by an increase in the program’s total budget. CEN researcher, Florent Domine, who studies the effects of climate change on snow and snow-vegetation interactions, highlights the importance of PCSP funding for the implementation of northern research. Without this support, a vast number of Arctic research programs could not be pursued.

You can read (in French) the article by Pierre-André Normandin here published in La Presse+ on the 16th of April 2016.

Best master thesis 2016

27 mai 2016

Charles Papasodoro, CEN student member in the département de géomatique appliquée at Université de Sherbrooke, have won this year’s best master thesis award from the Canadian Remote Sensing Society.  His thesis, carried out under the co-direction of the researchers Alain Royer and Alexandre Langlois, is entitled: «RADARSAT-2 stereo radargrammetry for the melt monitoring of Barnes and Penny Ice Caps (Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada). Congratulations from all CEN members!

Dr. Laurion featured on NSERC’s Dashboard

16 mai 2016

Photo : Isabelle Laurion

CEN researcher Isabelle Laurion’s work is featured on NSERC’s dashboard. Dr. Laurion, professor at the Centre Eau Terre Environnement at INRS, and her team study lakes created by permafrost thawing in the Canadian Arctic. Her research allows her to evaluate the relative importance of the combined effects of the geomorphological, limnological and hydrological properties of aquatic ecosystems on greenhouse gas emissions originating from permafrost thaw. The results emanating from her research will allow a better understanding of these emissions which represent a mechanism for enhancing the positive feedback loop contributing to the acceleration of climate change.

You can see NSERC’s dashboard here (the content is updated regularly).

A new micro-geoarcheology lab

12 mai 2016

Photo : Céline Dupont-Hébert

Midden (archaeological refuse heap) on a settlement in Svalbarð

A unique micro-geoarcheology laboratory affiliated to the CEN, was inaugurated at Université Laval last month. Under the direction of CEN director, researcher Najat Bhiry, the laboratory will facilitate the reconstruction of daily human occupancy in archeological sites. Dr Bhiry has developed a competence to work with thin soil sections. Until recently, Dr Bhiry and her colleagues, such as CEN researcher James Woollett, had to send their samples to laboratories outside of Quebec and even overseas to produce the thin sections. Over 600 000$ was received from the CFI to fund the new laboratory.

For more information, please read the article (in French) written by Yvon Larose and published in ULaval’s journal Le Fil on the 5th of May 2016.

Snow life cycle in Umiujaq

27 avril 2016

A team from the Groupe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire des Milieux Polaires (GRIMP), including CEN researcher Alain Royer, led a field mission in Umiujaq (Nunavik) where they studied snow density. This density greatly influences the quantity of water which will be released into the rivers following snow melt in spring. It would be very useful to be able to anticipate these quantities, to prevent flooding for example, especially if the estimate could be made remotely using satellite imagery. This method has yet to be validated and fine-tuned, so the team had to defy the cold weather to make field measurements.

You can read a more detailed account of the field campaign here (in French) .  

An Alexander-Graham-Bell scholarship for a CEN student!

11 avril 2016

Photo : C. Barnard

Samuel Gagnon

Samuel Gagnon, doctoral candidate in geography at Laval University, under the supervision of the researcher Michel Allard, was awarded an Alexander-Graham-Bell scholarship which supports the best students in the fields of natural sciences and engineering in Canada. Samuel studies permafrost carbon release following 25 years of climate warming. The use of a unique pre-warming source of information as well as cutting-edge analytical methods will allow him to make significant advances in his field of research while propelling his scientific career. Congratulations Samuel!

Forecasting avalanches: a Swiss model adapted by CEN researchers

23 mars 2016

Photo : Alexandre Langlois

Jean-Benoît Madore prepares the space which will serve as a laboratory.

Canadian amateurs of backcountry skiing and snowboarding will soon be able to count on more reliable avalanche forecasting models thanks to the studies led by CEN researcher Alexandre Langlois and his team over the past 3 years in the Chic-Chocs and the Rocky Mountains. The adaptation of the Swiss model of avalanche warning, named SNOWPACK, is featured as one of the stories broadcasted during the last episode of the scientific TV program Découverte. The episode sheds light on the numerous challenges linked to the completion of Dr Langlois’ project and illustrates the high variability of the measurements recorded in the field to validate the models.

You can watch the program which aired on Sunday March 20th, or read some related news articles published on the website of the Département de géomatique appliquée at Université de Sherbrooke.

Looking north to predict the south’s futur

21 mars 2016

The Université Laval’s Contact magazine shared with its readers, in its winter 2016 edition, the numerous northern research initiatives being led by the members of its institution. From the foundation of CEN more than 50 years ago by Louis-Edmond Hamelin, to the recent developments of the Institut Nordique du Québec and NSERC’s Apogee program Sentinelle Nord, including the innovative permafrost studies led by CEN researcher Michel Allard, the issue highlights past and present links existing between scientists and the North. As current research results indicate that global climate change issues are quickly gathering pace in the Arctic, scientific curiosity on northern issues is no longer an exception.

You can read Nathalie Kinnard’s article entitled « Ce Nord, si loin, si proche » (in French) published in the winter 2016 edition of Université Laval’ Contact magazine.

Water colour reveals biological activity

7 mars 2016

Photo : Christian Marchese

The researcher Simon Bélanger

The Université du Québec (UQ) Bulletin features an article on water quality led by Simon Bélanger, director of the Laboratoire d’optique aquatique et de télédétection at Université du Québec à Rimouski and CEN researcher. Using images collected through remote sensing, professor Bélanger and his team can detect key elements of the water’s characteristics such as its sediment load and richness, as well as its organic matter content and concentration in phytoplankton. Biological activity, such as phytoplankton blooms, can thus be observed and, to some extent, quantified, using satellite imagery. In partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dr. Bélanger validates observations and refines the methods by comparing satellite imagery with field data. Québec Science’s December 2015 issue included the UQ’s bulletin research synthesis, giving Simon Bélanger’ research programme even more visibility.

You can read here the text in La recherche dans le réseau de l’Université du Québec. Volume 5, no 2, p. XV (in french).

Old Carbon and Greenhouse Effect

11 janvier 2016

Predictions of the amount of gas released by thawing permafrost in the Arctic are based on very limited data and results obtained may poorly reflect the actual amounts that will be released. This is why CEN Post-Doctoral Fellow Frédéric Bouchard and his colleagues Isabelle Laurion, Daniel Fortier, and Vilmantas Preskienis have measured CO2 and methane emissions from 21 ponds and 2 lakes on Bylot Island in the Canadian High Arctic in 2013 and 2014.The age of the released carbon must be calculated in order to understand the impact the released carbon will have on the climate. Indeed, “young” carbon (a few decades or centuries old) will have little impact since this carbon is already part of the current carbon cycle. On the other hand, if the released carbon is “old”, it represents an additional amount of carbon which is supplementary to the current cycle, thus amplifying the greenhouse effect. The results obtained on Bylot Island, published in the journal Biogeosciences, contrast with results previously published and highlight a pressing need to measure gas fluxes throughout the year. Frédéric Bouchard and his colleagues are presently working of the development of tools which can measure gas fluxes in remote areas of the High Arctic even in the dead of winter.

You can read the text by Jean-François Cliche « Safari au gaz en Arctique » (in French) published on Le Soleil’s web site on December the 30th, 2015.

To read the original paper, click here.

F. Bouchard, I. Laurion, V. Preskienis, D. Fortier, X. Xu, and M. J. Whiticar. 2015. Modern to millennium-old greenhouse gases emitted from ponds and lakes of the Eastern Canadian Arctic (Bylot Island, Nunavut). Biogeosciences, 12, 7279-7298.

The world’s lakes are warming up

6 janvier 2016

Photo : Reinhard Pienitz

Lakes on Baffin Island, Nunavut

A recent publication in the international journal Geophysical Research Letters relates the warming of lakes on every continent on the planet. These increases in temperature are faster than that of the air and ocean water temperatures and have multiple consequences, such as the increased abundance of cyanobacteria and the decrease of lake’s water level. CEN researcher Reinhard Pienitz discusses the publication in a short article published on the website of La Presse. Professor Pienitz mentions the importance of the integrated work that was achieved in this study while specifying that the result is not surprising. The speed of the warming of lakes in the High Arctic, compared to those found in southern regions has been observed previously. That said, Dr Pienitz was surprised that Quebec lakes were not included in the study.

You can read the text by Charles Côté « La température des lacs grimpe»  (in French) published on La Presse’s web site on December the 20 2015.

« La semaine verte » features CEN’s research

10 décembre 2015

The Radio-Canada TV program « La semaine verte » has produced a series of episodes on the United Nations conference on Climate Change that took place in Paris in December 2015. Research undertaken by the group Caribou Ungava, led by CEN’s researcher Steeve Côté, was the focus of one segment of an episode. The researcher Dominique Berteaux concluded the episode reflecting on our relation to our planet.

You can watch the segments of the episode here (Steeve Côté; Dominique Berteaux; in French) or read the supplementary material here (in French).

CEN's carbon dating lab among the best in the world 

4 novembre 2015

CEN’s radiochronology laboratory, run by lab technician Guillaume Labrecque, participated in the Sixth International Radiocarbon Intercomparison (SIRI) competition. The participating laboratories (almost 50) each received thirteen samples that had to be dated using the laboratories’ standard protocols. The results obtained were sent back to the organizers of the event, who then compared the results to consensus values. Guillaume’s results all fell within one sigma value compared to the consensus values, thereby officially confirming the excellence and precision of the dates provided by the CEN’s radiochronology lab. These results place the CEN lab among the best in the world for 14C dating. Congratulations!

The spruce budworm - guilty of another charge

17 septembre 2015

Research by CEN professors Martin Simard and Patrick Lajeunesse have shed some light on a surprising driver responsible for landslides in mountainous regions of Québec.  In addition to the cumulative effects of the slope, the thickness of the soil layer, and the amount of water in the ground, the intensity of spruce budworm outbreaks could explain higher risks of debris slides in these locations. A spruce budworm outbreak can kill most of the trees in a forest stand and can destroy up to 75% of the lateral roots of the surviving trees. The outbreaks can potentially destroy the entirety of the tiny root networks which are paramount in maintaining the stability of the ground. The researchers are pursuing their investigations, in collaboration with the Canadian Forest Service, to better grasp the breadth of the ecological perturbations caused by the parasite.

Article (in French) by Jean Hamann, 10th of September 2015, Le Fil (ULaval).

Publication in Ecosystems, june 2015.

Publication : permafrost research priorities according to early career scientists

11 septembre 2015

A paper was published as a result from a workshop initiated and ran by early career scientists present during the ICARP III meeting which took place in Portugal last year. The young researchers, among which were members of the CEN, planned this workshop with the objective of discussing which research questions should be prioritize in permafrost science. They first designed an on-line survey to gather all relevant questions. These questions, reorganized in unifying subjects, were scrutinized, modified and improved by the workshop participants. The participants then voted to bring to light the five more pressing questions :  1) How does permafrost degradation affect landscape dynamics at different spatial and temporal scales?; 2) How can ground thermal models be improved to better reflect permafrost dynamics at high spatial resolution?; 3) How can traditional environmental knowledge be integrated in permafrost research?; 4) What is the spatial distribution of different ground-ice types and how susceptible is ice-rich permafrost to future environmental change?; et 5) What is the influence of infrastructures on the thermal regime and stability of permafrost in different environmental settings?.

Read here the publication on the journal The Cryosphere.

Volume 2 of Flore nordique du Québec et du Labrador published

2 septembre 2015

The second volume of the work « Flore nordique du Québec et du Labrador » was published by the Presses de l’Université Laval under the direction CEN researcher Serge Payette.

This impressive work which will culminate in the publication of four volumes, made possible by numerous fruitful collaborations between Québec botanists, will bring together all of the knowledge on northern plants from the boreal, subarctic and arctic areas. Serge Payette was honoured last year by the Association des biologistes du Québec, particularly thanks to the value the members attributed to the publication of the first volume in 2013.

Browse part of the book on the Flore website below.

For more information:

Prestigious scholarships for CENs students

11 août 2015

Photo : J-F Bouchard / UQAR

Three of CEN’s students and a post-doc have won prestigious scholarships during the last few months. Simon Massé was awarded the Consortium Ouranos Réal-Décoste scholarship to support his doctoral research, initiated last september under the supervision of Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, on hydrogeomorphological processes in fluvial risk management strategies in the context of climate change. Justin Roy, a doctoral student under the supervision of Joël Bêty, holds a Vanier scholarship, which rewards academic excellence, research potential and leadership by awarding 50 000$ per year for three years to a few outstanding doctoral students.  Marie-Andrée Giroux and Florence Lapierre Poulin have won W. Garfield Weston scholarships of the values of 50 000$ and 15 000$ respectively. Marie-Andrée, post-doctoral fellow (Bêty) strong of her multiples experiences in the Canadian Arctic, represents a judicious choice for the award which supports research in northern environments. Florence as started her second year as a master student this summer on Bylot Island, where she studies the vulnerability of the Arctic fox dens to climate change, under the supervision of Dominique Berteaux and Daniel Fortier.

Congratulations to Simon, Justin, Marie-Andrée and Florence for these well-deserved scholarships!

You can read the news release on UQAR-info here and here.

Seeing climate change with the naked eye

4 août 2015

A piece published on Le Devoir’s website relates that local communities and researchers see tangible signs of accelerated climate change in northern Québec. Many animal and plant species, such as moose and birch, which were historically limited to the south of the province are now readily observed in the North. Permafrost is also thawing due to temperature warming, which in turn increases the availability of drinking water in groundwater sources. CEN’s researcher Richard Fortier is leading a project on the latter topic this summer in the Umiujaq area.

You can read the article by Caroline Montpetit published on the 3rd of August 2015 on Le Devoir website.

Michel Allard receives the Polar Medal from the Governor General of Canada

23 juillet 2015

It is with great pleasure that all CEN members (researchers, staff, and students) congratulate Michel Allard for obtaining the Polar Medal. The medal was presented to him Wednesday, July 8 in Whitehorse. The Polar Medal celebrates Canada’s northern heritage and recognizes persons who render extraordinary services in the Polar Regions and in Canada’s North.

Read all about the ceremony and the award here:; 


CEN media appearances during the Acfas congress

11 juin 2015

The last ACFAS meeting which took place between the 24th and 30th of May at UQAR was a resounding success. Many of CEN’s member actively took part in its organization, notably by organizing workshops, planning activities for the general public and giving outstanding scientific and even musical performances! Here is a non-exhaustive list of CEN media outings during the congress.

Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, regular CEN member, researcher and musician, guest at « La nature selon Boucar ».

Pierre Legagneux, CEN post-doctoral researcher, discuss the results of the biodiversity survey which took place during the congress.

Najat Bhiry, CEN director and Christine Barnard, CEN scientific coordinator, guests at the France Inter radiophonic program « La tête au carré ».

Laurent Gosselin, CEN master student, presents the image he submitted to Acfas « La preuve par l’image » contest.

Two CEN students, Frédéric lesmerises and Clément Besnard, finalists of the Acfas « La preuve par l’image » contest. You can vote by following the link.


Governor General's Academic Medal recevied by two CEN students

11 juin 2015

Photo : Marc Robitaille

Marc-André Lemay with the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering Dean, André Darveau, and Unviversité Laval's Rector, Denis Brière.

Congratulations to two CEN students who were honoured by receiving the Governor General’s Academic Medal during the graduation ceremony at Université Laval this month. Selected among 500 graduates receiving a Master's degree with thesis, Sandra Angers-Blondin worked, under the supervision of the researcher Stéphane Boudreau, on the expansion dynamics of crowberry in a subarctic sand dune system. Marc-André Lemay is presently a Master's student under the supervision of Stéphane Boudreau and Esther Lévesque. He currently works on modelling shrub expansion in the Umiujaq region, Nunavik.

Climate change impacting traditional ways

1er juin 2015

Climate change is affecting the North at an unprecedented pace. Northern residents who depend on the ecosystem for traditional activities, such as hunting and gathering, must adapt their ways to the environment undergoing rapid change. Esther Lévesque and José Gérin-Lajoie, CEN researchers, discuss the changes observed in terms of plant ecology and changing permafrost conditions and the impacts these changes have on the aboriginals’ traditional ways. Once more, the northerners’ strong resilience and adaptive capacity is being put to the test.

Article written by Florence Sara G. Ferraris, featured in Le Devoir on June 1st.


Publication: Survival unrelated to distance of migration

25 mai 2015

Photo : Joël Bêty

Gilles Gauthier and a snow goose on Bylot Island

A study by a team of researchers from France and Québec, including CEN researcher Gilles Gauthier, have demonstrated that greater snow geese migrating to the northern limit of their breeding area have the same adult survival rate than those migrating 800 km to the south to Bylot island. The researchers suggest that the cost associated with the longer distances could be offset by the reduced predation pressure and lower competition for food that the geese face at this higher latitude. These results are good news for wildlife managers, who can extrapolate the results to the whole of the the snow goose population, thus reducing significantly survival data sampling effort in other areas. The results have been published in a recent edition of the Journal of Wildlife Management.

You can read here a short article (in French) by Jean Hamann on the journal Le Fil of Université Laval about the publication.

Publication : Souchay, G., Gauthier, G., Lefèvre, J., & Pradel, R. (2015). Absence of difference in survival between two distant breeding sites of greater snow geese. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 79, 570-578. DOI:10.1002/jwmg.879.

Caribou versus jobs

22 mai 2015

Photo : Dominic Grenier

A proposal by the government of Québec to extend forest exploitation into the White Mountains area of the Saguenay region could significantly accelerate the decline of the already threatened caribou populations. For several years now, CEN researcher Martin-Hugues St-Laurent has been working with governement departments and the industry to integrate new knowledge emerging from research into caribou management and forestry planning in Québec. The government's intentions are to create many jobs by expanding the exploitation in the Saguenay, to pursue such an operation in the manner it is done today would only accentuate the decline of the caribou populations further. Researchers, along with many organisations concerned by the protection of natural environments such as Nature Québec, are pressing the authorities to consider alternative solutions for their exploitation plan.

You can read the article (in French) by Anne Caroline Desplanques published on May16th in the Journal de Montréal.

ADAPT on NSERC’s Dashboard

14 mai 2015

ADAPT (Arctic in Development and Adaptation to Permafrost in Transition) led by CEN’s scientific director Warwick Vincent, in collaboration with several other CEN members, is featured on NSERC’s dashboard. The dashboard illustrates the extent of NSERC’s investments in science over the last year and highlights a few projects funded by the agency which had have significant impact. ADAPT’s main objective is to assess how changing permafrost and snowfall affect tundra landscapes, water and wildlife, and the implications of this change for Northern communities and industries who depend on these resources in the Arctic.

You can see NSERC’s dashboard here (the content is updated regularly).

What’s up CEN researchers?

6 mai 2015

CEN director Najat Bhiry, researcher Steeve Côté and PhD student Julie Malenfant Lepage appear in a new series of the TV show Canal Savoir called Quoi de neuf chercheurs? The fourth episode of the series presents CEN researchers discussing the challenges facing the North and its communities as well as the research projects led by CEN researchers and students. The episode will be aired five times on the Canal Savoir channel during May and is available on the series' web site.

You can also read the article that was written about the TV program by Yvon Larose in the journal Le Fil of Université Laval by clicking here (in French).

Life in High Arctic Ice-Sealed Lakes

20 mars 2015

Photo : Warwick Vincent CEN/ArcticNet

Under the ice-sealed lakes of the polar desert in the Canadian High Arctic, an unexpected diversity of life flourishes. New technologies such as GoPro video cameras and high-throughput DNA analyses reveal the presence of micro-organisms and life forms, some of which are so small they cannot be observed under powerful microscopes. Eventhough some lakes have been sealed by ice for millennia, these discoveries prove that life persists, and even thrives, in these seemingly hostile environments. The research of CEN’s scientific director, Warwick Vincent, on Ward Hunt Island is the subject of a recent post on the Polar blog.

Permafrost Climate Bomb

19 mars 2015

Thawing permafrost and its potential for positive feedback on climate change, specifically in temperature rise, attracts once again the attention of the media. A report was published on Québec science’s website in February relating a visit at CEN's research station in Kuujjuarapik during which the journalist Raymond Lemieux joined the researcher Florent Dominé to take measurements on a palse equipped with instruments a few kilometres away from the station. Discussions with the researcher, as well as with CEN’s scientific director Warwick Vincent and his student Paschale Bégin, exposed the gravity of the situation of thawing permafrost and described the colossal efforts invested by the scientific community to obtain a deeper understanding of the impacts of thawing permafrost.

Read the full article by Raymond Lemieux on Québec science here (in French).

See also CNRS's journal, and a piece in Sciences et Avenir (in French).

Le Soleil’s Scientific Breakthroughs for 2014

17 mars 2015

Photo : Yves Bégin

Researcher Dominique Arseneault Collecting Spruce Samples

Our researchers climbed to the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2014 in Le Soleil. The newspaper highlights scientific breakthroughs by researchers which have marked scientific history in their respective fields. Research by Patrick Lajeunesse (ULaval) on buried preglacial valleys and gorges, published in the scientific journal Geological Society of America Bulletin has made the top 10. Work by researcher Steeve Côté (ULaval) has also earned a place in the spotlight. Professor Côté and his team, in 2014, shed some light on the population genetics of caribous living in the Arctic. Finally, work by Dominique Arseneault (UQAR), has allowed for a thorough reconstruction of climate in northern Québec over the past 1000 years. They all boast a well-earned space among the top 10 discoveries. 3/10 discoveries for the CEN!

You can read the full articles by Jean-François Cliche here (in French):

La vallée dans la vallée

Petite histoire du peuple à corne

La pêche aux épinettes

CEN’s radiochronology lab to the rescue of elephants!

5 mars 2015

Photo : Jonathan Roger

Guillaume Labrecque in CEN's radiochronology lab.

Carbon 14 dating achieved by CEN’s lead technician, Guillaume Labrecque, of the radiochronology lab lead to the conviction of an auction company which illegally tried to sell elephant tusks as antiques. Indeed, the dating demonstrated that the tusks came from elephants which were killed after 1975, year after which tusks are no longer considered as antique and are therefore illegal to sell. Radiocarbon dating is based on the degradation of carbon’s radioactive isotope 14C. In CEN’s radiochronology lab, radiocarbon dating is achieved by AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) to date organic matter, carbonate and bone samples.

The news of the conviction of the auction house thanks to carbon dating has attracted a lot of media attention:

TVA news

Journal de Québec

Le Fil (ULaval)

The best of Québec’s science

5 mars 2015

The Arctic Ocean now counts two "spring" blooms. This discovery was documented in a study lead by CEN’s researcher Marcel Babin and his colleagues. The study was selected as one of the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2014 by the magazine Québec Science. The study shows that a second phytoplankton bloom, phenomenon usually observed during the spring period, also occurs in autumn. A substantial reduction of the ice cover seems to explain the autumnal peak in phytoplankton productivity observed using satellite imagery. A bimodal biological productivity is usually observed in temperate areas and its apparition in the arctic could bring important changes to marine ecosystems.

For more information, go to Québec Science website page to the top 10 discoveries for 2014 or read this article (in French) published in Le Fil on the 15th of January 2015. 

Mountain goat kids play for survival

10 février 2015

Mountain goat kids are exposed to multiple risk factors during their first year of life. A study by Rachel Théoret-Gosselin, in collaboration with Sandra Hamel and under the supervision of CEN member Steeve Côté, shows that maternal care and energy devoted to locomotor development (linked to play) are more important deteminants of survival rates of the goat kids than are environmental conditions or the presence of predators. Goat kids which run, leap, stop abruptly and sprint, alone or with a group, improve their agility and thus decrease the risks of predation.

Read the article « Jouer sa vie» published in ULaval’s Le fil (in French) on the 5th of February 2015.

Publication :

Théoret-Gosselin, R., Hamel, S. et Côté, S. (2015). The role of maternal behavior and offspring development in the survival of mountain goat kids. Oecologia; DOI:10.1007/s00442-014-3198-x

CEN research makes the cover page!

4 février 2015

Front page of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences with a photo of Pingualuit Crater Lake by Denis Sarrazin

The front page of the latest volume of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences shows a spectacular photo of the Crystal Eye of Nunavik, the Pingualuit Crater Lake, taken by CEN`s research professional Denis Sarrazin. This cover page showcases the article published in the journal and its associated research conducted on the crater lake by Pierre Francus, Reinhard Pienitz and their collaborators. The research examined the micromorphology of the crater lake's sediments and sheds some light on subglacial lacustrine environments.

Further reading is available (in French) in the UQAR-info by Jean-Francois Bouchard (21 January 2015) here.

Publication :

Guyard, H., Francus, P., St-Onge, G., Hausmann, S., and Pienitz, R. 2014. Microfacies and microstructures of subglacial and deglacial sediments from the Pingualuit Crater Lake (Ungava Peninsula, Canada). Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 51(2); 1084-1096. DOI 10.1139/cjes-2014-0041

Woodland caribou in the spotlight!

27 janvier 2015

Photo : Frédéric Lesmerises

Woodland caribou fawn in Gaspésie

The research of CEN member Martin-Hugues St-Laurent and his team on the Gaspésie peninsula woodland caribou has attracted much media attention lately. The research program, in partnership with the “Société des établissements de plein-air du Québec” (SEPAQ) the “ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs”, indicate a slow, but worrisome, decline of the woodland caribou population in Gaspésie. The results of multiple research projects conducted over the past 3 years were featured in a written piece on Radio-Canada's website, as well as in L'Avantage electronic paper, and aired a television report during the Télé-Québec program “Le Code Chastenay”.

You can read the RC article and L'Avantage article (in French) and watch the TV report (in French).

Permafrost Research Featured in Le Monde

26 janvier 2015

Photo : Isabelle Laurion

The French newspaper Le Monde has published an article featuring information obtained during ArcticNet's "Arctic Change 2014 conference" (a network of centres of excellence), which took place in Ottawa last December. The journalist mentions the high numbers of contributions on permafrost science which were delivered during the numerous sessions on permafrost. CEN’s scientific director, Warwick Vincent, was cited in the article, in which he highlighted the case of arctic freshwater ponds and lakes which, with the accelerated thawing of permafrost, will increasingly contribute to carbon emissions. Although the total surface of these freshwater basins is by far greater than that of large well-known lakes, there are still relatively few ongoing research projects on this theme.

You can read Anne Pélouas's article here (in French).

New tool predicts the success of ecosystem restoration

23 janvier 2015

A study by CEN’s researcher Line Rochefort and her colleagues was featured in the European commission's publication « Science for Environment Policy ». The research, published in 2014 in the journal Ecological Indicators, describes a new modelling tool which allows the user to predict the success of restoration projects undertaken in degraded ecosystems. The model was successfully tested on several peatland bog restoration projects across Canada. This tool can help restoration practitioners understand and predict their sites’ future development without having to call upon expert knowledge or use complicated analyses.

Read the article « New tool predicts ecosystem restoration success» published in « Science for Environment Policy », November 20, 2014.

Publication :

González, E., Rochefort, L., Boudreau, S., & Poulin, M. (2014). Combining indicator species and key environmental and management factors to predict restoration success of degraded ecosystems. Ecological Indicators. 46, 156–166. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.06.016.

CEN's Bulletin no.12 is now available

22 décembre 2014

The 12th edition of CEN's Bulletin (december 2014) is now available. Read here our most recent news:

  • PNB-Paribas grant to Florent Dominé
  • News of our stations
  • CEN researcher: Dermot Antoniades
  • ABQ distinction to Serge Payette
  • Roger-Brown priuze to the Geocryolab
  • EUCOP4 - CEN was there!
  • FRQNT professors exchange program
  • and more...

Our students among the best at the Arctic Change 2014 conference

16 décembre 2014

Photo : Erik Hedlin

Vincent Lamarre with a peregrine falcon chick.

Two of CEN’s students were awarded the first prize for their posters during the International Arctic Change 2014 conference in Ottawa. Frankie Jean-Gagnon, UQAR Master's student under Joël Bêty and Simon Bélanger’s supervision won the prize in the marine sciences category for her poster on the effects of sea ice on the reproduction of the common eider in the Arctic. Vincent Lamarre, also a Master's student at UQAR with Joël Bêty, won the first prize in the terrestrial sciences category for his poster reporting on the impacts of an ectoparasite outbreak on the nesting of the peregrine falcon. Their posters have outshined hundreds of others and secured them the 1000$ cash prize. Congratulations!

Chicadees in the spotlight!

16 décembre 2014

Photo : François Vézina

The research undertaken by CEN members Magali Petit (doctoral student) and Francois Vézina (professor) on the chickadee’s adaptation strategies to winter have been attracting a lot of media attention lately. The results of their research, published in the journal PLOSone, were also highlighted in articles in the latest edition of Québec Science and in the Jasper journal. These results were also aired in a radio interview during the show Les années lumière (CBC). Chickadees do not migrate to warmer places in the winter and thus face daily temperature variations of up to 30°C. François Vézina and his team are trying to measure the capacity of chickadees to adapt to these extreme variations and to understand the effect of climate change on this capacity.

You can read the article by Marine Corniou (Québec Science, December 2014), the piece on The Fitzhugh, and hear the radio interview (in French).

Petit M, Vézina F (2014) Reaction Norms in Natural Conditions: How Does Metabolic Performance Respond to Weather Variations in a Small Endotherm Facing Cold Environments? PLoS ONE 9(11): e113617. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113617


Serge Payette honored by the Association des Biologistes du Québec

26 novembre 2014

Photo : Rémi Boily

Serge Payette

Every year during its annual meeting, the “Association des biologistes du Québec” (ABQ) honours a non-biologist whose contribution to the field of Biology is exceptional throughout his/her career. This year this honorary title was awarded to Serge Payette, who has been a regular CEN member for many years. The award recognizes his exceptional work on northern ecosystems. The ABQ mentioned, amongst other items, the importance of his book “Flore nordique du Québec et du Labrador” to many field biologists and non-biologists in Québec. Congratulations!

You can read the press release on the ABQ website (in French).

Daniel Fortier and Isabelle de Grandpré awarded the prestigious Roger Brown Prize

16 octobre 2014

Photo : Geocryolab

Daniel Fortier and Isabelle de Grandpré have just received the prestigious Roger Brown Prize awarded by The Canadian Geotechnical Society for the publication of the best peer-reviewed article on engineering and permafrost science. The Prize was awarded for their paper entitled: "Groundwater flow under transport infrastructure: potential heat flow impacting the thermal regime of permafrost and the degradation of ground ice", published in 2012 in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

You can read more on UdeMNouvelles (in French) and see pictures of the event on the Geocryolab Facebook page. Congratulations! 

Development of local leadership in arctic research

10 octobre 2014

Photo : Vincent L'Hérault

ARCTIConnexion, directed by CEN’s student Vincent l’Hérault, and the community of Pond Inlet, have received the Excellence in Water Stewardship Award, from the Council of the Federation (Canada). On the 10th of July, the Prime Minister of Nunavut, the honorable Peter Taptuna, awarded the prize to Tim Anaviapik Soucie and his young team for their innovative project “Building capacity to monitor fresh water quality in Pond Inlet, Nunavut”. Under the leadership of Tim Anaviapik Soucie, recently graduated from the Environmental technology program of Nunavut's Arctic College, the project's aim is to better understand the issues impacting the quality of drinking water and its implications on the health of Pond Inlet residents in the context of global warming.

For regular updates on the project, please visit the project's Facebook page.

Demonstrating the resistance of the Boreal forest to high burn rates

7 octobre 2014

A study by CEN’s researcher Dominique Arseneault, his student Jessie Héon and a colleague, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences US, clearly demonstrates that the time interval between forest fires has an effect on the intensity of successive fires. The recurrence of fires has induced the appearance of many young forests which has in turn created a negative feedback on fire activity given the reduced amount of fuel found in these forests. In the context of climate change and the increased occurrence of draughts, which represent the main cause of forest fires, this new knowledge will be extremely useful in determining the forests which are most at risk of fire and of fast propagation.

Read the article (in French) of UQAR-info by Jean-Francois Bouchard (22 septembre 2014).

Héon J, Arseneault D, Parisien M-A. (2014) Resistance of the boreal forest to high burn rates. PNAS. 111 (38) 13888-13893. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1409316111.

Andréanne Couture rewarded for her excellence!

19 septembre 2014

Photo : Andréanne Couture

Andréanne Couture, a recently graduated CEN student, under the supervision of Najat Bhiry, now appears on the Dean Honor roll (Dean of graduate studies) at Université Laval. Her astounding grades in the MSc Geography program resulted in an unanimous vote from the jury on her thesis. Congratulations Andréanne!

Field course in Hudsonia and the James Bay area

18 septembre 2014

Photo : CEN

The Centre for Northern Studies has co-organised a field trip in Hudsonia and the James Bay Area for a group of 16 geography bachelor and master students. The leaders of the expedition where the CEN researchers Najat Bhiry and Martin Lavoie, along with one of their colleague from Université Laval. This intensive 2 weeks long field course covered the theme of the evolution of northern geo-ecosystems under global climate change. In addition, the group visited multiple sites of socio-economics relevance, such as the mining infrastructures of Canadian Malartic, the dams in the Grande 2 complex and indigenous communities.

Read the article (in french) « Entre Radisson et Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik » by Yvon Larose in  Le Fil  (ULaval), 18 septembre 2014

Summertime bioarcheological digs in Iceland

5 septembre 2014

Photo : James Woollett

The pluridisciplinary team of CEN researchers James Woollet and Najat Bhiry have spent time visiting archeological sites in July in the context of their studies on human occupation and landscape evolution in north-east Iceland. The researchers and their students have sampled, among other things, animal bones, to enable them to reconstruct subsidence economy of the people of the past.

Read the article (in french) « Un été de découvertes » by Yvon Larose in  Le Fil  (ULaval), 4 septembre 2014.

Publication: Large volcanic eruptions induced persistent shifts towards lower temperature in Northeastern America.

3 septembre 2014

Photo : Fabio Gennaretti CEN

Doctoral student Fabio Gennaretti, Professor Dominique Arseneault (both CEN members) and their collaborators, have used tree-ring chronologies to develop climate reconstruction and to verify the impact of volcano eruptions on shifts in the climate. They sampled spruce subfossil trees from six lakes in the Eastern Canadian taiga, a region from which such data was missing to enable scientists to produce consistent chronologies. Their results, published in the high impact journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA this summer, show that periods of lower average temperature coincide with series of large volcanic eruptions.

Read the article (in French) of UQAR-Info by Jean-Francois Bouchard (18 august 2014).

Publication: Gennaretti F, Arseneault D, Nicault A, Perreault L & Bégin Y (2014) Volcano-induced regime shifts in millenial tree-ring chronologies from northeastern North America. PNAS. 111 (28) 10077-10082. doi:10.1073/pnas.1324220111

CEN article published in Makivik Magazine

9 juillet 2014

Alexandre Truchon-Savard, last year's Science Educator at the Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Station, conducted science activities with local youth to spark their interest in science and share CEN’s expertise. Eight high school students from Asimauttaq School were invited to take part in a camping trip organized by Alex “the Science Guy”. Thanks to the established collaboration between the school, CEN and Youth Fusion, the youth spent a weekend filled with new experiences and rich in scientific insight. The weekend program involved activities such as hiking on the hills of Kuujjuarapik, using GPS’s and an initiation to tree ring analysis and forest surveying. The field camp was a huge hit amongst the kids and reflects the success of the science education program.

See Alex's article published in Makivik Magazine this spring

Water Quality of Lac Saint-Charles – A Call for Action

26 juin 2014

Photo : Le Soleil, Pascal Ratthé

An article published in the Le Soleil daily newspaper warns of a bleak future for the water quality of Lac Saint-Charles. This lake provides drinking water to about 280 000 citizens of the Québec metropolitan area. Threats to the lake’s water quality do not originate from management of the lake’s shores which is quite strictly regulated, but rather from the upstream projects which will affect its watershed (construction of the Saguenay highway and residential development projects upstream). CEN researchers Reinhard Pienitz and Warwick F. Vincent discuss the ecological consequences of such activities on the lake’s water quality and urge politicians to take rapid action to avoid its further degradation.

Read the article entitled État de choc écologique au lac Saint-Charles written by Baptiste Ricard-Châtelain published in Le Soleil on June 16, 2014.

CEN Bulletin #11 (January 2014) is now available

22 janvier 2014

CEN Bulletin #11 (January 2014) is now available.

Read the latest news:

  • Science in the North, by the North
  • Science hightlight
  • Featured publications
  • INTERACT International research grant
  • Risk management, an expertise in demand
  • Mark your calendars !
  • CEN researcher : Alexandre Langlois
  • A word from your student reps
  • EnviroNorth
  • FRQNT Internships

Enjoy this issue !

Centre d'études nordiques

Second call for papers - 19th Inuit Studies Conference

22 janvier 2014

This is the second call for papers for the 19th Inuit Studies Conference which will be organized in Quebec City from October 29th - November 1st, 2014 under the theme Qaumaniq: Le savoir qui illumine - Enlightening Knowledge.

The organizing committee encourages you to share this call for papers in your respective networks and post it on your organization website.

Should you have any questions, please visit our website at


Francis Lévesque

Public Lecture by Pr. David Barber on Arctic Sea-Icescape

21 janvier 2014

Public Lecture by Professor David Barber entitled "Understanding both the geophysical and thermodynamic state of a rapidly changing Arctic sea-icescape" will be held Wednesday, February 12 at 19h00 at ENAP Auditorium (555 Charest Est, Quebec, G1K 9E5).

Download the Public Lecture Announcement Poster 


Centre d'études nordiques

Message in a Bottle: Another Way of Studying Glacial Retreat

18 décembre 2013

Photo : Denis Sarrazin CEN/ArcticNet

The scientific director of CEN, Warwick Vincent and Denis Sarrazin, CEN research professionnal made the strange discovery last summer of a message in a bottle, found under an "oddly shaped" pile of rock, a cairn, in a remote and inhospitable valley north of Ellesmere island.

Researchers Paul Walker, from the University of Ohio, and Albert Crary from the Research Center of Cambridge left this message at precisely 168.3 feet from the base of a glacier, inviting the reader to participate in a scientific experimen: "To Whom It May Concern, repeat this experience and send the new data to the two following research centres. Thank you very much. ". Fifty four years later, the researchers repeated the experiment and observed a 70 meters glacier retreat. This new observation was carefully noted on a second letter that was added to the bottle and then returned to its measurement site on Ellesmere Island.

Read the article entitled Un message dans une bouteille trouvé dans le Grand Nord (French) published by, December 17, 2013


Press coverage

Un message de 1959 dans une bouteille donne un indice sérieux sur la fonte des glaciers
Radio-Canada International, December 24, 2013

Un message dans une bouteille trouvé dans le Grand Nord
Faculté des sciences et de génie, Université Laval, December 18, 2013

On CBC radio, Definitely Not the Opera (DNTO) (et 04:30 mins)

Centre d'études nordiques

A Large Underwater Meteorite Impact Crater Observed off the Shores of Sept-Îles 

18 décembre 2013

Image of the crater obtained by high resolution sampling. Maximum depth noted at 250 meters, reflecting the strength of the impact.

A group of researchers led by Patrick Lajeunesse, from CEN, studied a geological subsea structure discovered in 2001 by employees of the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) when mapping lobster habitats off the coast of Sept-Iles.

 High-resolution surveys conducted in 2005, 2006 and 2010 led to the conclusion that the mysterious underwater circular shape did not belong to the chimney of a volcano nor to subsidence, nor to salt diapirism and rather support the impact theory of a meteorite.

The crater has a typical central, uplifted shape and its strata feature multiple cracks, which become finer and rarer moving away from the impact site - which reflects a strong impact. Samples collected in the crater also contained small glassy beads that could only have formed under pressure and extremely high temperatures.

The results of this study will be published in the next issue of the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.


Press coverage

Un cratère météoritique au large de Sept-Îles
Département de géologie et de génie géologie de l’Université Laval, published October 25, 2013

Une énigme tombée du ciel
Le fil des événements, Volume 49, numéro 9, published October 31, 2013

Un cratère météoritique au large de Sept-Îles
Le Soleil, published October 25, 2013

Centre d'études nordiques

Birds of Prey Suffer the Consequences of Global Warming in the Arctic 

17 décembre 2013

Photo : Hilde Johansen

A study published by Professor Alastair Franke of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute, as well as by Alexander Anctil and Professor Joel Bêty, both from CEN, shows that warmer Arctic temperatures and changing weather patterns have a negative effect on the breeding success of the peregrine falcon.

The researchers used an experimental design using shelters to protect the chicks from weather conditions to better understand the vulnerability of Arctic birds of prey relative to changing conditons due to global warming.

They came to the sad conclusion that nearly one third of the chicks died from hypothermia or drowning after heavy summer rains because the parents failed to offer adequate protection from the extreme weather conditions.

Publication: Anctil, A., Franke, A., Bêty, J., 2013. Heavy rainfall increases nestling mortality of an arctic top predator: experimental evidence and long-term trend in peregrine falcons. Oecologia. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-013-2800-y.

Press coverage 

Arctic rain threstens baby peregrine falcons
CBC news, december 4, 2013

Les changements climatiques dans l’arctique menacent la reproduction des faucons pèlerins
Ici Radio Canada, Télé, december 4, 2013


Centre d'études nordiques

News Release from the MDDEFP

5 décembre 2013

On November 15, 2013, the minister of the department of Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs, M. Yves-François Blanchet, announced the creation of an advisory committee on climate change. This committee is composed of representatives from various sectors of Quebec’s society who are involved in the fight against climate change. Their role is to advise the Minister on measures to be taken to achieve Quebec’s objective of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 %, based on emissions in 1990 and a threshold set for 2020. Michel Allard, CEN researcher, has been appointed to take part in this committee. The minister met the Advisory Committee for the first time on November 14.

To learn more about the committee and its roles, see: : Press Release: Advisory Committee on Climate Change

Thaw Ponds: an Underestimated Source of Greenhouse Gas

4 décembre 2013

Photo : Isabelle Laurion

Ph.D. student Karita Negandhi and professor Isabelle Laurion, both CEN members from INRS-ETE, in collaboration with other Canadian, U.S., and French researchers, studied methane emissions produced by thermokarst ponds in the Canadian Arctic. It turns out that these emissions are highly underestimated in current climate models. Published in the PLoS ONE journal, these results underscore the relevance of taking greenhouse gases emitted by small thaw ponds into account, as they could have a significant impact on the global climate. In the context of pronounced warming in the Arctic, these ponds are worth examining more closely, as they could have a significant incidence on greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the article entitled Les mares nordiques : une source sous-estimée de gaz à effet de serre published by  Gisèle Bolduc in Actualités INRS, november 18, 2013.

Negandhi K, Laurion I, Whiticar MJ, Galand PE, Xu X & C Lovejoy (2013) Small Thaw Ponds: An Unaccounted Source of Methane in the Canadian High Arctic. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078204

Flore nordique du Québec et du Labrador, volume 1

4 décembre 2013

This volume was just released by Presses de l'Université Laval, under the direction of Serge Payette, former director of Centre d’études nordiques. This book is the first of four volumes on the flora of vascular plants of northern Quebec and Labrador, from 54°N up to Hudson Strait, from James Bay and Hudson Bay to the west and to the Labrador Sea to the east. It is the outcome of a longstanding collaboration between several botanists across Quebec. The volume brings together knowledge and original data on northern plants in boreal, subarctic and arctic regions. This publication will serve as a reference for academia interested in the natural sciences, for professional workers in environmental sciences, and for an informed public who are interested in Quebec and Labrador’s botanical heritage.

You can browse the volume by clicking on the link provided below:

Official web site:

Shallow Subarctic Lakes are Drying Up Fast

3 décembre 2013

Photo: Hilary White

A team of researchers from the universities of Laval, Wilfrid Laurier, Brock and Waterloo have shown that shallow, subarctic lakes are on the brink of disappearing. These lakes are drying up at phenomenal rates and according to Frédéric Bouchard, a CEN postdoctoral fellow, the loss of these aquatic habitats could have major ecological consequences. Over 70 lakes were studied in the regions of Old Crow (Yukon) and Churchill (Manitoba) and results indicate that over 50% of the lakes found in undisturbed areas with low-lying vegetation show signs of drying up. This could be explained by a decrease in snowfall since the lakes are fed by melt waters. From 2010 to 2012, average precipitation in the winter dropped by 76 mm in Churchill, with respect to means recorded from 1971 to 2000. The extent of the draining is happening at unprecedented rates, rates observed over 200 years ago.

See the complete manuscript in Geophysical Research Letters. Reinhard Pienitz, professor in the Department of Geography and CEN member, is a co-author.

Read more in the article entitled Des lacs en voie d'évaporation published by John Hamman in the Fil des évènements, November 28, 2013.

Lac Saint-Charles, Water Quality is Good but Researchers Fear Proliferation of Cyanobacteria

31 octobre 2013

Photo: Francis Audet/APEL

Good news first: the water quality of Lac St. Charles is excellent; the lake from which Québec City draws its water. However, its blue-green algae populations may explode if conditions become favourable for an outbreak. These conclusions are the result of several studies that followed the evolution of cyanobacteria populations over the course of five years. The studies were conducted by a team from CEN (Laval University and the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS)).

"The biggest surprise we had is that the cyanobacteria situation is completely different from one year to another, says the project leader, Warwick Vincent. Everything changes, from the dominant species, their biomass, to when the peak occurs. These are important data because the level of toxicity of these algae varies according to species."

Read more in the article entitled À la croisée des eaux published by John Hamman in the Fil des évènements, October 10, 2013.

Nominations are Open for the Northern Science Award

31 octobre 2013

The Canadian Polar Commission would like to announce that nominations are now open for the 2014 Northern Science Award.

The Northern Science Award is presented annually to an individual or a group who has made a significant contribution to meritorious knowledge and understanding of the Canadian North. In the spirit of the last International Polar Year (2007-2008) the Northern Science Award recognizes the transformation of knowledge into action.

The year 2014 will mark the 30th anniversary of the award, which comprises the Centenary Medal, which was created to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the first International Polar Year, 1882-1883, and a prize of $10,000.

The deadline for nominations is January 31st 2014.

For more information, visit the website of the Canadian Polar Commission at

CNST student awards for exceptional northern-based research

31 octobre 2013

ARCTIConnexion receives an award at Gala Forces AVENIR

18 octobre 2013

ARCTIConnexion won the FUTURE Environment Award at the prestigious Gala Forces AVENIR. Under the direction of the PhD student and CEN member Vincent L'Hérault, ARCTIConnexion was established to build bridges between northern communities and researchers as well as to promote meaningfull collaborative projects. CEN students Catherine Doucet, Jean-François Lamarre and Isabel Lemus-Lauzon and research assistant Marie-Hélène Truchon are co-founders of the project.

Read more in the article entitled Deux Prix au Gala Forces AVENIR pour l'UQAR, by Jean-François Bouchard, published   october 3, 2013

EnviroNorth scholarships : application deadline November 15th

18 octobre 2013



This autumn, be part of the EnviroNorth grantees!

The NSERC CREATE Training Program in Northern Environmental Sciences offers in November scholarships in interdisciplinary research, mobility, communication with local communities and professional internships. In March 2013 more than $135,000 were awarded as scholarships to 47 students and post-doctoral trainees from the CEN, the Groupe de recherche sur les environnements nordiques BORÉAS, and the Canadian Circumpolar Institute.

For information visit:

Claudie Bonnet, Coordonnatrice EnviroNord

Peatlands inform us about climate change over the past centuries

26 septembre 2013

Photo: Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec

What happens when you investigate, from top to bottom, the oldest peatlands of Quebec and the second largest peatland south of the St. Lawrence River? We learn that certain peatlands can be read like a book, as reflected in the two articles published by a team from the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) in the journals of Écoscience and of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Professor Martin Lavoie, student researcher Julien Colpron-Tremblay, research professional Elisabeth Robert, postdoctoral fellow Stephanie Pellerin from CEN and Professor Marie Larocque (UQAM) probed the depths of these peatlands to reconstruct a millennium of climate history.

Read more in the article entitled Faire du neuf avec du vieux published by John Hamman in the Fil des évènements, September 26, 2013

Mountain Goats do not Grow Accustomed to Helicopter Disturbance

10 septembre 2013

Photo : Steeve Côté

The adaptatability of animals can be impressive, but it still has its limits. This is the inevitable conclusion of a study on a population of mountain goats exposed to helicopter traffic over the past 40 years.

CEN researcher Steeve Côté has been studying this particular mountain goat population of Caw Ridge, Alberta, since 1994. The herd lives in a remote area and is exposed to approximately 1–10 daily overhead flights during the summer. The traffic involves helicopters carrying equipment and staff to and from industrial sites.

Read the article Peur de l'Hélico (in French) published by Le Fil des événements, August 29, 2013

Cited publication:
Côté, S.D., S. Hamel, A. St-Louis et J. Mainguy. 2013. Do mountain goats habituate to helicopter disturbance? Journal of Wildlife Management 77: 1244-1248

New laboratory for Fatty Acid Analysis at UQAC

9 septembre 2013

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

This new laboratory at UQAC provides a range of gas chromatography services for ecological samples.

CEN researcher, Milla Rautio, has established a fully functional fatty acid laboratory from extraction, methylation, to analysis and quantification of ecological samples using an Agilent gas chromatographer with a mass spectrometer (GC-MS).

Equipment specifications

  1. Gas chromatograph- Agilent 7890A
  2. Mass spectrometry - Agilent 4975C with triple axis detector. Mass spectrometry ensures correct identification of peaks based on ion mass rather than only retention time.
  3. Column- Agilent DB 23 60m column has high quality separation of fatty acid methyl esters and good resolution of cis- trans- isomers. This is best column for ecological samples, which tend to be highly polar.


Analysis is done using the Agilent Chem Station program for peak identification and quantification. Incorporating linear detection and quantification limit thresholds. Data output will be in g of FAME per mg dry weight of sample, and/or proportions of FAME can be used.
Standards- Sigma-Aldrich mix 37 FAME standard, Sigma-Aldrich bacterial fatty acid (BAME) standard, along with C19:0 as the internal standard. Use of internal standards ensures accurate quantification.
Fractionation of lipid class- able to separate the non-polar lipids, glycolipids, and phospholipids. Otherwise all samples are analyzed as total lipids.

Lab space

The lab is set up for efficient extraction, gravimetry, fractionation, and methylation of a large number of samples. Examples of samples: particulate organic matter on glass fiber filters, freeze dried plant or animal tissue, sediment or biofilm, etc… We are mostly an aquatics lab but will accept other sample types. If we are unsure about the type of samples, we will  first run trials.


  1. Full Analysis- freeze dried samples would be sent to our lab for complete extraction, methylation through to quantification of data.
  2. Data Analysis- methylated samples are sent to our lab and run on the GC for analysis and quantification
  3. Fractionation- freeze dried samples can be sent to the lab for separation of lipid classes and subsequent analysis.
  4. Trials- small number of samples are sent to make trials for identification of specific compounds or adequate response signal

For more information
Dr. Milla Rautio, Professor, Canada Research Chair
Laboratory of Aquatic Sciences
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Phone: 418-545-5011 ext. 5084

World Wide Impact for a Paper by Legagneux and Ducatez

6 septembre 2013

Pierre Legagneux, postdoctoral fellow at CEN, and coworker Simon Ducatez from McGill University studied flight initiation responses of birds relative to vehicle speed. They found that birds adjust their flight initiation distance according to road's speed limit and that the actual speed of a vehicle has no effect on the bird's behavior. The risk of collision with birds would therefore be higher when speeding.

Following its publication in Biology Letters of the Royal Society, the study has been quoted by numerous medias, giving it an impressive global reach.

Read the article : Legagneux, P., Ducatez, S., 2013. European birds adjust their flight initiation distance to road speed limits. Biology letters, 9 (20130417). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0417.

Press review

Science News, 21/08/2013
Science, 20/08/2013
The Times, 21/08/2013
National Geographic News, 21/08/2013
New Scientist, 21/08/2013
The Scientist Magazine, 21/08/2013

Canadian press
[TV] Radio Canada, Est-du-Québec, 23/08/2013
[Radio] Radio Canada, Rimouski, Info-réveil, 22/08/2013
[Radio] BBC news, Today programme, 21/08/2013
[Radio] CBC Quebec am, 28/08/2013
[Radio] 98.5fm Paul Houde, 21/08/2013
[Radio] CJAD 800 AM Aaron Rand, 21/08/2013
La, 21/08/2013
Radio Canada, 21/08/2013
Radio Canada international, 21/08/2013
Vancouver Sun, 21/08/2013
CTV news, 21/08/2013
The province, 21/08/2013
Huffington Post Quebec

[Radio] WDR5, 21/08/2013
Die Welt, 21/08/2013

The Australian News, 22/08/2013
Daily Telegraph, 22/08/2013
Brisbane Times

AUSTRIA, 21/08/2013 

BELGIUM, 23/08/2013, 21/08/2013 info, 21/08/2013
De, 21/08/2013

BRAZIL, 21/08/2013 

El Comercio, 21/08/2013 

La, 22/08/2013, 26/08/2013, 22/08/2013 

NBC, 24/08/2013
FOX, 21/08/2013
Conservation Magazine, 21/08/2013

[Radio] Autoroute Fm 107.7, France, 29/08/2013
Blog Le Monde, 22/08/2013
Science et avenir, 22/08/2013
Libération, 21/08/2013
Le Point, 21/08/2013
La Croix, 21/08/2013
[Journaux régionaux ] La Montagne, LaRépublique, le Berry républicain, L’Echo républicain, le Journal du Centre, le Populaire

New, 21/08/2013
Times of India , 21/08/2013

Giornalettismo, 22/08/2013 
La Valle dei, 24/08/2013

Slate Afrique, 27/08/2013, 27/08/2013, 22/08/2013 

The Malay Mail, 24/08/2013

Jornada, 23/08/2013 

El Siglo, 23/08/2013 

Kopalnia, 21/08/2013 
Polskie Radio, 21/08/2013

L’info, 22/08/2013

Dailymail, Online, 20/08/2013 
Irish, 21/08/2013, 21/08/2013 
Belfast Telegraph, 21/08/2013 
BBC, 21/08/2013 
Telegraph, 21/08/2013 
Herald Scotland, 21/08/2013
This is Guernsey, 21/08/2013 

RUSSIA, 21/08/2013 

Aftonbladet, 21/08/2013 

Le matin, 21/08/2013
24 heures, 21/08/2013
Tribune de Genève, 21/08/2013

Daily, 31/08/2013

CAGS/UMI-PROQUEST Distinguished Dissertation Award

3 septembre 2013


Aaron Shafer, former PhD student of Steeve Côté (co-supervised at U Alberta), was honoured with the prestigious CAGS/UMI-PROQUEST Distinguished Dissertation Award ( in 2013. Aaron studied the evolutionary history and population patterns of the iconic North American Mountain Goat. A member of the committee stated: “His work expands our knowledge of evolution and provides information that will be useful in managing wildlife during a period of climate change”. The CAGS/PROQUEST-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Awards began in 1994. They recognize doctoral students whose dissertations make an original contribution to their academic field.

Read press releases related to this news:

9th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM2013)

3 septembre 2013

The 9th ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM2013) will be held from 09 to 13 December 2013 at the World Trade and Convention Centre WTCC in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Since 2004, several CEN researchers are active ArcticNet members, participating in its diverse research program. ArcticNet is a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada based out of Université Laval. As the largest annual Arctic research gathering held in Canada, ArcticNet’s ASM is the ideal venue to showcase results from all fields of Arctic research and stimulate networking and partnership activities amongst researchers and students.

CEN encourages you to participate in this conference to be held in Halifax December 9 through 13, to share your research results and benefit from this exceptional networking opportunity. Please refer to the ASM’s website for more information:

Field School on Contemporary Issues Facing Northerners at CEN Whapmagoostui-Kujjuarapik Research Station

30 août 2013

Photo : ArcticNet Student Association


From February 16-23, 2014, the ArcticNet Student Association (ASA) in partnership with the Arctic Science Partnership (ASP) and the Centre for Northern Studies (Centre d’études Nordiques, CEN), will be holding a field school at the CEN Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik research station in northern Quebec. The event will bring together 20 graduate students from across the globe to learn about Arctic marine and freshwater systems, as well as the animals and vegetation within them, permafrost and contemporary issues facing northerners. Experienced instructors will cover these subjects through lectures, field activities, and interaction with the local communities.

All students attending the field school will be required to pay a $1000 participation fee which covers the charter airfare to and from Montreal airport, living expenses (food, lodging etc.) at the CEN facility, and supplies specific to field school activities. This fee does not cover expenses incurred from travel to and from Montreal, or personal supplies that may be required such as outdoor clothing, writing utensils etc. Additionally, students attending the field school will not be eligible for the ArcticNet Student Training Fund grant.

Students may choose to participate in this field school for course credit (3 credit hours) as Geography 7010 through the University of Manitoba. It is the responsibility of each student to determine whether this credit is transferable to his or her institution. Students interested in receiving credit will be required to:

  • •Register with the University following a successful field school application
  • Pay a tuition fee (in addition to the participation fee)
  • Successfully complete course assignments

Deadline for applications: October 1, 2013

Read the full course description on :

Caribou Ungava Symposium : Five Years of Research on Migratory Caribou

29 août 2013

Caribou Ungava will hold a symposium to conclude five years of research on the ecology and population dynamics of migratory caribou of the Québec-Labrador peninsula.

The first five years of the large research program of Caribou Ungava will be completed soon. To underline these 5 years of research on the ecology and population dynamics of migratory caribou of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula, a symposium will be held on 13, 14 and 15 November 2013 at Laval University (Optique-Photonique building, room 2068) in Quebec City. 

To participate in the Symposium, you must register online before September 30th at For people interested in presenting a scientific poster at the opening cocktail, please follow the instructions on the website of the Symposium.

The symposium is open to all ! For more information please visit or contact Caroline Hins (

New online atlas of Arctic community-based monitoring

1er août 2013

A new online atlas of Arctic community-based monitoring is available at This atlas is intended to help raise awareness about the important role of community based and led monitoring programs in Arctic observing, and serve as a resource for researchers, funders, policy makers, and interested communities.

The project is led by Inuit Circumpolar Council-Canada in partnership with the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Inuit Qaujisarvingat: Inuit Knowledge Centre. 

Source : Canadien Polar Commission News  - July 25, 2013

Permafrost Has Begun to Thaw

1er août 2013

According to a British study noted by the AFP, permanently frozen permafrost could begin to thaw in the next 10 to 30 years. But according to Michel Allard, a researcher at CEN (Centre for Northern Studies) at Laval University (Quebec, Canada), the melting has already begun.    

Read the entire (french) article on  - 31/07/13

CEN now offers the dating of bone samples

9 juillet 2013

Automated system for preprocessing bones

CEN Radiochronology Laboratory now offers the dating of bone samples thanks to a system that was built by a team of experts from the University of Arizona. Tests on bone samples of various ages (modern bone, white, secondary standards) were successfully performed using automated preprocessing for the extraction of collagen. Given these successful test runs, CEN now offers the dating of bone samples, in addition to its ongoing service of dating organic and carbonate samples. Note that the process involved in dating bones is longer than for organic and carbonate samples, and consequently, these analyses are slightly more expensive (consult the rate schedule).

Contact Guillaume Labrecque, lab technician, to submit your bone samples for dating.

Three students from CEN are attributed awards from the Canadian Northern Studies Trust

5 juillet 2013

Three students from the Centre for Northern Studies are attributed awards from the Canadian Northern Studies Trust for 2013-2014

The Canadian Northern Studies Trust (CNST) is an ACUNS scholarship awards program. It was established in 1982 to further the Association’s mandate to advance knowledge and understanding of Canada’s North by offering student awards for exceptional northern-based research. The purpose of the CNST is to foster scholars and scientists with northern experience while enhancing the educational opportunities available for northern residents to obtain post-secondary education at Canadian colleges and universities. CEN recipients are :

Dominique Fauteux, PhD candidate in Biology at Université Laval, is awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $50 000;

Jean-François Lamarre, PhD candidate in Biology at Université du Québec à Rimouski, is the current award winner of the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $50 000;

Vincent L’Hérault
, PhD candidate in Biology at Université du Québec à Rimouski, is also awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $50 000;

Receiving these awards is an important event for these students as it underscores their success and shows their work is worthy of public recognition. ACUNS and CEN recognize the merit of these students, and encourage other students to consider the Canadian North as a fertile ground for research.

For more information on ACUNS, visit

Students from Highschool Asimauttaq to Participate in a Camping Trip with Alex the Science Guy

19 juin 2013

Photo: Geneviève-Clhéo Hotte-Vaudry

To celebrate the end of the school year, high school students from Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik’s Asimauttaq School were invited to take part in a camping trip organized by Alex the Science. Thanks to the established collaboration between Asimauttaq School, CEN and Youth Fusion, 8 youth from age between 8 and 12 years old spent a weekend filled with new experiences and rich in scientific insight.

The weekend program involved activities such as hiking on the hills of Kuujjuarapik, the use of GPS’s and an initiation to tree ring analysis and forest surveying. Several topics were covered, including climate change, lichen woodland ecosystem dynamics, sand dune erosion and the effects of snow on landscapes. For Emma, sec. 1, her favourite activity was to use the GPS to lead the group during the hike. For Raymond, also a sec.1 student, his highlight was succeeding in extracting a wood plug from the heart an old, gnarled spruce tree. Beginner’s luck or pure talent? The samples collected will be dried, sanded and dated for a short field report. More to come….

See the Camping Trip Photo Gallery on Alex The Science Guy's Facebook Page

Alexandre Truchon-Savard, coordinator at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik

The Drying Arctic: Vanishing Lakes and Dry Landscapes

12 juin 2013

Photo: Dried up lake on Baffin Island, Nunavut, from Reinhard Pienitz

Rapid warming of the Arctic, extensive permafrost melt, and isostatic rebound are causing many Arctic lake basins to be breached and drained. This is responsible for the widespread drying of lowland Arctic landscapes. Permafrost in the Canadian Arctic has high ice content, rendering the region sensitive to the warming climate. As the ice in the permafrost melts, channels form in the permafrost, and can cause lakes to drain at an alarming rate, sometimes in less than one day.

This article features CEN’s Reinhard Pienitz, who is reconstructing the paleoclimatic history of the Foxe Basin. He explains that “extensive dry-ups of northern lakes like these can be observed in lowland areas across the Canadian Arctic, and [they] profoundly modify the hydrology and wildlife habitats of these northern landscapes”.

Read the article Vanishing Lakes and Dry Arctic Landscapes  published June 10, 2013 on The official blog of the european geosciences union.

Christine Barnard

CEN’s Annual Researcher's Meeting: Four Researchers Join CEN !

4 juin 2013

Four (4) researchers joined CEN at the annual researchers' meeting held on April 6th at Université Laval. Louis Gosselin (Mechanical Engineering, U.Laval), Guillaume Marie (Geography, UQAR), Thierry Rodon (Political Sciences, U.Laval) and Diane Saint-Laurent (Physical Geography, UQTR) have become associate members of CEN while Alexandre Langlois (Physical Geography and Remote Sensing, U. of Sherbrooke) changed status from associate to regular member.

Louis Gosselin is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Université Laval and is recognised for his expertise on the modelling of heat transfer mechanisms and thermal systems optimisation. His specialization led Mr. Gosselin to collaborate with several CEN researchers, including Michel Allard, Najat Bhiry and Guy Doré.

Guillaume Marie is a professor of Geography at UQAR. His research activities within the Laboratory of dynamic and integrated management of coastal zones focus on the morphodynamics and evolution of rocky coasts, the characterization and prevention of coastal risks in cold environments and the safeguard management of maritime cultural heritage.

Thierry Rodon is an Associate Professor at the Political Science Department at Université Laval and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. He holds the Canada Research Chair on Northern Sustainable Development. He specializes in northern policies and community development and deals with a wide range of topics: education, renewable resource management, adaptation to climate change, policy development and evaluation, as well as community participation in environmental impact assessments.

Diane Saint-Laurent is Professor of geography at UQTR. Her research activities focus on river dynamics, paleofloods and floods reconstruction from radiogenic indicators, bank erosion, floodplains sedimentation processes, and sedimentary rates. She uses pedogenic, ecological and paleoenvironmental parameters (C-14 dating, lead-210, dendrochronology, dendrogeochemistry) coupled with historical and ecological data to reconstruct the chronological framework of events and processes. She collaborates with Esther Lévesque (UQTR) and Monique Bernier (INRS-ETE), through an ArcticNet project concerning vegetation and soil adaptation to climate change in the region of Umiujaq.

The TV Magazine Campus Focuses on Dr. St-Laurent’s Research on the Parc national de la Gaspésie Caribou Herd

27 mai 2013

Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, CEN researcher and professor in animal ecology at UQAR, explains to TV magazine Campus the factors responsible for the decline of the small population of mountain caribou found in Gaspésie, a relic populations of caribou that once occupied the south shore of the St. Lawrence, the Canadian Maritime Provinces and New England.


The research program in animal ecology directed Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, biologist Ph.D., deals with the management and conservation of terrestrial wildlife. The researcher conducts research on the impacts of habitat alteration on the ecology of large mammals (woodland caribou, gray wolf, moose, coyote and black bear) using as primary tools spatial ecology, behavior, population dynamics and landscape ecology.

Although he is interested in all types of natural disturbances (eg. forest fires, climate change) and anthropogenic (eg. Cuts forest, resort, road and industrial developments), his research team makes tremendous efforts to better understand and mitigate the cumulative effects of various forms of human development on wildlife-habitat relationships and predator-prey interactions.

Watch the report Les caribous du parc de la Gaspésie (UQAR) broadcasted on Canal Savoir, Campus Series, Season 5, Issue 50.

Geneviève Allard, Assistant Coordinator

CEN Researchers Contribute to the International “Arctic Biodiversity Assessment” Published by the Arctic Council

24 mai 2013

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Summary for Policy Makers

Arctic Biodiversity Assessment: Synthesis

Several CEN researchers contributed to the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment that was recently launched by the Arctic Council. An international team of renowned scientists compiled the report using the latest available knowledge on monitoring data, scientific documentation, and traditional knowledge. . CEN researchers Dominique Berteaux and Connie Lovejoy are co-lead authors of the report and other CEN members also contributed their expertise.


The Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council has released the “Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA),” a report containing the best available science informed by traditional ecological knowledge on the status and trends of Arctic biodiversity and accompanying policy recommendations for biodiversity conservation.

"The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment is a tremendous achievement," says Gustaf Lind, chair of the Senior Arctic Officials of the Arctic Council. "The recommendations will help shape Arctic conservation in the years to come and will prove itself an invaluable tool to the Arctic Council. The ABA articulates exactly how the environment is changing and signals to policymakers what needs to be done to secure the ecosystems and species that people rely on for life and livelihood. This is the information we need right now to help us achieve a sustainable future."

The key findings of the ABA deal with the:

  • significance of climate change as the most serious underlying driver of overall change in biodiversity ;
  • necessity of taking an ecosystem-based approach to management ; and
  • importance of mainstreaming biodiversity by making it integral to other policy fields, for example, in development, plans and operations.

Read the entire ABA press release The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment released at Arctic Council Ministerial published on the ABA Website, May 15, 2013.

Dominique Berteaux, CEN Researcher

Intercultural Worshop "Research in Inuit Homeland"

23 mai 2013


Undergraduate and graduate Biology/Geography students attended the second edition of the "Windows on the North" workshop entitled "research in Inuit homeland". This edition was held on April 6th and was organized by ARCTIConnexion ( in collaboration with the Nunavik information center located in Quebec city.

"Windows on the North" worshops particularly target students and researchers that conduct or will conduct research on Inuit homeland. It carries the goal to transmit knowledge concerning culture, history and contemporary realities related to northern communities via guest speakers, short presentations and open discussions. The workshop was a great success, stay tuned for the 2014 edition!

ARCTIConnexion wishes to thank the Centre d’études nordiques and the Research Group on Northern Environments BORÉAS for their financial support.

See the Facebook photo album of the workshop.

Isabel Lemus-Lauzon
Research and communication agent, ARCTIConnexion

Isabel Lemus-Lauzon Presents an Exibit on Inuit Uses of the Forest, Nain, Nunatsiavut

22 mai 2013

The exhibit entitled "Our Forested Land – Napâttulivut Nunak" was carried out in collaboration with the Peary-Macmillan Arctic Museum (Maine) and the Torngasok Cultural Centre (Nunatsiavut) with the financial support of the NSERC- CREATE Training Program in Northern Environmental Science, EnviroNorth.

The exhibit features photographs from archives illustrating the use of forest and wood products by Nunamiut and land use changes over the last century.

The photos are accompanied by quotes from interviews conducted by the CEN PhD student, in 2010-2011, as part of her research project on climate and cultural changes on forest landscapes in the region of Nain. The exhibit is entirely printed on fabric, making it easy to transport and care for.

The project was very well received by the community. People were deeply moved by the pictures and these sparked many exchanges between the youth and the elders. Several elders were able to identify relatives and friends in the photos. This crucial information on their past was duly noted and sent to the Arctic Museum.

The exhibit has been given to the Torngasok Cultural Centre who intends to use it as mobile exhibit in the communities of the Labrador coast.

Photo credits : Isabel Lemus-Lauzon

See the PDF of the exhibit "Our Forest and Land" and listen to the interview On Air Isabel Lauzon recorded by the local radio during the launch of the exhibit on April 17, 2013.

Isabel Lemus-Lauzon
PhD student in Geography at Laval University

CEN student, Etienne Godin, wins the Malcolm Ramsay NSTP Prize!

17 mai 2013


The Committee of the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) granted the price Malcolm Ramsay to PhD student Etienne Godin, CEN member and student at the University of Montreal, for his research project entitled "The process of thermo-erosion of the permafrost in the continuous permafrost zone ". A tie was declared between Etienne Godin’s application and Ellen Avard’s from Laval University, who also received the prize.

This $ 1,000 award is given on an annual basis to a student who has applied for a NSTP grant for a multi-year research project in the North. All research disciplines are eligible.

"Malcolm Ramsay was a biology professor at the University of Saskatchewan and a world-renowned polar bear expert. He played a major role in the studies of many young Arctic researchers and was a strong supporter of the NSTP at the University of Saskatchewan. To honour his invaluable contribution, this Award has been set up in his name in 2000. "

All NSTP special awards are be used in conjunction with NSTP grants to offset the additional costs of northern research (e.g. transportation and living costs).

Geneviève Allard
Joint Coordinator of CEN

Dominique Berteaux holds the Canada Research Chair in Northern Biodiversity

16 mai 2013


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has allocated $ 1.4 million over seven years to UQAR to create the new Canada Research Chair Tier I on northern biodiversity. The chair holder, Dominique Berteaux, has been a CEN regular member for more than 10 years.

The research activities of the Chair aim at better understanding the functioning and structure of northern ecosystems, as well as the impacts of human activities and climate variability on northern biodiversity.

"Particular attention will be paid to the study of animal communities in cold environments because their ecological role is important, they are good ecological indicators and they are at the heart of important conservation issues in the North."

Dominique Berteaux and his close collaborator Joel Bêty also seek to integrate a strong international component to their program, in order to be better able respond to global societal issues related to environmental change affecting the circumpolar North.

The Canada Research Chair on Northern Biodiversity is a member of the Centre d’études nordiques (CEN - Centre for Northern Studies), the Quebec Center of Biodiversity Science (QCBS), and the Research Group on northern environments, BORÉAS. Dominique Berteaux also leads EnviroNorth, the NSERC CREATE training program in northern environmental sciences.

Geneviève Allard
Joint Coordinator of CEN (UQAR)

Mid-Term Renewal of EnviroNorth by NSERC

14 mai 2013


The mid-term report submitted by EnviroNorth on November 30th has just been approved by NSERC-CREATE. EnviroNord will therefore continue to receive $300K/yr to offer fellowships to students and post doctoral fellows. 

EnviroNorth was awarded a $1.65 million grant by NSERC over 6 years (2010-2016) in late 2010. The program should persist throughout its full mandate if everything continues to run smoothly. 

The deadline for the next call is November 15. Fellowships are allocated on a competitive basis to encourage participation across 10 training activities, all related to EnviroNorth research themes.

Thanks to all who contribute to EnviroNorth and congrats to all EnviroNord recipients!

Dominique Berteaux
Director of EnviroNorth

CEN Symposium, Acfas Congress 2013

14 mai 2013

The organizing committee of the CEN Symposium wishes to thank all of those who participated or attended the CEN Symposium, held at Laval University, May 7-8 within the framework of the Acfas congress 2013. We also wish to congratulate the recipients of the Louis-Edmond Hamelin Awards for excellence in communication skills.  

Catherine Doucet (UQAR) - best oral presentation
Marie-Pier Denis (ULaval) - best 2 minute «elevator speech»
Alex Matveev (ULaval)  -  best Ph.D poster
Katryne Larrivée (UdM) - best M.Sc. poster
Simon Massé (UQAR) - best M.Sc. poster

A special thanks to the the plenary speakers, Pierre Phillie, James Woollet and Dominique Arseneault who shared their experience on scientific collaboration in Nunavik, on Labrador's historical landscapes and on the conservation of pyrophyle boreal forest ecosystems. The public lecture, hosted and organized by the organization ARCTIConnexion, led to constructive and fruitful discussions, while underscoring the importance of developing well grounded "north-south" collaboration in natural sciences to better understand and meet the needs of northern populations.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that CEN students and researchers at INRS-ETE will  host the next CEN Symposium in February 2014!

Geneviève Allard and Christine Barnard
CEN Coodinators

Point in Natural Resources publishes a special issue on the work of Caribou Ungava

9 avril 2013


The Ungava Peninsula in northern Québec and Labrador is home to two large herds of migratory caribou, a key species in Arctic ecosystems. Besides playing a central role in the structure and dynamics of this ecosystem, migratory caribou are central to the survival of northern indigenous peoples. Arctic caribou populations fluctuate widely and the reasons underlying those changes are still mostly unknown. Changes in the abundance and distribution of caribou due to increasing human activity or climate change could have serious biological, societal, and economic implications. It was in the context of this problem that the Caribou Ungava research program was created.

Read the entire (bilingual) article Caribou Ungava is a Large Research Program on Migratory Caribou and their Environement, published by Point in Natural Resources, Vol.1 No.3,  p. 42-49, Spring 2013

Written by Steeve Côté
Tenured Professor and Caribou Ungava Program Director, Université Laval

Monique Bernier and Yves Gauthier Explain Ice Monitoring in Nunavik

9 avril 2013

In an interview with journalist Pascale Guéricolas, Monique Bernier and Yves Gauthier explain ice monitoring in Nunavik and community-based adaptation to climate change. The research team uses remote sensing to map ice conditions at the regional scale and produces forecasts to inform snowmobile users. They also seek to link traditional knowledge to technology by integrating the elders' local knowledge in the production of ice charts.

Listen to the interview Google Street View chez les Inuits by Pascale Guéricolas broadcasted on Un monde d'info, France-Info, on Tuesday March 26, 2013

Public Lecture by Professor Raymond S. Bradley "Global Warming and Political Intimidation"

25 mars 2013

Public Lecture by Professor Raymond S. Bradley entitled "Global Warming and Political Intimidation" which was canceled in February, will be held Thursday, April 4 at 18:30.

For information :  (french)

A discovery of the knowledge and wealth of Inuit people

25 mars 2013

 Photo : Radio-Canada

PhD student at UQAR, CEN student and director of the organization ARCTIConnexion, Vincent L'Hérault presents the exhibition "Inuit tautunga iyimut - Looking on a troubled Inuit territory," from March 20 to August 25, 2013, at House of the Jesuits, Sillery, Quebec. "The exhibition sheds light on some consequences of environmental change and development in northern Quebec on ??the people who live there." Coup de coeur Radio Canada, the student explains how, within his PhD projects and his involvement with ARCTIConnexion, he is interrested by the Inuit knowledge and the social and environmental problems that northern residents are facing. He aims to build bridges between southern-based researchers and northern communities members for the establishment of a durable relationship.

Watch the video Vincent L'Hérault de l'UQAR partage sa vie entre le Nanavut et le Bas-Saint-Laurent, by Radio-Canada, March 22, 2013

Geneviève Allard

Découvrir Magazine presents the video "An Arctic trip with Joel Bêty"

21 mars 2013

ACFAS Magazine Découvrir presents the video "Joel Bêty, a passionate researcher" by Brite Pauchet and Guy Lavigeur. The production seeks to show how research is lived on a day-to-day basis by the researchers who are passionate craftsmen of their work. This first video of a series looks at Joel Bêty, biologist specialized in Arctic ecosystems, and his team. Among their topics, the migration of snow geese, the predatory behaviour and movement of arctic foxes, and the impact of climate change on arctic birds. Their "research laboratory" stretches from Bylot Island to Rankin Inlet and Rimouski, where journalists found the team busily preparing their new mission. Soon, the team will fly north of the 60th parallel, where no road is drawn.

Source : Découvrir, ACFAS magazine, Ferbuary 2013

Joel Bêty, a passionate researcher
(c) Brite Pauchet and Guy Lavigeur

Louis-Edmond Hamelin co-published the book "L'apparition du Nord "

20 mars 2013

 Photo : Septentrion

Founder and honorary member of CEN, Louis-Edmond Hamelin co-published the book "L'apparition du Nord " with authors Stefano Biondo and Joë Bouchard. Launched on March 12 at the library of Laval University, this book deals with the fascination that explorers cultivate with the North. In this book, the authors dissect the World Atlas of the Flemish cartographer Gerard Mercator that contains a bold image "Septentrionalium the Terrarum" an impressive polar projection ! Hamelin, Biondo and Bouchard also discuss topics such as polar exploration, the myth of the North Pole, autochthony or Nordic terminology. They propose hypotheses about the representation of the ice and address the issue of climate cycles and the current warming of the Arctic. 
Source: Cover of the book L'Apparition du Nord selon Gérard Mercator
Geneviève Allard

Bernard Hétu explains the risks of avalanches in Quebec

20 mars 2013

 Photo from Les années lumières

CEN researcher Bernard Hétu, explains the processes that lead to the formation of avalanches in a radio interview on the show Les années lumières. According to Hétu, avalanches present an underestimated danger in Quebec which boasts all of the conditions necessary for their formation : snow, slopes and wind. An avalanche occurs when a certain amount of snow breaks off and tumbles down a slope at high speed. In Quebec, the most frequent avalanches are caused by a slope overloaded with fresh snow either that felt from the sky or was transported by the wind from the summit plateau. Other types of avalanches can be caused by the gradual transformation of the snow, in which crystals are generated which are more conducive to the formation of avalanches.
Listen to the interview La mort blanche from Les années lumières, March 3, 2013

Geneviève Allard

Sarah Aubé Michaud Awarded for her Excellence

20 mars 2013

 Photo : Sarah Aubé-Michaud

The name of Sarah Aubé Michaud, a recently graduated CEN student under the supervision of CEN director, Najat Bhiry, is now on the honour roll of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Université Laval. This award was given to Sarah because of her excellent academic performance in her Master's Geography program and the high quality of her Master's thesis.

Geneviève Allard

Intercultural Workshop: Research on Inuit land

13 mars 2013

ARCTIConnexion and Nunavik Information Centre in Quebec are Organizing an Intercultural Workshop Entitled Research on Inuit Lands 

Florent Dominé is awarded the 2013 Louis Agassiz Medal by the European Geosciences Union

4 mars 2013

 Photo :

The 2013 Louis Agassiz Medal is awarded to Florent Dominé for his outstanding contribution to research on snow and ice physics, including cross-disciplinary studies leading to fundamental and quantitative understanding of how snow physical properties influence the uptake, retention, and reactivity of chemical species on snow and sea ice.

 Read more:

Warwick Vincent receives the Ramón-Margalef Award

4 mars 2013

Photo : Najat Bhiry/CEN.

Warwick Vincent, professor in the Biology Department at Université Laval and scientific director of the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) was awarded the prestigious Ramón-Margalef Award in February. This international prize, awarded by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, is targeted toward professors who achieve the highest standards of excellence in education. More than 32 of Prof. Vincent’s former graduate students nominated him for this award! His Bachelor’s students selected him three times for the star professor award of the Faculty (« professeurs étoiles de la Faculté des sciences et de génie »), a significant recognition attributed to professors who score more than 90% in the their teaching evaluation.   

Read more on Warwick’s award in the journal LeFil, published on February 14th :  

Memorandum of Understanding between ADAPT and PAGE21

28 février 2013

 Photo: Melanie Dahms. Prof. Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, Coordinator of PAGE21 and Dr. Warwick F. Vincent (CEN).

NSERC’s Discovery Frontiers mega-project ADAPT, led by Warwick Vincent, and the European programme Page21 (part of the Seventh Framework Program) signed a memorandum of understanding last fall. This memorandum aims to facilitate exchange and collaboration between experts on permafrost and northern ecosystems and geosystems. This collaboration will increase ADAPT’s visibility internationally and showcase CEN's extensive resources (data, stations, etc.).

Read the good news PAGE21 signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian ADAPT and Japanese GRENE TEA projects puplished on

Christine Barnard

Series of lectures on thermokarst ponds March 14, 2013

25 février 2013

Bernard Hétu is awarded the Alcide-C.-Horth Distinction

22 décembre 2012

Photo : Nicolas Pellet

Professor of Geography at UQAR since 1980, member of the Groupe de recherche sur les environnements nordiques BORÉAS and researcher at the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN), Bernard Hétu is the recipient of the Alcide C. Horth 2012 Distinction. The Alcide C. Horth Distinction aims to highlight the quality and importance of the scientific contribution of a professor. This annual award is accompanied by a research grant of $ 2,500.

Read the article La Distinction Alcide-C.-Horth est remise à Bernard Hétu published in UQAR-Info, December 20, 2012.

First prize for Catherine Doucet

22 décembre 2012

Master's student Catherine Doucet was awarded the "First place Natural Sciences/Terrestrial (Graduate Student Poster Award)" for the quality of her scientific poster entitled "Synchrony between breeding phenology of an arctic-nesting insectivore and its food resources: investigating the effect of mismatch on juvenile growth rate" at the ArcticNet 8th Annual Scientific Meeting held in Vancouver, December 10-14, 2012

Red Fox Threatens the Survival of Arctic Fox

20 décembre 2012

Researchers Nigel Gilles Yoccoz and Dominique Berteaux published an article on invasive species in the Arctic in a special issue of the journal "La recherche". Climate warming of Arctic and Subarctic regions promotes the northward migration of species naturally occurring in temperate latitudes thereby reducing the habitats of "Arctic"species.

Observations conducted in 2012 on Bylot Island showed that Red foxes monopolized five Arctic fox dens where food was most abundant. In addition to an increase in competitive expansionary pressure, several arctic species suffer the indirect effects of global change. Given the accelerated character of these changes, we can ask ourselves whether arctic species that evolve slowly, especially large mammals, will manage to adapt.

Read the article Ces espèces qui colonisent le Grand Nord published in October, 2012 in the journal "La recherche".

CEN Students are Rewarded at the Colloque FFGG 2012

5 décembre 2012

Source : Colloque FFGG 2012

Four CEN students presented their results at the Colloque Facultaire de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique (Laval University) that was held on November 14 and 15, 2012. Amongst the participants, Françis Gauthier (postdoctoral fellow) and Anne Beaudoin (M.Sc.Geography) were respectively rewarded the 1st and 3rd prizes for the outstanding quality of their presentations. Valérie Mathon-Dufour (M.Sc. Geography) and Natasha Roy (Ph.D. Geography) won the 1st and 3rd prizes for the quality of their posters.


CEN contributes to Radio-Canada's «Découverte» series

3 décembre 2012

The French language Canadian television series Découverte, hosted by Charles Tisseyre, presented the documentary "PLAN NORTH : MAIN MANOEUVRES" on Sunday, December 2. Several CEN researchers worked with the documentary crew to provide a detailed scientific portait of the main issues affecting northern Quebec. 

Watch the video Plan Nord : les grandes manoeuvres on, December 2, 2012

Stéphane Aebischer's talents are underscored!

3 décembre 2012

CEN Master's student Stéphane Aebischer won a prize for the outstanding quality of his oral presentation entitled: «Le cycle géochimique de surface des métaux en période d'exploitation minière : exemple des sédiments lacustres de Schefferville, Québec» at the Congrès Québec Mines 2012 which was held in Québec City from November 26-29, 2012.

From Science to Policy in Nunavik and Nunatsiavut

3 décembre 2012

Source : ArcticNet

Several CEN researchers are active members of ArcticNet, a research Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada which focuses on the study of the impacts of climate change and modernization in the coastal Canadian Arctic. To address the identified knowledge gaps and research challenges, the core research program comprises 36 research projects grouped into four Integrated Regional Impact Studies (IRIS). The IRIS report IRIS 4: From Science to Policy in Nunavik and Nunatsiavut was recently launched in Kuujjuaq by Michel Allard and Mickaël Lemay, CEN members and chief editors of this IRIS.

Based on research conducted through a series of scientific projects supported by ArcticNet, IRIS 4 presents a series of recommendations discussed with government officials from Nunavik and Nunatsiavut. The key findings of this study discuss the main issues concerning human health, safety and security, vulnerability of infrastructure and the need to protect ecosystems from the impacts of resource exploitation. The report concludes that actions need to be rapidly implemented to improve the quality of life, safeguard the environment and facilitate sustainable development.

See also an article Time for action to deal with climate change in Nunavik and Nunatsiavut: report published in the NUNATSIAQ NEWS on November 30, 2012

Mining Operations - Beware of Permafrost!

3 décembre 2012

 Photo : Emmanuel L'Hérault

The thawing of permafrost must be taken into account with developing mines in northern Québec. CEN researcher, Michel Allard, reports that the characteristics of permafrost are in constant evolution, representing a serious challenge to mining companies. For the past 50 years permafrost has been melting, consequently modifying northern landscapes in terms of their geophysical features but also in terms of the ecosystems they support. Infrastructure (roads, airstrips, buildings) are severely impacted by changing permafrost conditions which influences urban and industrial development in the region.

Read the article Québec Mines 2012: Permafrost Unavoidable For Northern Québec Mining Operations published online in Forbes magazine on November 29, 2012.

CNST Scholarship Program – 2013

30 novembre 2012

The Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) has annonced the official launching of the CNST Scholarship Program for 2013.

Until January 31st, ACUNS will be accepting applications for the following awards:
  • Arctic Co-operatives Award $2,500 
  • Canadian Polar Commission Scholarship $10,000 
  • Caribou Research and Management Award $1,500 – $5,000 
  • CNST Scholarship $10,000 - Northern Resident Award (undergraduate) $5,000 
  • Northern Resident Scholarship (Graduate) $10,000 
  • W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research (Doctoral) $50,000 
  • W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research (Masters) $15,000 
  • W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellowship in Northern Research $50,000 

Candidates are invited to visit the ACUNS website at to consult the guidelines and complete their application.

Source : ACUNS

2013 Competition : Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research

30 novembre 2012

The Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Application and Nomination process for the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research: 2013 Competition.

Nominations for the prize will be accepted from November 28, 2012 to January 31st, 2013. Details of the nomination process can be found on ACUNS's Website:

The successful candidate must have demonstrated leadership, inspiration, and mentorship in research in the Canadian north, and must be presently active in and demonstrate a sustained program of northern scientific research. An esteemed panel of peer researchers will select the recipient and the President of ACUNS will Chair the Adjudication Committee.

Source : ACUNS

Nunavik Crater Lakes Remain Ice-Free

30 novembre 2012

 NASA published an article on two crater lakes situated in Nunavik – Pingualuit Crater Lake and Couture Crater Lake. These lakes are still free of ice which is surprising given the late date. These lakes usually freeze over by late September, early October. The unusually hot summer temperatures observed near Arctic lakes since last July and onwards could be responsible for this phenomenon, explained CEN researcher, Reinhard Pienitz.

Refer to the article entitled Ice-Free Crater Lakes on Ungava Peninsula published in Earth Observatory by the NASA, on November 29, 2012.

Christine Barnard

Le Nord au cœur - Documentary Film Directed by Serge Giguère

30 novembre 2012

The documentary film directed by Serge Giguère, “Le Nord au Coeur”, depicts Louis Edmond Hamelin, founder of CEN and emeritus member, as a unique and heartwarming man. Inventor of the term nordicity and great defender of aboriginal peoples, Mr. Hamelin has been extremely influential in many realms of northern research in Québec.

The documentary captures many aspects of this great man’s work and his many passions.

Also see the article entitled Cet homme n'est pas de glace, published in lefil on November 29, 2012.

November 30 to December 6, Cinéma CARTIER, Québec
December 7, Cinéma EXCENTRIS, Montréal
Upcoming tour of Québec : Sherbrooke... Rimouski... Chicoutimi... Matane... Baie-St-Paul...
Several of the screenings will be followed by discussions about the North.   

Martin-Hugues St-Laurent is Awarded the Title of "Star Researcher"

15 novembre 2012

CEN researcher and Biology professor at UQAR, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent was honoured as part of the Rendez-vous du Savoir. He received the title of Star Researcher 2012  in Natural Sciences and Engineering from the contest "It deserves to be recognized," which highlights the talents of researchers.  This recognition aims to highlight the originality and impact of the research conducted by young Quebec researchers.

The work of Professor St-Laurent in animal ecology aims to understand how large mammals, including woodland caribou, black bear and gray wolf deal with and adapt to anthropogenic and natural disturbances.

 "Such recognition early my career means a lot to me and my team," said Martin-Hugues St-Laurent. "This recognition partly results from the involvement of several graduate students and colleagues. Such an honour reflects on UQAR, the research group BORÉAS, CEN and my laboratory".

See the full article Une belle distinction pour Martin-Hugues St-Laurent from UQAR-Info, November 15, 2012

CEN Bulletin #9 (November 2012) is now available

15 novembre 2012

CEN Bulletin #9 (November 2012) is now available

Read the latest news:
  • Opening Celebration of the CEN Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Community Science Centre
  • INTERACT Northern Collaborative Research
  • AWord From Your Student Reps 
  • A New Governance Structure for CEN
  • Obituary
  • International Internship in Iceland

International Innovation Interested in Dominique Berteaux's Work

13 novembre 2012

CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux was approched by International Innovation, a leader in  European scientific dissemination, to discuss his work on the conservation of northern biodiversity in a special issue entitled "North American excellence in education". The researcher explains how, with his team, research and training go hand-in-hand, to facilitate the training of the next generation of northern biodiversity specialists who have to understand the reasons behind change, and anticipate futur changes in species composition and northern ecosystems. Climate change undeniably effects the timing of biological events and the distribution of arctic food webs. To better understand the complex interactions existing amongst artic wildlife, the researcher and his team have developed a number of monitoring approaches, providing essential data to protect arctic biodiversity and ensure a sustainable resource to inuit communities.

Read more in the article Icebound Investigations, published by International Innovation, October 2012

 Geneviève Allard

Field Classes in Northern Quebec

13 novembre 2012

Photo : Planète

Arctic sea ice thickness reached record lows during the summer of 2012. This historic record low is alarming to the scientific community. What will be the environmental consequences and the impacts on the life of northern peoples if the ice sheet completely disappears during the summer? Researchers are studying the impacts of these changes on ecosystems and aboriginal communities. But to achieve this type of research, it is necessary to ensure long-term monitoring and a sustained interest in environmental issues among northern residents. How can scientists ensure the continuity of their scientific projects which normally last only a few years? 

Professor Monique Bernier and research professional Yves Gauthier from Centre Eau Terre Environnement INRS may hold the answer: the involvement of Inuit youth in the collection of research data.

See the full article Classe verte dans le nord du Québec on Planète INRS.Ca

LECO Elemental analyser, a new acquisition for CEN's Radiochronology Lab

13 novembre 2012

Last spring, CEN's Radiochronology Lab acquired an elemental analyser LECO CHN628 which determines the percentage of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen in soil or sediment powder samples.

Sample requirements

Each use of this instrument requires several analyses for its conditioning and calibration, so it is preferable to combine several samples (more than 50) before starting a batch of analyses.  

It is best to submit samples of 500 mg to 1 g seeing as the usual mass required is about 100 mg and a sample might have to be burned more than once, especially the first of a series. Please note that the portion of sample that will be analyzed will not be available for further analyses as it will be burned at very high temperatures.

Service fees

Service fees (per sample) for the analysis of the 3 elements (C, H and N) are 25$ for CEN members based at University Laval, 35$ for non-CEN researchers from UL (and CEN members outside UL) and 45$ for external customers.

The Radiochronology Laboratory of course still offers the AMS radiocarbon dating service.  Pb-210 and Cs-137 dating is also available, now with 2 HPGe (High-Purity Germanium) detectors in service, so the analytical capability has been doubled.  

Please contact the person in charge,  Guillaume Labrecque for more information.

Hugo Asselin Writes an Article about the Exclusion of two First Nations Groups from the Plan Nord

13 novembre 2012

In an article entitled "Le Plan Nord, les autochtones laissés en plan" UQAT researcher and former CEN student Hugo Asselin questions the choice of the 49th parallel as the boundary of the Plan Nord's territory. He also underscores the exclusion of two aboriginal nations who are interested in being included in the Plan Nord given the delineation of their ancestral territories. The researcher is concerned that the system of governance proposed by the government in power (in 2011), may lead to the Tragedy of the commons stating that free access to a limited resource for which there is strong demand inevitably leads to the overexploitation of the resource. Moreover, to achieve a sustainable development of the north, it is necessary to view the environment as a living space in which humans can thrive through a viable economic system.

Read the full article Le Plan Nord, les autochtones laissés en plan published by Hugo Asselin in the scientifique journal Recherches amérindiennes au Québec, XLI, No1, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Northern Science Award

13 novembre 2012

Centenary Medal, CPC

The Northern Science Award was created to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the International Polar Year. The Centenary medal, together with a prize of $10 000, is awarded annually by the Canadian Polar Commission to give prominence to the importance of scientific knowledge and its applications to Canada's North.

The award is given to an individual who has made distinguished contributions to Northern Canada through their scientific work. Since 1997, the award can also be given to a group of indigenous people in recognition of their contribution of indigenous knowledge to the scientific understanding of the North

Nominations can be made by anyone, at anytime, to the Canadian Polar Commission. Once nominated, a candidate will be considered by the selection committee for a period of three years.

To know more, visit the Canadian Polar Commission

Geneviève Allard

The impacts of the extension of Highway 167 and wood harvesting on woodland caribou addressed by CEN researcher

12 novembre 2012


CEN researcher Martin-Hugues St-Laurent cosigned the independent report Status of the woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou)in the James Bay region, Northern Quebec commissioned by the MRNF (Québec Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife) and the Grand Cree Council, that states that logging and the proposed extensions of Highway 167 will impede the survival of the woodland caribou population. This species is threatened by human activities across Canada. The Le Devoir newspaper and the Greenpeace blog showcased these results and recalled that woodland caribou are extremely sensitive to disturbance and systematically avoid all human infrastructure, leading to the fragmentation of caribou herds and consequently the loss of habitat.

Press review

Nouvelle menace pour le caribou forestier
Journal Le Devoir, August 30, 2012

Sauvegarde de la Broadback: les scientifiques urgent Québec de cesser toutes coupes forestières Blogue de Greenpeace Canada, November 9, 2012

Communiqué sur le site Web de la Chaire industrielle CRSNG UQAT-UQAM en aménagement forestier durable published on November 13, 2012.

Geneviève Allard

Towards a Greener North

12 novembre 2012

 Photo: Geneviève Dufour-Tremblay

CEN researchers, Stéphane Boudreau and PhD student Pascale Ropars, along with a team of researchers from Stanford University, NASA and the University of Maryland have document that northern Québec has gotten greener over the past 25years. A recent study, published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology,  shows that  shrubs and grasses seem to have responded faster than forests to increases in temperature. The analysis of satellite images and observations in the field reveal that the structure and composition of plant communities are rapidly changing.

 For more information, see the article Un Nord plus vert published by Jean Hamann for LeFil on September 6, 2012 and the article published in La Presse on December 22, 2012.

Christine Barnard

Bylot Island Forest Fossils Date Back 2.5 Million Years

12 novembre 2012

 Photo: Clément Chevallier, CEN

The recent discovery of forest fossils on Bylot Island continues to fascinate researchers. The work of CEN student Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier shows that if the climate warms by 10 to 15°C and if soils also adapt to this warming, the island’s tundra ecosystem could eventually host forests anew. This could happen by the end of the century. Analyses show that the forest remains date back 2.5 million years, yet these unsullied remains look as if they died only five years ago! The cold, anoxic conditions contributed to preserving the fossils in such good conditions.

 See the article or listen to the Interview "Une forêt préhistorique pétrifiée pourrait  resurgir du sol arctique canadien, on RCI Net Website, Septembrer 26, 2012

Christine Barnard

Northern Scientific Training Program and Northern Science Award Moving to the Canadian Polar Commission

2 novembre 2012

Ottawa, Ontario (November 1, 2012)

The Canadian Polar Commission's Chair, Bernard Funston, announced the transfer of responsibility for the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) and the Northern Science Award from Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada to the Canadian Polar Commission.

Read more on the Canadian Polar Commission Website >>

CEN researcher Joel Bêty receives an Award of Excellence for his achievements

11 septembre 2012

Photo : Joël Bêty, UQAR-Info
Biology professor at UQAR, CEN researcher Joel Bêty received on August 29, 2012 an Award of Excellence in Research from Sylvie Beauchamps, president of University of Quebec network. This award recognizes the work of the researcher and his team on avian migration.

Since the publication in 2010 of the scientific discovery that birds migrate north to reduce the risk of egg predation, Joël Bêty received the prestigious titles of Scientific of the year 2010 from Radio-Canada and La Presse Personnality in January 2011. Meanwhile the discovery has carved its place in Quebec-Science's list of dicoveries of year 2010  and was listed among the «Faculty of 1000 : the expert guide to the most important advances in biology and medical sciences».

Le professeur Joël Bêty reçoit un Prix d'excellence
UQAR-Info électronique, 30 août 2012

CEN Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Community Science Centre celebrates official opening

11 septembre 2012

Najat Bhiry and Claude Tremblay before the  Community Science Centre (c) Warwick Vincent

The CEN Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik Community Science Centre was officially opened on June 14, 2012.

The Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik research station is the Centre d'études nordiques’ (Centre for Northern Studies - CEN) principal field station and has operated since the 1970s, with diverse research projects on past and present environments. In 2010, major upgrades to the station were undertaken thanks to a grant from the AANDC (Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund- ARIF), consisting of the construction of this state-of-art Community Science Centre to serve the needs of the circumpolar science community for research planning, information exchange, national research workshops and coordination of field operations, and the local communities for information exchange, identification of northern research needs, science training of northerners, exchange of traditional knowledge, and outreach activities.

These was no official "ribbon-cutting" but rather an opening speech given by the CEN’s scientific director, Warwick F. Vincent, followed by short talks from key CEN partners and collaborators. Present were representatives from the Cree First Nation, including the chief, Stanley George, and from the Inuit municipality, including the mayor, Rhoda Angutiguluk , and treasurer, Pierre Roussel, and representatives from partners such as Université Laval, almost the full board of directors from the network of Centres of Excellence ArcticNet, including Mr Duane Smith (President, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada), and Makivik Corporation (Nunavik Research Centre). There were some excellent speeches including in Inuktitut and Cree, which nicely christened the new centre. The speech from Chief Stanley George was especially moving. He talked about Eeyou Istchee and the importance of our teepee symbol (meaning Watchiya! Welcome to this place of warmth and food) that was developed in close consultation with the Band Council during the ARIF design process.

This large research complex is composed of seven buildings, which includes the new CEN Community Science Centre. This new building has a permanent display-outreach-teaching component (with all material in the four languages of subarctic Québec) and a conference room seating 50 people, equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual and internet support. The station can accommodate up to 34 people at any given time. Students are lodged in dormitories and researchers in more private quarters. There is a greenhouse (built in 2011), a kitchen (with a cook from May to August), two garages with storage space, access to land vehicles and boats, as well as other field equipment. The CEN manager lives on-site year-round. There is local access to a wide array of ecosystems and geosystems, including Hudson Bay, the Great Whale River, lakes, ponds, wetlands, sand dune complexes, forest-tundra, and discontinuous permafrost. Current projects include work on biodiversity and dynamics of northern aquatic ecosystems; impacts of melting permafrost in the context of global warming; wetlands paleoecology; restoration of vegetation in degraded sites, and research on mercury dynamics (air, precipitation, snow).

An overview of past studies in this region is given in: Bhiry, N., Delwaide, A., Allard, M., Bégin, Y., Filion, L., Lavoie, M., Nozais, C., Payette, S., Pienitz, R., Saulnier-Talbot, E., Vincent, W.F. 2011. Environmental change in the Great Whale River region, Hudson Bay: Five decades of multidisciplinary research by CEN. Ecoscience 18: 182-203.

ACUNS Annual General Meeting and 10th ACUNS Student Conference hosted by UQAT - November 1-3

6 septembre 2012

The ACUNS Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday, November 2, 2012 (9 am to 12 pm) at the Université du Quebec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Val-d'Or (Quebec) on the occasion of the 10th National Student Conference on Northern Studies to be held from 1 to 3 November 2012 on the campus of UQAT Val-d'Or.

Organized by the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS), under the theme "Nikan: The Future of the North", this conference is an opportunity for students and researchers to discuss the future of the North and share their knowledge. Several speakers are expected including, Hugo Asselin, Caroline Desbiens, Sylvie Gauthier, Peter Geller, Audrey Giles, Alain A. Grenier, Jean-Paul Lacasse Carole Lévesque, Serge Payette and Romeo Saganash.

Visit for more information, updates and other program details.

Geneviève Allard

Circumpolar Conference on Education for Indigenous People

6 septembre 2012

The Circumpolar Conference on Education for Indigenous People will be held in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada from November 26-30, 2012. Co-hosted by the Government of Greenland and the Government of Nunavut, this conference will bring together over 120 educators, researchers, aboriginal organization representatives, ministers and decision makers from eight countries, three Canadian territories and six Canadian provinces. Presentation topics include:

1. Family Community Engagement;
2. Early Childhood Education;
3. Delivery of Quality Education Program in all communities, including remote and small schools.

More information:

Sara LeBlanc
Conference Coordinator
Department of Education
Government of Nunavut
Box 1000, Station 980
Iqaluit, Nunavut
X0A 0H0

Renewal of Anticosti Research Chair

6 septembre 2012

Photographer : Louis-Philippe Lavoie

NSERC has renewed funding for the NSERC - Produits forestiers Anticosti Industrial Research Chair of Université Laval and the new associated CRD program for the period 2012-2016. CEN researcher and Chair holder Steeve Côté has a budget of $ 2.4 M to continue to address, with his collaborators, the complex relationships between deer, forest and the exploitation of natural resources. Initially the result of a close collaboration between Université Laval, Produits forestiers Anticosti inc., NSERC and the MRNF, the Chair now features three new partners which are Petrolia and the oufitters Safari and Sépaq Anticosti. For more information visit

See the article Chaire Anticosti renouvelée published by Journal de la communauté universitaire - Le Fil, September 6, 2012

Geneviève Allard

Caribou Ungava discusses the decline of George River caribou herd

5 septembre 2012

Photographet : Joëlle Taillon

Following the MRNF's (Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife) press release on the results of the 2012 George River caribou herd census, CEN researcher Steeve Côté gave four interviews explaining the causes of the decline of the George River herd over the past years.

Estimated at 74 000 animals in 2010, the current population counts about 27 600 individuals and could count fewer than 25,000 by October 2012. According to the researcher, this 63% reduction in size could be explained by a rapid increase in the number of predators and the over-grazing of food resources.

Steeve Côté is co-leader with CEN researcher Marco Festa-Bianchet (Université de Sherbrooke) of the Caribou Ungava research program on the ecology and population dynamics of migratory caribou of the Quebec-Labrador peninsula in a context of climate change. For more information visit

See the article Scientist calls for stop to aboriginal George River caribou hunt published in CBC News, 20 août 2012

Listen to the interview Figuring out the problem of dwindling caribou by CBC Radio, Labrador morning, 20 août 2012

See the article Scientist calls for ban on sport hunting of caribou in western Labrador published by Radio-Canada International, 21 août 2012

See the article Mystérieux déclin : la disparition progressive de l’espèce dans le Nord-du-Québec inquiète les scientifiques (par Isabelle Maher) published in Le Journal de Montréal, 26 août 2012

Geneviève Allard

CEN is Mobilized for a Sustainable North

31 août 2012

In response to concerns about Plan Nord, CEN researchers played a key role in the preparation of the symposium entitled "Mobilizing for a Sustainable North" held at Laval University in June 2012 ( The conference brought together researchers, academics and members of Aboriginal and northern communities, who were brought together for a common goal : the sustainable development of the North.

CEN played a kay role in the organizing committee (with the participation of W.F. Vincent and N. Bhiry). CEN researchers also held prominent roles as co-chairs of three of the four "Table of experts":  M. Grenon for Table 2 "Economic Potential of North," M. Allard for Table 3 "Transport and communication" and S. Boudreau for Table 4 "Protecting the environment". Eight CEN researchers also sat at these tables.

These consultations ended with the production of the document "Mobilizing for a Sustainable North: Research Issues and Priorities" that was launched at the conference. This document is a proposed research agenda for Laval University to meet the research needs of the Plan Nord.

Christine Barnard

Six CEN students win CNST awards 2012-2013

29 août 2012

Six students from the Centre for Northern Studies are attributed awards from the Canadian Northern Studies Trust

The Canadian Northern Studies Trust (CNST) is an ACUNS scholarship awards program. It was established in 1982 to further the Association’s mandate to advance knowledge and understanding of Canada’s North by offering student awards for exceptional northern-based research. The purpose of the CNST is to foster scholars and scientists with northern experience while enhancing the educational opportunities available for northern residents to obtain post-secondary education at Canadian colleges and universities. In 2012-2013, the CNST will distribute more than $ 864,000 in scholarships and support for undergraduate and graduate level students, including the following CEN recipients :

Étienne Godin, PhD candidate in Geography at Université de Montréal, is awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northen Research $40 000 ;

Catherine Doucet, Master's candidate in Wildlife and Habitat Management at Université du Québec à Rimouski, is the current award winner of the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $15 000 $;

Stéphanie Coulombe
, Master's candidate in Geography at Université de Montréal, is awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $15 000;

Michel Paquette, Master's candidate in Geography at Université de Montréal, is awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $15 000;

Valérie Mathon-Dufour, Master's candidate in gGeography at Université Laval, is awarded the W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research $15 000;

Valérie Saucier, Master's candidate in Biology at Université Laval, is awarded the Caribou Research and Management Award given by The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board ($1,500)

Receiving these awards is an important event for these students because it shows that their success is worthy of public recognition. ACUNS and CEN recognize the merit of these students, and encourage other students to consider the Canadian North as a fertile ground for research.

Geneviève Allard

For more information on ACUNS, visit our website at

Publication of «Flore des bryophytes du Québec–Labrador - volume 1»

23 juillet 2012

Flore des bryophytes du Québec–Labrador intends to survey, describe, and provide identification means to all mosses, liverworts and hornworts known to occur naturally in Quebec and Labrador. Identification keys to genera, species and infraspecific taxa are provided, and the following information is presented for each taxon: a short description with diagnostic characters, habitat and ecological preferences, a distribution map for Quebec and Labrador, additional comments, drawings pointing out characters useful or necessary for identification, and references to other relevant publications. Many species which are likely to occur in Quebec and/or Labrador but have not yet been collected there are discussed or described. The book also includes photographs showing the general habit of each genus, artistic drawings depicting each family, an illustrated glossary, a bibliography, and an annex proposing French and English names.

Preview (pdf 1Mo) >>

To order :

Faubert, Jean, 2012. Flore des bryophytes du Québec-Labrador. Volume 1 : Anthocérotes et hépatiques. Société québécoise de bryologie, Saint-Valérien, Québec, xvii + 356 p., illus.

Louise Filion nominated Emeritus CEN Member

28 juin 2012

Louise Filion
(c) Laval University
It is with great enthusiasm and admiration that Louise Filion was nominated Emeritus Member of CEN. This appointment underlines her scientific career in northern science, her exceptional dedication to the training of graduate students and her significant contribution to the administration and development of CEN.

Louise Filion joins the ranks of Emeritus members Louis Edmond Hamelin, Jean-Claude Dionne, Jean Huot and Branko Ladanyi.

An internationally renowned scientist, Louise Filion is a university professor and outstanding administrator. She is one of the first women in Canada to become a specialist in northern environments and also the first woman to be appointed professor of geography at Laval University. During her master's degree and doctorate, she spent long months in the field, collecting data on snow, plants and various geomorphic processes. As a student, she has published eight articles in renowned scientific journals such as Naturaliste canadien and Canadian Journal of Botany. Early in her career as a professor at Laval University in 1984, she published an article in the prestigious journal "Nature." This pioneering article, still frequently cited, examined the relationship between climate, fire and subarctic wind activity during the Holocene. Since then, her scientific achievements in the field of biogeography, widely supported by major funding agencies in Quebec and Canada, have continued to multiply and diversify. Louise Filion has, through her scientific credibility and organization skills, provided the Centre for Northern Studies a Tree-ring laboratory that has quickly established itself as one of the best in Canada. Louise Filion has published nearly one hundred articles / book chapters, has written nearly sixty research papers and presented (or co-presented) about 140 lectures in national and international scientific events.

In 2011, Louise Filion co-edited the book  La dendroécologie : Principe, méthodes et application. This book of 758 pages provides an update on the science of dendrochronology. It is a great educational tool and an indispensable reference for specialists.

In terms of education, Louise Filion has effectively conveyed her knowledge to thousands of students who show her great respect. Her contribution to higher education is especially remarkable, having successfully guided many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, including students from abroad. The coaching offered by Louise Filion favours the transmission of conceptual science in a multidisciplinary and rigorous way that is receptive to the needs of society. Very demanding about the quality of fieldwork and laboratory analysis, she does not neglect the performance of written expression. 
Alongside her commitment to research and teaching, Louise Filion was awarded several senior positions requiring sustained mental and physical effort. While based at Laval University, she was successively director of the Centre for Northern Studies, Director of the Research Commission, Vice-rector of Research, Director of the Department of Geography and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies. In addition to these positions, Louise Filion has held 26 other positions outside the university, including the chairmanship of the Advisory Committee of Kativik Environmental Committee, Chair of the Research Committee of Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities and she participated as a member of the evaluation committee of grant applications for NSERC.

In summary, Louise Filion, now a retired professor and honorary member of CEN, is a doer who influenced her workplace and still influences Northern Research.

Monique Bernier, Associate Director of CEN

Thomas Richerol wins the Editors prize at the IPY 2012 Conference

28 juin 2012

Congratulations to Thomas Richerol, CEN PhD student, who was awarded the Editor's prize for the Frostbyte he presented at the IPY 2012 Conference. IPY had received over 200 submissions.

As part of the IPY Conference, the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) invited everyone to catch Frostbytes - short abstracts of research recorded as an audio file, slideshow or video which shared information about their research and aimed to attract delegates to their poster or oral presentation.

Thomas Richerol uses sedimentary sequences to assess the impact of natural and anthropogenic disturbances in three fjord ecosystems of Labrador, Canada.

Paleoceanographic reconstructions in Nunatsiavut fjords (Northern Labrador, Canada).
(c)Thomas Richerol

CEN Researchers using Resolute Bay facility as Base

22 mai 2012

Resolute Bay PCSP Facility

Daniel Fortier, CEN Researcher, and Michel Paquette, CEN MSc student, are mentioned in this article featuring the Resolute Bay facility run by the Canada’s Polar Continental Shelf Project (PCSP). The facility offers logistic support with 75 aircrafts for researchers working from the Alaskan border to the Arctic Circle. Recently updated, the facility offers lodging (with a cafeteria), laboratory space and storage space for scientific material. Fortier and Paquette were working on Ward Hunt Island last year, at the tip of Northern Ellesmere Island and used the facility as a base.

See the article Resolute explorers of the Arctic
Published in Weekly Guardian, May 15, 2012

Christine Barnard

Bird migration, a topical subject

18 avril 2012

(c) Hilde Marie Johansen
Jean-Francois Therrien (Laval University), Alastair Franke (U. of Alberta), Joel Bêty (CEN, UQAR) and Sébastien Descamps (Norwegian Polar Institute), published a study in the Journal of Avian Biology, which reveals that climatic conditions during the fall migration of the peregrine falcon would be crucial to its survival.

The researchers found that the climatic conditions registred during the spring migration, nesting and wintering grounds have little or no effect on the survival of peregrine falcons while those observed during the fall migration could explain 35% of annual variation in survival. Hurricanes can make these birds vulnerable when flying over large bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico. The climate may also exert indirect effects by modifying the behavior and abundance of their prey. Moreover, less fit individuals, following the breeding season, could also make them more vulnerable to climatic conditions in fall.

See the article : See the article Peregrine falcons, perilous journeys (Faucons pèlerins, périlleuses pérégrinations)
Published in, April 18, 2012

See the article : Perilous journeys (Périlleuses pérégrinations)
Published in Au fil des événements, March 22, 2012

The journalist Jacques Bertrand met CEN researcher Joel Bêty to discuss bird migration in the Canadian North. The researcher explains the costs and benefits of migrating to higher latitudes. He presents the results from  the research efforts of his team showing that the reduced risk of nest predation is an important explanatory factor for northward migration. Finally, he describes the methods and technologies used to track birds in flight, to assess the risk of nest predation and to measure the impacts of climate change on vulnerable Arctic birds species. Over 150 species of birds travel each summer to the Arctic to breed.

See the article : Interview Vol direct vers le nord
Published in Radio-Canada, March 31, 2012

The Grand Challenge QuébecOiseaux 2012 will be held on May 11 and 12 across Quebec. This activity is a friendly challenge launched by the group QuébecOiseaux to all ornithologists and miroiseurs in quebec. Participants will have to identify as many birds as possible from a circular area 10m in diameter. For more information visit

Geneviève Allard

Quebec's New Budget Targets Plan Nord

17 avril 2012

(c) Fabio Gennaretti
The Quebec government sets course on Plan Nord in its last budget. Quebec invests millions of dollars to facilitate access to the territory of the Northern Plan (Plan Nord). But how and when will be funded environmental planning related to the protection of 50% of the territory?

Bachand's budget does not say. Protection of 50% of the territory is yet the backbone of the environmental component of the Northern Plan. Management plans should be based on sound ecological knowledge, which are lacking for most. CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux, the coordinator of the Quebec Network of environmental groups Bruno Massé, and Quebec Regional Director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative Suzann Méthot exchanged on this issue.

Moreover, an international scientific symposium will bring together scientists and indigenous, April 26-27 in Montreal. The meeting will establish the foundations of an environmental planning for the conservation of major ecosystems northern Quebec. Anyone interested in governance, environmental planning, conservation tools and Aboriginal leadership, is invited ( ).

Listen to the full interview (french) : Le budget québécois: cap au nord, malgré l’austérité!
Published online by Je vote pour la science, April 3, 2012

Geneviève Allard and Dominique Berteaux

Scientist develop a hybrid species of Arctic char

17 avril 2012

Francis Dupuis
La semaine verte

A multidisciplinary team of scientist at UQAR contributes to the development of the fish of the future, a char rich in omega-3 and more resistant to environmental changes. Research is conducted in close collaboration with Francis Dupuis who aims to develop an efficient strain of Arctic charr, in terms of production capacity of omega-3 without making a transgenic species.

CEN researcher France Dufresne keeps track of the genetic diversity of the livestock. She says that the DNA diversity is limited by the small number of livestock production in Quebec. She seeks individuals with the best features and crosses them while taking into consideration their level of relatedness in order to avoid inbreeding. The team also tries to develop a viable hybrid Arctic char. Finally, researchers are also interested in the diet of livestock and modulates it to develop a more profitable business.

Watch the online video : Créer un poisson
La semaine verte, January 21, 2012

Geneviève Allard

An outdoor aviary to study the energy challenges in birds

29 février 2012

Photo : François Vézina
CEN Professor François Vézina has recently acquired an outdoor aviary and an experimental animal laboratory to study the wintering ecology and seasonal cycles in birds. He uses Black-Capped Chickadee as a model species to understand how birds respond to energy challenges associated with variations in winter weather and the long-term consequences of environmental constraints.

Black-Capped Chickadee are currently studied in the aviary. However other models could easily be brougth in, like the House Sparrow an easily accessible resident species or the snow bunting, presumably a champion of cold acclimatization. The aviary and the animal laboratory can also be reorganized to meet the needs of external researchers.

Listen to the radio interview : Volière extérieure à L'UQAR
Published by Radio-Canada - Mer et monde, February 25, 2012

Geneviève Allard

The Premier of Quebec Jean Charest and Clement Gignac, Minister responsible for the Northern Plan showed interest in CEN activities

29 février 2012

CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux and CEN Coordinator Genevieve Allard met with Quebec Premier Jean Charest and the Minister responsible for the Northern Plan Clément Gignac during the passage of the tour CAP NORD in Riviere du Loup February 27. Dominique Berteaux and Genevieve Allard held a booth on Northern Research. During their visit to the booth, Mr. Charest and Mr. Gignac were very interested in the activities of CEN and particularly by the map distributed to our members at the Nordic Symposium 2012. They left with several copies and will be better informed of the scope of our network of research stations.

Before an audience of business people, Mr. Charest then presented the economic impact of the Northern Plan, briefly mentioning its environmental dimension. Following this speech, Dominique Berteaux was able to talk face to face with Mr. Charest on environmental issues for the Northern Plan. He particularly stressed the importance of promoting the benefits of maintaining healthy northern environments. Charest reminded the government internt to dedicate 50% of the territory to non-industrial purposes, and support the strategy expressed in November 2011 by the international scientific community.

A terrestrial laser applied to the study of coastal geomorphology

24 février 2012

Photo : Susan Drejza, CEN Professionnal

The most recent approach used by coastal geomorphologists to acquire topographic data, to map morphological changes and to document active processes in coastal environments is the LiDAR (light detection and ranging). This airborne remote sensing technique is used to gather millions of georeferenced XYZ points on a single survey. With a vertical precision of +/-0.15m this technology is perfect for analysis of the coastal zone. Easily interpreted within GIS, LiDAR data facilitates the graphical representation of beach topography and shoreline change.

To reduce the high acquisition costs of airborne LiDAR survey, the team of the Research Chair in Coastal Geoscience (UQAR) has developed a mobile ground-based laser (SMLT) suitable for coastal surveys, consists of three main components: a laser scanner, an integrated navigation system GPS-INS and a camera.

Initially used in 2010 to quantify the impact of rigid coastal protective structures on sandy beaches of the Manicouagan Peninsula, the SMLT is now used to document the vulnerability of road infrastructure in eastern Quebec with the Ministry of Transport of Quebec.

Bulletin de l'Association Québécoise de Télédétection, December 2011

Geneviève Allard

CEN founder Louis-Edmond Hamelin received the insignia of Officer of the Order of Academic Palms

24 février 2012

Louis-Edmond Hamelin

January 18, Helen Le Gal, Consul General of France in Quebec, presented the insignia of Officer of the Order of Academic Palms to Louis-Edmond Hamelin, founder and honorary member of the CEN. Professor, author, geographer and terminologist, Mr. Hamelin has an exceptional track record for his politic actions, research and writings. His work has helped to raise awareness of the North and gave a new meaning to the word "nordicité" (northerness).

Mr. Hamelin played a central role in establishing the Centre for Northern Studies and the Department of Geography at Laval University. He also co-hosted with Mr. Henri Dorion, the GÉCET (the study group of choronymy and toponymy) which is the antecedent of the Commision of toponymy of Quebec. During his career, Mr. Hamelin has held a teaching position at the University of Toulouse, was a member of the Council of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife and was rector of the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières. He also joined several organizations including the International Commission for the Study of periglacial (1957-1969) and the Cree Committee of Northern Quebec Convention.

Mr. Hamelin was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974 and Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec in 1998. His career successes have been recognized by numerous prestigious awards and several honorary doctorates from universities in Quebec and Canada.

Geneviève Allard

Press review
Louis-Edmond Hamelin, inventeur du concept de nordicité canadienne promu Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (18.01.2012)
Louis-Edmond Hamelin, inventeur du concept de nordicité épinglé

Snowy owl feeds on land and at sea

23 février 2012

Snow owl

Alexandre Anctil, CEN M.Sc.student

The snowy owl niche on Bylot Island only every 3 or 4 years when lemming abundance is high. Snowy owl capture is therefore a difficult and 2007 was a fruitful year to capture and provide 12 females with satellite transmitters. We have since then, the regular and precise location of these birds sent to us by satellite. Analysis of early data show that snowy owl does not behave at all according to our expectations. It seems that some birds spend up to three months on the sea ice during winter, feeding on the edge of polynyas (areas of open water in winter). CEN researcher Joel Bêty emits the hypothesis that these snowy owls may feed on seabirds found in high concentrations, during winter in Arctic polynyas.

Listen to the interview (french) : Le harfang des mers
Published by Découverte, Radio-Canada on January 8, 2012

Geneviève Allard

Bylot 2, secondary camp on Bylot Island

23 février 2012

Students at Bylot Island
Aude Lalis, CEN postdoctoral fellow

Several CEN students spend each year 3 to 16 summer weeks on Bylot Island to study lemmings, shorebirds, foxes, geese, permafrost, vegetation, gullying processes, etc.. They work on multi-annual research projects led by renown CEN researchers and collaborators. The photo-article of Anne Pélouas and Bernard Le Meunier tells the complex logistics of Bylot camps, the typical day of CEN students and the beautiful scenery of the Canadian National Park Sirmilik.

See the article : Jobs d'été pour jeunes scientifiques en Arctique
Published in La on December 31, 2011.

Geneviève Allard

The decline of northern caribou

23 février 2012

Woodland Caribou

Caribou herds of Rivière George and Rivière aux Feuilles registered a loss of nearly 800,000 individuals over the last 15 years. This variation in abundance is not exceptional. The Rivière George herd, which now counts nearly 60,000 individual has already counted more than a million and its population had dwindled to about 10,000 in the 60s. In an interview with Radio-Canada, CEN researcher Steeve Côté presents the hypotheses that could explain the recent decline of these populations.


Listen to the interview : Le déclin du caribou nordique
Published by La première chaîne Radio-Canada , December 19, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Upcoming conferences

22 février 2012

Student Seminar «La Nature dans tous ses États »
Université du Québec à Rimouski
Rimouski (Québec)
March 22-24, 2012

« 20 ans après Rio », 8th Institut EDS student seminar
Pavillon Gene H. Kruger, Université Laval
Québec (Québec)
March 19-20, 2012

Registration reminder, early bird registration fee before February 29
Conférence IPY (International Polar Year) 2012
Montréal, Québec
April 22-27, 2012

«How To Break Out Of Colonianism», research project Indigenous Peoples and Governance International Conference
Montréal, Québec
April 17-20, 2012

Registration reminder, early bird registration fee before March 31
80e congrès de l'ACFAS
Palais des congrès de Montréal
Montreal, Québec
May 7-11, 2012

Abstract submission deadline has been extended to February 29 
«Earth, Wind and Water, the elements of life» seminar, Canadian Water Ressources and Canadian Geophysical Union
Banff, Alberta
June 5-8, 2012

Multidisciplinary Seminar
«Environment, Culture & Place in a Rapidly Changing North», ASLE (Asociation for the Study of Literature and Environment) off-Year Regional Symposium
University of Alaska SouthEast
Alaska, U.S.
June 14-17, 2012

Abstract submission deadline, March 2nd
Nikan, the Future of the North, ACUNS's 10th Student Conference On Northern Studies
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)
Val d’Or, Québec
November 1-3, 2012

Snowy Owl spotted in Hawaii

20 février 2012

Un harfang des neiges à Hawaii
Jacques Samson, en collaboration avec Le Soleil

Our provincial avian emblem, the Snowy Owl, was observed in the Hawaiian archipelago this winter. This destination lies outside of this bird’s habitual migratory route. During winter, juveniles usually fly to southern Canada and northern United States. Other individuals have also been spotted in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. CEN researchers Gilles Gauthier, Joël Bêty and Jean-Therrien are mentioned in this article relative to their findings on this owl’s habits during the winter.

Un harfang des neiges à Hawaii
Le Soleil, February 19, 2012

Geneviève Allard

Break-in of 20 Million-Year-Old Pristine Treasure, Beneath 4 km of Ice

8 février 2012

Vostok Lake, Antarctic
La Presse, February 6, 2012
A team of Russian scientists have finally drilled into the formerly pristine waters of Lake Vostok (Antarctica), previously untouched by human activity. On Sunday, they reached the waters locked beneath 4 km of ice. These waters could contain micro-organisms capable of surviving in extremely difficult conditions, called extremophiles. Extremophiles are highly sought after by biotechnological companies. The conditions in Lake Vostok could be similar to those found on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. In the article, CEN director, Warwick Vincent, states that these findings are very exciting but also worrying given that there is some uncertainty concerning the protocols used to drill into this pristine environment.  

See the article Un lac à 4 km sous la glace.
Published in La Presse, on February 06, 2012.

Christine Barnard


Our Spruce Forests Threatened by Lichen Woodland

8 février 2012

(c)François Girard

Research by former CEN student François Girard, supervised by Serge Payette, has shown that our harvested spruce forests have lost up to one tenth (9%) of their area to lichen woodlands which are of no commercial interest to the forest industry. Dense spruce forests have not regenerated quickly enough and are being overtaken by open forest (lichen woodland). Throughout the 20th century, a series of disturbances occurring at critical periods in the spruce forests’ life cycle would be responsible for impeding its regeneration.

See the article : Un nouveau danger menace les «forêts commerciales»
Published by  Le soleil on January 26, 2012

Christine Barnard

Relict Mountain Goat Population

12 décembre 2011

(c) Christian Mehlführer
A team of researchers including CEN’s Steeve Côté has found a relict population of mountain goats on Alaska’s Baranof Island. The individuals captured on the island are in fact genetically distinct from the presumed ancestors and the islanders possessed a gene that could not be found in a radius of 100 km of the area from which the individuals were captured before being introduced to the island. Only goats from a northeastern section of the island possess this particular gene. The islanders are therefore an indigenous population whose ancestors found refuge on the island during the last glaciation.

See the article : Des biologistes découvrent une population relique de chèvres de montagne
Published by Au fil des évènements, Decembrer 1, 2011

Christine Barnard

Special issue of ÉCOSCIENCE: From the Boreal Forest to the Hight Arctic Desert

12 décembre 2011

Volume 18 - no 3 - 2011
In commemoration of its first 50 years, CEN has published a special issue in the journal Ecoscience:

The issue includes an overview of terrestrial work out of its stations at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, Bylot Island and Ward Hunt Island. The research topics examined in this issue represent a subset of the wide array of research disciplines studied by the CEN.

Christine Barnard

A Surf ‘n’ Turf Diet for the Snowy Owl

12 décembre 2011

Snowy owl
(c)Gilles Gauthier, CEN

A team from the Centre for Northern Studies has unleashed that the formidable terrestrial predator, the snowy owl, is also a marine predator during the winter season. The snowy owl feeds on eiders, long-tailed ducks, and guillemots which gather in polynias (natural ice holes) during the winter. Jean-François Therrien, Gilles Gauthier and Joël Bêty confirmed the owl’s winter diet by tracking nine females over two winters. According to the study, adults are more prone to reside in the Arctic over the winter while the young undertake long migrations to southern Québec and the United States.

See the article : Harfang des mers
Published by Au fil des événements, December 8, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Sustainable CEN project at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik

28 novembre 2011


CEN Science Centre
(c) Claude Tremblay

The CEN now boasts a new community science centre at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, the gateway village to Nunavik. This station is the flagship station of the CEN Network which comprises nine research stations spanning the eastern Canadian Subarctic and Arctic regions. The tenth station is mobile and is the research vessel named the Louis-Edmond Hamelin.

This new centre at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik is deemed to be a source of inspiration for future construction projects in northern Québec. Its layout was inspired by the local communities, both Cree and Inuit, and its design has integrated sustainable construction strategies and technologies that are adapted to the northern climate.

The Centre will host researchers and students from around the world that come to study northern ecosystems and geosystems. It will serve as a platform for knowledge and information exchange between Inuit, Cree and scientists. With a surface area of 390 square metres, the first floor holds a large state-of-the-art conference room with a permanent exhibit (to be installed this winter) while the second floor consists of an office and workspaces. 

Press review

Lauréats 2011, Développement durable

Le Centre d'études scientifique du CEN
Voir Vert, November 24, 2011

 Le nouveau Centre scientifique communautaire du Centre d’études nordiques : ouverture sur les communautés locales et sur le monde - newswire (architecture, design, lifestyle), 2011

Serge Payette wins prestigious Prix Marie-Victorin

9 novembre 2011

Serge Payette
(c) Rémi Boily, Laval U.
The Prix Marie-Victorin is the highest honour awarded by the government of Quebec in the field of Pure and Applied Sciences. This year, the distinction was awarded to Professor Serge Payette: professor of Geography, Agronomy, Plant Ecology at Laval University, Louis-Marie Herbarium curator and holder of the Northern research chair on disturbance ecology.

Mr. Payette has over 40 years of experience in north-eastern North America’s ecosystems. A prolific author, his publication list showcases his remarkable productivity in a wide array of publications. The quality of his research and teaching has also been recognized on numerous occasions. In addition, Dr. Payette was director of the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) for 12 years and has been a member for the past 40 years. Read Serge Payette, lauréat des Prix du Québec 2011 for more information.

Christine Barnard

Press review
Serge Payette remporte le prix Marie-Victorin
Au Fil des événements, November 3, 2011.
Les Prix du Québec 2011
Gouvernement du Québec, October 31, 2011
La science québécoise récompensée
Agence Science-Presse, November 10, 2011
Prix Marie-Victorin - Toute la flore du Québec nordique, rien de moins
Le, November 12, 2011
Le prix scientifique Marie-Victorin décerné à Serge Payette
Charlesbourg express, November 10, 2011
Lauréat de la semaine : Serge Payette
Radio-Canada, la première chaîne, Première heure with Claude Bernatchez, Novembre21, 2011

Dominique Berteaux and Joël Bêty publish « Uuma »

7 novembre 2011

The book " Uuma - The Canada Research Chair in Northern Ecosystem Conservation " tells in pictures, 10 years of  research by the Chair on the occasion of it's 10th anniversary. " We wanted to express what seemed impossible to explain, what we like most of our work " write Joel and Dominique.

Uuma, which means "life", is available at the student coop at UQAR and copies are also available at the library, the CEN office (B-003) and C-405 (UQAR). The book can also be read (in french only) in electronic format : .

Almost all the pictures contained therein have been taken by CEN students !

Past and recent changes in the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf

5 novembre 2011

(c)Denis Sarrazin, CEN
Arctic ice shelves lost more than 90% of their total surface area during the 20th century and are continuing to disintegrate rapidly. Ice shelves are thick permanent floating platforms of ice that form where ice flows from the land into ocean waters. CEN researchers used sedimentary records from behind the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic, to establish a long-term record to evaluate recent ice-shelf deterioration. Their results show that the ice shelf formed 4000 years ago in response to climate cooling. It remained stable for three millennia before a major fracturing event that occurred ~1400 years ago. It almost completely reformed ~800 years ago until the catastrophic drainage of an epishelf lake in the early 21st century.

According to the 1906 descriptions of the explorer Robert Peary, Ellesmere Island ice shelves covered an area of over 8000 km². In the 1950s, aerial surveys reported a significant reduction and in the late 20th century, only six ice shelf fragments remained, covering a total area of 1000 km². The last decade marks the complete disappearance of Ayles and Markham platforms. The Ward Hunt Platform is the last significant fragment of Ellemere Island ice shelves and covers only 400 km². This rapid degradation of the Arctic ice shelves raises the possibility that they will completely disappear in the near future.

Source : Antoniades, D., P. Francus, R. Pienitz, G. St-Onge et W.F. Vincent. 2011. Holocene dynamics of the Arctic’s largest ice shelf. Proceeedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS). Publié en ligne avant impression le 24 octobre 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1106378108

See the article : Du jamais-vu depuis 1000 ans.
Published by Au fil des événements, Novembrer 3, 2011.

Mathilde Renaud
Projets spéciaux (Direction / Information), INRS-ETE

Call for Papers ACUNS 2012

28 octobre 2011

The organizing committee of the 10th National Student Conference for Northern Studies of the ACUNS has released the first call for papers for the student conference to be held from November 1 to 3, 2012 in Val-d’Or , Quebec, Canada. We encourage students who are conducting Northern Studies to submit the abstract (paper) for this conference, which has the theme “Nikan*: The Future of The North”.

For further information about the conference, please visit our Website at:

Please note that the abstract should be sent by email at before March 2 , 2012.

*Nikan means “the future, to go forward ” in the Anicinape (Algonquin) language. It was included in the conference title because we want to emphasize that the conference will be held on Anicinape territory and that aboriginal, social, and cultural issues will have a prominent place.

 On behalf of the organizing committee, Suzy Basile, Environmental Sciences Ph.D Student

Photo: Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Canadian Ice Shelves Breaking up at Alarming Rates

18 octobre 2011

(c) Warwick Vincent, CEN
Ice shelves in the Canadian High Arctic are undergoing rapid change with an alarming decrease in their area over the past 6 years. Ice shelves on the coast of Ellesmere Island represent an area of only 563 km² which is 54% of the area since the breakup of the Ayles Ice Shelf in August 2005.

CEN Director, Warwick Vincent, is mentioned in this article for his work on the aquatic ecology of the unique ecosystems related to these ice shelves. Since 1998, Warwick Vincent and his team spend the summer at Ward Hunt Island Field Station in the National Park of Canada Quttinirpaaq to study the structure and functioning of lake and river ecosystems at high latitudes and the impacts of UV radiation and climate change on aquatic ecosystems.

See the article  : Les plateformes de glace du Canada se fractionnent rapidement
Published by Association des universités de la francophonie canadienne, September 27, 2011

Christine Barnard

The Gazette interviews Chrisian Nozais about his work aboard the CCGS Amundsen research vessel

17 octobre 2011

In an interview with The Gazette, researcher and aquatic ecologist Christian Nozais and doctoral student Anne Fontaine (ISMER) explain the methods they use to identify aquatic organisms that live near the ocean floor, directly on the substratum (epibenthic ), or even within it.

Professor Nozais also emphasizes the very small portion of the ocean bottom that has been surveyed and underscores the urgency to document it in an attempt to create a baseline for future research. In the context of a changing climate and the amplification of human activities in the Arctic Ocean, the researchers are racing against time to establish what exists today for future comparative studies.

See the article CCGS Amundsen: Charting arctic change
Published by Montreal Gazette, Octobrer 15, 2011

Geneviève Allard

In an interview with Québec Science, Pascal Bernatchez describes the acceleration of coastal erosion

17 octobre 2011

In her article "cursed storm" (tempêtes maudites) the reporter Marine Corniou asked researcher Pascal Bernatchez to explain the phenomenon of coastal erosion on the coasts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Pascal Bernatchez, director of the Research Chair of Coastal Geoscience, documents the erosion of beaches, clay cliffs and rocky shores through a network of over 5000 markers located along the banks of Côte-Nord, Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent. He specifies that certain infrastructures intended for protection, such as concrete barriers, may be unsuitable for coastal dynamics and may in fact amplify the damage caused by the forces of water.

Geneviève Allard

See the article : Tempêtes maudites
Published by Québec -Science on September 22, 2011

An interview with Dominique Berteaux and Joel Bêty on the evolution of biodiversity in Quebec

17 octobre 2011

                                                      Last Saturday, October 15, Radio-Canada's La Semain Verte broadcasted a report on the evolution of biodiversity in Quebec. In an interview with Errol Duchaine, CEN researchers Dominique Berteaux and Joel Bêty present their concerns about the explosion of animal populations and associated problems. For instance, some species take advantage of the warming climate and others thrive on human activities such as intensive farming.

View the report : Les changements dans la faune Québécoise
Published by La semaine verte on October 15, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) on nordicity at UQAR

17 octobre 2011

Photo: Vincent L'Hérault (c)
The Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) is seeking candidates for a new Tier I Canada Research Chair in Nordicity, with a focus on the functioning and development of biological resources. UQAR hopes that this chair will serve as a tool to consolidate its leadership in nordicity research, one of its three areas of excellence.

The research of UQAR professors in the field of biology with a current focus on nordicity involves the study and management of continental and coastal organisms and ecosystems as well as adaptive and evolutionary biology. This work comprises both fundamental and applied areas of research. The theoretical research focuses on the functioning of the food chain, forest dynamics, and the evolution and adaptation of organisms in northern environments. The applied research deals with the impact of forestry practices on wildlife and habitats, integrated resource management, conservation of endangered species and populations, as well as aquaculture and the effects of ecotourism on wildlife. The team includes researchers in ecology, population dynamics and genetics, behavioural ecology, ecophysiology, molecular ecology and biogeography.

The researchers are heavily involved in a number of recognized research groups in which they assume a strong leadership role. Especially noteworthy are the importance of UQAR'S role in the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN), its active participation in ArcticNet, its membership in the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies, the creation and management of the Research Group on Northern Environments (BOREAS), and the establishment of the EnviroNorth Training Program in Northern Environmental Sciences (CREATE program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada).

The chairholder will, therefore, be expected to promote an integrative approach to the dynamics and functioning of biological resources in northern environments, from the northern extremity of the temperate zone to the Arctic, including their altitudinal equivalents. The chairholder should also have an interest in sustainable development and ecosystem management of natural resources. This person will work in close collaboration with stakeholders of the natural environment. The chairholder should demonstrate an interest and aptitude for teamwork in order to participate fully and actively in the development of the various groups mentioned above. Ideal candidates hold a Ph.D. in biology, geography or other environmental sciences and are currently associate or full professors, or have the necessary qualifications for these positions. Candidates have distinguished themselves through their research excellence, influence and international collaborations. The successful candidate will supervise students in UQAR's M.Sc. program in Wildlife and Habitat Management, as well as students in the Ph.D. in Biology and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences programs. The chairholder will also be involved in teaching at all levels in which his or her expertise is relevant.

Interested individuals are invited to submit an application, along with their curriculum vitae and a statement describing their current research program and their vision for the Chair. These documents must be delivered by 5 p.m. on November 11, 2011, to: Dr. Luc Sirois, Directeur Département de biologie, de chimie et de géographie Université du Québec à Rimouski 300, allée des Ursulines Rimouski, QC G5L 3A1 Canada Email:

See the call for nominations>>

Thomas Buffin-Bélanger and Maxime Boivin are involved in a shooting of Code Chatenay

13 octobre 2011

Wood dam on the St-Jean  river
(c) Maxime Boivin
The team of the science television program Code Chastenay conducted, in the week of Sept. 12, a story on the work of PhD student Maxime Boivin and research professor Thomas Buffin-Bélanger about the dynamics of dead wood in the river St John, near Gaspé. "The St. John River woodjam stretches over 2.5 km and completely obstructs the flow," says Professor Buffin-Bélanger. “There is no equivalent in Québec and few similar examples can be found in the world”. This massive accumulation of dead wood has been identified by biologists as a cause of death and diseases in several Atlantic salmon.

Maxime Boivin’s studies are part of a larger environmental study led by the Société de gestion des rivières de Gaspé. He is researching the origin of the dead wood, its transport in the river system and the processes that facilitate its accumulation in estuarine channels. The broadcast is scheduled for December or January on Télé-Québec station.

See the video : En Gaspésie, un embâcle gigantesque sous la loupe des géologues.
Published by Le Code Chastenay, Télé-Québec, January 10, 2012

See the article : L’UQAR participe à un tournage de l’équipe du Code Chastenay
Published by UQAR-Info, September 29, 2011

Geneviève Allard

A new NSERC grant is added to the renewal of the NSERC - Produits forestiers Anticosti Industrial Chair

13 octobre 2011

The NSERC- Produits forestiers Anticosti Industrial Chair in integrated management of forest biological resources of Anticosti Island, led by Dr. Steeve Côté, from Laval University, has just seen its mandate renewed for five years (2012 -2016). The Chair also received a collaborative research and development (CRD) grant of NSERC. The Chair’s overall funding of $ 2.4 million is mainly from the NSERC and Produits forestiers Anticosti inc., Pétrolia, Laval University, Sépaq Anticosti Outfitters and Safari Anticosti. Significant in-kind contributions are granted by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec and various industrial partners to help achieve the research.

The team of Professor Côté will continue to benefit from the expertise of many researchers and collaborators from various institutions such as Jean-Pierre Tremblay, Conrad Cloutier, Monique Poulin and Louis Bernatchez (Laval University), Robert Bradley (Université de Sherbrooke ), Christian Dussault and Nelson Thiffault (Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec), Christian Hébert (Department of Natural Resources Canada), and Stéphanie Pellerin (Institut de recherche en biologie végétale of the Montreal Botanical Garden). The program will train 13 new graduate students over the next 5 years.

CEN Bulletin #7 (September 2011)is now available

3 octobre 2011

CEN Bulletin #7 (September 2011) is now available

Read the lastest news:
  • CEN’S 50th anniversary celebrations continue...
  • Serge Payette is awarded the inaugural Weston Family Prize!
  • Annoucment of the new program Arctic Development and Adaptation to Permafrost in Transition (ADAPT).
  • Renewal of ArcticNet’s funding.
  • “Arctic Metals” project should be formally launched soon.
  • Student's reps
  • EnviroNorth scholarships - application deadline November 15.
  • CEN students Sandra Lai and Isabel Lemus-Lauzon meet with local communities.
  • Whapmagoostui- Kuujjuaraapik research station, the flagship of the CEN-Quajisarvik Network.
  • 5 new researchers join CEN

UQAR celebrates CEN's 50th anniversary

14 septembre 2011

The University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Centre d'études nordiques (CEN: Centre for Northern Studies), from September 10 to October 10, with the traveling exhibition "50 glorious years" being shown in the mezzanine, overlooking the Atrium.

The Centre for Northern Studies was founded by ministerial decree on August 2nd, 1961 at Laval University. No less than a quarter of CEN researchers are now attached to UQAR. "The researcher Luc Sirois joined in 1991. Today there are 12 UQAR researchers. And this proportion remains high on the side of student attendance: more than thirty graduate students explore topics as diverse as the Arctic fox, permafrost and forest ecosystems, "says Geneviève Allard, CEN Coordinator at UQAR.

The continued growth of this team led to the hiring of a full-time resource in 2010. Through various partnerships, CEN students travel the circumpolar world, from Rimouski to Bylot (Baffin Island) via Nain (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Tromsø (Norway).

"50 glorious years" is an exhibition in four languages, namely French, English, Cree and Inuktitut. "It gives visitors an overview of the efforts invested by Quebec researchers over the last 50 years to study past, present and future northern environments," says Allard.

The Centre for Northern Studies now takes the form of an extensive network of meteorological and field research stations in Northern Quebec and the Canadian Arctic. It brings together over 200 researchers, students, trainees and professionals from various disciplines (biology, geography, geology, engineering, archeology and planning). For more details about the Centre, visit the website at

Jean-François Bouchard
Communications Adviser, UQAR

Photo: CEN Researchers at UQAR. Front, Pascal Bernatchez, Joel Bêty, Geneviève Allard (Coordinator) and France Dufresne. Behind, Dominique Berteaux, Dominique Arsenault, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, François Vézina and Yanick Gendreau (student representative). Not pictured: Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Simon Bélanger, Bernard Hetu, Christian Nozais and Jean-Pierre Ouellet.

Mark your calendar

13 septembre 2011

ACUNS’ Student Conference On Northern Studies

When: Fall 2012
Where: Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec
Refer to the homepage :

This exciting and multi-disciplinary conference on cutting edge geophysical science will address major scientific advancements concerning our planet through a unique plenary session, a rich scientific program, seminars, workshops and social activities.

ACFAS 80th Annual Scientific Conference

When: May 7-11, 2012
Where: Palais des congrès de Montréal
Refer to the homepage :

To mark its 80th anniversary, the Association francophone pour le savoir - ACFAS - will hold its annual conference at the Palais des Congrès de Montreal from May 7 to 11, 2012. ACFAS counts on the cooperation of all research institutions of the Francophonie to make this conference an unforgettable event, focusing on the linfs between the research community and the general public. Along with a scientific program, a program open to the public will be offered.

IPY (International Polar Year) 2012 conference

When: April 22-27, 2012
Where: Montreal
Refer to the homepage :

The IPY 2012 From Knowledge to Action Conference will be one of the largest and most important scientific conferences for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. Keynote presentations, thought-provoking panel discussions and workshops will provide the focal points for translating polar knowledge into actions that will enable people to live in, adapt to, or benefit from, our changing world.

Mapping Northern Places Memory, Abandonment, Oblivion

When: March 28-30, 2012
Where: University of Québec at Montreal (UQAM)

The objective of this conference is to “map the North” through analysis of places where memories are converging, even if sometimes abandoned or forgotten. How were these symbolic places or “discursive territories” appointed, created, transformed or abandoned?

This 7th international conference, organized by the International Laboratory for the Comparative Multidisciplinary Study of Representations of the North from Université du Québec à Montréal, follows a first conference organized in collaboration with Stockholm University in Stockholm in 2006. This time in Montréal, it intends to join academics and students from various disciplines of arts, humanities and social sciences, architecture, heritage and tourism. Activities, workshops and conferences will be held in English and French.

CEN 31st annual meeting on nordicity

When: february 10, 2012
Where: University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR)

The 31st Annual Symposium of the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN), will be held at the University of Quebec at Rimouski (UQAR) February 10, 2012. CEN is a research centre involving several academic institutions that contributes to sustainable development of northern regions by improving our understanding of environmental changes and their issues. Students in second and third cycles eager to present a poster or an oral can submit an abstract (in French, maximum 250 words) no later than January 17, 2012 to

Arctic Frontiers 2012

When: January 22-27, 2012
Where: Tromso, Norwege
Refer to the homepage :

The sixth Arctic Frontiers Conference ‘Energies of the High North’ will be held in Tromsø, Norway from January 22nd to January 27th 2012. Arctic Frontiers 2012 will discuss the global energy outlook, and assess the potential of traditional and renewable energy resources in the North.Interested scientists are invited to submit abstracts to one of the four sessions for both oral and poster presentations before October 24th 2011.

Territory and Environment: from Representations to Action

When: December 8-9, 2011
Where: Tours, Valée de la Loire, France
Refer to the homepage :

This conference aims to produce an overview of research in Western countries over the last forty years on the theme “territory and environment”. It proposes to sum up the transformations that have taken place in the building and implementation of social and spatial representations, from the viewpoint of environmental issues. The call for papers, in French and English, is open until March 18, 2011 (new extended date).

Workshop Announcement: Polar Simulations with the Weather and Research Forecasting Model

When : november 2-3, 2011
Where : Columbus, Ohio
Refer to the homepage :

The goal of the workshop is to assess the community experience regarding the strengths and weaknesses of WRF applied in high latitudes regarding atmospheric parameterizations, numerical issues, data assimilation using WRF-Var, and challenges facing the Noah Land Surface Model. There are no registration fees for this workshop. For further information or to register, please visit or contact David Bromwich (Courriel : for questions.

Researcher Joel Bêty newly admitted to the Circle of Excellence of University of Quebec

8 septembre 2011

(c) UQAR-Info

CEN researcher, Dr. Joel Bêty, is a new member of the Circle of Excellence of the University of Quebec network. His nomination follows the recommendation by UQAR's Principal, Michel Ringuet, to UQ President, Sylvie Beauchamps.

"Professor Bêty is highly appreciated by his students. He is obviously talented as a researcher and has an outstanding ability to communicate".  - Michel Ringuet

Joël Bêty says that : "receiving an external recognition is very valuable but that of colleagues is as important".

See the article : Joël Bêty fait son entrée au Cercle d’excellence de l’Université du Québec
Published by UQAR-Info, September 7, 2011

Geneviève Allard

INRS holds a northern conference session for the 50th anniversary of CEN

1er septembre 2011


Last September first, INRS held a one day conference session on the topic of nordicity. This event fell within the activities surrounding the exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) which could be seen in the lobby of the INRS Quebec building until September 8, 2011.

Teachers and students of Water, Land and Environment (Eau, Terre et Environnement) and Culture Urbanization and Society (Culture Urbanisation Société) centres and researchers from the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) were invited to attend a busy day of activities. Guest speakers were: Louis-Edmond Hamelin, geographer, writer and founder of CEN, Carole Lévesque, INRS-UCS professor and Yves Gratton, INRS-ETE professor.

See the complete schedule of the event at:

Geneviève Allard

Serge Payette is the inaugural recipient of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research

25 août 2011

Serge Payette

On August 24, biology professor and CEN member Serge Payette was awarded the prestigious new Weston Family Prize for lifetime achievements in the field of Northern Studies. The inaugural recipient of the Prize, Dr. Payette helped establish CEN as a premier Northern research centre in Canada and internationally, recognizing the necessity of using multidisciplinary practices in conducting northern research. The ceremony took place at the inauguration of the new northern research station in Churchill, Manitoba.

Émilie Saulnier-Talbot

Press review, 24 août 2011
AUCEN, 24 août 2011
Au fil des événements, 1er septembre 2011

Le Devoir special section highlights CEN's 50th anniversary

12 août 2011

On August 6, 2011, the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir published a special section highlighting the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Centre for Northern Studies. A PDF version of the book is available for viewing under the tab Documents/50e anniversaire.

Émilie Saulnier-Talbot

A recent field campaign has helped discover the deepest lake in Quebec: Lake Walker

12 août 2011

The mission behind this discovery took place from July 1 to 13, 2011. It resulted from a collaboration between researchers from the Laboratory of marine geomorphology (LGM), Laval University,and from the ARCHIVES project of INRS-ETE (Centre Eau, Terre, Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique), all affiliated to the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN). The mapping of Walker Lake was conducted using hydrographic and geophysical instruments installed on the Louis-Edmond-Hamelin, a research vessel recently acquired by CEN. Eight meters long, this boat is equipped for hydrographic and geophysical surveys and for coastal seabed mapping. It can easily be moved on a trailer to navigate on lakes and inland seas.

Walker Lake sits at the bottom of a glacial valley on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, about 30 km northwest of Port-Cartier. At an altitude of 100 meters, this thirty kilometers long lake has a depth of 280 meters, making it the deepest natural lake in Quebec, even surpassing the deep Pingaluit crater lake (252 m).

With its great depth and glacial valley shape, Lake Walker facilitates the accumulation and preservation of sediments. A high-resolution bathymetric map will be created using data from the campaign. Seismic profiles will be used to define the nature, distribution and stratigraphy of sediments and sediment sample analysis will provide information on palaeoclimatic conditions. All these data will allow LGM and project ARCHIVES researchers to trace the evolution of past climate and environmental changes in this region. Patrick Lajeunesse (LGM) and Pierre Francus (INRS), the project leaders, were accompanied by Alexandre Normandeau (CEN student), Genevieve Philibert (CEN student),  David Fortin (INRS) and Rajarshi Roychowdhury (INRS).

Mathilde Renaud and Jean-Daniel Bourgault, INRS-ETE

Press review

Le lac Walker, le plus profond du Québec. Radio-Canada, 16 août 2011
La Walker, le lac le plus profond du Québec., 16 août 2011
Découverte du lac le plus profond du Québec. Le journal de Québec, 16 août 2011
Le lac le plus profond du Québec. Le blogue trotter, 16 août 2011
Côte-Nord: découverte du lac le plus profond du Québec., 17 août 2011
Côte-Nord, le lac Walker. Magz Québec, 17 août 2011
Des chercheurs de l'Université Laval découvrent un lac profond de 280 mètres. Québec Hebdo, 16 août 2011
Côte-Nord, le lac Walker. Hayat Canada, 16 août 2011

Upcoming conferences

26 juillet 2011

Goldschmidt student committee

The GEOTOP research center and Montréal are proud to host the 22nd Goldschmidt™ conference which will be held 24-29 June 2012. The 22nd Goldschmidt™ conference will focus on the Earth in Evolution. An invitation is sent to all students wishing to get involved in this prestigious geochemistry congress! A student committee will be formed to organize the student component of the conference (poster sessions and oral presentations). For more information or to get involved, please contact Audrey Limoges at

Call for Abstracts Now Open

The IPY 2012 Conference “From Knowledge to Action” will take place in Montreal, Canada April 22-27, 2012 and will be one of the largest and most important scientific conferences for polar science and climate change, impacts and adaptation. The Call for Abstracts for oral and poster presentations is now open and will close September 30, 2011. The Conference program is available at ; Twitter page (IPY2012).

Last call to register

The 2nd International workshop on deer-forest relationships under the theme: Impacts of the overabundance of large herbivores on forest ecosystem management, will take place August 17-22, 2011 in Quebec City and Anticosti Island. The Workshop will bring together international researchers specialized in plant-herbivore relationships, population dynamics, community structure, ecosystem functioning and wildlife and forest management. This event is organized by the NSERC-Produits forestiers Anticosti Industrial Research Chair and will mark the completion of the second 5-year term of the Chair which aims at developing forest and wildlife management methods adapted to high densities of deer (Cervidae). The preliminary program and the registration form are available on the Workshop website. The deadline to register for the seminars in Quebec City is August 9, 2011.

Geneviève Allard

Monique Bernier awarded the Ferdinand-Bonn Prize

25 juillet 2011

Remote Sensing Professor at INRS-ETE and CEN co-director, Monique Bernier received last June the Ferdinand-Bonn Prize awarded by the Quebec Remote Sensing Association (Association québécoise de télédétection). The award recognizes her dedication and outstanding contributions to the development and promotion of remote sensing in Quebec. This contribution includes, among others, the current Chair of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and that of the Quebec Remote Sensing Association from 1995 to 2000, the organization of numerous conferences in remote sensing and her participation in several committees of experts in the field.

Monique Bernier’s research focuses on developing remote sensing applications for monitoring and mapping water resources, particularly snow, ice, rivers, bogs and soil moisture. The originality of her research has allowed her to establish collaborations with researchers from France, Germany and the United States (CCREL, U. Alaska) and to set up several inter-institutional and multidisciplinary projects involving private and government users such as project SNOWPOWER (EU, 5th Framework Programme), project FRAZIL (GEOIDE NCE) and the EQEAU application for estimating snow water equivalent from a RADARSAT image.

The Ferdinand-Bonn award has been awarded since 1985 during the congress of the Association. Ferdinand Bonn, author of the first remote sensing handbook in French, was one of the founders of CARTEL (Centre for Research and Applications in Remote Sensing) and held the Canada Research Chair in Earth observation. Ferdinand Bonn also directed Mrs. Bernier’s graduate work while she was studying at the University of Sherbrooke. "He was my mentor, so this award has a personal touch, in addition to professional recognition. Receiving it in Sherbrooke was also quite a gift". An Inuit sculpture in the shape of a bear accompanied the honorable mention.

Geneviève Allard

INRS host CEN's 50th anniversary exhibition

6 juillet 2011

INRS is hosting the exhibition Centre for Northern Studies (CEN): 50 years of northern research in the lobby of the INRS-Quebec building, from June 30 toSeptember 8, 2011.

The exhibition highlights five decades of  CEN research. It provides a brief overview of CEN history, its mission, its research and its extensive network of research and weather stations in Northern Quebec and the Canadian Arctic. It also illustrates how Quebec researchers contribute to the study of past, present and future northern environments.

CEN brings together researchers from various disciplines from Université Laval, Université du Québec à Rimouski and the Centre Eau, Terre et Environnement of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique.CEN co-direction is provided by Professor Monique Bernier from INRS.

Free admission until Septembre 8, 2011, at 490, rue de la Couronne, Québec | Monday to Thursday : 9 AM to 4 PM.

Geneviève Allard

Caribou Ungava in the news

20 juin 2011

Georges River Caribou
(c) Vincent Brodeau (CEN)

The numbers of migratory caribou in Northern Québec are declining. The size of the Rivière-George herd is now nearly 10 times less than in 1993 and several indicators suggest a recent decline of the Rivière-aux-feuilles herd. In an interview with the radio program of Radio-Canada, Les années lumière, CEN researchers Steeve Côté, Jean-Pierre Tremblay and Christian Dussault, and CEN students Joëlle Taillon and Mael Le Corre explain how the demography of migratory caribou in Québec-Labrador relates to the quality of the habitat and the disruptive effects of climate change.

The Journalists Mark Cardwell of The Gazette and Jane George of the Nunatsiaq Online also showed interest in the work of Caribou Ungava. They report that scientists are concerned about the effects of human disturbance on migratory caribou habitat. Recent data, from the doctoral work of CEN student Joëlle Taillon, show that calving grounds have moved of tens of kilometers over the last 35 years and that caribou are using only 10-15 percent of the areas designated to protect calving grounds by the Québec government. These findings have significant implications for conservation efforts.

Listen to the interview : Déclin du caribou : les troupeaux fantômes
Published by Les années lumières, Radio-Canada, May 22, 2011

See the article : Where iconic beasts roam
Published by Montreal Gazette, on May 21, 2011

See the article : Nunavik caribou numbers in rapid free-fall
Published by Nanatsiaq Online, on May 25, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Isabelle Laurion and her team in the news

20 juin 2011

Photo : Webzine planète
Lakes and superficial ponds in the arctic regions are expected to increase greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, but this is still largely unknown. CEN researcher Isabelle Laurion (INRS-ETE) and her team are studying thermokarst ponds near CEN research station of Bylot Island, Nunavut, and near CEN station in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, Nunavik. These ponds are home to an impressive diversity of single-celled microorganisms. These microorganisms consume carbon from their environment and then reject part of it to the atmosphere as CO2 and methane, the latter being a powerful greenhouse gas. The team attempt to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from thermokarst ponds of the region and to identify the factors controlling these emissions.

See the article : À la clarté du soleil de minuit
Published by Planète on June 7, 2011

Geneviève Allard

Dominique Berteaux discusses the Plan Nord in the news

17 juin 2011

In an interview with Je vote pour la science, CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux (UQAR) discusses the ecological impacts of the Plan Nord with biologists Nicolas Mainville, Greenpeace Canada representative and Marcel Darveau, representative of the research sector at the Plan Nord partners’ discussion Table. The three researchers do not share exactly the same concerns about the Plan Nord but they agree on the lack of clarity of the plan regarding the conservation of northern ecosystems. Listen to the full interview on Agence Science-Presse (in French).

Geneviève Allard

CEN wins CECOBOIS's award for sustainable development

2 juin 2011

The new Community Science Center at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, was awarded the CECOBOIS's excellence award in the category sustainable development! This award recognizes projects that successfully integrate the concepts of sustainable development and energy efficiency. It was important for our Centre to design a building with a footprint that respects the fragility of northern environments.

CEN and the team project succeeded in developing a building that respects the environment using plenty of south-facing windows (passive solar heating) and solar power systems. The building envelope consists of black spruce as its interior. In addition to being a material lighter than steel or concrete, which results in a reduction of energy required for transportation, black spruce forms a thermal barrier ideal in an environment where temperatures often drop below -40 oC. This achievement is a great example of how environemental choices can support local economy . It should inspire other northern projects to deploy the necessary resources to its fragility.

Émilie Saulnier-Talbot

Press review

Lauréats 2011, Développement durable
Le Centre d'études scientifique du CEN
Voir Vert, 2011

Najat Bhiry and Anne-Marie Lemieux in the news

30 mai 2011

CEN researcher Najat Bhiry and CEN student Anne-Marie Lemieux (M.Sc.) conducted geomorphical, stratigraphical and paleoecological studies of subterranean sod houses located on Drayton Island, Nunavik. These sod houses were used for habitation and had the appearance of a dome. They were about 1 m deep and 2 meters high inside. The frame consisted of pieces of driftwood covered with blocks of peat. The Inuit people who occupied these houses during fall and winter, abandoned the place over 150 years ago. - Au Fil des évènements, May 2011

Geneviève Allard

CEN Bulletin #6 is now available

20 mai 2011

The latest edition of the CEN Bulletin (May 2011) is now available. Read the lastest news:
  • CEN 50th celebrations
  •  Joël Bêty (UQAR) was named Scientist of the Year 2010 by Radio-Canada
  • International CEN-Interact partnership
  • 50 students receive Environord fellowship
  • Cen's first reseach vessel will be launched this summer
  • Pascal Bernatchez is documenting coastal erosion
  • Follow CEN news on our web site, Twitter and Facebook
  • CEN hosted a workshop with Nunavut Arctic College students
  • Student's reps

Mark your calendars

20 mai 2011

The conference " Routes et faune terrestre : de la science aux solutions " will be held 24-27 May 2011 at the Four Points by Sheraton Quebec. This meeting will be a privileged moment to discuss new approaches in research and management on road ecology.

The Seventh International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VII) entitled "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the International Polar Year" will convene 22-26 June 2011 in Akureyri, Iceland.

The Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) will hold its 64th national congress "Our Water - Our life- the most valuable resource" in St. John's, Newfoundland, 27-30 June 2011.

Organizers of a session entitled "Winter Climate Change and Ecosystem Functioning" announce a call for abstracts. The session will be convened at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, to be held 5-9 September 2011 in Oldenburg, Germany.

Organizers of session A2, entitled "Arctic Coasts: Physical, Ecological, and Socio-economic Perspectives" announce that the deadline for abstract submission has been extended to Tuesday, 31 May 2011. The session will be convened at the 2011 LOICZ Open Science Conference, scheduled for 12-15 September 2011 in Yantai, China.

Organizers of session C40, entitled "The Changing Cryosphere and its Role in the Climate System" announce a call for abstracts. The session will be held at the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) Open Science Conference, scheduled to be held 24-28 October 2011 in Denver, Colorado.

Laboratoire Cités, Territoire, Environnement et Société, in partnership with the University of Strasbourg, Université Laval and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), is organizing the Symposium Environment and Territory: representations to action, scheduled for 8-9 December 2011.

The third International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 "From Knowledge to Action" Conference is to be held in Montréal, Canada from April 22 - 27, 2012! Visit the conference website at

APECS, together with the ArcticNet Student Association (ASA) is planning a career development workshop "From Knowledge to Careers" in Montréal before the start of the IPY Conference. Keep checking the workshop website for regular updates at:

Research interface in Plan Nord

20 mai 2011

On 9 May, the Quebec government unveiled the details of the Plan Nord, to develop northern Quebec and Nunavik, involving $80 billion in investment over the next 25 years. Chapter 4 (Transport and communications: to open the North) of the first action plan outlines the anticipated development of transportation and communication networks. The government is committed toward sustainable development and will ensure that 50% of these northern lands are removed from industrial activities. Chapter 5 (Ensuring Environmental Protection) describes the means to meet these environmental commitments.

According to this first action plan, "knowledge acquisition will be at the forefront of these government initiatives". A research network, the Réseau de soutien à la recherche et au développement des connaissances (RSRDC: network to support research and knowledge acquisition), has been created and is described in Appendix F of the action plan. This network will serve as an interface between the Plan Nord and the scientific community. CEN is among the 65 organizations (1750 researchers) that make up the RSRDC and contributed to the inaugural meeting of the network at Université Laval earlier this year. The network is codirected by Mr. Marcel Darveau and Mr. Michel Létourneau. Further information:

Geneviève Allard et Dominique Berteaux

CEN annual spring meeting

20 mai 2011

CEN’s 50th anniversary was once again celebrated during the spring meeting held last April 29 at La Pocatière! The researcher’s assembly discussed the international scope of CEN, grant programs, newly created CEN logistical support, defined the eligibility criteria for the new CEN nordic supplements program and reviewed management procedures for CEN research stations and camps for the summer.

The Assembly also approved the nomination of five (5) new CEN members, 2 associates members: Martin Simard (geographer, U. Laval) and Simon Bélanger (geographer, UQAR) and 3 regular members: Jean Carignan (geochemist, Assistant Director Takuvik, UMI, U. Laval), François Vézina (biologist, UQAR), and Martin-Hugues St-Laurent (biologist, UQAR). The 40 members present were then informed of current CEN research projects and study sites visited this summer.

Finally, we enjoyed a cocktail in the spirit of the 50th to discuss and socialize! Thanks to the "student representatives" for their excellent presentations and to the direction, the coordination and the "dedicated" student committee for organizing this great day!

Geneviève Allard

CEN – INTERACT Partnership

20 mai 2011

As leaders of a network of Canadian infrastructures and recent member of the SCANNET circumarctic network of field stations, CEN has recently become a partner in the EU-funded (9M Euro) project INTERACT (International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic). The main objective of INTERACT is to improve our environmental observation capacity of the Arctic by facilitating knowledge exchange and consolidating existing infrastructures and networking activities throughout the Arctic. CEN is involved in the development and use of a platform for exchange of information between station managers and participants within INTERACT. CEN members can now submit proposals to be supported via the INTERACT Trans-National Access program. This program offers travel and logistic support to SCANNET research stations in Northernmost Europe and Russia.

Geneviève Allard

Communicating with local communities

20 mai 2011

Members of CEN at Université Laval and UQAR hosted a workshop for 13 students of the Environmental Technology program of the Nunavut Arctic College in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, on 8-9 avril 2011. Accompanied by an Elder from the community and 2 instructors, they attended a series of lectures by CEN and ArcticNet researchers and graduate students on their arctic research and the state-of-the-art methods that they use to collect data. Time was devoted to discussions and exchanges with the students in order to better understand the perspective of native People on scientific research. A field trip along the shore of the Saint Lawrence River provided a great opportunity for Northern Inhabitants to observe the spring waterfowl migration in a different setting from the Arctic tundra.

For more than 2 decades, researchers from CEN have been studying the local wildlife and environment at the Bylot Island field station located in Sirmilik National Park, near Pond Inlet. During this period, they established close ties with people from this community, who have a vested interest in the research that takes place in their own backyard. Elders and Aboriginal succession want to better understand the perspective of southern Canadians on the North and northern issues, how resource management decisions are made and research agendas are set - all of which impact on the lives of northerners.

Nunavut citizens are very concerned with how research projects are thought does a research project start, how do they decide what methods will be used to conduct research in the North ” - Sam Arreak

Patrick Lajeunesse and Jonathan Roger in the news

20 mai 2011

CEN researcher Patrick Lajeunesse and CEN student Jonathan Roger (M.Sc.) discovered huge circular depressions on the Hudson Bay seabed. For now, the pockmark-like structures can be classified into two types: the first are linked to hydrocarbon escape chimnies and the second, ring-shaped depressions, to possible salt deposits. Sediment cores and seismic surveys planned for 2012 should reveal the structure of the underlying layers. - Au fil des évènements, April 14, 2011

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

50 students receive an EnviroNorth fellowship

20 mai 2011

The NSERC CREATE training program in northern environmental sciences EnviroNorth held its second competition in March 2011. Nearly $120,000 was awarded in the form of scholarships to students from CEN, the Groupe de recherche sur les environnements nordiques BORÉAS, and the Canadian Circumpolar Institute. EnviroNorth will distribut close to $1.5 million in fellowships by 2016, in programs aimed at trainees from the Bachelor to the postdoctoral level. The next deadline is 1st November 2011. Further information:

Michel Allard in the news

20 mai 2011

In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, CEN researcher Michel Allard discussed the links between landslides and terrain instability with the thawing of permafrost in response to global warming. His research team has proposed various adaptative strategies to the community of Salluit including, using refrigeration systems to keep the ground frozen, building on bedrock and managing snow accumulation on hillsides.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

Audrey Mercier-Remillard stood out

20 mai 2011

CEN student Audrey Mercier-Remillard (MSc Bernard Hétu / Pascal Bernatchez) stood out at the Colloque de vulgarisation scientifique de l’UQAR «La nature dans tous ses états» where she won first prize for her oral presentation.

Ursule Boyer-Villemaire in the news

20 mai 2011

Le Nouvelliste mentions the participation of doctoral CEN student Ursule Boyer-Villemaire to the Journée de la recherche du Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies. Gathered around the theme of "the St. Lawrence river", this workshop intendedto generate collaboration among young researchers in natural sciences and engineering.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.


20 mai 2011

Last February 9-10 marked the kick off of CEN’s 50th anniversary celebrations at our annual symposium. Several renowned scientists participated in the festivities, giving lectures and advice to meet the challenges of the next 50 years of northern research. We also witnessed a memorable testimony when Mr. Louis-Edmond Hamelin, CEN founder and retired professor of geography, related the historical events that led to the creation of our "Northern" Centre. The words and songs of Lisa Koperqualuk and Marie Belleau reminded us that northern communities occupy this vast territory and are willing to take part in Northern Research in the 21st century.

Prizes were awarded to students who gave the best poster and oral presentations. Congratulations to the deserving students: Pascale Ropars (Best Poster PhD), Gregory Ledoux (Best Poster Master’s) and Francis Gauthier (best oral presentation). Reinhard Pienitz, CEN researcher and professor at the department of Geography at Laval U, won 1st prize (on the right) of the photo contest.

The anniversary exhibition "The Centre for Northern Studies: 50 glorious years", is presented at Université Laval’s Sciences Library until June 30. INRS-ETE will host the exposition over the summer and UQAR from September 10 to October 10. This panel exhibition allows the visitor to experience CEN’s northern expertise through words and pictures, witnessing the vitality of our large team of researchers. The expo will reach its final destination, the station Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik in October.

CEN’s first research vessel, the Louis-Edmond Hamelin will be launched this summer. Funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation , the boat is a 26 foot Silver Dolphin design, with a stand up cabin. It will be fully outfitted with geophysical survey equipment. The Louis-Edmond Hamelin will serve to collect physical, chemical and biological data, which will bring new insights on northern waters, from Hudson Bay to the St-Lawrence.

CEN students distinguished themselves !

20 mai 2011

CEN students distinguished themselves at the 2nd Conférence de biologie de l’Université Laval held on February 2. Caroline Mercier (M.Sc., Stéphane Boudreau) won first prize with her presentation "Climate Change and Performance of birch in forested environments at the treeline in subarctic Quebec”. Marie-Pascale Villeneuve-Simard (M.Sc., Stéphane Boudreau / Julie Turgeon) received 2nd prize for her oral presentation and Pascale Ropars (Ph.D., Stéphane Boudreau), 2nd prize for an oral presentation at the doctoral level.

Publication: Climate change impacts on human populations

20 mai 2011

CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux (UQAR) co-authored with doctoral student Jason Samson (McGill), an interesting article on the vulnerability of humans to climate change. Mr. Berteaux and colleagues applied the theoretical concept of "ecological niche" for human populations, with climate change and population density as limiting factors. The worldwide study shows that human populations most affected by climate change are distant from high latitude regions where climate change will be the greatest. Indeed, in hot and dry areas of low latitudes, even a small increase in temperature may threaten food production and security. It is therefore inadequate to characterize the vulnerability of a population, taking only into account the magnitude of regional climate change. When confronted with data for CO2 emissions, the study shows a serious inequity between the causes and consequences of climate change. In fact, CO2-producing countries are likely to suffer the least impact. An interesting fact, statistical approaches developed for beaver studies in northern Quebec resulted in this scientific breakthrough in human biogeography!

Samson, J., Berteaux, D., McGill, B. J. and Humphries, M. M. (2011), Geographic disparities and moral hazards in the predicted impacts of climate change on human populations. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 20.

Peter Fast and Madeleine Doiron won first and second prize

20 mai 2011

Peter Fast (PhD, Joel Bety) and Madeleine Doiron (PhD, Gilles Gauthier / Esther Lévesque) respectively won first and second prize for best student presentation at the Twelfth North American Arctic Goose Conference held in Portland, Oregon, 11-14 Jan.

Joël Bêty in the news

20 mai 2011

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has just awarded Carleton University Professor Mark Forbes and a team of researchers a half a million dollars over three years to study avian cholera, a virulent infectious disease that threatens the Arctic breeding waterfowl. CEN researcher Joel Bêty is part of the research team that provided the baseline data on survival and productivity of avian populations before the cholera outbreak. - Science Carleton news, January 28, 2011.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

Frédéric Bilodeau and Gilles Gauthier in the news

20 mai 2011

Nunatsiaq News published an overview of Frederick Bilodeau’s Bylot Island research results presented at the ArcticNet conference in Ottawa. The CEN doctoral student (M.Sc. Gilles Gauthier) visited Bylot Island from 2007 to 2010 to assess the impact of snow cover thickness on the population of brown and collared lemmings. Bilodeau’s experiments suggest that a generous, loosely packed snow cover bolsters the population and the amplitude of population peaks.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

Tania Giberyen in the news

20 mai 2011

The Luxembourg Committee of IPY (COLUPO) invited Tania Gibéryen, a CEN PhD candidate, to present a public conference on " living and doing research with the Inuits ". The event also included an exhibition of inuit art and artifacts.This conference, held in luxembourgish language, is part of a series of COLUPO conferences on polar regions and hence supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund. It was also publicised by the Revue Technique Luxembourgeoise.

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

Dominique Berteaux in the news

20 mai 2011

Following the launch of the International year of forests 2011, CEN researcher Dominique Berteaux co-authored with 11 other specialists, a book entitled " Il était une fois la forêt " published by Quentin. In a few pages, each scientist discusses an aspect of the forest landscape; formation, biodiversity, resources, medicine, recreation, income and future ...

Don’t forget to keep us updated on your research-related accomplishments (scholarships, awards, distinctions, media coverage, etc). It will give us a big hand in keeping our web site up to date.

Joël Bêty was named Scientist of the year

20 mai 2011

Biologist Joël Bêty (UQAR) was named Scientist of the Year 2010 by Radio-Canada "for the remarkable demonstration of the survival instinct that drives birds in their migrations." La Presse and Radio-Canada named him Personality of the Week last February. This avalanche of honors follows the publication, in January 2010, of a scientific paper in the journal Science on northward bird migration, in collaboration with CEN PhD student, Laura McKinnon.

Identified by the newspaper Le Soleil as one of the scientific breakthroughs of 2010 and by Québec-Science as one of 10 discoveries of the year, this article is an outstanding example of scientific curiosity. To prove the hypothesis that "migratory birds nest in the North to reduce predation pressure on nests”, Bêty and his team monitored survival to predators of 8 000 quail eggs deposited in 1555 artificial nests, from James Bay to Ellesmere Island. They found that the rate of nest predation decreases by 3.6 % for each degree of latitude north gained, proving that migratory birds go north to increase the chances of hatching. This article also demonstrates that predation has a strong influence on the biodiversity of terrestrial arctic ecosystems.

A member of CEN since 2004, Joël Bêty coordinates CEN’s UQAR pole and is a principal instigator of the Canada research chair in conservation of northern ecosystems. His research interests focus on understanding the influence of climate change on northern ecosystems. He is particularly interested in reproductive strategies and land use of arctic birds (geese, ducks and shorebirds).

Ref. McKinnon, L., et al, 2010, Lower Predation Risk for Migratory Birds at High Latitudes, Science: Vol. 327. no. 5963, pp. 326-327.

Northern research - Documenting coastal erosion

19 mai 2011

CEN professor Pascal Bernachtez (UQAR) holds the Research Chair in Coastal Geoscience, which focuses on improving our understanding of the impacts of erosion along Quebec’s coasts and on recommending solutions for existing problems. Dr Bernatchez administers a vast environmental monitoring network along a 4000 km stretch of coastline. Since the devastating storms of December 2010, the Chair team has been working intensively to assess the damages and conditions that led to such serious impacts. The chair program includes 15 professionals and 11 students that collaborate closely at acquiring knowledge on coastal erosion and coastal flooding, evaluating recent, present and future impacts of georisks on coastal communities and developping proactive coastal zone adaptive strategies.

Studies conducted within the Chair show that coastal erosion is a phenomenon that has been growing in some areas over the last decade. Although the coasts of Quebec experience average rates of erosion ranging from 0.5 to 2 meters annually, some sectors of the St. Lawrence estuary and gulf have recently experienced much higher rates. Since the devastating storms of December 2010, the Chair team has been working tirelessly to assess damages and conditions that led to such an outcome. Coastal georisks are as much social, economic as environmental in nature and the impacts of georisks on coastal communities can increase due to changes in the physical environment, such as climate warming. Therefore, one of the three research themes of the Chair aims to strengthen the adaptive capacity of coastal communities through proactive coastal zone management and identification of areas suitable or unsuitable for development.

Rescued from a helicopter crash

Dr. Bernatchez is currently recuperating from a serious helicopter accident that occurred while he was flying over the south shore of the St-Lawrence estuary to assess the damage caused by the tides of 6 December. He intends to gradually return to work this summer, and he conveys his thanks to everyone for the many words of encouragement that he received.

Further information :

Four awards were won by CEN students !

19 mai 2011

Four awards were won by CEN students at Université Laval’s Colloque Facultaire de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique, held on 10 and 11 November 2010. Valerie Labrecque (MSc, Reinhard Pienitz) and Alexandre Normandeau (MSc, Patrick Lajeunesse/Guillaume St-Onge) were tied for the 3rd prize best oral presentation. Genevieve Philibert (MSc, Patrick Lajeunesse / Guillaume St-Onge / Jacques Locat) and Ann-Julie Roy (MSc, Reinhard Pienitz) respectively won 1st and 2nd prize for the quality of their posters.

Conference by M Warwick F. Vincent: Nos régions polaires en pleine mutation: implications pour la biodiversité à l’échelle planétaire

5 avril 2011

"Go on an expedition to the poles with Warwick F. Vincent, professor of limnology (the study of lakes and rivers) and director of CEN, to examine up-close the important environmental changes that our planet is currently undergoing. From the surprising diversity of life in the Far North to the depths of the world's most mysterious lake: lake Vanda in Antarctica, M Vincent will lead us through his diverse research of high latitude ecosystems and will decode for us the urgent messages which these regions are now conveying to humankind."

The conference will be held Thursday, April 14th 2001, room 2298, Pavillon Ferdinand-Vandry (Université Laval). A raffle and a silent auction will take place during intermission. Proceeds will benefit a biodiversity and conservation field course in Madagascar, organized by Laval Biology students.

CEN Bulletin #5 (February 2011)

8 février 2011

The latest edition of the CEN Bulletin is now available.

CEN meeting 2011

31 janvier 2011

The program for CEN meeting 2011 is now available

At last, the new web site is here!!

27 janvier 2011

The new web site is now online. Come back regularly to get the latest news from the Centre d'études nordiques.