Research Area 1
Structure and function of northern continental environments
Project leader: Michel Allard [2009-...]
A profound understanding of the recent and ancient history of northern geosystems and ecosystems is essential to better comprehend their current state. The aim of this Research Area is to evaluate how northern geosystems were influenced by glacial and post glacial history. Interactions between species and the impacts of disturbances on the structure and composition of ecosystems are also examined. Canadian Regional Climate Model simulations which integrate permafrost features, hydrology, plant, snow and ice cover are undertaken to better predict the transformations of northern landscapes. The research is supported by data acquisition made possible through the use of CEN's extensive network of environmental monitoring stations and state of the art methods.
Researchers: Michel Allard* [2009-...], Dominique Arseneault, Pascal Bernatchez, Monique Bernier, Dominique Berteaux, Joël Bety, Najat Bhiry, Stéphane Boudreau, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Yves Bégin, Steeve Côté, France Dufresne, Richard Fortier, Pierre Francus, Gilles Gauthier, Bernard Hétu, Patrick Lajeunesse, Isabelle Laurion, Claude Lavoie, Martin Lavoie, Connie Lovejoy, Esther Lévesque, Christian Nozais, Taha B. M. J. Ouarda, Reinhard Pienitz, Monique Poulin, Milla Rautio, Line Rochefort, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, Warwick F. Vincent
Theme 1.1 - Origin and dynamics of northern geosystems
This theme focuses on landscape transformations at various spatio-temporal scales by examining the glaciation and post-glaciation history in order to improve our understanding of the characteristics, distribution, origin, geological and geomorphological evolution of terrestrial and coastal systems during the Quaternary Period. The following three aspects are examined: 1) nature, characteristics, distribution, origin and evolution of surface forms and deposits; 2) history and dynamics of the Laurentide and Innuitian Ice Sheets, specifically the limits of their maximum extent, their phases of stability and instability and the links between these events and past climate change; and 3) Holocene and recent geomorphological history (variations in lake water levels, river beds, watershed dynamics, crater systems) in relation to post-glaciation climate change.
Researchers: Patrick Lajeunesse* [2009-...], Michel Allard, Pascal Bernatchez, Najat Bhiry, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Yves Bégin, Pierre Francus, Bernard Hétu, Reinhard Pienitz
Theme 1.2 - Structure and function of northern ecosystems
Trophic interactions between organisms are dynamic and complex. Their comprehension must be based on a solid foundation of knowledge on the historical factors which shaped these ecosystems. Ecosystem dynamics (terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal) result from the combined effects of disturbances (fire, insect outbreaks, climate change, resource exploitation) and biotic interactions (competition, predation, herbivory), which act on various spatial and temporal scales. For terrestrial ecosystems, this theme studies northern biocenoses through the examination of the dynamics occurring in various plant strata, animal populations and plant-animal interactions. For aquatic systems, the theme examines how physical and chemical variables influence the biological structure and composition, and how certain variables help conserve biodiversity.
Researchers: Stéphane Boudreau* [2009-...], Dominique Arseneault, Dominique Berteaux, Joël Bety, Steeve Côté, France Dufresne, Gilles Gauthier, Isabelle Laurion, Claude Lavoie, Martin Lavoie, Connie Lovejoy, Esther Lévesque, Christian Nozais, Reinhard Pienitz, Monique Poulin, Milla Rautio, Line Rochefort, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, Warwick F. Vincent
Theme 1.3 - Simulations of northern landscape transformations at the scale of the Canadian Regional Climate Model (RCM)
A new generation of models with high spatial resolution (40 x 40 km) incorporate exchanges between the atmosphere, vegetation and permafrost. The objective of this theme is to integrate in a model the exchanges of energy between the atmosphere and the earth's surface to predict changes in northern environments and infrastructures. The variables representing the thermal characteristics of geological surfaces and plant, snow and ice cover must be geo-referenced to be properly integrated in these models. These variables are derived from the intrinsic properties of geologic features (texture, water content), microclimatic parameters (vegetative surface albedo), and ground cover characteristics. This innovative approach requires the acquisition of field data which is achievable thanks to the CEN Network - an extensive network of field and climate stations.
Researchers: Esther Lévesque * [2009-...], Michel Allard, Pascal Bernatchez, Monique Bernier, Yves Bégin, Richard Fortier, Pierre Francus, Gilles Gauthier, Bernard Hétu, Isabelle Laurion, Christian Nozais, Taha B. M. J. Ouarda, Reinhard Pienitz, Warwick F. Vincent
Theme 1.4 -Development of quantitative tools to monitor environmental change
Recent and current changes in the environment are monitored and analyzed using a network of instruments and fieldwork which are facilitated by the CEN Network (an extensive network of field and climate stations). The research team applies new technologies and methods specifically developed and adapted for the characterisation of northern geosystems and ecosystems. Remote sensing allows the refined monitoring of changes on a temporal scale while covering vast territories for the study of aquatic systems and plant, snow and ice cover to better understand habitat dynamics. Telemetry allows wildlife monitoring in real-time, thereby helping us understand their use of land relative to other biotic and abiotic factors, in addition to enabling us to track geosystem dynamics. With the use of remote sensing and telemetry, field data collected at small scales can be extrapolated to regional and continental scales.
Researchers: Dominique Berteaux* [2009-...], Michel Allard, Dominique Arseneault, Pascal Bernatchez, Monique Bernier, Joël Bety, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Yves Bégin, Steeve Côté, France Dufresne, Richard Fortier, Gilles Gauthier, Isabelle Laurion, Esther Lévesque, Taha B. M. J. Ouarda, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, Warwick F. Vincent