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Research Area 1 - Northern landscapes and ecosystems

Project leader: Martin Lavoie
Project leader: Esther Lévesque

A detailed understanding of the recent and ancient history of northern geo-ecosystems is essential to fully comprehend their current state. This includes the question of how northern systems were influenced by glacial and post glacial history, in particular during the Quaternary Period, and studies of land surface processes, biodiversity, interactions between species and the impacts of disturbances on the structure and composition of northern systems. The research is supported by data acquisition made possible through the use and development of CEN's extensive network of environmental monitoring stations, and application of advanced instrumentation and observation methods.

This research area includes three themes.

Researchers: Martin Lavoie, Esther Lévesque; Michel Allard, Dermot Antoniades, Dominique Arseneault, Simon Bélanger, Pascal Bernatchez, Monique Bernier, Dominique Berteaux, Joël Bêty, Najat Bhiry, Étienne Boucher, Stéphane Boudreau, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Karem Chokmani, Steeve Côté, Alexandre Culley, Florent Domine, France Dufresne, Daniel Fortier, Richard Fortier, Pierre Francus, Gilles Gauthier, Charles Greer, Bernard Hétu, Patrick Lajeunesse, Isabelle Laurion, Claude Lavoie, Alexandre Langlois, , Jean-Philippe Lessard, Connie Lovejoy, Taha M.J. Ouarda, Serge Payette, Fanie Pelletier, Reinhard Pienitz, Alain Royer, Monique Poulin, Milla Rautio, Line Rochefort, Nigel Roulet, Diane Saint-Laurent, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, René Therrien, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, François Vézina, Warwick F. Vincent, Normand Voyer, Nicolas Lecomte, Oliver Sonnentag, Christophe Kinnard.

Theme 1.1 - Landscapes and geomorphological processes

Theme leader: Patrick Lajeunesse

This theme focuses on northern landscape transformations brought about by glaciation and post-glaciation geomorphological processes at various spatio-temporal scales. Two main aspects are studied: 1) the 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; 2) the dynamics of post-glaciation geomorphological processes (variations in sea and lake water levels, river beds, sediment transport, watershed dynamics, etc.) and their impacts on northern landscapes in relation to climate change and natural disasters.

Researchers: Patrick Lajeunesse, Michel Allard, Dermot Antoniades, Pascal Bernatchez, Najat Bhiry, Étienne Boucher, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Daniel Fortier, Richard Fortier, Pierre Francus, Bernard Hétu, Jean-Michel Lemieux, Dominic Larivière, Guillaume Marie, John Molson, Reinhard Pienitz, René Therrien, Christophe Kinnard.

Theme 1.2 - Structure and function of northern terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

Theme leader: Stéphane Boudreau

This theme focuses on the complex trophic interactions between the organisms found in various ecosystems as well as on the factors controlling these interactions. Ecosystem dynamics (terrestrial, aquatic, riparian and coastal) result from the combined effects of disturbances (fire, insect outbreaks, climate change, resource exploitation) and biotic interactions (competition, predation, herbivory), both acting 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, we examine how physical and chemical variables influence productivity, biodiversity, trophic interactions and biogeochemical processes.

Researchers: Stéphane Boudreau, Michel Allard, Dermot Antoniades, Dominique Arseneault, Pascal Bernatchez, Dominique Berteaux, Joël Bêty, Najat Bhiry, Étienne Boucher, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Steeve Côté, Alexandre Culley, Marco Festa-Bianchet, France Dufresne, Pierre Francus, Gilles Gauthier, Bernard Hétu, Charles Greer, Jean-Philippe Lessard, Isabelle Laurion, Martin Lavoie, Esther Lévesque, Taha M.J. Ouarda, Serge Payette, Fanie Pelletier, Reinhard Pienitz, Milla Rautio, Nigel Roulet, Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, François Vézina, Warwick F. Vincent, Normand Voyer, Nicolas Lecomte, Oliver Sonnentag.

Theme 1.3 - Observation tools and indicators to monitor the northern environment

Theme leader: Dominique Berteaux

Recent and current changes in the environment are monitored and analysed in situ using CEN’s extensive network of field and climate stations. Systems for measurements and the monitoring of environmental variables using new generation sensors are developed, calibrated in laboratories and tested in the field to maintain the SILA network at the cutting edge and to broaden the scope of the environmental parameters measured. The research team applies new technologies and methods specifically developed and adapted for the characterisation of northern geo-ecosystems. Remote sensing allows the refined monitoring of changes on a temporal scale while covering vast territories for the study of coastal areas, aquatic systems and plant, snow and ice cover to better understand geo-ecosystem dynamics. Terrestrial, aerial and satellite 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 eco-geosystem dynamics. Molecular, genetic and biochemical analyses quantify the variations in biodiversity and assess the physiological state of aquatic and land communities. With the use of these tools, field data collected at small scales can be extrapolated to regional and continental scales. A project in preparation aims to acquire and deploy aerial drones for regional aerial telemetry. Unique protocols for data gathering and standardization have recently been developed through the ADAPT program. The data collected are archived in CEN’s database and are now available to the international community thanks to the on-line publication Nordicana D.

Researchers: Dominique Berteaux, Michel Allard, Dermot Antoniades, Dominique Arseneault, Simon Bélanger, Pascal Bernatchez, Monique Bernier, Joël Bety, Najat Bhiry, Étienne Boucher, Thomas Buffin-Bélanger, Karem Chokmani, Steeve Côté, France Dufresne, Richard Fortier, Gilles Gauthier, Alexandre Langlois, Isabelle Laurion, Jean-Philippe Lessard, Esther Lévesque, Taha M.J. Ouarda, Reinhard Pienitz, Milla Rautio, Alain Royer, Nigel Roulet, Martin Simard, René Therrien, Jean-Pierre Tremblay, François Vézina, Warwick F. Vincent, Normand Voyer, Nicolas Lecomte, Oliver Sonnentag, Christophe Kinnard.

 

 
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