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Ursule Boyer-Villemaire


Étudiante 3è cycle

Département de biologie, chimie et géographie, UQAR

Laboratoire de dynamique et de gestion intégrée des zones côtières UQAR, Local F-402 300, Allée des Ursulines C.P. 3300
Québec, Canada
G5L 3A1

418.723.1986 poste 1364






Projet de recherche

Sensibilité et vulnérabilité côtières inter-climats : analyse comparative des côtes du Québec, de l'Irlande du Nord et du SW de l'Espagne

Over the past two decades, increased occurrences of coastal hazards, notably related to drastic changes in coastal ice processes and mild winter conditions have been observed in the Estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence or St. Lawrence System (SLS), Quebec, Eastern Canada. Here, coastal retreat rates have increased and 43% of the soft coastline faces submersion. Sustainable management requires the identification of zones vulnerable to coastal hazards in order to aid the development of adaption strategies. Existing methods for quantification of shoreline retreat such as the “Bruun Rule” are inappropriate because 1) it is intended for sandy beaches only, and therefore does not account for various sensitivities to the same change in sea-level by different coastal types; 2) it is mono-hazard-based (sea-level rise only), therefore missing important impacts due to perturbation of winter processes and their interactions; and 3) it makes several important assumptions that modern science has shown to be incorrect. In this condition, we pose the questions: What would be a good measurement of the coastal sensitivity of the SLS to coastal hazards related to climate change? How would change the sensitivity of the SLS coastline under a different climate? How to compare vulnerabilities to multiple hazards of independent coastal systems? This thesis will concern the assessment of optimal sensitivity, socio-economic vulnerability, natural vulnerability and their aggregation into a dynamic place vulnerability to address the changing coastal environments. In order to highlight the climate influence on coastal change, the scientific approach is comparative of three independent systems located in various climatic areas, but with similar oceanographic and geodiversity settings: the SLS (maritime cold-temperate), the Northern Ireland (maritime temperate) and the Atlantic Andalucia, SW Spain (oceanic Mediterranean). The objectives are to develop an index of coastal sensitivity to multiple coastal hazards, that explicitly accounts for climate, geodiversity and human impact on the coastline and for multiple-scale interactions; to develop a measure of inter-climate socio-economic coastal vulnerability, that explicitly accounts for adaptive capacity, for perceptions and for social values; to integrate the previous into a dynamic inter-climate measure of the aggregated coastal vulnerability to multi-hazards related to climate change and human activity. The methodology is based on high-resolution coastal segmentation of coastal homogeneous units, aerial photography-derived evolution of the coastal zone, historical climate and wave climate data, digitalization of coastal infrastructures and land-use, surveys of coastal communities perceptions and semi-directive interviews of local managers. Multivariate spatio-temporal statistics will be used. The data are already available for the SLS (c.f. Bernatchez et al., 2008).


Communications scientifiques

Boyer-Villemaire, U., Lamari, M., Bernatchez, P., Jacob, J.L., Nouwodjro, K., 2015. Analyse institutionnelle de la trajectoire d’adaptation aux changements climatiques dans le Québec maritime. Pages 77-126 dans Lamari, M., Jacob, J.L. (Éditeurs). Adaptation aux changements climatiques en zones côtières: Politiques publiques et indicateurs de suivi des progrès dans sept pays occidentaux. Presses de l'Université du Québec.

Boyer-Villemaire, U., Benavente, J., Cooper, J.A.G., Bernatchez, P., 2014. Analysis of power distribution and participation in sustainable natural hazard risk governance: a call for active participation. Environmental Hazards, 13(1): 38-57. DOI: 10.1080/17477891.2013.864592.

Boyer-Villemaire, U., Bernatchez, P., Benavente, J., Cooper, J.A.G., 2014. Quantifying community's functional awareness of coastal changes and hazards from citizen perception analysis in Canada, UK and Spain. Ocean & Coastal Management, 93: 106–120. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.03.016.

Boyer-Villemaire, U., St-Onge, G., Bernatchez, P., Lajeunesse, P., Labrie, J., 2013. High-resolution multiproxy records of sedimentological changes induced by dams in the Sept-Îles area (Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada). Marine Geology, 338: 17-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2012.11.012.

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