Virginie Millien

Associate Professor,
McGill University

Redpath Museum
Institution page
Personal page


1996-1999 Doctorate: Paleontology, Paleobiology & Phylogeny, Universite Montpellier II
1995-1996 D.E.A.: Paleontology, Universite Montpellier II
1993-1996 Magistere: Earth Sciences, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris


My main research focus is the evolution of body size and morphological diversity in relation to environmental change:

  • Ecotypic variation and climate change
  • The evolution of species on islands
  • The effects of climate change and isolation on morphological evolution
  • Functional morphology in fossil rodents and other mammals
  • Competition and community size structure among coexisting species

  • QCBS students

    Kirsten Crandall

    Other (co-)supervisor: Jeremy Kerr, University of Ottawa
    (Start: 2018)
    An interprovincial comparison of tick and mammalian host abundance and diversity on infectious diseases in Ontario and Quebec

    Erica Fellin

    (Start: 2021)
    Lyme disease emergence in Quebec under climate and land-use change, and modeling the risk for workers

    Jonathan Diamond

    (Start: 2020)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Murray Humphries
    Understanding Skull Biomechanics in the North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) as it Relates to Habitat.

    Kari Hollett

    (Start: 2020)
    Vector-borne Disease Risk: A comprehensive small-scale analysis at the human-wildlife interface

    Kelsey Wilson

    Other (co-)supervisor: Dr. Roberto Ibáñez, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
    (Start: 2022)
    Reintroduction strategies of critically endangered Harlequin Frogs due to infectious chytrid fungus

    Previous students (since 2009)

    Sarah Leo

    (Start: 2012, End: 2016)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Andrew Gonzalez
    Integrated landscape genetics of the Lyme disease vector (Ixodes scapularis) and its host (Peromyscus leucopus) in southern Québec
    Personal page

    Jihane Benbahtane

    Other (co-)supervisor: Henri Vallès, University of the West Indies
    (Start: 2018, End: 2021)
    The effect of overfishing on parrotfish community structure and its impact on coral reefs

    Kirsten Crandall

    (Start: 2016, End: 2018)
    Intra- and interspecific phenotypic variation in mammals and its effect on biodiversity under climate warming

    Jessica Fiset

    (Start: 2011, End: 2012)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: François-Joseph Lapointe
    Phylogeography of the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, and the deer mouse, P. maniculatus, and their capacity of carrying Lyme disease

    Cassia Foley

    Other (co-)supervisor: Hector Guzman, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
    (Start: 2018, End: 2020)
    Investigating the effects of climate change on the migration patterns of humpback whales and assessing vessel collision risk

    Jorge Gaitan

    (Start: 2012, End: 2014)
    The effects of parasite load and stress levels on the movement and dispersal patterns of the white-footed mouse within a fragmented landscape.

    Alan Garcia-Elfring

    (Start: 2015, End: 2017)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Jonathan Davies
    Detecting the signature of range expansion

    Katherine Hébert

    (Start: 2015, End: 2017)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Jean-Philippe Lessard
    Community assembly of island mammals: The role of the regional species pool

    Rodrigo Lima Barata

    (Start: 2010, End: 2012)
    Morphological Variation of the Red-backed Vole (Myodes gapperi) in Quebec

    Robby Marrotte

    (Start: 2011, End: 2013)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Andrew Gonzalez
    Connectivity and habitat use by Peromyscus leucopus in a fragmented landscape in Southern Quebec
    Personal page

    Julia Nordlund

    (Start: 2015, End: 2017)
    Multispecies distribution modelling

    Anita Rogic

    (Start: 2010, End: 2012)
    Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: François-Joseph Lapointe
    Genetic structure of white-footed mouse populations in southern Quebec: impact of climate warming and fragmentation on the spread of Lyme disease

    Emilie Roy-Dufresne

    Other (co-)supervisor: Gail Chmura
    (Start: 2010, End: 2012)
    White-footed mouse projected distribution under climate change in Québec; a question of time and space.

    Frédérique Truchon

    Other (co-)supervisor: Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, Université du Québec à Rimouski
    (Start: 2018, End: 2021)
    Space-Use Patterns of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Response to Hiker Presence and its Effects on Local Flora in a Protected Old-Growth Forest

    Kari Hollett

    (Start: 2020, End: 2021)
    Response of White-Tail Deer to Recreational Visits at Gault Nature Reserve

    Examples of species studied

    Myodes gapperi
    Peromyscus leucopus
    Ixodes scapularis
    Apodemus argenteus
    Apodemus speciosus
    Borrelia burgdorferi
    Peromyscus maniculatus
    Rickettsia rickettsii


    52- Outdoor worker knowledge of ticks and Lyme disease in Québec
    Journal Article
    Fellin E , Varin M , Millien V ,
    2024 Zoonoses and Public Health (Date Added: 2024-07-12)

    51- A global assessment of nested patterns in insular mammal assemblages
    Journal Article
    Millien V , Zhan C , Li Y , Wang J , Wang Y ,
    2024 Global Ecology and Biogeography (Date Added: 2024-07-11)

    50- High-resolution environmental and host-related factors impacting questing Ixodes scapularis at their northern range edge
    Journal Article
    Crandall K E , Millien V , Kerr J T ,
    2024 Ecology and Evolution (Date Added: 2024-03-04)

    49- Rocky rule: The idiosyncrasy of spatial and temporal size variation in mammals
    Journal Article
    Crandall K E , Olson L E , Millien V ,
    2023 Journal of Mammalogy (Date Added: 2023-12-24)

    48- Chipping in: functional morphology of the American beaver under range expansion
    Journal Article
    Diamond J , Humphries M M , Millien V ,
    2023 Journal of Zoology (Date Added: 2023-12-17)

    47- Risky business: human-related data is lacking from Lyme disease risk models
    Journal Article
    Fellin E , Varin M , Millien V ,
    2023 Frontiers in Public Health (Date Added: 2023-11-27)

    46- Historical associations and spatiotemporal changes of pathogen presence in ticks in Canada: A systematic review
    Journal Article
    Crandall K E , Millien V , Kerr J T ,
    2023 Zoonoses and Public Health (Date Added: 2023-11-26)

    45- It’s about time: small mammal communities and Lyme disease emergence
    Journal Article
    Millien V , Leo S S T , Turney S , Gonzalez A ,
    2023 Scientific Reports (Date Added: 2023-09-10)

    44- The integration of the small-island effect and nestedness pattern
    Journal Article
    Wang Y , Chen C , Millien V ,
    2023 Journal of Biogeography (Date Added: 2023-04-21)

    43- Recent and rapid ecogeographical rule reversals in Northern Treeshrews
    Journal Article
    Juman M M , Millien V , Olson L E , Sargis E J ,
    2022 Scientific Reports (Date Added: 2022-12-12)

    42- Emerging Tick-Borne Pathogens in Central Canada: Recent Detections of Babesia odocoilei and Rickettsia rickettsii
    Journal Article
    Crandall K E , Kerr J T , Millien V ,
    2022 Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.) (Date Added: 2022-11-25)

    41- Source pool diversity and proximity shape the compositional uniqueness of insular mammal assemblages worldwide
    Journal Article
    Hébert K , Millien V , Lessard J , Masters J ,
    2021 Journal of Biogeography (Date Added: 2021-06-27)

    40- Long-term stress level in a small mammal species undergoing range expansion
    Journal Article
    André A , Michaux J , Gaitan J , Millien V ,
    2021 Mammalia (Date Added: 2021-05-04)

    38- A global synthesis of the small-island effect in habitat islands
    Journal Article
    Wang Y , Chen C , Millien V ,
    2018 Proceedings. Biological sciences (Date Added: 2018-10-28)

    37- Rule reversal: Ecogeographical patterns of body size variation in the common treeshrew (Mammalia, Scandentia)
    Journal Article
    Sargis E J , Millien V , Woodman N , Olson L E ,
    2018 Ecology and Evolution (Date Added: 2018-01-17)

    36- Admixture on the northern front: Population genomics of range expansion in the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and secondary contact with the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)
    Journal Article
    Garcia-Elfring A , Barrett R D H , Combs M , Davies T J , Munshi-South J , Millien V ,
    2017 Heredity (Date Added: 2017-11-16)

    35- Functional connectivity of the white-footed mouse in Southern Quebec, Canada
    Journal Article
    Marrotte R R , Gonzalez A , Millien V ,
    2017 Landscape Ecology (Date Added: 2017-08-19)

    34- Rapid morphological divergence in two closely related and co-occurring species over the last 50 years
    Journal Article
    Millien V , Ledevin R , Boué C , Gonzalez A ,
    2017 Evolutionary Ecology (Date Added: 2017-08-14)

    32- Effects of parasite and historic driven selection on the diversity and structure of a MHC-II gene in a small mammal species (Peromyscus leucopus) undergoing range expansion
    Journal Article
    André A , Millien V , Galan M , Ribas A , Michaux J R ,
    2017 Evolutionary Ecology (Date Added: 2017-05-21)

    31- Liver microbiome of Peromyscus leucopus, a key reservoir host species for emerging infectious diseases in North America
    Journal Article
    André A , Mouton A , Millien V , Michaux J ,
    2017 Infection, Genetics and Evolution (Date Added: 2017-05-05)

    30- The genetic signature of range expansion in a disease vector-the black-legged tick
    Journal Article
    Leo S S T , Gonzalez A , Millien V ,
    2017 Journal of Heredity (Date Added: 2017-04-05)

    29- Nestedness of butterfly assemblages in the Zhoushan Archipelago, China: area effects, life-history traits and conservation implications
    Journal Article
    Xu A , Han X , Zhang X , Millien V , Wang Y ,
    2017 Biodiversity and Conservation (Date Added: 2017-02-12)

    28- On empty islands and the small-island effect
    Journal Article
    Wang Y , Millien V , Ding P ,
    2016 Global Ecology and Biogeography (Date Added: 2017-02-10)

    27- The effect of stress level and parasite load on movement pattern in a small mammal reservoir host for Lyme disease
    Journal Article
    Gaitan J , MV
    2016 Canadian Journal of Zoology (Date Added: 2016-06-22)

    26- Multi-taxa integrated landscape genetics for zoonotic infectious diseases: deciphering variables influencing disease emergence
    Journal Article
    Leo, SST, Gonzalez, A, Millien, V
    2016 Genome / National Research Council Canada = Genome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada (Date Added: 2016-06-06)

    25- Phylogeographic Structure of the White-Footed Mouse and the Deer Mouse, Two Lyme Disease Reservoir Hosts in Quebec
    Journal Article
    Fiset, J, Tessier, N, Millien, V, Lapointe, F-J
    2015 PloS one (Date Added: 2016-02-26)

    23- The negative relationship between mammal host diversity and Lyme disease incidence strengthens through time
    Journal Article
    Turney, S, Gonzalez, A, Millien, V
    2014 Ecology (Date Added: 2015-01-12)

    22- Applying evolutionary concepts to wildlife disease ecology and management
    Journal Article
    Vander Wal, E, Garant, D, Calmé, S, Chapman, CA, Festa-Bianchet, M, Millien, V, Rioux-Paquette, S, Pelletier, F
    2014 Evolutionary Applications (Date Added: 2014-09-11)

    21- Climate change and habitat fragmentation drive the occurrence of Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, at the northeastern limit of its distribution
    Journal Article
    Simon, JA, Marrotte, RR, Desrosiers, N, Fiset, J, Gaitan, J, Gonzalez, A, Koffi, JK, Lapointe, F-J, Leighton, PA, Lindsay, LR, Logan, T, Milord, F, Ogden, NH, Rogic, A, Roy-Dufresne, E, Suter, D, Tessier, N, Millien, V
    2014 Evolutionary Applications (Date Added: 2014-08-28)

    20- Ecological preference between generalist and specialist rodents: spatial and environmental correlates of phenotypic variation
    Journal Article
    Martínez, JJ, Millien, V, Simone, I, Priotto, JW
    2014 Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (Date Added: 2014-05-01)

    19- The influence of environmental factors on the morphology of red-backed voles Myodes gapperi (Rodentia, Arvicolinae) in Québec and western Labrador
    Journal Article
    Souto-Lima, RB, Millien, V
    2014 Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (Date Added: 2014-04-18)

    18- Climate warming and Bergmann's rule through time: is there any evidence?
    Journal Article
    Teplitsky, C, Millien, V
    2014 Evolutionary Applications (Date Added: 2014-01-30)

    17- Poleward Expansion of the White-Footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) under Climate Change: Implications for the Spread of Lyme Disease
    Journal Article
    Roy-Dufresne, E, Logan, T, Simon, JA, Chmura, GL, Millien, V
    2013 PLoS ONE (Date Added: 2014-03-24)

    16- Congruent morphological and genetic differentiation as a signature of range expansion in a fragmented landscape
    Journal Article
    Ledevin, R, Millien, V
    2013 Ecology and Evolution (Date Added: 2013-12-05)

    15- Genetic structure of the white-footed mouse in the context of the emergence of Lyme disease in southern Québec
    Journal Article
    Rogic, A, Tessier, N, Legendre, P, Lapointe, F-J, Millien, V
    2013 Ecology and Evolution (Date Added: 2013-11-11)

    14- Investigation of the Population Structure of the Tick Vector of Lyme Disease Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in Canada Using Mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase Subunit I Gene Sequences
    Journal Article
    Mechai, S, Feil, EJ, Gariepy, TD, Gregory, TR, Lindsay, LR, Millien, V, Ogden, NH
    2013 Journal of Medical Entomology (Date Added: 2013-06-12)

    13-How humans influence evolution on adaptive landscapes
    Book Chapter
    Hendry, AP
    2012 The adaptive landscape in evolutionary biology ( Date Added: 2016-07-14)

    12- The maximal body mass-area relationship in island mammals
    Journal Article
    Millien, V, Gonzalez, A
    2011 Journal of Biogeography (Date Added: 2011-07-26)

    11- Mammals evolve faster on smaller islands
    Journal Article
    Millien, V
    2011 Evolution (Date Added: 2011-06-01)

    10- When teeth and bones disagree: Body mass estimation of a giant extinct rodent
    Journal Article
    Millien, V, Bovy, H
    2010 Journal of Mammalogy (Date Added: 2011-07-21)

    9- The largest among the smallest: The body mass of the giant rodent Josephoartigasia monesi
    Journal Article
    Millien, V
    2008 Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Date Added: 2011-07-21)

    7- Morphological evolution is accelerated among island mammals
    Journal Article
    Millien, V
    2006 PLoS Biology (Date Added: 2011-07-21)

    6- Ecotypic variation in the context of global climate change: Revisiting the rules
    Journal Article
    Millien, V, Kathleen Lyons, S, Olson, L, Smith, FA, Wilson, AB, Yom-Tov, Y
    2006 Ecology Letters (Date Added: 2011-07-21)

    3- Climate change and size evolution in an island rodent species: New perspectives on the island rule
    Journal Article
    Millien, V, Damuth, J
    2004 Evolution (Date Added: 2011-07-21)

    In the media

    An ecological rule breaker shows the effects of climate change on body size evolution
    (Shirley Cardenas) 2022-11-29

    Tick-borne pathogens increasingly widespread in Central Canada
    (Shirley Cardenas) 2022-11-17

    Study shows treeshrews break evolutionary ‘rules’
    (Cummings, Mike) 2018-01-05

    Of mice and men? Change in rodents linked to climate change, McGill research shows
    (Shingler, Benjamin) 2017-11-28

    Sign of the times: Morphing mice adapt to changing climate
    (Chipello, Chris) 2017-11-28

    As climate warms, mice morph

    Changes in habitat and skull shape of two mouse species are signs of climate change
    (Schwartz, Susan) 2017-11-27

    Réchauffement: les souris québécoises se transforment
    (Mercure, Philippe) 2017-11-27

    Un lac universitaire au coeur de la réserve naturelle Gault
    (Beillargeon, Stéhpane) 2017-07-15

    Changement de garde à la réserve naturelle Gault
    (Guillet, Kathrine) 2017-03-20

    Attention aux Tiques cet été !
    (Pierre-Olivier Fortin) 2015-06-18

    Attention aux tiques cet été !
    (Journal de Montreal) 2015-06-13

    Maladie de Lyme
    Découverte (D'Astous, Claude) 2014-10-19

    Lyme disease growing increasingly common in Quebec
    CanLyme 2014-08-20

    Lyme disease growing increasingly common in Quebec
    Global News (Volstad, Sarah) 2014-08-20

    La maladie de Lyme prend de l'ampleur
    Radio-Canada 2014-08-13

    La maladie de Lyme se répand - Tiques - Lyme - Santé - Actualité - Le Journal de
    Le Journal de Montréal (Anne Caroline Desplanques) 2014-06-27

    Le parc du Mont-Saint-Bruno à risque - Le Journal de Saint-Bruno
    (Frédéric Khalkhal) 2014-06-16

    Des experts pressent Québec de se doter d’un plan de surveillance - Le Devoir
    Le Devoir (Amélie Daoust-Boisvert) 2014-06-14

    Maladie de Lyme - Faculty of Medicine - McGill University
    McGill 2014-06-14

    Toutes les conditions sont réunies
    Le Journal de Saint-Bruno et Saint-Basile (Khalkhal, Frédéric) 2013-11-13

    La maladie de Lyme s’étend au Québec
    Le Devoir (Daoust-Boisvert, Amélie) 2013-11-07

    Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease
    The Nature of Things 2013-10-12

    Prévisions d'Ouranos
    Les années-lumière 2012-11-25

    Comment les souris transportent la maladie de Lyme
    Le Code Chastenay 2012-10-30

    La maladie de Lyme progresse avec les souris à pattes blanches
    Forum (Sauvé, Mathieu-Robert) 2011-12-05