Ira Tanya Handa

Assistant Professor,
Université du Québec à Montréal

Département des Sciences Biologiques
Institution page


B.Sc. (1996) : McGill University in Biology
M.Sc. (1998) : University of Toronto in Botany
Ph.D. (2006): University of Basel (Switzerland) in Plant Ecology.


Dr. Handa's research interests are linked by the desire to understand the consequences of global change on ecosystem processes. She is interested in how changes such as rising atmospheric CO2 or urbanisation affect tree growth, as well as how changes in biodiversity influence litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems.

QCBS students


(Start: 2020, End: 2024)
Vers une meilleure compréhension des liens entre les perturbations, les communautés végétales et la mésofaune du sol dans nos écosystèmes forestiers

Laura Jeanne Raymond-Léonard

(Start: 2021)
Urban soil biodiversity: response to greenspace management and effect on ecosystem multifunctionality

Tori Miller

Other (co-)supervisor: Dr. Marla Schwarzfeld, AAFC
(Start: 2022)
Metabarcoding of Soil Invertebrates in Ontario and Quebec

Roberto Sepulveda-Mina


Type of vegetation, soil macrofauna and ecosystem services in urban settings

Previous students (since 2009)

Pierre-Marc Brousseau

(Start: 2011, End: 2017)
Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Dominique Gravel
Soil arthropod diversity and decomposition in temperate forests of southern Quebec
Link to thesis (pdf)

Javier Ibarra Isassi

(Start: 2016, End: 2018)
Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Jean-Philippe Lessard
Ant functional diversity across broad-scale gradients and its influence on ecosystem processes
Personal page

Laurent Rousseau

Other (co-)supervisor: Lisa Venier (Canadian Forest Service)
(Start: 2013, End: 2018)
Responses of soil mesofaunal communities to intensive woody biomass removal in jack pine forests of northeastern Ontario (Canada)
Link to thesis (pdf)
Personal page

Chelsea Archambault

(Start: 2012, End: 2014)
Roots interactions in a biodiversity experiment with trees

Robin Beauséjour

(Start: 2011, End: 2014)
Other QCBS (co-)supervisor: Mark Vellend
Plant community change over the past decade at Mont St-Hilaire, Québec

Nathaly Guerrero Ramirez

Other (co-)supervisor: Christian Messier, UQAM
(Start: 2011, End: 2013)
The role of functional diversity in root decomposition of a secondary tropical forest plantation (Sardinilla, Panama)

Eugénie Potvin

(Start: 2012, End: 2017)
Ecosystem services in forests of southern Québec

Laura Jeanne Raymond-Léonard

(Start: 2015, End: 2017)
Functional diversity at multiple trophic levels: will exotic tree litter modify the collembola community structure?
Link to thesis (pdf)

Examples of species studied

Pinus banksiana


53- Non-structural carbohydrate concentrations in tree organs vary across biomes and leaf habits, but are independent of the fast-slow plant economic spectrum
Journal Article
Ramirez J A , Craven D , Herrera D , Posada J M , Reu B , Sierra C A , Hoch G , Handa I T , Messier C ,
2024 Frontiers in Plant Science (Date Added: 2024-05-25)

52- Invasion by common reed in peri-urban wetlands does not affect insectivorous bat activity, despite a negative effect on prey abundance
Journal Article
Meyer J , Handa I T , Fabianek F , Kneeshaw D ,
2024 Global Ecology and Conservation (Date Added: 2024-04-24)

50- Young temperate tree species show different fine root acclimation capacity to growing season water availability
Journal Article
Jaeger F C , Handa I T , Paquette A , Parker W C , Messier C ,
2023 Plant and Soil (Date Added: 2023-11-22)

49- Soil Springtail Communities Are Resilient to Forest Tent Caterpillar Defoliation in Quebec Mixed Hardwood Forests
Journal Article
Gagnon Koudji E , Despland E , Caron A , Handa I T ,
2023 Forests (Date Added: 2023-08-09)

48- Forest Tent Caterpillar Outbreaks Drive Change in Ant Communities in Boreal Forests
Journal Article
Caron A , Koudji E G , Handa I T , Montoro Girona M , Despland E ,
2023 Forests (Date Added: 2023-07-19)

47- Towards a standardization of new functional trait measurements by assessing intraspecific variation: the case of springtail mandibles
Journal Article
Raymond-Léonard L J , Cortet J , Handa I T ,
2023 European Journal of Soil Biology (Date Added: 2023-05-28)

46- Community-wide trait adaptation, but not plasticity, explains ant community structure in extreme environments
Journal Article
Ibarra‐Isassi J , Handa I T , Lessard J ,
2022 Functional Ecology (Date Added: 2022-10-05)

45- Urban forest invertebrates: how they shape and respond to the urban environment
Journal Article
Kotze D J , Lowe E C , MacIvor J S , Ossola A , Norton B A , Hochuli D F , Mata L , Moretti M , Gagné S A , Handa I T , Jones T M , Threlfall C G , Hahs A K ,
2022 Urban Ecosystems (Date Added: 2022-07-12)

44- Finding the perfect mix: An applied model that integrates multiple ecosystem functions when designing restoration programs
Journal Article
Santala K , Cardou F , Yemshanov D , Campioni F , Simpson M , Handa I T , Ryser P , Aubin I ,
2022 Ecological Engineering (Date Added: 2022-04-23)

43- Tree identity and diversity directly affect soil moisture and temperature but not soil carbon ten years after planting
Journal Article
Martin‐Guay M , Belluau M , Côté B , Handa I T , Jewell M D , Khlifa R , Munson A D , Rivest M , Whalen J K , Rivest D ,
2022 Ecology and Evolution (Date Added: 2022-02-07)

42- Erratum: Functional diversity: An epistemic roadmap (BioScience DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biz089)
Journal Erratum
Malaterre C , Dussault A C , Mermans E , Barker G , Beisner B E , Bouchard F , Desjardins E , Handa I T , Kembel S W , Lajoie G , Maris V , Munson A D , Odenbaugh J , Poisot T , Shapiro B J , Suttle C A ,
2021 BioScience (Date Added: 2021-10-17)

41- Reserve Accumulation Is Prioritized Over Growth Following Single or Combined Injuries in Three Common North American Urban Tree Species
Journal Article
Ramirez J A , Vitali V , Martínez-Vilalta J , Handa I T , Messier C ,
2021 Frontiers in Plant Science (Date Added: 2021-08-29)

40- Direct and Indirect Effects of Forest Anthropogenic Disturbance on Above and Below Ground Communities and Litter Decomposition
Journal Article
Laigle I , Moretti M , Rousseau L , Gravel D , Venier L , Handa I T , Messier C , Morris D , Hazlett P , Fleming R , Webster K , Shipley B , Aubin I ,
2021 Ecosystems (Date Added: 2021-03-15)

39- Shade-growing practices lessen the impact of coffee plantations on multiple dimensions of ant diversity
Journal Article
Ibarra‐Isassi J , Handa I T , Arenas‐Clavijo A , Escobar‐Ramírez S , Armbrecht I , Lessard J ,
2021 Journal of Applied Ecology (Date Added: 2021-02-23)

38- Decomposition of leaf litter mixtures across biomes: The role of litter identity, diversity and soil fauna
Journal Article
Zhou S , Butenschoen O , Barantal S , Handa I T , Makkonen M , Vos V , Aerts R , Berg M P , McKie B , Van Ruijven J , Hättenschwiler S , Scheu S ,
2020 Journal of Ecology (Date Added: 2020-08-02)

37- Dead wood provides habitat for springtails across a latitudinal gradient of forests in Quebec, Canada
Journal Article
Raymond-Léonard L J , Bouchard M , Handa I T ,
2020 Forest Ecology and Management (Date Added: 2020-06-01)

36- First record on the biology of sarcophaga (Bulbostyla) (diptera, sarcophagidae)
Journal Article
Brousseau P , Giroux M , Handa I T ,
2020 ZooKeys (Date Added: 2020-02-26)

35- Functional Diversity: An Epistemic Roadmap
Journal Article
Malaterre, C, Dussault, AC, Rousseau-Mermans, S, Barker, G, Beisner, BE, Bouchard, F, Desjardins, E, Handa, IT, Kembel, SW, Lajoie, G, Maris, V, Munson, AD, Odenbaugh, J, Poisot, T, Shapiro, BJ, Suttle, CA
2019 BioScience (Date Added: 2019-10-25)

34- A novel set of traits to describe Collembola mouthparts: taking a bite out of the broad chewing mandible classification
Journal Article
2019 Soil Biology and Biochemistry (Date Added: 2019-10-09)

33- Traits of litter-dwelling forest arthropod predators and detritivores covary spatially with traits of their resources
Journal Article
Brousseau P , Gravel D , Handa I T ,
2019 Ecology (Date Added: 2019-08-23)

32- Woody biomass removal in harvested boreal forest leads to a partial functional homogenization of soil mesofaunal communities relative to unharvested forest
Journal Article
Rousseau L , Venier L , Aubin I , Gendreau-Berthiaume B , Moretti M , Salmon S , Handa I T ,
2019 Soil Biology and Biochemistry (Date Added: 2019-03-30)

31- Evergreenness influences fine root growth more than tree diversity in a common garden experiment
Journal Article
Archambault C , Paquette A , Messier C , Khlifa R , Munson A D , Handa I T ,
2019 Oecologia (Date Added: 2019-03-23)

30- A characterization of media representation of biodiversity and implications for public perceptions and environmental policy: the case of Québec, Canada
Journal Article
Brunet N D , Dagenais D , Breux S , Handa I T ,
2018 Environment, Development and Sustainability (Date Added: 2018-09-23)

29- On the development of a predictive functional trait approach for studying terrestrial arthropods
Journal Article
Brousseau P , Gravel D , Handa I T ,
2018 Journal of Animal Ecology (Date Added: 2018-08-16)

28- Springtail community structure is influenced by functional traits but not biogeographic origin of leaf litter in soils of novel forest ecosystems
Journal Article
Raymond-Léonard L J , Gravel D , Reich P B , Handa I T ,
2018 Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Date Added: 2018-06-10)

27- Long-term effects of biomass removal on soil mesofaunal communities in northeastern Ontario (Canada) jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stands
Journal Article
Rousseau L , Venier L , Fleming R , Hazlett P , Morris D , Handa I T ,
2018 Forest Ecology and Management (Date Added: 2018-03-06)

26- Carbohydrate dynamics in roots, stems, and branches after maintenance pruning in two common urban tree species of North America
Journal Article
Ramirez J , Handa I , Posada J , Delagrange S , Messier C ,
2018 Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (Date Added: 2018-01-24)

25- Trait matching and phylogeny as predictors of predator–prey interactions involving ground beetles
Journal Article
Brousseau P , Gravel D , Handa I T ,
2018 Functional Ecology (Date Added: 2018-01-19)

24- Forest floor mesofauna communities respond to a gradient of biomass removal and soil disturbance in a boreal jack pine (Pinus banksiana) stand of northeastern Ontario (Canada)
Journal Article
Rousseau L , Venier L , Hazlett P , Fleming R , Morris D , Handa I T ,
2018 Forest Ecology and Management (Date Added: 2018-01-03)

23- The unseen invaders: introduced earthworms as drivers of change in plant communities in North American forests (a meta-analysis)
Journal Article
Craven D , Thakur M P , Cameron E K , Frelich L E , Beauséjour R , Blair R B , Blossey B , Burtis J , Choi A , Dávalos A , Fahey T J , Fisichelli N A , Gibson K , Handa I T , Hopfensperger K , Loss S R , Nuzzo V , Maerz J C , Sackett T , Scharenbroch B C , Smith S M , Vellend M , Umek L G , Eisenhauer N ,
2017 Global Change Biology (Date Added: 2017-02-26)

22- Trade-offs between timber production, carbon stocking and habitat quality when managing woodlots for multiple ecosystem services
Journal Article
Carpentier, S, Filotas, E, Handa, IT, Messier, C
2017 Environmental Conservation (Date Added: 2016-12-05)

21- Root quality and decomposition environment, but not tree species richness, drive root decomposition in tropical forests
Journal Article
Guerrero-Ramírez, NR, Craven, D, Messier, C, Potvin, C, Turner, BL, Handa, IT
2016 Plant and Soil (Date Added: 2016-10-11)

20- The importance of litter traits and decomposers for litter decomposition: A comparison of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems within and across biomes
Journal Article
García-Palacios, P, McKie, BG, Handa, IT, Frainer, A, Hättenschwiler, S
2016 Functional Ecology (Date Added: 2016-01-14)

18- Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Aerts, R, Berendse, F, Berg, MP, Bruder, A, Butenschoen, O, Chauvet, E, Gessner, MO, Jabiol, J, Makkonen, M, McKie, BG, Malmqvist, B, Peeters, ETHM, Scheu, S, Schmid, B, van Ruijven, J, Vos, VCA, Hattenschwiler, S
2014 Nature (Date Added: 2015-07-24)

17- Historical anthropogenic disturbances influence patterns of non-native earthworm and plant invasions in a temperate primary forest
Journal Article
Beauséjour, R, Handa, IT, Lechowicz, MJ, Gilbert, B, Vellend, M
2014 Biological Invasions (Date Added: 2014-10-20)

16- Alpine treelines in a CO2 – rich world : synthesis of a nine year free air CO2 enrichment study
Journal Article
Dawes MA, HF
2013 Oecologia (Date Added: 2016-06-27)

15- Highly consistent effects of plant litter identity and functional traits on decomposition across a latitudinal gradient
Journal Article
Makkonen, M, Berg, MP, Handa, IT, Hättenschwiler, S, van Ruijven, J, van Bodegom, PM, Aerts, R
2012 Ecology Letters (Date Added: 2012-09-17)

14- Growth and community responses of alpine dwarf shrubs to in situ CO2 enrichment and soil warming
Journal Article
Dawes, MA, Hagedorn, F, Zumbrunn, T, Handa, IT, Hättenschwiler, S, Wipf, S, Rixen, C
2011 New Phytologist (Date Added: 2011-09-27)

13- Leaf traits and decomposition in tropical rainforests: Revisiting some commonly held views and towards a new hypothesis
Journal Article
Hättenschwiler, S, Coq, S, Barantal, S, Handa, IT
2011 New Phytologist (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

12- The ecology of saprophagous macroarthropods (millipedes, woodlice) in the context of global change
Journal Article
David, J-F, Handa, IT
2010 Biological Reviews (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

11- Species-specific tree growth responses to 9?years of CO2 enrichment at the alpine treeline
Journal Article
Dawes, MA, Hättenschwiler, S, Bebi, P, Hagedorn, F, Handa, IT, Körner, C, Rixen, C
2010 Journal of Ecology (Date Added: 2011-05-26)

10- Snail and millipede complementarity in decomposing Mediterranean forest leaf litter mixtures
Journal Article
de Oliveira, T, Hättenschwiler, S, Handa, IT
2010 Functional Ecology (Date Added: 2011-04-20)

9- The importance of biotic factors in predicting global change effects on decomposition of temperate forest leaf litter
Journal Article
Rouifed, S, Handa, IT, David, J-F, Hättenschwiler, S
2010 Oecologia (Date Added: 2011-04-20)

8-Interactions between lesser snow geese and Arctic coastal vegetation leading to alternative stable states.
Book Chapter
Handa, T, Jefferies, RL
2009 New models for ecosystem dynamics and restoration ( Date Added: 2012-09-17)

7- No stimulation in root production in response to 4 years of in situ CO 2 enrichment at the Swiss treeline
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Hagedorn, F, Hättenschwiler, S
2008 Functional Ecology (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

6- Elevated atmospheric CO2 fuels leaching of old dissolved organic matter at the alpine treeline
Journal Article
Hagedorn, F, van Hees, PAW, Handa, IT, Hättenschwiler, S
2008 Global Biogeochemical Cycles (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

5- Conifer stem growth at the altitudinal treeline in response to four years of CO2 enrichment
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Körner, C, Hättenschwiler, S
2006 Global Change Biology (Date Added: 2011-04-20)

4- A test of the treeline carbon limitation hypothesis by in situ CO 2 enrichment and defoliation
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Körner, C, Hättenschwiler, S
2005 Ecology (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

3- Patterns of vegetation change and the recovery potential of degraded areas in a coastal marsh system of the hudson bay lowlands
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Harmsen, R, Jefferies, RL
2002 Journal of Ecology (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

2- Atmospheric CO2 enrichment of alpine treeline conifers
Journal Article
Hättenschwiler, S, Handa, IT, Egli, L, Asshoff, R, Ammann, W, Körner, C
2002 New Phytologist (Date Added: 2011-07-28)

1- Assisted revegetation trials in degraded salt-marshes
Journal Article
Handa, IT, Jefferies, RL
2000 Journal of Applied Ecology (Date Added: 2011-07-28)