Belowground perspectives and spatiotemporal evolution of the distribution of maple ecosystems in Quebec


Photo credits - Alexis Carteron
Soil is a complex system comprised of a large number of belowground interactions between the living and non-living elements. Among these interactions, many plants and fungi have developed a close relationship that can be beneficial to both partners. The aim of this project is therefore to better understand the interactions between plants and their fungal partners in sugar maple ecosystems found in southern Quebec. Subsequently, a field experiment will allow us to highlight the effect of plants-fungi associations on organic matter decomposition. Finally, in the context of climate change, we will attempt to determine the extent to which the expected migration of trees such as maple from temperate to boreal forests will be impacted by microbes in boreal soils. As a whole, this project aims to improve our understanding of the role of underground interactions in the functioning of ecosystems.

Funding source: NSERC, QCBS, FRQNT


Etienne Laliberté, Mark Vellend, Alexis Carteron

Added by: Sébastien Renaut 2017-09-29


The role of private land conservation in maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity


Photo credits - Sébastien Renaut
Protected areas such as national or provincial parks help to conserve ecosystems and their biodiversity. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of land conservation in the private sector in maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity. In recent years, the Réseau de Milieux Naturels Protégés (www.RMNnat.org) has developed a unique, yet still underexploited database, georeferencing most of the protected areas on private lands in Quebec. For its part, the Canadensys network has a large open database of species occurrence, and the Quebec Natural Heritage Data Center (CDPNQ) can provide data on endangered, vulnerable or potentially designated species. By coupling data on Quebec flora from Canadensys and the CDPNQ to data on protected areas from the RMN, we wish to test the effect of private land conservation on several components of biodiversity (eg, alpha and beta biodiversity) through spatial and statistical analyzes.

Funding source: QCBS, Réseau de milieux naturels protégés (RMN), Canadensys


Anne Bruneau, Claude Lavoie, Stéphanie Pellerin, Carole Sinou

Added by: Sébastien Renaut 2017-09-26


Northern citizens monitor local biodiversity

Through adapted online platform



Northern communities face many challenges associated with climate change. Animal species, their abundance and timing of emergence/arrival are also changing rapidly. The Northern Biodiversity Project is dedicated to documenting how climate change may impact the animal (and plant) communities of the tundra by inviting Northern citizens to monitor the presence of species they observe on an adapted and flexible online platform resulting from a partnership between the QCBS and the CEN. http://northernbiodiversity.ca Click here for more info.

Funding source: QCBS, CEN


François Vézina, Pierre Legagneux

Added by: Guillaume 2017-07-19


Eastern chipmunks of the Sutton Mountains region

A long-term study to better understand factors influencing the maintenance of phenotypic diversity


Photo credits - Charline Chouchoux
Located in the middle of Eastern Townships, the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) study site livens up each spring for more than a decade now: a team is working to collect essential data to better understand the importance of genetic and environmental factors on the maintenance of phenotypic variability. Chipmunks are individually marked with ear tags to follow them across time and to collect repeated morphological, physiological and behavioural measurements. Genetic analysis also allowed the determination of their reproductive success and the establishment of their pedigree, thus adding a genetic component to the observed phenotypic diversity. Finally, as chipmunks are sensible to the fluctuation of resources within their environment, the annual variation in the food availability, influenced by mast trees, is also quantified. This huge sampling effort has been rewarded by the quality of the research that it is producing.

Added by: Audrey Bourret 2017-06-20


Analysis of the connectivity needed to ensure the survival of the Western Chorus Frog.


Photo credits - Mathieu Ouelette
The purpose of this one year project is to improve the understanding of the threats identified in the Recovery Strategy for the Western Chorus Frog especially urban sprawl, agricultural intensification in relation to the need to maintain connectivity between the metapopulations in the Montérégie Region. This understanding is based upon analyzing connectivity within and between metapopulations, identifying areas of importance for maintaining connectivity.

Funding source: Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).


Andrew Gonzalez

2017-05-17


Adaptation of tropical legumes of the genus Erythrina to pollinators


Photo credits - ALAN SCHMIERER
In angiosperms, flowers exhibit an incredible phenotypic diversity. Their form varries tremendously from one species to another and often reflects the diversity of pollinators; plants tend to adapt in order to maximize the transfer of pollen. We studied the tropical genus Erythrina, that belongs to the legume family, as a model to better understand the evolution of floral form in response to the selection pressures of pollinators. This genus contains 131 species pollinated mainly by birds (hummingbirds and passerines) and bees. Pollination by bees and passerines, considered as the ancestral state, is associated with open flowers, while pollination by hummingbirds has likely evolved more recently. In this project, the shape of the flowers was characterized using geomorphometrics of herbarium specimens, and their evolution was inferred with a molecular phylogeny. Our results show that pollination by hummingbirds has emerged independently several times during evolution, and is accompanied by a series of similar adaptations, such as tubular flowers. This suggests that hummingbirds exert a strong selection pressure, and that the phenotype tends to converge towards a very specific floral form.

Funding source: NSERC, Mutua Madrileña Fund (Madrid, Spain)


Anne Bruneau, Simon Joly, Gonzalo Bilbao Gómez-Martino

Added by: Sébastien Renaut 2017-03-27


Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of Northern North America

A great free online resource



This web publication aims to describe and reference the published literature on traditional animal foods known and used by Indigenous Peoples of northern North America. It features information on the locations of the cultures whose peoples have used, and often continue to use, these foods. The publication focuses on Canada, Alaska, Greenland and the northern United States of America, but many of the animal species presented here also occur in the northern latitudes of Europe and Asia. In sum, data for 527 species of animals is presented, drawing information from over 490 ethnographic sources, an additional 91 unique sources reporting nutritional information, and 357 sources containing basic biological information. Click here for more info.

Funding source: CINE, Grid Arendal


Murray Humphries

Added by: Guillaume Larocque


Biodiversity responses to hydroelectric reservoir management

Featured in Canal Savoir


Photo credits - Raphaelle Thomas
Hydrological modifications to lakes and rivers are a pervasive form of environmental change in Quebec and around the world. While there are clear social benefits to regulate aquatic ecosystems (e.g. flood control, hydroelectricity), the ecological impacts are less clear and represent issues that local communities in Quebec are wrestling with. In particular, winter water level drawdowns are a common practice in north temperate reservoirs, but ecological research on this topic is limited. In partnership with QCBS and local community groups, we have conducted a synthesis of the literature as well as a field survey of reservoirs. Our research has shown that many juvenile and adult fish populations show a surge in abundance following reservoir creation but fish communities as a whole appear to be unaffected by the level of water level drawdown. In contrast, high macroinvertebrate abundances tend to only occur in nearshore sites if they are not exposed by drawdown, suggesting that benthic resources for fish could be limiting. We are now evaluating whether fish growth and diets are altered by water level drawdown. Check out the video made by FQRNT and Canal Savoir covering our preliminary findings. See video here. Click here for more info.



The LEAP project

A state-of-the-art infrastructure for experiments on freshwater ecosystems


Photo credits - Andrew Gonzalez
LEAP is a state-of-the-art field infrastructure for experiments with aquatic ecosystems. The site includes a laboratory and an array of 96 freshwater pond ecosystems located in the research area of the Gault Nature Reserve (GNR), Mont Saint Hilaire, Qc. Many key features of these pond mesocosms can be manipulated. We will combine methods in experimental community ecology and evolution to probe the response of the evolving freshwater ecosystems, held under controlled conditions, as they respond to multiple environmental stressors. Questions related to the evolutionary resilience of freshwater ecosystems are central to Quebec's environmental concerns because 10% of the surface of Quebec is covered by freshwater (e.g., half-a-million lakes). LEAP will foster Quebec's and Canada's commitments to environmental policy by providing research at the cutting edge of applied ecology and evolution at a time of rapid global change. LEAP is embedded in a national and international network of collaborators. LEAP will engage many students and postdoc and so will be a source of highly qualified professionals at a time of growing need for basic knowledge about the resilience of natural ecosystems to anthropogenic environmental change. Click here for more info.

Funding source: Canada Foundation for Innovation, Liber Ero Chair in Conservation Biology, NSERC and McGill University.


Andrew Gonzalez