Émilie Desjardins

Université du Québec à Rimouski
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Dominique Berteaux
François Vézina
Andrew Tam, Department of National Defence
Start: 2021-05-03
End: 2024-12-02
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Conservation of biodiversity at the northernmost inhabited site on the planet in a context of global warming
Arctic biodiversity faces several threats, including habitat degradation caused by human activities, ecosystem modification resulting from global warming, as well as colonization by non-native species. The influence of these threats is not uniform and depends heavily on the biotic, topographical, and climatic conditions specific to the local ecosystem, as well as on human use. In addition, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge about the structure and functioning of arctic ecosystems, as well as an absence of temporal reference on the state of biodiversity, which decreases our ability to understand and mitigate current and future changes. My doctoral project taking place near Canadian Force Station (CFS) Alert (Nunavut), will develop new knowledge and understanding of biodiversity from the polar desert, will create biodiversity baselines, and will develop local biodiversity management plans. My project aims to (1) establish an updated inventory of vascular plants in Alert, (2) map the habitats by classifying them into major physiognomic types: xeric habitats, mesic habitats and wetlands, (3) determine the habitats used by animal species with conservation status (e.g. Peary caribou and Red knot), (4) assess the ecological role of snowbanks, which slow summer melting irrigates and maintains adjacent wetlands, thus creating essential habitats for flora and fauna, (5) identify the sites most likely to be colonized by non-native plant species, and finally (6 ) develop and present to the Department of National Defense a biodiversity management plan with measures to protect local biodiversity and allow the recovery of species with conservation status.


tundra ecosystem, high Arctic, vegetation survey, habitat map, species at risk, biodiversity management plan, human activities


1- Vascular plant communities in the polar desert of Alert (Ellesmere Island, Canada): Establishment of a baseline reference for the 21st century
Desjardins, Émilie, Sandra Lai, Serge Payette, François Vézina, Andrew Tam, Dominique Berteaux
2021 Écoscience

2- Survey of the vascular plants of Alert (Ellesmere Island, Canada), a polar desert at the northern tip of the Americas
Desjardins, Émilie, Sandra Lai, Serge Payette, Martin Dubé, Paul C. Sokoloff, Annie St-Louis, Marie-Pier Poulin, Jade Legros, Luc Sirois, François Vézina, Andrew Tam, Dominique Berteaux
2021 Check List