Cindy Paquette, PhD student, LakePulse HQP committee

Département des sciences biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

I am specialized in aquatic ecology, and more precisely on plankton communities and on the impacts of climate change on these micro-organisms. I’m interested in the consequences of urban development and anthropization on lake ecosystems.

Research project

Drivers of zooplankton structure and function over large spatial and temporal scales across Canada

Zooplankton community composition can be an excellent indicator of water quality or trophic status, and can be used to trace historic changes in lakes. As part of the LakePulse Network I will evaluate zooplankton functional and taxonomic structure in 680 lakes distributed across Canada.

Pelagic zooplankton composition will be analysed along with spatial indicators, to reveal differences among Canadian ecozones. I will also evaluate the main local environmental drivers of zooplankton assemblages. Human land-use in the watershed will be compared to the relative importance of spatial and environmental variables on zooplankton communities. Finally, sediment cores will be used to compare contemporary water column communities to those from the pre-industrial era to determine how and where they have changed during the Anthropocene.

This is the first study to analyse factors affecting zooplankton at these spatial and temporal scales across Canada. My results will help in determining the health status of Canadian lakes in order to better manage freshwater resources and maintain lake ecosystem services.

Project start to finish dates: May 2017 to May 2021

Supervisors: Beatrix Beisner (UQAM) and Irene Gregory-Eaves (McGill)

LakePulse survey sampling 680 lakes across Canada

Summer 2018: Sampling lakes in July and August in Saskatchewan and Alberta with the Red Team.

Summer 2017: Red team (8 weeks) and Blue team (1 week).
I was responsible for gases measurements, fluoroprobe and RBR profiles and syringe filtrations.

Cindy-Paquette