Cindy Paquette, PhD candidate, LakePulse HQP committee

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

I am a biologist 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.

LakePulse survey sampling 680 lakes across Canada

Summer 2018: Sampling lakes in July and August with a field team!

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

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

One excellent indicator of water quality, and thus of lake health, is planktonic composition. The traits characterising them can be directly related to different ecosystemic functions. An evaluation of plankton functional composition could help in determining where and how much Canadian lakes have changed as a result of different anthropogenic stressors over the last decades. I will compare zooplankton functional and taxonomic composition between Canada’s ecoregions, link the observed differences to human activities and evaluate how zooplankton have changed since the pre-industrial era.

The general goal of this thesis is to link spatial and temporal zooplankton community structure to anthropogenic disturbances across Canada. Eventually, this work will also increase our knowledge as to which characteristics of zooplankton are good indicators of changes in lakes.

The objectives of this thesis are to explain zooplankton structure, functional composition and distribution between different Canadian regions, to understand what are the consequences of anthropogenic stressors on the community, and to assess how it has changed since its baseline state via paleolimnological analyses. Finally, I will examine the degree of change in zooplankton composition in space and in time via Beta diversity measurement.

Project start to finish dates: May 2017 to May 2021

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