FLapierre-PoulinFlorence Lapierre Poulin

Dominique Berteaux
Codirector: Daniel Fortier

Primary Address

Department of biology, chemistry and geography
Des Ursulines Building, Room C-405.3
Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR)
300 Allée des Ursulines
Rimouski, Qc, Canada
G5L 3A1
(418) 723-1986 ext. 1236

Email: florence.lapierre.poulin@hotmail.com


Project Title

Vulnerability of arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) reproductive dens to climate change in the Canadian High Arctic


Description of the project research

Climate change and animal ecology are two finely related fields of study. Their interaction is notably observable through how climate change may alter the physical structure of faunal habitats. In cold environments, cases of such modifications are frequently observed due to the physical properties of water. In fact, water freezing forms ice, an inherent characteristic of polar climate that has a great influence on habitat structures. However, numerous climate models predict a warming which, because of thawing, could lead to important geomorphologic changes that may affect the ecology of various animal species. For example, arctic foxes (Vulpes lagopus) dig and use dens on which they depend for protection and breeding. In the Canadian High Arctic, one main characteristic of these dens is that they are located in a frozen ground (permafrost) that is hard to dig so that the same dens are used year after year, sometimes during centuries. Foxes rely on the steadiness of these dens for the raising of their young, a crucial step of their life cycle. On Bylot Island, some dens that have been monitored for several years have now collapsed, which raises questions about vulnerability of these structures to climate change. I will thus use the arctic foxes of Bylot Island as a study model to investigate the interaction between climate change and faunal ecology.

Arctic fox, den, collapse, climate change, permafrost


Scholarships and other awards

2014: Interdisciplinary research fellowship, NSERC-CREATE Training Program in Northern Environmental Sciences (Environorth)
2014: Graduate admission scholarship, Université du Québec à Rimouski
2013: Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP), Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
2012: Dean’s award for excellence, University of Rhode Island
2012: Mobility scholarship for studies abroad, Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport du Québec (MELS)
2010: Undergraduate admission scholarship, Université du Québec à Rimouski



Centre for Northern Studies (CEN)
Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS)
Canada Research Chair on Northern Biodiversity
Research group on northern environments (BORÉAS)







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