Sandra Lai
Postdoctoral fellow

Chaire de recherche en biodiversité nordique
Université du Québec à Rimouski
Department of Biology, Chemistry and Geography

Supervised by Dr. Dominique Berteaux

Personal website:

Characterization of the trophic network of a polar desert

My project aims at describing, quantifying, and eventually modeling the trophic network of a polar desert located near Alert (82°N, 62°W), Ellesmere Island (Canada), where a Canadian Forces Station (CFS) constitutes the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. This study includes the implementation of a long-term biodiversity monitoring at Alert and requires the synthesis of large amounts of data, including flora and fauna inventories, indices of abundance of wildlife populations covering all species in the ecosystem, phenology (migration and breeding) of several key species and herbivore diet reconstruction through DNA barcoding. Polar deserts are the most remote and least known ecosystems in Canada, but are also the most vulnerable to climate change and increasing human activities. The data and knowledge generated through this work will also help develop a Biodiversity Management Plan for CFS Alert.