It is generally assumed that species’ responses to variations in climate are largely determined by the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of their marginal populations (those at the edges of their geographic ranges). The boreal forest in northern Quebec is warming twice as fast as the global average—so we should expect a more significant change in the patterns of boreal biodiversity in this area.
Dr. Guillaume de Lafontaine, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Biology of Northern Flora, is studying the ecological, biogeographic and evolutionary responses of boreal and montane flora to environmental variations induced by historical and current changes. He and his research team are studying these responses to gain a global perspective—from the gene to the ecosystem. They are structuring their work around three research axes, addressing the local adaptation (resilience dynamics), migration (expansion dynamics) and collapse (decline dynamics) of marginal populations on the edges of their species’ ranges.