Émilie Saulnier-Talbot, Départements de biologie et de géographie
I am an assistant professor in the departments of biology (Faculty of science and engineering) and of geography (Faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics) at Laval University. I am associated with both the Institute for Integrative and Systems Biology (IBIS) and Québec-Océan. I hold the Research Chair in Coastal Ecosystems and Port, Industrial and Maritime Activities, in partnership with the Port of Sept-Îles and the Northern Institute for Research in Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (INREST). I am a paleolimnologist by training, that is, I study the sedimentary archives that accumulate at the bottom of lakes and coastal areas in order to better understand the long-term dynamics of these environments. My research is mainly carried out from the perspective of the problem of anthropogenic impacts on the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems and geosystems within the context of global change. My experience encompasses various aquatic environments at varying latitudes (cold, temperate, tropical) and my toolkit includes several groups of bioindicators and biogeochemical tracers.
The research carried out in my coastal geoecology laboratory is part of a multidisciplinary framework that aims to integrate integrative biology and systems approaches in order to better understand the dynamics of aquatic environments at different scales of time and space. My team and I are currently developing new tools to infer long-term environmental conditions in high-use coastal areas, with the bay of Sept-Îles (Quebec, Canada) as a model site. These tools include quantitative models of environmental inference based on various groups of bioindicators (siliceous microalgae, benthic and planktonic microfauna), as well as molecular approaches to assess spatio-temporal changes in biodiversity (algal and bacterial pigments, sedimentary and ancient DNA) in connection with environmental variations. Using these approaches, we aim to improve knowledge about the long-term environmental dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. This allows us, among other things, to better disentangle the effects of anthropogenic impacts from natural variations within these ecosystems. Ultimately, this knowledge inform and enhance management capacities for this type of environment in the context of the ongoing global upheavals.