Meggy Legault

MSc. Student

Université de Montréal

Alain Paquette, Daniel Kneeshaw

Interests and Expertise

The realization of my technique in horticol production adapted to the environment allowed me to develop a strong interest in plant physiology, which prompted me to complete a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. Then, I continued my studies in environmental biogeochemistry to perfect my integration of interdisciplinarity. As part of this master's degree, I took part in a research on the assimilation of trace elements in ombrotrophic peatlands in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Completing this project did only increase my interest in forest and molecular ecology. Currently, I am carrying out a study on the effects of climate change (heat stress and droughts) on the growth of trees in urban forests across Canada, based on dendrochronological analyzes.

Short description of Project

Resilience of urban forest to drought through Canada

Urban forests are essential because of the many ecosystem services they provide such as heat reduction, carbon storage, rainwater control, improved air quality and many more, supporting the environmental and human health. As climate change worsens, temperature is expected to continue to rise. However, it is unclear how climate change will influence the ability of urban forests to provide these ecosystem services, and how they could be managed to maximize their benefits. This project will investigate how trees respond to climatic events in the urban environment and will determine whether urban forests are resilient to these changes. We will asses this based on their location and characteristics, such as species type, age, and growth rate based on dendrochronological analyzes. We will also look at how trees coped with past drought events in order to forecast the effect of future conditions on the urban forest across the major cities in Canada. We will also evaluate the capacity of carbon sequestration and growth of trees across a gradient of urbanization: intensely urbanized (city centers), moderately urbanized (residential), and least urbanized conditions (parks).

Short description of internship with partner

To perfect my skills in dendrochronological analyzes, I will follow a training course at the University of Winnipeg with the professor and former of the research chair in DendroEcology, Jacques Tardif. As part of this training, I will have the chance to learn about the various methods and software used to properly measure tree growth rings. This knowledge transfer will allow me to perform a rigorous analysis of samples collected across Canada and to correlate these results with meteorological data for the past 50 years.

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