Analyze the outcomes identified using existing indicators and develop new indicators for the impact of climate change on ecosystems

Context and project description

The impact of climate change on biodiversity is likely to become more serious in the years to come. The changes to precipitation and the flow of the river will have consequences on the ecosystem and thus on species that are part of it. To foresee the influence and impact of the phenomenon over the long term, digital models must be developed that take into account the direct effects of climate change on water levels, velocities and temperatures, combined with “biological” models, habitats, species, or groups of indicator species (wildlife and plants).

This project consists first of quantifying the effect of climate change on the river's ecosystem using existing biological indicators and based on modelling that predicts the effects of water flow and temperature according to various hydroclimatological scenarios. This modelling analysis will be complemented by contributions by specialists in groups of wildlife and plants. The second stage of the project will be to develop new geological indicators and improve existing indicators. Models will thus be developed for anurans (frogs and toads), benthos, species at risk, various species of fish, including perch, and wet meadows.

Results

This project generated a number of interesting results, even though its ultimate objective was not achieved. For example, mapping of submerged plants in various parts of Lake Saint-Pierre was updated. In addition, the models for northern pike spawning habitat and common reed were improved. New models were designed for lake sturgeon and white perch spawning habitats and northern pike rearing habitat. Those models will help measure the impacts of climate change on ecosystem biodiversity in a number of sectors in the St. Lawrence.

Participating departments

Government of Canada

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs