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$2.8 million for research into the impact of climate change on tundra wildlife
Date:10/24/2007

Quebec City, October 24, 2007Professor Gilles Gauthier of Universit Lavals Centre dtudes nordiques has been awarded close to $2.8 million to set up the ArticWOLVES project as part of International Polar Year. Bringing together some forty researchers from nine countries, the research project aims to better understand the impact of climate change on insects, birds, and mammals in polar ecosystems.

Dating back to the 1960s, Centre dtudes nordiques (CEN) is Universit Lavals oldest research center.Gilles Gauthier and UQARs Dominique Berteauxboth affiliated to CENcreated the ArcticWOLVES (Wildlife Observatories Linking Vulnerable EcoSystems) project to better understand the impact of climate change on interaction between speciesplants, herbivores, predatorsin the tundra. Scientists know that rising average temperatures and shrinking glaciers in the Arctic will have a considerable impact on ecosystems, affecting the distribution and abundance of species. There is an urgent need to document the direct and indirect effects of climate change on the biodiversity of tundra wildlife and to predict the future impacts of these changes on species through followup work in the field and models, explained Gilles Gauthier.

The ArcticWOLVES program is considered an important part of International Polar Year, both in Canada and abroad. The project will build a network of circumpolar wildlife observatories to determine the current status of Arctic food webs (species interaction) over a large geographical range. Universit Laval vice rector of research and creation Edwin Bourget believes that collaboration between Canadian and International Polar Year authorities and national and territorial parks in Nunavut, the Yukon, and Manitoba, combined with the expertise of Centre dtudes nordiques researchers, will ensure that this exciting project is a success.

To illustrate the project approach, professor Gauthier cited the example of the lemming, a small rodent that
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Contact: Martin Guay
martin.guay@dap.ulaval.ca
418-656-3952
Universit Laval
Source:Eurekalert

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