Exotic invasion, aquatic biodiversity, and ecosystem health
The St. Lawrence River is among one of the most invaded aquatic ecosystems in the world, and yet, spatial environmental heterogeneity created by its confluence with the Ottawa River may play a role in maintaining the integrity of native freshwater communities (Derry et al. 2013 Functional Ecology). More recently, we found that refuges in the form of regional-scale ion gradients and local-scale wetlands in the Saint-Lawrence River have an important yet under-appreciated role in synergistically maintaining native fish and macroinvertebrate community diversity in face of exotic invasion (Astorg et al. 2020. Biological Invasions).
My students and I conduct research on the role of plasticity versus local adaptation in enhancing co-existence of native species with exotic species at invaded sites. For related projects, please see Louis Astorg.
We also examine the effects of the invasive round goby on the nutritive quality and contaminant loading of the nearshore food web in the Upper St. Lawrence River, in partnership with the St. Lawrence River Environmental Institute. For related projects, please see Cristina Charette.