Martin-Hugues St-Laurent

Martin-Hugues St-Laurent
Université du Québec à Rimouski UQAR | uqar · Département de Biologie, Chimie et Géographie

Biologist PhD

About

115
Publications
36,890
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1,856
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2008 - present
Université du Québec à Rimouski UQAR
Position
  • Professor in animal ecology

Publications

Publications (115)
Article
Over the last decades, the increasing intensity of timber harvesting and the changes in forestry practices have impacted the population dynamics of many wildlife species. Moose (Alces alces americana) densities have strongly increased, leading to an extensive pressure on vegetation but also to the growing popularity and socioeconomic benefits of sp...
Article
Foraging is a key behaviour, and several aspects of foraging remain to be investigated in many wild species. Low energy gain or reduced protein, nutrient, and mineral intake may explain poor individual condition, low reproductive output, high mortality, and, in extreme cases, population declines. Our study explores how foraging ecology, diet compos...
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Lethal population control has a history of application to wildlife management and conservation. There is debate about the efficacy of the practice, but more controversial is the ethical justification and methods of killing one species in favor of another. This is the situation facing the conservation of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)...
Article
Many boreal populations of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) have declined in Canada, a trend essentially driven by the increasing footprint of anthropogenic disturbances and the resulting habitat-mediated apparent competition that increases predation pressure. However, the influence of climate change on these ecological processes remain...
Article
Decades of expansion of industrial resource extraction in boreal forests have resulted in the legacy of thousands of kilometers of linear features (seismic lines, forest roads) that have fragmented several wildlife habitats. The decommissioning of anthropogenic linear features and the restoration of suitable habitat are top priorities for the recov...
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Documenting trophic niche partitioning and resource use within a community is critical to evaluate underlying mechanisms of coexistence, competition, or predation. Detailed knowledge about foraging is essential as it may influence the vital rates, which, in turn, can affect trophic relationships between species, and population dynamics. The aims of...
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Effective species conservation efforts require insight into whether a species’ extent of occurrence may shift due to changing climate, habitat loss, or both. The extent of occurrence of the threatened boreal population of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou; caribou) has contracted due to environmental and anthropogenic disruption, with fur...
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Outbreaks of eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana; hereafter SBW) are a major natural disturbance in coniferous forests of eastern North America. These outbreaks provide a superabundant source of food for insectivorous birds. Three species, referred to as budworm-linked warblers, exhibit strong positive numerical responses to early incr...
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Most songbird species show some degree of fidelity to their previous breeding location, especially after successful reproduction. However, species associated with highly dynamic food sources (e.g., outbreaking insects) may have to adopt more flexible strategies. Three species (Tennessee Warbler, Leiothlypis peregrina ; Cape May Warbler, Setophaga t...
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Landscape complexity can determine the population dynamics of interacting predators and prey. Yet, management plans are commonly developed from aspatial predictive models. This oversight may result in unexpected outcomes or the loss of opportunities to make spatial interventions that would increase a plan's effectiveness. The management of the thre...
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The use of camera traps in ecology helps affordably address questions about the distribution and density of cryptic and mobile species. The random encounter model (REM) is a camera‐trap method that has been developed to estimate population densities using unmarked individuals. However, few studies have evaluated its reliability in the field, especi...
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Linear features are increasing worldwide and, in many jurisdictions, their decommissioning has been identified as a way to restore wildlife habitat. Few studies have assessed restoration practices on forest roads, yet they are the main linear disturbance throughout most circumboreal forests. In boreal forests of eastern Canada, such knowledge would...
Article
The worldwide increase in anthropogenic disturbances imposed by the expansion of land use practices has important effects on vegetation dynamics and animal communities. The North American boreal forest is no exception to this global trend, and there are growing concerns regarding the persistence of linear anthropogenic features across Canada becaus...
Article
Although most predators usually avoid human activity, some individuals instead will habituate to it. Habituation to human presence and infrastructure by predator species such as wolves may lead to conflicts implicating serious risks for public safety and for the survival of the animals involved. Accordingly, this research project aims to shed light...
Article
Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios are used widely to describe wildlife animal diet composition and trophic interactions. To reconstruct consumer diet, the isotopic differences between consumers and their diet items—called the trophic discrimination factor (TDF)—must be known. Proxies of diet composition are sensitive to the accuracy of TDFs...
Article
Modeling functional connectivity in altered landscapes is one of the growing fields of expertise in landscape ecology, and many research teams have proposed different methods to evaluate it for a wide range of species. However, very few have empirically validated the efficiency of such models in discriminating real corridors from theoretical ones....
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Land-use change and climate change are recognized as two main drivers of the current biodiversity decline. Protected areas help safeguard the landscape from additional anthropo-genic disturbances and, when properly designed, can help species cope with climate change impacts. When designed to protect the regional biodiversity rather than to conserve...
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Sustainable forest management relies on practices ensuring vigorous post-harvest regeneration. Data on regeneration structure and composition are often collected through intensive field surveys. Remote sensing technologies (e.g., Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), satellite imagery) can cover a much larger spatial extent, but their ability to est...
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Sustainable forest management relies on practices ensuring vigorous post-harvest regeneration. Data on regeneration structure and composition are often collected through intensive field surveys. Remote sensing technologies (e.g., Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), satellite imagery) can cover a much larger spatial extent, but their ability to est...
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Habitat loss, fragmentation and alteration are frequently identified as important threats to biodiversity, inducing major changes in the structure and composition of species communities and the resulting interspecific interactions. North American woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) populations suffer from habitat modifications and most are...
Article
Mitigation strategies for wildlife-vehicle collisions require sufficient knowledge about why, where and when collisions occur in order to be an efficient tool to improve public safety. Collisions with cervids are known to be influenced by spatial factors such as topography and forest cover. However, temporal changes in animal and motorist behaviors...
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The Atlantic-Gaspésie caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) is an endangered, isolated population that has been declining for decades in response to intensive logging. Timber harvesting has led to a significant increase in moose (Alces americanus) densities and has triggered numerical and functional predator responses. Moose are now frequently observ...
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Inter‐individual variability in behavior has been studied extensively for a wide range of species. However, few researchers have considered marginality, defined as the degree to which a choice made by an individual is located at the margins of the distribution of all possible choices available to a particular population. We explored the influence o...
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Human-caused habitat disturbances and climate change are leading threats to biodiversity. Studying the impacts of human activities on wildlife from a behavioral perspective is a relevant starting point to understand the mechanisms underlying population and species resistance and resilience to disturbances. In this study, we assessed the effects of...
Article
1.Network theory increasingly informs wildlife conservation in disturbed landscapes, but with concern increasingly expressed about its application to real‐world situations. The theory predicts that the connectivity of scale‐free networks should be particularly sensitive to the disturbance of highly connected nodes (i.e., hubs). This expectation rel...
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Carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope ratios are increasingly used in ecological studies to evaluate diet composition and trophic relationships. However, lipids may influence stable isotope ratios due to the depletion of 13C in adipose tissues relative to proteins and carbohydrates. δ13C values can be corrected by lipid extraction or nor...
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Studying the response of wildlife to anthropogenic disturbances in light of their evolutionary history may help explain their capacity to adapt to novel ecological conditions. In the North American boreal forest, wildfire has been the main natural disturbance driving ecosystem dynamics for thousands of years. Boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus carib...
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Human-driven habitat fragmentation is increasing worldwide, and consequently many wild populations are subdivided, isolated and reduced in size. These changes in population structure reduce dispersal among subpopulations, limiting gene flow, accelerating genetic differentiation, and reducing genetic diversity and effective population sizes. Habitat...
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Woodland caribou is a Threatened or Endangered subspecies across much of Canada. In many cases, these caribou are declining because of human‐mediated predation in the form of apparent competition. Provincial and federal agencies have employed a number of conservation actions to arrest the decline, but insufficient time and limited replication make...
Article
In northern hardwood forests, light availability is considered to be the main factor limiting seedling and sapling growth. However, field measurement of this variable is time-consuming. To address this issue, we developed random forest regression models to estimate canopy cover from a Landsat 8 OLI image of a northern hardwood forest in northwester...
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Habitat selection has received considerable attention from ecologists during the last decades, yet the underlying forces shaping individual differences in habitat selection are poorly documented. Some of these differences could be explained by the early experience of individuals in their natal habitat. By selecting habitat attributes like those enc...
Article
Une stratégie efficace d’atténuation des collisions routières impliquant la faune requiert de bonnes connaissances des facteurs pouvant expliquer pourquoi, où et quand celles-ci se produisent, afin d’améliorer la sécurité routière. Les collisions routières impliquant des cervidés sont reconnues pour être influencées notamment par des caractéristiqu...
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Future human land use and climate change may disrupt movement behaviors of terrestrial animals, thereby altering the ability of individuals to move across a landscape. Some of the expected changes result from processes whose effects will be difficult to alter, such as global climate change. We present a novel framework in which we use models to (1)...
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Boreal woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) are currently listed as threatened in Canada, with populations in the province of Alberta expected to decline as much as 50 percent over the next 8–15 yr. We assessed the future of caribou habitat across a region of northeast Alberta using a model of habitat‐quality and projections of future clima...
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Collective movement decisions are often based on personal and conspecific knowledge. In fission–fusion animal societies, individuals rarely have the same level of information about their environment, with knowledge being a reflection of past individual and collective decisions. Knowledge of the environment is particularly essential in heterogeneous...
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The Northern Biodiversity Paradox predicts that, despite its globally negative effects on biodiversity, climate change will increase biodiversity in northern regions where many species are limited by low temperatures. We assessed the potential impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of a northern network of 1,749 protected areas spread over >...
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Many studies project future bird ranges by relying on correlative species distribution models. Such models do not usually represent important processes explicitly related to climate change and harvesting, which limits their potential for predicting and understanding the future of boreal bird assemblages at the landscape scale. In this study, we att...
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The Atlantic-Gaspésie caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) population is a small isolated relict herd considered endangered according to the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA). This population has low recruitment and survival rates but the potential role of parasites on individual fitness is unknown. In this context, we explored the parasite status...
Article
Nature-based activities promote human-fauna encounters, which may be perceived as a type of predation risk. This pattern of human avoidance is well-known, but is often related to major anthropogenic disturbances. The response of animals to less intensive or ephemeral human activities, such as backcountry skiing and hiking is not well studied. Yet,...
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Primary production can determine the outcome of management actions on ecosystem properties, thereby defining sustainable management. Yet human agencies commonly overlook spatio-temporal variations in productivity by recommending fixed resource extraction thresholds. We studied the influence of forest productivity on habitat disturbance levels that...
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Habitat selection studies conducted at the population scale commonly aim to describe general patterns that could improve our understanding of the limiting factors in species-habitat relationships. Researchers often consider interindividual variation in selection patterns to control for its effects and avoid pseudoreplication by using mixed-effect m...
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Conserving species-at-risk requires quantifiable knowledge of the key drivers of population change. Non-linear demographic responses to habitat loss have been documented for many species and may serve to establish quantitative habitat thresholds for management purposes. In Canada, boreal populations of woodland caribou are considered threatened; En...
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Natural resource management professionals require adaptable spatial tools for conserving and managing wildlife across landscapes. These tools should integrate multiple components of habitat quality and incorporate local disturbance regimes. We provide a spatial modeling framework that integrates three components of habitat (nutritional resources, c...
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1.The vast majority of animal species display range fidelity, a space-use behaviour enhancing familiarity with local habitat features. While the fitness benefits of this behaviour have been demonstrated in a variety of taxa, some species or populations rather display infidelity, displacing their home range over time. Others, such as many ungulate s...
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The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Data
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
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Full-text available
Simulated wolf howling sessions are a popular ecotourism activity, but no exhaustive evaluation has been made on their potential impacts on wolf ecology. We evaluated the effects of simulated wolf howling sessions on the space use of gray wolves (Canis lupus L., 1758) in the Montmorency Forest (Quebec, Canada). Although we equipped 22 individuals w...
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Human presence in natural environments is often a source of stress that is perceived by large ungulates as an increased risk of predation. Alternatively, disturbance induced by hikers creates a relatively predator‐free space that may serve as a refuge. We measured the behavioral responses of female caribou to disturbance associated with the presenc...
Article
Spatially explicit individual-based models (SE-IBMs) can simulate species’ movement behaviors. Although such models allow many applications to ecology and conservation biology and are useful for management purposes, they are difficult to parameterize directly from the kinds of observational data that are generally available. Coupled with pattern-or...
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Extensive forest management aims at minimizing differences between managed and natural forests and at contributing to the conservation of endangered species such as the Atlantic-Gaspésie caribou. The decline of this isolated population was exacerbated by intensive forest practices, as the over-representation of regenerating forests supports high de...
Article
Extensive forest management aims at minimizing differences between managed and natural forests and at contributing to the conservation of endangered species such as the Atlantic-Gaspesie caribou. The decline of this isolated population was exacerbated by intensive forest practices, as the over-representation of regenerating forests supports high de...
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Full-text available
Background Freshwater lakes and rivers of the Northern Hemisphere have been freezing increasingly later and thawing increasingly earlier during the last century. With reduced temporal periods during which ice conditions are favourable for locomotion, freshwater bodies could become impediments to the inter-patch movements, dispersion, or migration o...
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Genetic diversity is a key parameter to delineate management units, but many organisms also display ecological characteristics that may reflect potential local adaptations. Here, we used ecological and genetic information to delineate management units for a complex system involving several ecotypes of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) from Québec and Lab...
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1.Prey may trade off resource acquisition with mortality risk by using various habitat-selection strategies. Empirical assessments have shown that the functional and numerical responses of predators to human disturbances are variable, yet spatial changes in predation risk by two predators have seldom been studied for prey occurring in human-modifie...
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In April 2014, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) reviewed the status of caribou in the western mountains of Canada, in keeping with the ten-year reassessment mandate under the Species at Risk Act. Assessed as two ‘nationally significant’ populations in 2002, COSEWIC revised the conservation units for all caribou...