Murray M. Humphries Research People Research Equipment Pictures Collaborators & Funding

Xavier Giroux-Bougard

MSc Candidate McGill University (started 01/2012)
BSc University of Ottawa (2011)

NRS Lab: 3-051 Macdonald-Stewart Building
NRS Tel: (514) 398-7890
NRS Fax: (514) 398-7990

CINE Lab: B-5


MSc Research

Landscape genetics of muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) in Old Crow Flats, Yukon

As part of a community-based research partnership investigating environmental change and traditional use of the Old Crow Flats (OCF) by the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), my research will focus on muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus). Due to its importance as a traditional source of fur and food, muskrats are of great economic and cultural significance to the VGFN. Understanding the effects of landscapes and climate on this valuable resource is especially important in the North, where the most rapid climatic changes are taking place. Ongoing research on muskrats in the Old Crow Flats has focused on lake productivity, lake depth and ice phenology to explain spatial variation in their abundance (Jeremy Brammer, Ph.D. Research). I would like to complement this approach by using a landscape genetics framework.

Landscape genetics is a rapidly emerging, interdisciplinary field that combines population genetics and landscape ecology in an effort to use this genetic data to its best potential. By exploring the relationship between landscape configuration and gene flow, this new field provides a powerful means to study the effects of environmental, spatial and temporal variables on genetic patterns within a given population. I am interested in using these new tools to explore the effects of watershed connectivity on gene flow within muskrat populations. Using georeferenced tissue samples of muskrats trapped across the OCF wetland complex, I will explore the patterns and barriers in a wetland landscape that influence genetic variability within a population as well as explain the genetic distance between subpopulations.

Top of the Page

Created: January 2012
Last Updated: January 2014