I am coming to the Palen lab to conduct PhD research studying impacts of flow regulation by run-of-river hydroelectric projects on fish population and productivity. I have always been deeply interested by the delicate balance between resource development and the conservation of our precious natural ecosystems. Run-of-river projects have increased significantly in numbers and importance in BC in recent decades, a trend that is also seen worldwide. Although run-of-river facilities have arguably less impacts on the environment (and climate) than coal- or oil-based electricity generating industries, I believe the local effects on the river system they disturb should not be overlooked. I hope that my research can inform the necessary trade-offs between energy production and protection of river ecosystems, and contribute to a better understanding of how flow regulation affects the productivity of fish population. More specifically, I hope to study how flow diversion and fluctuation affect the dynamics and productivity of salmonid populations through analysis of monitoring data, and with simulation/modelling projects.
I did my Master’s Degree in Montreal, studying the temporal stability of fish community descriptors in Canadian Shield lakes. I moved to BC in 2007, and spent the following six years (skiing) gathering experience in the academic and consulting worlds. I collaborated with numerous consulting companies, agencies, and universities in Alberta and BC on projects ranging from community ecology, to wildlife, fisheries or vegetation long-term monitoring programs, and monitoring of regulated rivers and reservoirs’ effects on ecosystems. I was mostly involved in the design of studies, field work, report writing, and biostatistical analyses. The experience gathered as a consultant widened my understanding and appreciation of research in biology, and of its applicability and relevance to the political, economic and ethical realities of our world. I come back to academia excited to participate in interesting and relevant research, and hoping to help make this world a better place.