Why studying the Arctic?
The Arctic represents something unique in each of our minds. This frozen world, a crucial habitat for emblematic species, feeds the imagination of kids as well as adults. But many people are so far removed from the North that they are not aware of the major issues reshaping its face. Warming of the Arctic is twice as fast as the global average and triggers Arctic sea ice loss, which, eventually, might completely disappear during the summer. Moreover, there are increasing interests for industrial developments in the Arctic.
Given these interacting and complex changes, research is needed to develop baseline knowledge on Arctic ecosystems and evaluate how ongoing and future environmental pressures may affect Arctic flora and fauna on which northern communities rely for their livelihoods and cultures. In turn, this knowledge is critical to bolster global climate change mitigation and to guide conservation and sustainable management of Arctic regions.
The Arctic and Antarctica have long fascinated me, and I am now contributing, as a researcher with >10 years of polar research experience, in studying polar marine ecosystems and ecosystem services (the benefits ecosystems provide to humans) in the context of environmental changes. My research further aims to guide conservation and sustainable management of Arctic marine ecosystems and resources. I was very honored to be named amongst the Top 30 leaders in sustainability under 30-year-old of Canada (Magazine Corporate Knights; 2016), and as a Clean50 Emerging Leader (2018), in recognition of my engaged research and science communication efforts.
My background & current research
I have over 10 years of experience working in polar marine sciences, including five oceanographic missions, some as the team lead, and extensive community-based work with Inuit communities. I started to work in northern research at the onset of my B.Sc. as a research assistant for Dr. Louis Fortier, then completed an M.Sc. in marine biology with Dr. Louis Fortier and Dr. Dominique Robert. In my M.Sc. (Université Laval, Quebec City), I studied climate-related invasions of boreal fish species in Arctic waters and how they could alter Arctic marine food webs. Between my M.Sc. and Ph.D., I worked as a research professional in the Arctic and Antarctica as part of research programs led by ArcticNet, Takuvik and the French Polar Institute, a period during which I conceptualized my Ph.D. Reflecting on my master’s research and its findings, I was asking myself many more questions about how Arctic marine ecosystem change has been, and will be, unfolding in the future, and the implications for local and global communities. To answer some of these questions, I completed a Ph.D. (McGill University, Montreal) with Dr. Elena Bennett to study Arctic marine food webs and marine ecosystem services in the context of environmental changes, through a transdisciplinary approach rooted in marine ecology, linking with other disciplines and collaborating with Inuit Knowledge holders. Currently a Weston Family Postdoctoral Northern Researcher at Université Laval, I continue to advance science on marine ecosystem change in the context of climate change in the Arctic, including how ecological changes have cascading effects of marine ecosystem services, including Arctic Char fisheries, which are critical for food security and health in Indigenous coastal communities.
Science communication & research values
I am also an avid science communicator in both English and French since >10 years. Science communication and education can contribute to science literacy in society, which is of foremost importance in the times we are living in. When engaging youth from diverse backgrounds, science outreach can also eventually encourage more diversity in science through stimulating youth interests and exposing them to different models of scientists. I thus love to share my experiences and insights as an early career woman scientist, through science communication and outreach activities, especially with youth, in both the North and the South of Canada. Many of my activities are compiled on this website; I have organized youth and general public workshops, produced videos, wrote articles for different media outlets about Arctic-related topics, and I regularly share material through new media (including via my Twitter account @Marianne_Fa). Furthermore, I have been engaged in fostering opportunities for early career scientists. In that line, I have been actively involved on the board of APECS Canada - Canada's National Council of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists - since 2015, including as the Chair in 2017-18. APECS Canada pursues different outreach activities related to polar science, and works to foster networking and cooperation among international and national early career polar scientists.
In addition, I strongly advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in science, and spearheaded different initiatives in this regard. For instance, I co-developed and led a training workshop for early-career researchers on how to collaborate with Indigenous communities as part of academic research (entitled the Intercultural Indigenous Workshops), organized an interactive workshop on women in polar sciences at a Gordon Research Conference, and contributed to the development of an Arctic research code of conduct for ArcticNet and other northern organizations,with strong notions related to EDI during fieldwork.
Education and appointments
My full CV is available on demand.
2020 - Present
Postdoctoral researcher, Applied Ecology, Université Laval
Supervisors: Dr. Mélanie Lemire and Dr. Jean-Sébastien Moore
2014 - 2019
Ph.D., Natural Resource Sciences (Renewable Resources), McGill University
Supervisor: Dr. Elena M. Bennett
2012 - 2014
Master of Science (Summa cum laude), Biology, Université Laval
Supervisors: Dr. Louis Fortier and Dr. Dominique Robert (Memorial University, Newfoundland)
2009 - 2012
Bachelor of Science, Biology, Université Laval
Honours’ supervisor: Dr. Louis Fortier
International profile and biodiversity concentration