Paul A. del Giorgio

Paul A. del Giorgio

Départment des sciences biologiques
Université du Québec à Montréal

Chair title

NSERC /HydroQuébec Industrial Research Chair in Carbon Biogeochemistry in Boreal Aquatic Systems

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2009


In the vast Québec boreal and taiga landscapes, freshwaters may comprise over 20% of the landscape, and yet these northern aquatic ecosystems are not considered in any regional C inventories and models. In addition, hydroelectric projects have profoundly altered these landscapes, and their regional C budgets. The real impact of these vast impoundments has been to date difficult to quantify, in part because we lack basic knowledge on the natural C sinks and sources of these remote regions, including those associated to surface waters. There is thus a fundamental scientific, as well as social and industrial need to study these northern aquatic systems.

The NSERC-HydroQuébec Industrial Research Chair will develop a long-term, integrative research program on the carbon biogeochemistry of boreal aquatic systems in Québec, designed to advance our basic understanding of the functioning of these systems and of their role in the regional C cycle.

The research program will explore the temporal and spatial variability of organic matter and greenhouse gases in lakes and rivers in different regions of Northern Québec, and their links to landscape and climatic variables. The objectives are to develop robust inventories of aquatic C sources and sinks for the northern landscapes, regional empirical and mechanistic models for aquatic greenhouse gas dynamics and carbon storage, and to increase our understanding of the regulation of the key processes involved, and of the influence of environmental and climate change in these processes.

Paul del Giorgio has experience in freshwater and marine ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry and in large-scale studies. The industrial partner will support the program financially, by facilitating the field logistics in northern regions, and also by sharing data and information. The program will provide industry and government agencies with tools that can be used to improve current estimates of boreal C sources and sinks, and to assess the net impact of the construction of reservoirs on regional C budgets. The Chair also aims at promoting national and international cooperation on aquatic boreal research as well as providing training in boreal ecology and aquatic biogeochemistry.


  • Hydro-Québec

Contact information

Départment des sciences biologiques
Université du Québec à Montréal
114 avenue du President-Kennedy
C.P .8888 Succ. Centre-Ville
Montréal, Québec
H3C 3P8

Tel.: 514-987-3000, ext. 2072
Fax: 514-987-4647


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