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Selected results and publications

The Sentinel North teams are joining forces to generate knowledge and technological advances that lead to a better understanding of the changing northern environment, and its impact on human health. Below are a few selected impact research results that have been released as scientific articles, publications or presentations.


To consult the full list of publications from Sentinel North teams, click here.



Early results from Sentinel North are shedding light on the complex interactions between human health and the environment in the North through convergence research and the development of new approaches and innovative technologies.

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January 2021

Efficiency of sympagic-benthic coupling revealed by analyses of n-3 fatty acids, IP25 and other highly branched isoprenoids in two filter-feeding Arctic benthic molluscs: Mya truncata and Serripes groenlandicus

  • Based on lipid analyses in filter-feeding benthic molluscs, Amiraux et al. were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of pelagic-benthic coupling in the Arctic as well as the importance of sympagic production in the supply of essential fatty acids to benthic organisms.


Deep learning-enabled framework for automatic lens design starting point generation

  • In Optics Express, Côté et al. present a deep learning framework to generate high-quality lens design starting points. The framework is readily accessible through a web application.


Trait‐based approach using in situ copepod images reveals contrasting ecological patterns across an Arctic ice melt zone

  • In Limnology & Oceanography, Vilgrain et al. used images from an underwater imaging system deployed under the ice and showed how copepod morphology (size, color) and posture (activity, rest) vary with sea ice dynamics and spring phytoplankton growth.


December 2020

Reliance of deep-sea benthic macrofauna on ice-derived organic matter highlighted by multiple trophic markers during spring in Baffin Bay, Canadian Arctic

  • Using several trophic markers, Yunda-Guarin et al. highlight the importance of sea ice algae as a primary food source for deep benthic consumers at different trophic levels in Baffin Bay in the Canadian Arctic Ocean.


Curvature sensing using a hybrid polycarbonate-silica multicore fiber

  • Published in Optics Express, this article by Boilard et al. present the fabrication and characterization of an innovative fiber optic-based curvature sensor with increased sensitivity and flexible design that can be used in a wide range of applications.


Environmental and Biological Determinants of Algal Lipids in Western Arctic and Subarctic Seas

  • In Frontiers in Environmental Science, V. Marmillot et al. evaluate variations in phytoplankton lipid synthesis in different regions of the Canadian Arctic. The authors highlight the primordial role of taxonomic composition, the environment and the formation of sub-surface maximum chlorophyll for the production of essential fatty acids that will be transferred throughout the food chains.


November 2020

Witnessing ice habitat collapse in the Arctic

  • In the Perspectives column of Science, Warwick Vincent and Derek Mueller review studies carried out over two decades highlighting the impacts of the gradual disappearance of glacial habitats in the High Arctic.


Stress factors resulting from the Arctic vernal sea-ice melt: Impact on the viability of bacterial communities associated with sympagic algae

  • In this study, Amiraux et al. showed that the bacteria present in the ice pack undergo different stresses when the ice melts. These stresses lead to a reduction in bacterial activity associated with an increase in mortality (up to 75% of dead bacteria).


October 2020

A polyphenol-rich cranberry extract protects against endogenous exposure to persistent organic pollutants during weight loss in mice

  • In this study in mice, Choi et al. prove the concept that the intestinal microbiota can be used to decrease the levels of circulating pollutants in the context of obesity. By targeting the intestinal microbiota with a prebiotic, the metabolic health of the animals was further improved and the relative amount of pollutants decreased.


Seasonal Regime Shift in the Viral Communities of a Permafrost Thaw Lake

  • Girard et al. identify 351 viral populations in a thermokarst pool, many of which are new phages and prophages. Through their work, they reveal increased diversity in summer and unexpected similarity with other viral populations from remote swampy lakes.


Perfluoroalkyl acids in pregnant women from Nunavik (Quebec, Canada): Trends in exposure and associations with country foods consumption

  • Élyse Caron-Beaudoin, Pierre Ayotte, Caty Blanchette, Gina Muckle, Ellen Avard, Sylvie Ricard and Mélanie Lemire reveal that certain perfluoroalkylated acids have been detected in increasing numbers among pregnant Inuit women, leading to numerous adverse effects on their health.


Control and enhancement of photo-induced refractive index modifications in fused silica

  • Through the design of a sensor capable of studying cardiometabolic and mental health in relation with the gut microbiota, researchers Jérôme Lapointe, Jean-Philippe Bérubé, Samuel Pouliot and Réal Vallée have succeeded in solving problems limiting ultrafast laser inscription in the silica glass that makes up optical fibers. The method is published in OSA Continuum


September 2020

Contrasting nonphotochemical quenching patterns under high light and darkness aligns with light niche occupancy in Arctic diatoms

  • In this paper, Croteau et al. demonstrate that diatom microalgae (main primary producers in the Arctic) respond differently to light variations and transitions to darkness depending on their living environment.


Arctic mid-winter phytoplankton growth revealed by autonomous profilers

  • Achim Randelhoff's work shows that phytoplankton continues to grow even during winter in the Arctic, despite the almost total absence of light. This discovery opens up new avenues for the study of the marine food chain, and was published in Science Advances.


July 2020

Extreme warming and regime shift toward amplified variability in a far northern lake

  • In this study published in Limnology and Oceanography, Warwick Vincent's team presents the first continuous measurements of limnological conditions in Canada's northernmost lake. This lake is one of the last in the High Arctic to lose its perennial ice cover, resulting in significant ecological disturbance and interannual variability.


Spatial representations of melanopic light in architecture

  • In Architectural Science Review, Philippe Lalande, Claude M. H. Demers, Jean-François Lalonde and Marc Hébert present a photographic and photometric capture tool capable of generating visual representations that bring to the forefront the photobiological aspect of light. This parameter is of prime importance in the design of buildings in northern environments.


June 2020

Potential therapeutic applications of the gut microbiome in obesity: from brain function to body detoxification

  • In The International Journal of Obesity, Béatrice S.-Y. Choi, Laurence Daoust, Geneviève Pilon, André Marette and Angelo Tremblay observe that intervening at the microbiota level can have benefits on three conditions related to obesity : mood disorders, eating behaviors, and body detoxification of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).


May 2020

A Conceptual Model for Anticipating the Impact of Landscape Evolution on Groundwater Recharge in Degrading Permafrost Environments

  • In Geophysical Research Letters, N.-L. Young, J.‐M. Lemieux, H. Delottier, R. Fortier and P. Fortier examine how different types of vegetation affect groundwater recharge in the Arctic. 


No COVID-19 in snow geese, concludes Université Laval study

  • By joining forces in ecology, population health, and infectiology, teams from three Sentinel North Research Chairs led by Professors Pierre Legagneux, Mélanie Lemire and Gary Wong are demonstrating that snow geese are not carriers of the virus responsible for COVID-19. In doing so, they are responding to the concerns of their indigenous partners, for whom this species contributes significantly to food security. 


Extreme Viral Partitioning in a Marine-Derived High Arctic Lake

  • In American Society for Microbiology, Myriam Labbé, Catherine Girard, Warwick F. Vincent and Alexander Culley highlight distinct and divergent virus populations in the northernmost lakes of the world. 


April 2020

Nonlinear increase, invisibility, and sign inversion of a localized fs-laser-induced refractive index change in crystals and glasses

  • In Light: Science & Applications, Jérôme Lapointe, Jean-Philippe Bérubé, Yannick Ledemi, Albert Dupont, Vincent Fortin, Younès Messaddeq and Réal Vallée of the COPL demonstrate a new physical phenomenon of light. 


Faster Atlantic currents drive poleward expansion of temperate phytoplankton in the Arctic Ocean

  • In Nature Communications, Marcel Babin, Philippe Massicotte, Achim Randelhoff and their colleagues highlight some indicators of the "atlantification" of the Arctic Ocean (surface velocity of North Atlantic currents, and spatial distribution of the algae EHUX), which may lead to potential alterations in the Arctic marine food chain and biogeochemical cycles.


Population structure and genomic evidence for local adaptation to freshwater and marine environments in anadromous Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) throughout Nunavik, Canada

  • New data on the genetic diversity of northern Arctic charr populations could help local and regional decision-makers in fisheries management and Arctic charr conservation, reveals the article by Xavier Dallaire, Éric Normandeau, Julien Mainguy, Jean-Éric Tremblay, Louis Bernatchez and Jean-Sébastien Moore in bioRxiv


March 2020

Pan-Arctic Ocean Primary Production Constrained by Turbulent Nitrate Fluxes

  • In Frontiers in Marine Science, Achim Randelhoff, Johanna Holding, Markus Janout, Mikael Kristian Sejr, Marcel Babin, Jean-Éric Tremblay and Matthew B. Alkire present new observations on nitrate inventory and its quality as a reliable proxy of Arctic primary production.


When the protection of a threatened species depends on the economy of a foreign nation

  • By combining biological observations and innovative numerical analysis methods, researcher Daniel Fortin and his collaborators have discovered a key determinant of the woodland caribou conservation. Read it in PLOSOne. 


Type 2 diabetes influences bacterial tissue compartmentalisation in human obesity

  • A team led by André Marette has revealed in Nature Metabolism that a distinct bacterial signature is present in people with type-2 diabetes, an important breakthrough that will allow further research on this disease.

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