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Bibliography of the Maurice Lamontagne Institute

Pierre NELLIS

GIGUÈRE, N., P. NELLIS, G.H. TREMBLAY, M. GIANGIOPPI, H.-F. ELLEFSEN, A. MAGASSOUBA, S. COMTOIS, C. SAVENKOFF, R. DUFOUR, 2011. Démarche d’évaluation du risque : développement d’outils et application à la zone de fraie et d’alevinage du capelan. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat., 2947, 45 p .

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This pilot project is linked to current national work and applies the theoretical notions of a risk analysis in the context of a real situation: capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. While phase I resulted in the identification and the formulation of the problem through the development of Pathways of Effects (PoE) models, phase II, presented in this report, focusses on the development of a proposed risk assessment procedure and associated tools to be applied. The procedure is composed of four types of analysis: analyses of predicted conditions, measured conditions, and desired conditions, and a comparative analysis of conditions. The human activities and stressors identified in PoE models that potentially affect the capelin spawning / larval retention area were used to develop and apply the tools. To do this, Gallix beach, located in the region of Sept-Îles (Quebec, Canada), was selected as the ecological unit of reference. The proposed risk assessment procedure contributed to the development of a tool to analyze the predicted conditions. To carry out the three remaining types of analysis, other avenues were explored. All in all, the second phase of the pilot project demonstrated that tools can be developed to be versatile, flexible, and to perform well when used in a real context. Lastly, the work confirmed that risk assessment within a risk analysis process can help decision makers define priorities and subsequently focus their efforts on the management and regulation of activities that have greater potential social, cultural, or economic impacts.

GIGUÈRE, N., P. NELLIS, G.H. TREMBLAY, M. GIANGIOPPI, H.-F. ELLEFSEN, A. MAGASSOUBA, S. COMTOIS, C. SAVENKOFF, R.DUFOUR, 2011. Risk assessment procedure : development of tools and application in the capelin spawning. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci.,2947, 44 p .

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This pilot project is linked to current national work and applies the theoretical notions of a risk analysis in the context of a real situation: capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. While phase I resulted in the identification and the formulation of the problem through the development of Pathways of Effects (PoE) models, phase II, presented in this report, focusses on the development of a proposed risk assessment procedure and associated tools to be applied. The procedure is composed of four types of analysis: analyses of predicted conditions, measured conditions, and desired conditions, and a comparative analysis of conditions. The human activities and stressors identified in PoE models that potentially affect the capelin spawning / larval retention area were used to develop and apply the tools. To do this, Gallix beach, located in the region of Sept-Îles (Quebec, Canada), was selected as the ecological unit of reference. The proposed risk assessment procedure contributed to the development of a tool to analyze the predicted conditions. To carry out the three remaining types of analysis, other avenues were explored. All in all, the second phase of the pilot project demonstrated that tools can be developed to be versatile, flexible, and to perform well when used in a real context. Lastly, the work confirmed that risk assessment within a risk analysis process can help decision makers define priorities and subsequently focus their efforts on the management and regulation of activities that have greater potential social, cultural, or economic impacts.

GIGUÈRE, N., L. PERREAULT, P. NELLIS, C. SAVENKOFF, F.BILODEAU, M. GIANGIOPPI, G.H. TREMBLAY, R. DUFOUR, S. COMTOIS, F. GRÉGOIRE, 2011. Pathways of effects (PoE) model development for capelin conservation as part of a risk analysis process. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2934, 78 p .

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The purpose of the first phase of this pilot project was to create Pathways of Effects (PoE) models for capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence as part of a risk analysis process. When conducting this type of analysis, the PoE is created during the identification and problem formulation phase, the goal being to identify the potential relationships that exist between human activities, the stressors generated, and their impacts on a component of the ecosystem, and consequently on the communities that depend on this component. This project is related to the current national work on risk analysis and applies the theoretical notions established in the earlier work in the context of a real situation. In this context, capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence was identified for this project, since capelin is a key species in the marine food chain. During this phase, six PoE models were developed, each illustrating one view of capelin conservation that is either general or specific. Together, these models serve illustrate the relationships that exist between the ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural components as well as such key ecological parameters as the quantity and quality of capelin spawning / larval retention habitat and capelin abundance. The development and application of PoE models using a real situation have confirmed their usefulness as tools for integrating knowledge and for communication; PoEs also play a role in providing support for decision-making and guidance for subsequent steps in the risk analysis process.

GIGUÈRE, N., L. PERREAULT, P. NELLIS, C. SAVENKOFF, F. BILODEAU, M. GIANGIOPPI, G.H. TREMBLAY, R. DUFOUR, S. COMTOIS, F. GRÉGOIRE, 2011. Réalisation de modèles de séquence des effets (SdE) appliqués à la conservation du capelan dans le cadre d'une approche d'analyse de risque. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat., 2934, 83 p .

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The purpose of the first phase of this pilot project was to create Pathways of Effects (PoE) models for capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence as part of a risk analysis process. When conducting this type of analysis, the PoE is created during the identification and problem formulation phase, the goal being to identify the potential relationships that exist between human activities, the stressors generated, and their impacts on a component of the ecosystem, and consequently on the communities that depend on this component. This project is related to the current national work on risk analysis and applies the theoretical notions established in the earlier work in the context of a real situation. In this context, capelin conservation in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence was identified for this project, since capelin is a key species in the marine food chain. During this phase, six PoE models were developed, each illustrating one view of capelin conservation that is either general or specific. Together, these models serve illustrate the relationships that exist between the ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural components as well as such key ecological parameters as the quantity and quality of capelin spawning / larval retention habitat and capelin abundance. The development and application of PoE models using a real situation have confirmed their usefulness as tools for integrating knowledge and for communication; PoEs also play a role in providing support for decision-making and guidance for subsequent steps in the risk analysis process.

McQUINN, I.H., P. NELLIS, 2007. An acoustic-trawl survey of middle St. Lawrence Estuary demersal fishes to investigate the effects of dredged sediment disposal on atlantic sturgeon and lake sturgeon distribution. Pages 257-271 in J. Munro(ed.), D. Hatin, K. McKown, J. Hightower, K.J. Sulak, A.W. Kahnle & F. Caron(co-ed.). Anadromous sturgeons : habitats, threats, and management. American Fisheries Society (Am. Fish. Soc. Symp., 56) .

Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus and lake sturgeon A. fulvescens in the middle St. Lawrence estuary are under consideration for designation as "endangered" or "vulnerable"” species. A potential threat to these species is the disposal of dredged sediments in an area where young-of-the-year and juvenile Atlantic sturgeon concentrate. The objectives of this study were (1) to study the short-term and cumulative impacts, if any, of the dumped sediments on the abundance, distribution, and movements of the two sturgeon species downstream of the disposal area, and (2) to investigate the usefulness of acoustic surveys for assessing sturgeon density and distribution. A two-phase, combined acoustic-trawl survey was conducted to describe sturgeon distributions and produce concurrent acoustic and trawl estimates of the relative abundance of demersal fish within the area (lake sturgeon and Atlantic sturgeon were presumed to dominate the acoustic echoes). This series of surveys was the first known attempt to quantify sturgeon abundance and distribution with a vertically deployed echo sounder. The results showed good correspondence between the two methods. Replicated sampling also showed the repeatability of the acoustic technique and stability in demersal fish distribution on a scale of days. The acoustic surveys indicated that the spatial distribution of demersal fishes was dependent on substrate, as these fishes avoided areas of dredged sediment dumping and associated sand dunes. Our study showed that under certain conditions, acoustic-trawl surveys can reliably assess sturgeon density and distribution.©2007 American Fisheries Society

NELLIS, P., S. SENNEVILLE, J. MUNRO, G. DRAPEAU, D. HATIN, G. DESROSIERS, F.J. SAUCIER, 2007. Tracking the dumping and bed load transport of dredged sediment in the St. Lawrence estuarine transition zone and assessing their impacts on macrobenthos in Atlantic sturgeon habitat. Pages 215-234 in J. Munro(ed.), D. Hatin, K. McKown, J. Hightower, K.J. Sulak, A.W. Kahnle & F. Caron(co-ed.). Anadromous sturgeons : habitats, threats, and management. American Fisheries Society (Am. Fish. Soc. Symp., 56) .

The short- and long-term impacts of the annual disposal of dredged sediment within Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus habitat in the St. Lawrence estuary were assessed by simulating sediment transport over 10 years and by sampling sediment and macrobenthos on impacted and control radials. The model applied bed load transport functions embedded in a baroclinic hydrodynamic model. The path predicted by the model was validated at its half-way point (5 years) using multibeam sonar images of the seabed as well as qualitative and quantitative sediment analyses. Sediment took more than 1 year to completely clear the disposal site, indicating continuous sand drift along the predicted path. In the first 2 years, the sediment path increased rapidly in length (10 km), bypassing a field of sand dunes and following the deepest depressions (10 m) in the downstream direction. In the middle of its 10-year course (ca 12 km), the sediment track crossed the most important core area used by early juvenile Atlantic sturgeon. Afterward, sediment progression slowed and accumulated in a 15-m-deep channel between islands in the middle of the estuarine transition zone. The impact stations showed a significant reduction in the average biomass of tubifids, the most important food item of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon in the St. Lawrence. Conversely, the number and abundance of epi- and suprabenthic taxa increased. Model and field results suggest that sand drift generated from disposal operations reduces benthic productivity along the modeled path, including critical habitats of early juvenile Atlantic sturgeon. Sand accumulation from dredged spoil that drift in dead current areas are also likely to reduce juvenile sturgeon habitat quality.©2007 American Fisheries Society

NELLIS, P., J. MUNRO, D. HATIN, G. DESROSIERS, R.D. SIMONS, F. GUILBARD, 2007. Macrobenthos assemblages in the St. Lawrence estuarine transition zone and their potential as food for Atlantic sturgeon and lake sturgeon. Pages 105-128 in J. Munro(ed.), D. Hatin, K. McKown, J. Hightower, K.J. Sulak, A.W. Kahnle & F. Caron(co-ed.). Anadromous sturgeons : habitats, threats, and management. American Fisheries Society (Am. Fish. Soc. Symp., 56) .

The St. Lawrence estuarine transition zone (ETZ) harbors the only known concentrations of age-0 and early juveniles of the St. Lawrence Atlantic sturgeon and lake sturgeon populations. Past dredging and disposal operations conducted in the ETZ to deepen the navigation channel resulted in the creation of an extensive sand dune biotope near the juvenile sturgeon concentration areas. In order to characterize the dune biotope within a diversified set of biotopes in the ETZ, nine areas were selected for study, including two areas to cover the sand dune complex. The study objectives were (1) to identify the benthos assemblages of the ETZ and the main physical factors controlling them, (2) to measure the sampling areas' biological characteristics and feeding potential for sturgeon, and (3) to compare the dune areas' feeding potential with selected control areas. In 1999-2001, grab sampling was conducted at 141 stations to determine macrobenthos composition and sediment parameters. Depth, slope, and slope orientation were measured from multibeam sonar echosoundings. Salinity, current velocity, and tidal amplitude were provided by a hydrodynamic model of the ETZ. Benthos assemblages were determined using cluster analysis on taxon biomass. Four major assemblages were identified, all having Tubificidae as the dominant or subdominant taxon : zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, Gammarus tigrinus, Tubificidae, and Capitella sp. assemblages. A succession of the major assemblages was observed from the freshwater front to the upper mesohaline waters. Three minor assemblages, the Chironomidae, Physidae, and Cumacea, were concentrated in the upper oligohaline zone. Taxonomic richness was highest in areas with the lowest maximum salinity (0.0-0.5), and diversity was highest in areas with intermediate maximum salinities (0.5-2.0). The largest biomass values were found in areas with maximum salinities less than 0.5, in the zebra mussel assemblage. Controls and dune areas had similar macrobenthos richness and diversity, but dune areas had significantly lower densities and biomasses. Feeding potential for a given sturgeon life stage was measured as the sum of taxa biomasses standardized using the prey proportions in that life stage's feeding regime. For age-0 Atlantic sturgeon and for all lake sturgeon lige stages, all of which feed mostly on gammarids, the feeding potential of control and dune areas were not significantly different. For juvenile and subadult Atlantic sturgeon, which feed mostly on tubificids, the dune areas had a significantly lower feeding potential than the control areas. The lower feeding potential of the sand dune areas created by dredged sediment deposition is considered an important issue for the management of the St. Lawrence Atlantic sturgeon population.©2007 American Fisheries Society

COUILLARD, C.M., P. NELLIS, 1999. Organochlorine contaminants in mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) living downstream from a bleached-kraft pulp mill in the Miramichi Estuary, New Brunswick, Canada. Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 18: 2545-2556 .