André Desrochers

Regular Member
Animal Ecology/Conservation

Université Laval
Faculté de foresterie et géomatique
Département des sciences du bois et de la forêt
Pavillon Abitibi-Price
2405 rue de la Terrasse
Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

(418) 656-2131 poste 2908

Department Site 

Maxime Brousseau

Graduate Student Advisor

Yves Aubry
Véronique Cloutier
Julie Faure-Lacroix
Camille Bégin Marchand
Mathieu Paradis


Former Personnel
Fanny Senez-Gagnon (Stage 2010)
Josianne Bégin (Stage 2010)
Lukas Seehausen (Stage 2009)
Damien Délisle (Tech. 2009)
Jean-Christophe Aznar (Postdoc 2008)
Victor Haumesser (Stage 2008)
Johan Bérubé (Tech. 2008)
Mathilde Jean-St-Laurent (Tech. 2007)
Marco Laforce (Tech. 2006)
Serge Lemay (Tech. 2006)

Former Students
Flavie Noreau (M.Sc. 2016)
François Fabianek (Ph.D. 2015)
Toshinori Kawaguchi (Ph.D. 2015)
Elvire Djiongo Boukeng (M.Sc. 2015)
Renée Roy (M.Sc. 2015)
Aude Corbani (Ph.D. 2013)
Hermann Frouin (M.Sc. 2011)
Marie-Hélène Hachey (M.Sc. 2011)
Mélanie Major (M.Sc. 2011)
Ophélie Planckaert (M.Sc. 2009)
Charles Vigeant-Langlois (M.Sc. 2008)
Daniel Idiata-Mambounga (M.Sc. 2008)
Patrick Rousseau (M.Sc. 2008)
Ghislain Rompré (Ph.D. 2007)
Adam Hadley (M.Sc. 2006)
Laetitia Huillet (M.Sc. 2006)
Yves Turcotte (Ph.D. 2005)
Julie Bourque (Ph.D. 2004)
Marc Mazerolle (Ph.D. 2004)
Jacques Ibarzabal (Ph.D. 2001)
Louis Imbeau (Ph.D. 2001)
Marianne Courteau (M.Sc. 2001)
Marc Bélisle (Ph.D. 2000)
Sophie Calmé (Ph.D. 1998)
Bruno Drolet (M.Sc. 1997)
Stéphanie Haddad (M.Sc. 1997)
Judith Plante (M.Sc. 2016)
April Martinig (M.Sc. 2015)
Daniel Lachance (Ph.D. 2005)
Caroline Girard (Ph.D. 2004)
Reijo Hokkanen (M.Sc. 2004)
Véronique St-Louis (M.Sc. 2000)
Valérie Delage (M.Sc. 1998)

Home | My Academic Background | Research Themes | Findings
Former grads | Publications



  • I am on sabbatical, with 3 objectives: complete long overdue research analyses and manuscripts, breathe some oxygen into the new exchange program between Kyoto Prefectural University and Université Laval, and start new research on habitat selection and environmental change vs birds in an endemic zone of western Cameroon. Also this year I want to think about my remaining years as a research and how I may best do my job as a researcher, i.e. finding better ways than the rat race to help advance my field.
  • My blog hosted by Université Laval, is on "Pause", owing to my sabbatical. but I still offer thoughts in my Facebook blog . I will publish iconoclastic ramblings on things that catch my interest. Especially thoughts that question the increasingly tyrannical 'consensus' on things ecological.
  • Summer 2017: Our lab will continue to measure avian nesting success at the Forêt Montmorency. We do these surveys since 1995, using a novel method combining detection of parental behavior and hierarchical statistical modeling. Deeper analyses are long overdue, and I will do my best this year to fix that.
  • The FRQNT research team on the theme of mycophagy (patterns and ecological mechanisms) completes its mandate this winter. This three-year project brought together Steeve Côté (U. Laval), Louis Imbeau (UQAT) and your humble servant, in collaboration with Jean Bérubé (NRCAN, Laurentian Forestry Trust), André Fortin (U. Laval), Rémy Lambert Laval, agronomy), Yves Piché (U. Laval) and Fanie Pelletier (U. of Sherbrooke). As we hoped, we redesigned the Quebec map of hypogeal mushrooms and improved our understanding of their consumption by micromammals, including squirrels, and white-tailed deer. Mathieu Paradis (MSc, Louis Imbeau as co-director) and Myriam Cadotte (Director Steeve Côté).
  • For a third year, our team will set transmitters on three species of thrushes (Bicknell [above], gray-cheeked and olive-backed) in order to reveal their migratory routes and their migration phenology. This is possible thanks to the MOTUS network (, which is revolutionizing our ability to track birds on their journeys for thousands of kilometers. This network is based on thousands of transmitters captured by hundreds of antennas (eg picture below) distributed in eastern North America and increasingly in Latin America. These birds will be caught in the summer at the Montmorency Forest and in the fall at the Tadoussac Bird Observatory. We hope to identify specific migration corridors for these species, and elucidate in general the pitfalls they may encounter en route. Camille Bernier-Marchand , a regular of the Tadoussac Bird Observatory, passionate of whales also, begins his masters in January 2017 on this subject.
  • In 2017, I will continue to collaborate with researcher Julie Morand-Ferron (U of Ottawa), also using MOTUS remote sensing technology, to establish links between the natal dispersal and the social establishment of chickadees in peri-urban and urban contexts near Ottawa.
  • January 2017: We are fully prepared for another winter of snow tracking. Winter began furiously, it will be interesting to see how wildlife will react. This year, the core team will consist of myself, Maxime Brousseau, and Martine Lapointe (technician). And of course, we hope this winter to spend a few days introducing snow tracking of mammals for those interested to lean this exciting and simple technique. If this is your case, just join our Facebook group  . FWe conduct this project since 2000. Every winter, some 150 km of trails and paths, plus 30 km off-road GPS to identify areas frequented by mammals wintering at Forêt Montmorency: marten, weasel, fisher, lynx, wolf, fox, hare, squirrel, moose, etc. In 17 years, we have gathered data on 2400 km of transects. and up to date we have located on GPS nearly 60000 tracks. We still have not seen the legendary Cougar though...

  • Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union
  • vice-president of Regroupement QuébecOiseaux
  • Visiting Scholar 2008-2009 (Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell U., NY, USA)
    Bioacoustics and avian microevolution
  • Visiting scholar 2001-2002 (Dept. of Ecology and Systematics, U. of Helsinki, Finland)
    Forest fragmentation and habitat selection in Siberian flying squirrels
  • Postdoc 1993-1994 (Plant Sciences, Université Laval)
    Avian communities of exploited vs. natural peatlands
  • Postdoc 1992-1993 (Biology, Université Laval)
    Population Ecology of Greater Snow Geese at Bylot Island, Nunavik
  • Postdoc 1991 (Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK)
    Mating System of Alpine Accentors in the French Pyrénées
  • PhD in Zoology, 1991 (University of Cambridge, UK)
    Age and reproduction in European Blackbirds, Turdus merula
  • MSc in Zoology, 1988 (University of Alberta)
    Ecological correlates of social dominance in winter flocks of Black-capped Chickadees
  • BSc Biology, 1985 (Université Laval)


Animal Ecologists have always been interested in the distribution of animals in natural and man-made landscapes. It has also been of high relevance to conservation biologists. The long-term objective of my research programs is to better understand habitat selection by wildlife (mostly birds but sometimes, mammals). I analyze this problem 1) through detailed study of behaviour, often with individually-marked birds, 2) through the analysis of species occurrence over entire landscapes and 3) through the MOTUS network. Those approaches will remain the basis of my work (and that of my students) in the near future. Additionally, I have developed a keen interest in the short-term evolutionary consequences of environmental changes on birds, in ecomorphological as well as behavioral terms.

I have recently broadened emphasis to include winter. I am interested to address the problem of landscape-scale habitat selection under harsh weather conditions in boreal forests harvested for timber (Forêt Montmorency ). I have also broadened the scope to mammals, mostly through spatially-explicit analyses of high-precision data on the tracks they leave on the snow.

Habitat selection

There is a vast amount of literature on habitat fragmentation, to say the least. A lot of it shows that birds distribute themselves in landscapes according to the amount and pattern of habitat well beyond their home range limits. Yet, we are far from a general understanding of the processes leading to those patterns. Our research frames that problem in terms of two main driving forces, patch isolation and patch quality. Patch isolation: Our research on gap crossing and response to forest edges by birds have had much impact in Landscape Ecology. It suggests that small openings in the forest canopy (roads, small cuts, etc) do indeed pose challenges to dispersing birds. Chickadees, gray jays and three-toed woodpeckers monitored by GPS tend to respond to small open areas by moving along forest edges. Based on our homing experiments (birds caught, marked and released kilometers away), it seems that those “small challenges” posed by gaps add up to major movement limitation over entire landscapes.

More recently, our lab has been working on long term databases (eBird, Christmas Bird Count) to evaluate the stability of bird-landscape relationships through time. Winter

Québec winters pose immense challenges for wintering birds and mammals, and our lab is interested to see if those challenges are exacerbated by deforestation and fragmentation of habitat. For birds, much of the "habitat fragmentation" literature singles out long-distance migrants and the breeding season in mostly agricultural landscapes. Yet, for species spending the whole year in temperate and especially boreal ecosystems, factors limiting their populations are just as likely to occur during the winter.

Apart from the previous and a few other pioneering studies however, our knowledge of landscape effects on nonbreeding birds remains very limited. The problem is of high conservation relevance in boreal forests, where landscapes are rapidly changing due to timber harvest. Given that 12 of 15 forest birds of high conservation concern in boreal forests are nonmigratory, there is an urgency to obtain information on how birds deal with boreal landscape change in winter. Thus, research on wintering birds of boreal forests holds "discovery potential" as much for conservation-oriented as for basic research.

All of our winter research is currently done at Forêt Montmorency, just North of Québec city (75 km). At an altitude of 700-1000 m, with over 6 meters of snowfall each year, the place is perfect for the study of harsh winter (and for cross-country skiing!)

Home | My Academic Background | Research Themes | Findings
Former grads | Publications

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Cours du CEF

Cours d’été en statistiques bayésiennes – Summer school in Bayesian statistics 
École d’été en statistiques bayésiennes. Maximum de 20 participants.
14 au 18 août | Orford Musique (à 30 minutes de Sherbrooke)
Aménagement des écosystèmes forestiers (ENV7010) 
14 au 25 août 2017, FERLD, Abitibi
Cours sur la complexité 
24-29 septembre 2017, Toscane, Italie

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La référence vedette !

Jérémie Alluard (2016) Les statistiques au moments de la rédaction 

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