Jenna Rabley

Differences in paper birch physiological strategies: A northern boreal common garden experiment
Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Director: Annie DesRochers
Co-director: Francine Tremblay

If you would like to follow my research please see the following links:

Overview of Current Research


Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) has become recognized for its high quality fiber and economic value. However, the species remains grossly understudied in Canada. Due to the wide distribution of paper birch across North America, it exhibits an enormous degree of phenotypic plasticity. Thus, there is a large degree of physiological and morphological variance between populations and individuals. However, due to a lack of scientific studies it is currently unknown to what extent ecophysiological differences have on the productivity of paper birch in intensively managed plantation systems. Such knowledge can provide valuable insight for future selection/genetic improvement programs.


The goal of this study is to asses and compare the growth and physiological function of paper birch provenances at multiple sites in a common garden experiment across the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The objectives of the study are to 1) identify the natural variability of phenotypic and physiological characteristics and 2) characterize the eco-physiological and environmental factors influencing rapid establishment, growth and morphology of paper birch provenances in plantations under intensive management.

Research Themes

  • Tree Physiology
  • Silviculture
  • Plantations
  • Stable Isotopes
  • Paper Birch

Scholarships & Awards

2019 - Canada Graduate Scholarships-Master’s (CGS M) program ($17,500)

2020 - Ian and Sylvia Taylor Award for Best Poster Presentation ($500) from the Canadian Botanical Association

Academic Posters and Presentations

Rabley, J.M. and Baltzer, J.L. The influence of topographic gradients on the nodulation rate of Frankia in the low Arctic tundra. Poster presentation for the University of Wilfrid Larrier’s Faculty of Science Poster Presentation Day, University of Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo, ON. March 23rd, 2017

Rabley, J.M. and DesRochers, A. The natural variability of paper birch phenotypic, morphological and physiological characteristics. Poster presentation  for the 13th Colloque du Centre d’étude de la forêt, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Chicoutimi, QC. May 1st-3rd , 2019.

Rabley, J.M. and Baltzer, J.L. Changes in the root nodulation rate of Frankia in relation to Alnus viridis: The influence of topographic gradients and abiotic factors. Oral Presentation of thesis proposal to the department of biology. Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo ON. October 28th, 2016.

Rabley, J.M. and Baltzer, J.L. Root nodulation of Alnus viridis across a topographic gradient at Trail Valley Creek, NT. Oral Presentation for the Cold Regions Research Centre Symposiums, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo ON. November 2nd-4th, 2016.

Rabley, J.M. and Baltzer, J.L. Root nodulation rate of Alnus viridis along a topographic gradient at a low Arctic site. Oral presentation for Ontario Biology Day, Laurentian University, Sudbury ON. March 18th, 2017.

Rabley, J.M. and Baltzer, J.L. Root nodulation of Alnus viridis across a topographic gradient at Trail Valley Creek, NT. Oral presentation for the University of Wilfrid Laurier’s Biology Colloquium, Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo ON. April 4th-5th, 2017.

Professional Experience

I obtained an honours bachelor degree from Wilfrid Laurier in biology with a minor in geography. At this time I studied as an undergraduate thesis student with Dr. Jennifer Baltzer . My research investigated the symbiotic relationship between the nitrogen fixing bacteria, Frankia, and green alder (Alnus viridis). The aim of the project was to better understand whether nutrient dynamics strongly influence the proliferation of green alder across the Arctic tundra.

In 2016, I worked as a field assistant in Dr. Jennifer Baltzer’s Forest Ecology lab and collected data to better understand the underlying mechanisms that influence shrub expansion on the low Arctic tundra in the Northwest Territories.

In 2017, I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Jennifer Baltzer’s Forest Ecology lab. I spent three months in the taiga plains of southwestern Northwestern Territories, conducting research on the changes in plant community composition and structure in response to permafrost thaw in the boreal forest. In addition, I spent four months in the lab at the Cold Regions Research Centre processing and analyzing field samples.

Training & Certifications

  • First Aid (2018-2021)
  • Bear Awareness Training
  • Truck and ATV Training
  • Valid Driver’s License (G class)
  • Health and Safety Lab Training
  • Working in the Natural Environment
  • Firearms Licence: Possession and Acquisition
  • Ontario’s Hunter Education course

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16e Colloque du CEF

Le 8 mai 2023
à l'Université de Montréal

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25e édition du cours d'été d'Aménagement des écosystèmes forestiers 
Cours intensif à la Forêt d’enseignement et de recherche du Lac Duparquet, Abitibi, du 14 au 25 août 2023.

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