Sylvie de Blois

Associate Professor (jointly-appointed to the McGill School of Environment)
Director, McGill School of Environment

T: 514-398-7581 |  sylvie.deblois [at] mcgill.ca (Email) |  Macdonald Campus - Raymond Building R2-021B  | 
Downtown Campus - McGill School of Environment, 3534 University St

Short Bio

Professor Sylvie de Blois received a PhD in biology from the Université de Montreal in 2001. She is an Associate Professor of ecology at the Department of Plant Science and the School of Environment of McGill University. She is also the Director of the McGill School of Environment, an interdisciplinary unit involving Science, Arts, Agricultural and Environmental Science, Law, and Management at McGill. She was an invited scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia and at the engineering School ‘École des Mines de Nantes’ in France. She is a member of the Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science and of the Ecological Society of America, and a scientific advisor on the European funded programme AGREENSKILLS aimed at supporting the international mobility of emergent researchers. Her research focuses on plant ecology, landscape ecology, climate change, biological invasion, and biodiversity science. She has co-authored an award-winning book on the impact of climate change on Quebec biodiversity.

Degrees

BSc (Agr) (McGill)
MSc, PhD (U Montreal)

Awards and Recognitions

Co-recipient of the scientific literary prize Hubert-Reeves (2015) for Changements climatiques et biodiversité du Québec : vers un nouveau patrimoine naturel

Active Affiliations

  • Member, Scientific Committee AGREENSKILLS and AGREENSKILLS+, European Union international mobility programmes supporting excellence in research in agriculture and environment, https://www.agreenskills.eu
  • Member, Ecological Society of America
  • Member, Quebec Center for Biodiversity Science

Research interests

The major reshuffling of species distribution and abundance predicted by global change models in this century is expected to have unprecedented impacts on biodiversity and natural resources. Yet, the ability to predict the combined effect of landscape changes and rapid warming on the realized niches of species remains remarkably limited. Understanding how plants respond to these changes is important as plants structure habitats, provide resources to other species, and regulate biogeochemical – including carbon – flows. Fundamentally, this requires developing and testing predictions of how key biological processes, such as reproduction, dispersal, and establishment - which determine local persistence and potential for species movement – relate to landscape, regional, and continental patterns of plant distribution and assemblages. For ecologists and conservation specialists, there is, in particular, an urgent need to reconcile the time scale and spatial extent of these biological processes with those required to keep up with the magnitude and speed of environmental changes. Lessons from biological invasion can be informative in this context as they underscore the potential for rapid adaptive responses from species, including climatic niche shifts, in facilitating species migration and range expansion.

Professor deBlois's research investigates the interrelations between the environment, landscape structure, and key biological processes that determine plant population and community persistence. It aims to develop an understanding of these interrelations from local to sub-continental scales, combining concepts and approaches from plant biology, landscape ecology, invasion ecology, and global change biology. Findings are relevant for biodiversity conservation both within and outside nature reserves, corridor function, species migration, range dynamics, the control of invasive plants, and sustainable forest and agricultural landscape management.

Current Research

Current research projects include:

  • Biodiversity and climate change modelling
  • Patterns and processes of range shifts in relation to rapid environmental change focusing on plant species of Eastern North America
  • Science for sustainable forest management
  • Application of community ecology principles to the management of biological invasion and habitat restoration
  • Plant species migration and horticulture
  • Agro-biodiversity of indigenous tropical landscapes and sustainable livelihoods

Courses

PLNT 460 Plant Ecology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 202 The Evolving Earth 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 421 Mtl:Envr Hist & Sustainability 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 401 Environmental Research 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

FAES 401 Honours Research Project 1 6 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

FAES 402 Honours Research Project 2 6 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 650 Environmental Seminar 1 1 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 651 Environmental Seminar 2 1 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ENVR 652 Environmental Seminar 3 1 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

Publications

View a list of current publications

Select publications

Maheu-Giroux M. and de Blois S. 2006. Landscape ecology of Phragmites australis invasion in networks of linear wetlands. Landscape Ecology. Available online.

Dalle S. and de Blois S. 2006. Shorter fallow cycles affect the availability of noncrop plant resources in a shifting cultivation system. Ecology and Society 11 (2): 2. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss2/art2/

Roy V. and de Blois S. 2006. Using functional traits to assess the role of hedgerow corridors as environmental filters for forest herbs. Biological Conservation 130: 592-603.

Dalle S., de Blois S., Caballero J., and Johns T. 2006. Integrating analyses of local land-use regulations, cultural perceptions and land-use/land cover data for assessing the success of community-based conservation. Forest Ecology and Management 222: 370-383.

Maheu-Giroux M. and de Blois S. 2005. Mapping the invasive species Phragmites australis in linear wetland corridors. Aquatic Botany 83: 310-320.

de Blois S., Brisson J., and Bouchard A. 2004. Herbaceous covers to control tree invasion in rights-of-way: Ecological concepts and applications. Environmental Management 33: 606-619.

Schmucki R., de Blois S., Domon G., and Bouchard A. 2002. Spatial and temporal dynamics of hedgerow networks in three agricultural landscapes of southern Quebec, Canada. Environmental Management 30:651-664.

de Blois S., Domon G., and Bouchard, A. 2002. Factors affecting plant species distribution in hedgerows of southern Quebec. Biological Conservation 105: 355-367.

de Blois, S., Domon, G., and Bouchard, A. 2002. Landscape issues in plant ecology. Ecography 25: 244-256.

de Blois, S., Domon, G., and Bouchard, A. 2001. Environmental, historical and contextual determinants of vegetation cover: a landscape perspective. Landscape Ecology 16: 421-436.