Hello & Welcome! || Bonjour et Bienvenue ! *

* Bien que ce site soit essentiellement en anglais, vous trouverez des informations en français à plusieurs endroits. n'hésitez pas à me contacter si vous souhaitez des détails ou traductions de certains projets.

© Léa Gonnet


Passionate about nature, wildlife and photography, I am an ecologist, with scientific expertise ranging from evolutionary ecology to conservation physiology and behavior. My deepest interest goes into how micronutrient abundance or deficiencies can impact the performance of terrestrial animals.

Over the past 10 years, I have been working on several species, especially hibernating ones, including wild hamsters (yes, they do exist!), chipmunks and bumblebees, mostly in a context of conservation. Find-out more about my research below!


Feast and Famine in the Anthropocene, from abundance to deficiencies


My research is primarily focused on understanding how deficiencies or abundance in essential micronutrients with strong potential on aging and reproduction influence the physiology, evolutionary trade-offs and life-history strategies of

terrestrial organisms. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how key vitamins and amino acids – such as vitamin B3 and its precursor the tryptophan, nown to have strong potential in aging, immunity and reproduction in humans and domesticated animals – can modulate key functions and life-history trajectories of terrestrial wildlife.


My PhD work (conducted at the IPHC, as part of the LIFE Alister program) highlighted how deficiencies in tryptophan and vitamin B3, caused by the generalization of crop monoculture, can impair the fitness of a highly threatened vertebrate species. Investigating the nutritional effects of crops on the fitness of the European hamster (Cricetus cricetus), seeking to explain the dramatic decline of this species in Europe, I found that elevated corn consumption reduces hamsters reproduction by 95% because of a major deficiency in vitamin B3 (niacin) and its precursor, the tryptophan, causing maternal infanticides.

I am now investigating:


1) the effects of tryptophan and vitamin B3 intakes on the physiology, aging rates and life-history strategy (Pace-of-Life) of another food-hoarding hibernators (i.e. the Eastern chipmunk) in a pulsed-resource system 


2) how defficiencies in tryptophan and vitamin B3 can affect other farmland species contrained to corn monocultures (e.g. pollinators, hares...) while seeking solutions to counteract the negative consequences of crop monoculture


News | Nouvelles

June 2020 - We are launching a pilot study on the benefits of sunflower for wild bees in Southern Québec!

Read more here.

July 2020 - The European hamster is finally recognized as Critically Endangered worldwide by the IUCN. Its status, as of yesterday, was still of Least Concern.

>> IUCN press release

>> Media: National Geographic, The guardian, CNN, BBC News

July 2020 - There are so many chipmunks! Is a Chip-ocalypse coming?

We are answering questions on chipmunks ecology from Sam Evans-Brown at nhpr; read and listen here.

(FR) Sept. 2020 - Comment les tamias rayés font-ils pour anticiper et synchroniser leur reproduction avec la production bisannuelle de graines par les arbres ?

Entrevue en nature avec Chantal Srivastava, Radio-Canada, Les Années Lumières, à écouter ici

(FR) Oct. 2020 - Le comportement fascinant des tamias rayés des Monts-Sutton

Article par Pierre-Etienne Caza (UQAM) à lire ici

Nov. 2020 - The 27th international meeting on the conservation of the common hamster is held online this year!

Proceedings here

Feb. 2021 - I am now a Liber Ero fellow, soon working on bumblebee conservation in QC and ON!

More information >> here & here


(FR) Je suis maintenant boursière Liber Ero, et vais travailler sur la conservation des bourdons au Québec et en Ontario !

Plus d'informations >> ici et ici

June. 2021 - A new website for our project "Solutions for Farmers & Food for Bees"

(FR) - Un nouveau site web pour notre projet "Solutions pour les Producteurs & Pollen pour les Bourdons"


June 2020 - congrats Théo for your manuscript on mortality risks and hibernation!

Constant T., Giroud S., Viblanc V., Tissier M.L., Bergeron P., Dobson S., Habold C. (2020). Integrating mortality risks and the adaptiveness of hibernation. Frontiers in Phyiology; https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00706 

Jan. 2020 - my first chipmunk paper got accepted!

Tissier, M. L., Réale, D., Garant, D., & Bergeron, P. (2020). Consumption of red maple in anticipation of beech mast‐seeding drives reproduction in Eastern chipmunks. Journal of Animal Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13183