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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 bumble bees, essentially (but not only!) 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, known 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 deficiencies in tryptophan and vitamin B3 can affect other farmland species constrained to crop monocultures (e.g. pollinators, hares...) while seeking solutions to counteract the negative consequences of such monocultures


News | Nouvelles

Oct 2022 - Why understanding animal behaviour is key for biodiversity conservation?

Read our piece with Catherine Čapkun-Huot in Canadian Geographic here.

June 2022 (FR) - L'énigme des télomères des tamias

Écoutez l'entrevue avec Sophie-Andrée Blondin (Les Années Lumière, Radio-Canada), regardez la vidéo de Savoir(s) ou lisez la brève UQÀM ou CNRS (INEE) parlant de notre découverte sur l'élongation des télomères avec l'âge chez les tamias rayés.

Oct. 2021 (FR) - Denis Réale parle de nos études sur les tamias à Moteur de Recherche - Radio Canada

Écoutez-le pour en apprendre plus sur les liens entre le hêtre, l'érable rouge, la vitamine B3 et la reproduction des tamias !

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"

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

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

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

Sept. 2020 (FR) - 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


Jan 2023 - Our study on the impacts of tryptophan deficiency mimicking deficiencies found in corn and dandelion pollen on bumble bees and the benefits of vitamin B3 supplementation is out in conservation physiology!

Tissier M.L., Kraus S., Gómez-Moracho T. and Lihoreau M. (2023) Supplementation in vitamin B3 counteracts the negative effects of tryptophan deficiencies in bumble bees. Conservation Physiology, 11(1), coac084,

May 2022 - Our paper on telomere elongation with age, and the positive correlation between telomere length at first reproduction and Pace-of-Life (e.g. activity, fecundity rate) in wild chipmunks is now online in Molecular Ecology.

Tissier, M.L., Bergeron, P., Garant, D., Zahn, S., Criscuolo, F., & Réale, D. (2022). Telomere length positively correlates with pace-of-life in a sex-and cohort-specific way and elongates with age in a wild mammal. Molecular Ecology,

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