TerreWEB

Terrestrial Research on Ecosystems & World-wide Education & Broadcast || An Innovative Graduate Training Program

Camille Defrenne

Name: Camille Defrenne           Degree:  PhD Candidate

CamilleDefrenne

When looking at this tangle of roots, many questions may come to the minds of anyone curious about the environment that surrounds us. Why this strange architecture? What happens in the soil amongst the roots of trees? It has always been fascinating for me to study something that everybody sees daily but may not pay attention to. One then realizes how complex and well-designed ecosystems are but also how fragile they will be in the context of global change. Being a TerreWEB scholar is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word on this issue, as a scientist but also as a global citizen.

As a TerreWEB scholar, I got the opportunity to communicate my science through an art project, thus I’m acting as a research assistant for the first nation artist Tania Willard. She aims to use the urban aboriginal experience and language as a frame to promote aboriginal culture. With my collaboration, her purposes are to make people think about networks, in their own body, in the society and in the nature. Make them realize how they are connected to the land, to their past and to each other. The artist envisions trees as models of human society and as recorder of our history and our future.

I am a PhD candidate under the direction of Pr. Suzanne Simard. My objective is to study root morphological plasticity and interactions in interior Douglas-fir forests of British Columbia to get insights on the implications of predicted climate change on root system architecture and development and hence on forest dynamics.

I completed my engineering degree in agronomy in France, with a speciality in forestry in Belgium. During my study I also had the chance to explore other area such as volunteering in a thai NGO (WFFT). My research experience began in Switzerland where I was interested in the effect of climate change on mountain pastures. The project aimed to simulate climate change by using an altitudinal gradient and to make a carbon budget of the ecosystem in order to understand the response of these valuable pastures to climate change. Studying ecosystems and the way they works brought me to UBC and to lead a 6 months project on the effect of past disturbances on carbon dynamics in forest ecosystems. I learned that this is an essential aspect to take into account when evaluating the effect of climate change on soil carbon stocks in forest.

Thesis Topic: Study root morphological plasticity and interactions in interior Douglas-fir forests of British Columbia to get insights on the implications of predicted climate change on root system architecture and development and hence on forest dynamics

Supervisor: Dr. Suzanne Simard

Publications:

Poster

Carbon storage and related soil properties in a coastal temperate rainforest: a case study on the legacy of past disturbance in Southern British Columbia. February, 2015 The Annual Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference, Bamfield, BC.

 

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