Marco Festa-Bianchet

Former Graduate Students and their current activities

Limoilou Renaud, Ph.D. 2019. Influence de la variabilité environnementale sur les traits maternels d’un grand mammifère, le mouflon d’Amérique.  Effects of environmental variability on maternal traits of a large mammal, the bighorn sheep. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.  Limoilou is now a lecturer in Sherbrooke Limoilou
Dr. Mathieu Douhard, postdoc, co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.  Ungulate ecology, evolution and conservation.  September 2015 snowstorm at Ram Mountain.  Ewe R12 was 3 years old, 72 kg and nulliparous. She disappeared in winter 2018. Her first son, V14, born in 2016, disappeared in winter 2020. Mathieu

Allison MacKay, Ph.D. 2019. Conséquences écologiques et évolutives de l'asynchronie de date de mise bas chez le kangourou gris de l'est (Macropus giganteus) dans un environnement imprévisibleCauses and consequences of variability in birthdate in eastern grey kangaroos.  Here she was checking out pouch young  #580, about 11 weeks old in March 2013.  At this stage, pouch young are permanently attached to a teat.  They can be safely measured and quickly returned to the pouch.  The mother, #403, was first caught in August 2011.  In late July 2013, she gave up on #580: it disappeared from her pouch.  Female #403 did the same in 2014, her pouch young disappeared in late August.  She disappeared in July 2014.
Yoanna Poisson, M.Sc. 2019. Effets des aires protégées sur la taille des cornes et l'âge à la récolte du muflon d'Amérique (Ovis canadensis) dans les populations chassées en AlbertaEffects of protected areas on horn size and age at harvest of bighorn rams in hunted areas in Alberta. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.  Here at Ram Mountain with 2-yr-old ram V14. Yoanna

Nadine Blais, M.Sc. Contribution des effets maternels au développement en bas âge du mouflon d'Amérique.  Maternal effects and early development of bighorn sheep. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.  Ewe U5 is 3 yrs old and was transplanted in 2015 from Cadomin, about 130 km NW of Ram Mountain to help with demographic and genetic rescue.

Marc-Antoine Poirier, M.Sc. 2018. Genetic and demographic rescue of a population of bighorn sheep: transplants as a conservation tool.  Here is with 4-year-old ram Q4 in early June.  Marc-Antoine is now  a PhD student at Université d'Ottawa.  Q4 disappeared from Ram Mountain in winter 2017-18. MA
Louise Quesnel, M.Sc.
 Mass, size, milk composition and reproductive success in female kangaroos.  Louise is now a veterinary student in Québec.

Holding pouch young #730, daughter of female #729 that she caught in September 2014 at the Wilsons Promontory.

Something (we suspect fox predation) wiped out all but one of 57 marked pouch young from the 2013 cohort, but about 25% of the 2014 cohort  survived the transition from pouch young to young-at-foot. #730 disappeared in mid-October 2014.
Mikaël Larose, M.Sc. 2016. Social organization of chamois in a protected area. Here he is with a 7-year-old male caught in the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime in Piedmont, Italy. Mik
Simon Guillemette, M.Sc. 2016, co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier.  Weather and climate effects on seasonal mass changes of bighorn sheep.  Here with N2, 5 years after it was caught as a lamb by Elise Rioux-Paquette.
Camille Le Gall-Payne, M.Sc. 2015.  Adaptive offspring sex ratio in eastern grey kangaroos. 
With pouch young #491, daughter of #205, in late August 2012, at 1.3 kg. The critical seasons for juvenile survival are the time they exit the pouch and then the austral winter, from June to September.  #491 made it through, grew to 20.2 kg by August 2015 and had her first pouch young by March 2016.  Camille is now a biologist with the Kativik regional government in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik.
Audrey Audrey Gagné-Delorme, M.Sc. 2014.  Social networks in bighorn ewes.  Holding a lamb at Ram Mountain in June 2012.  Audrey is now a wildlife biologist in Fort St. John, British Columbia.
Uriel Gélin, Ph.D. 2013.
Reproductive success of female Eastern grey kangaroo.  Co-supervised with Graeme Coulson, University of Melbourne.

With male pouch young #117 at the Wilsons Promontory in August 2009.  At 4.7 kg, #117 weighed 17% as much as his mother (#30, first caught in August 2008). A few days later he started to leave the pouch.  Unfortunately, he was killed by a vehicle in January 2011.

Uriel is now doing a postdoc on deer in China.

Alexandre Martin, Ph.D. 2013. Reproductive strategies of bighorn rams.  Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier, Université de Sherbrooke.

Here he is at Ram Mountain in September 2009.  Alex is now a MITACS postdoc in Québec, researching genetics of domestic pigs.
Audrée Morin, M.Sc. 2013.  Reproductive strategies of female chamois.  Here she is with a recently captured yearling female, in the Alpi Marittime Natural Park in southern Piedmont, Italy.  Audrée is now a wildlife biologist in Québec.
Melanie Pachkowski, M.Sc. 2012
Determinants of body condition in migratory  caribou. Co-supervised with Steeve Côté, Université Laval.

Here she is holding a caribou calf from the Rivière George herd.   Melanie is now a park ranger in Alberta.

Behind her is Joëlle Taillon, Ph.D. 2012, Université Laval (Habitat selection and demography of migratory caribou), co-supervised with Steeve Côté.  Joëlle is now a Wildlife Biologist with the Québec government, looking after the management of migratory caribou.
Marie-France Barette, Ph.D. 2012.

Hormones and social behavior of meerkats.  Co-supervised with Andrew Russel (U. of Sheffield).   Check out her web site.
Dominique Marcil-Ferland, M.Sc.  2012.

Effects of early development on fitness in bighorn sheep. 

Mid-June 2010 at Ram Mountain.  Dominique is now a wildlife technician in Ontario.

ofelia Ofelia Gonzalez, M.Sc. 2011
Causes and consequences of litter size variation in Scandinavian brown bears.   

The bear, like over 90% of adult bears in Scandinavia, either got shot that fall or will be shot at some point in the future.  Despite the high harvest rate, the population has grown in both size and geographic range.  The differences in behavior, life-history strategy and population dynamics of North American and European brown bears may indicate a strong effect of humans on their evolution.

Elise Rioux-Paquette, M.Sc. 2010.
Inbreeding, survival and physical development in bighorn sheep.

Elise is now a biologist with Nunavik Parks in Kuujjuaq, northern Québec.

The lamb (male N2) weighed 6 kg on May 28, 2008, at about one week of age.
In September 2009 N2 had grown to 52 kg and by September 2010 he was about 66 kg.  He is the same ram held as a 5-year-old by Simon Guillemette.

His mother is ewe F1, 8 years old in 2008.  In 2009, F1 had a daughter (O11). In 2010, 2011 and 2012 F1 had sons (P18, Q4 and R7).

And here are F1 and N2 in summer 2008 (Elise took this picture)

Marco25 Marco Rughetti, Ph.D. 2011

Ecology and management of Alpine chamois.

Marco is now a contract biologist in the Alps.  Female # 25 was caught in the Ischiator Valley in Piedmont, Italian Alps, at 2300 m elevation.   Marco is now a Park Warden and Wildlife Biologist in Piedmont.
Julien Martin, Ph.D. 2010. Female reproductive strategies in ungulates.  Julien is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa.  Check out his web page.

Ewe Green P (i6) was 3 years old in 2006, when she gave birth but her lamb died neonatally.  Over the next 6 years, she produced 6 sons and 1 daughter, but only 2 of her descendants were alive in June 2014.  At age 11, she has another year or two before entering reproductive senescence.
Julien Martin
Aurélie Bourbeau-Lemieux, 2010 M. Sc.

Population ecology of bighorn sheep. Co-supervised with Fanie Pelletier, Université de Sherbrooke.  Aurélie is now a wildlife biologists for the Cree Grand Council of Québec.

Female lamb #334 weighed 32 kg in late October 2007.  She had her first lamb as a 2-year-old.

Paulo Corti, 2008 Ph.D. Social organisation, population dynamics and conservation of huemul deer in Chilean Patagonia.  Paulo is now a Professor at the University of Valdivia, Chile.
Pam Hengeveld, 2008 M.Sc. Management of bighorn sheep in British Columbia.  Pamela is now a biological consultant in northern BC.
Dallas Plensky, 2007 M.Sc.  Selective effects of trophy hunting in 'California' bighorn sheep in interior British Columbia.
 Jean-François Aublet, 2007 M.Sc. Ibex foraging and thermoregulatory behavior

Male ibex LBLGR was 10 years old and disappeared during winter 2006 at age 13. Jean-François survived that winter and several subsequent ones, he now works for Environment Canada,

Jean-Francois Thérrien, 2006 M.Sc., co-supervised with Steeve Côté, Université Laval.

Effects of summer nutrition on maternal allocation of white-tailed deer in captivity. 

JF went on to do a  Ph.D. on snowy owls at Université Laval and is now a  biologist with the Hawk Mountain bird observatory in New Hampshire.


Émilie Largo, 2008 Ph.D., co-supervised with Jean-Michel Gaillard, Université de Lyon.  She worked on the population dynamics of ibex in several national parks in France and Italy.  Émilie is now a project manager with an epidemiological research company in Lyon, France.

Dynamique comparée des populations de bouquetin des Alpes (Capra ibex) et implication pour le suivi de ces populations
Patrick Bergeron, M.Sc. 2007. M.Sc. Stratégies de croissance et determinants du rang hiérarchique chez le bouquetin des Alpes (Capra ibex). The inventor of the world-famous laser remote measuring device ("La patente"), Patrick completed a Ph.D. on male reproductive success in eastern chipmunks at the U. de Sherbrooke, then a postdoc at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, on the evolutionary ecology of amphibians and reptiles.  He is now an Assistant Professor at Bishop's University in Québec.
Patrick et bouquetins


Chiarastella Feder. 2006. M.Sc.  Effets de la date de naissance, des caractéristiques maternelles et de l’environnement sur la croissance, la masse et la survie du mouflon d’Amérique (Ovis canadensis).

Chiara is now a biologist with Alberta Fish & Wildlife in Rocky Mountain House and a major collaborator with the Ram Mountain program.
Chiara in sheep trap
Fanie with lamb
Fanie Pelletier. 2005. Ph.D. Stratégies de reproduction des mâles du mouflon d’Amérique (Ovis canadensis).  Fanie is now a Full Professor at the Université de Sherbrooke and a key collaborator.  Male lamb 638 was caught on October 28, 2003.  He was killed by a cougar a year later.
Achaz von Hardenberg, 2005 Ph.D. Sénescence, sélection sexuelle et dynamiqe de population du bouquetin des Alpes (Capra ibex).  (Senescence, sexual selection and population dynamics of Alpine ibex).

After many years of work as a wildlife biologist for the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy, Achaz is now a lecturer in Chester, England.

10-year-old male ibex "Zorro" was caught at 2800 m a.s.l. in July 2000.  He died in August 2005, aged 15 years.


Ghulam Ali Awan, 2004 Ph.D.

An analysis of critical factors influencing population persistence of Punjab urial (Ovis vignei punjabiensis) in the wild.

Co-supervised with Dr. Tahira Ahmad, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and Dr. Richard Garstang, WWF-Pakistan.

 Awan is now a Wildlife Biologist for the Nunavut Government in Igloolik.

Todd Powell. 2004 M.Sc. Réponse comportementale des caribous des bois au harcèlement par les motoneiges. (behavioral responses of woodland caribou to snowmobile harassment). Todd is currently a wildlife biologist with the Yukon government in Whitehorse.

Yanick Gendreau. 2003 M.Sc. Effets des caractéristiques maternelles sur la croissance et le développement social post-sevrage chez la chèvre de montagne (Oreamnos americanus). (Effects of maternal characteristics on postweaning growth and social development in mountain goats). Co-supervised with Steeve Côté, Université Laval.

After working for several years as a wildlife biologist, Yanick is now a Ph.D. student at the Université du Québec in Rimouski, Québec

Goat 249, a 2-year-old male, was captured June 9, 2001.  He weighed 42.7 kg , and had gained another 20 kg by August 2.  He disappeared in June 2003 at 4 years of age.



Mario Villemure, 2003 M.Sc. Écologie et conservation du loup dans la région du Parc National de La Mauricie (Ecology and conservation of wolves in the region of La Mauricie National Park).  Mario is a Park Warden and Ecologist in La Mauricie National Park.

Wolf pup "Julie" was killed by a trapper in autumn 2000

Nancy Mckenzie. 2003 M.Sc. Reproductive strategies of young bighorn ewes (Ovis canadensis). 

Her description of the lamb: g1, female,
Mother: 48w (10 yrs), her 5th lamb
Hair brown to grey depending on season
Eyes: dark

G1 disappeared overwinter

Nancy (now Nancy Moloney) is the CEO of the Jane Goodall Institute in Australia

Pierrick Blanchard. 2002 Ph. D. Survivre pour se reproduire: rôle de la condition individuelle dans les tactiques de reproduction chez le mouflon américain (Ovis canadensis) (Individual condition and reproductive strategies in bighorn sheep). Co-supervised with Jean-Michel Gaillard, CNRS - Lyon (France).

Pierrick is now a professor (Maître de conférence) at the Université de Toulouse in France.

Ram 15w disappeared overwinter as a 9-year-old.

Tristan Welp. 2001. M.Sc. Les mesures de la peur chez la vache laitière (Measuring fear in dairy cows). Co-supervised with A.M. de Passillé, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Tristan is a radiation safety officer at the McGill University Hospital Center in Montréal.
I suspect the cow was eaten.
Mylène Leblanc. 2001. M.Sc. La densité de population et le climat: effets sur le dimorphisme sexuel, la masse corporelle et les changements saisonniers de masse du mouflon d'Amérique. (Effects of density and weather on sexual dimorphism, mass and seasonal mass changes in bighorn sheep). Mylène now works for a consulting company in Sherbrooke.
Alejandro Gonzalez. 2000. M.Sc. Gestion des populations de chèvres de montagne: recensements et dynamique des populations. (Population dynamics, census techniques and management of mountain goats). Alex is now a professor at UNAM in Mexico City. Nathalie Pelletier. 2000. M.Sc. Stratégies reproductrices des femelles du spérmophile de Columbie (Spermophilus columbianus). (Reproductive strategies of female Columbian Ground squirrels).
Steeve Côté. 1999. Ph.D. Dominance sociale et traits d'histoire de vie chez les femelles de la chèvre de montagne.
(Social dominance and life-history traits in mountain goat females)

Steeve is now a Full Professor at Université Laval in Québec City and heads the mountain goat research program, in addition to major research programs on caribou and white-tail deer. Check out his web page

Chantal Gaboury. 1999. M.Sc. Facteurs motivant le changement de tétine chez le veau (Bos taurus). (Factors motivating milk calves to switch teats) Cosupervised with Anne-Marie de Passillé, Agriculture et Agro-alimentaire Canada.

Stéphane Demers. 1999. M.Sc. L'asymétrie fluctuancte au niveau des anneaux de croissance des cornes des mouflons d'Amérique (Ovis canadensis). (Fluctuating asymmetry in yearly growth annuli in bighorn sheep horns).  Stéphane is a wildlife biologist in Québec.

Bruno Gallant. 1999. M.Sc. Rétardement dans l'âge de primiparité chez le mouflon d'Amérique (Ovis canadensis): corrélats et conséquences. (Correlates and consequences of delayed primiparity in bighorn sheep).  Bruno is now a biologist with the Canadian Food Inspection Service in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Kathreen Ruckstuhl. 1998. Ph.D. L'écologie du comportement alimentaire et la socialité chez le mouflon d'Amérique, Ovis canadensis.
(Sociality and foraging behavior of bighorn sheep).

Kathreen is now an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary. She is conducting research on foraging behavior and sociality of ungulates and fish. See her web page.

Céline Bérubé. 1993. M.Sc. L'investissement maternel selon le sexe du jeune chez le mouflon des Rocheuses (Ovis canadensis). (Sex-specific maternal investment in bighorn sheep

1997. Ph.D. Les stratégies d'adaptation vitale chez les brebis du mouflon d'Amérique (Ovis canadensis): la reproduction en fonction de l'âge. (Life-history strategy in bighorn ewes: age-specific reproduction)

Céline is now a Research Officer with NSERC in Ottawa.

Nathalie L'Heureux. 1993. M.Sc. L'effet du sexe et de la maladie ecthyma contagieuse sur le développement social et physique des jeunes mouflons des Rocheuses (Ovis canadensis). (Effects of sex and of contagious ecthyma on social and physical development of young bighorn sheep)

Nathalie now teaches biology at the CEGEP (Junior College) de Longueuil

Christine Portier. 1997. Ph.D. (Université Paris 6). Soins maternels et dynamique des populations d'ongulés: approches aux niveaux intra- et interspécifiques. Cosupervised with J.-M. Gaillard (Lyon). (Maternal care and ungulate population dynamics: intra- and interspecific approaches)

Martine Haviernick. 1996. M.Sc. La stratégie alimentaire de la chèvre de montagne (Oreamnos americanus): étude de l'utilisation de l'habitat et du comportement anti-prédateur. (Foraging strategy of mountain goats: habitat use and antipredator behavior). 

Karine Picard. 1996. M.Sc. Étude expérimentale du transfert de chaleur à travers les cornes chez les bovidés: description et implications évolutives. Cosupervised with Don Thomas. (An experimental study of heat transfer through bovid horns: description and evolutionary implications). Karine is now a biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Québec City. 

François Fournier. 1994. M.Sc. Les comportements agonistiques et la dominance chez la chèvre de montagne (Oreamnos americanus). (Agonistic behaviors and dominance in mountain goats). François is now a biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Québec City.


Postdoctoral Fellows and research associates

Eric Vander Wal (Ph.D. Saskatchwan): 2013-2015 (NSERC funds, mostly from Fanie Pelletier): Sociality in bighorn sheep. Eric is now an Assistant Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, see his activities here

Mauro Lucherini (Laurea, Milano, Italy): 1992-1993 (fellowship from the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry). Life-history strategies of bighorn sheep.  Mauro is now a lecturer in Baia Blanca, Argentina.

Richard Bon (Ph.D. Toulouse, France): 1993-94 (fellowship from the French Foreign Affairs Ministry). Evolution of sociality in ovids.  Richard is now a lecturer in Toulouse, France.

Denis Réale (Ph.D. Rennes, France): 1997-1999 (fellowship from the Fyssen foundation (France)). Heritability of morphological and life-history traits in bighorn sheep.  Denis is now a Professor at the Université du Québec a Montréal.  Check out his website.

David Coltman (Ph.D. Dalhousie): 2000 (NSERC fellow). Co-supervised with Dr. Curtis Strobeck, University of Alberta. Genotype, selection and evolution of morphological and life-history traits in bighorn sheep. Here he relaxes watching bighorn sheep at Ram Mountain.

Dave is now a Professor at the University of Alberta, and a key collaborator on mountain ungulate research.

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