Murray Humphries

Murray Humphries

Department of Natural Resource Sciences
McGill University

Chair title

NSERC Northern Research Chair in Wildlife Biology and Traditional Food Security in Canada’s Changing North

Chair program

Northern Research Chair Program


Associate Chairholder since 2006


A major impact of climate change in Canada’s North involves its effect on the harvest of plants and animals by northern indigenous people, which collectively defines their traditional food security. The proposed research seeks to document and predict the impacts of environmental change on northern mammals and traditional food security, then use these results to assist northerners in developing adaptation and management strategies. Wildlife research conducted across Canada’s North will identify the physiological and ecological responses of different mammals to environmental variability.

This research will focus on key traditional food species of particular northern communities, such as moose, beaver and muskrat, as well as other mammals present at high abundance in the forest-tundra transition, such as snowshoe hares, squirrels, voles, and various species of furbearers (e.g., marten, lynx, and wolverine). Regional case studies conducted in partnership with northern communities will focus on the processes of environmental change and adaptation.

Two focal communities include the Vuntut Gwitchin of Old Crow, Yukon and their traditional use of muskrat and moose in the Old Crow Flats and the Cree of Wemindji, Quebec and their traditional use of beaver and moose in the Old Factory watershed. Conceptual and mathematical models will then be developed, capitalizing on generalities and bracketing uncertainties, to identify realistic scenarios of change and targets for adaptation.

The models and adaptation plans will be developed for particular northern communities, as well as more general regional impacts. An emphasis in all phases of this program is active engagement of northern partners in the design, execution, dissemination, and implementation of northern research.


  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Natural Resources Department
  • Council of Yukon First Nations/Conseil des Premières nations du Yukon
  • Wemindji Trappers Association – Cree Nation
  • Cree Nation of Wemindji
  • Government of Yukon, Department of Environment

Contact information

Department of Natural Resource Sciences
McGill University
MacDonald-Stewart Building, Room MS3-040
21 -111 Lakeshore Road
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec
H9X 3V9

Tel.: 514-398-7885
Fax: 514-398-7990


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