13h30 - En ligne et à la salle Mohammed El Sabh (ISMER).
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How can food web models support food security in the North?
Ecosystem or food web models aim at representing complex ecological interactions and processes, like predator-prey interactions, competition, and perturbations, to better understand the real ecosystem. Such models have been broadly used in fisheries management and conservation throughout the world. In an Arctic context, ecosystem models can be quite useful given the rate at which climate change is occurring in this region, with consequences for the whole food web. Climate-driven changes to Arctic ecosystems include for example changes in the timing of primary production blooms, redistribution of Arctic and sub-Arctic/Atlantic species, and changes in predator diet and body condition. Inevitably, these changes also affect Inuit food security, as they have relied on local marine foods for centuries, harvesting species such as ringed seal, beluga, narwhal, and Arctic char. Food security can be defined as the availability and accessibility to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets people’s preferences and dietary needs. But the value of local foods for Inuit goes beyond subsistence – activities related to harvest and food-sharing are also intrinsic to Inuit culture and identity, health, and wellbeing. Research regarding food security issues in the North thus call for interdisciplinary expert knowledge, with Inuit impressions and concerns leading the wheel. In this presentation, I will discuss how food web models can be useful to support food security in the North through model co-development and co-design of future climate change scenarios with Inuit collaborators in Nunavut and Nunavik. I will also present our research framework and preliminary food web model results for Nunavut.