Photo of Associate Professor Jesse Vermaire

Associate Professor Jesse Vermaire

Human impacts on lake and river ecosystems; Long-term ecological change; Ecosystem resilience and tipping points

Degrees:B.Sc. Honours (University of Guelph), M.Sc. (UNB), Ph.D. (McGill)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3898
Office:Herzberg Bldg room 4439

Research Interests:

I am interested in how environmental change, particularly land-use and climate change are impacting freshwater ecosystems. My research focuses on three broad areas: 1) impacts of climate warming and nutrient enrichment on lakes and streams, 2) ecosystem resilience, regime shifts, and recovery in freshwater systems and 3) the importance of extreme events (e.g. droughts, storm surges, permafrost slumps) in altering aquatic ecosystems. Because changes to the environment often occur over large areas and at timescales of decades or longer our lab employs a variety of techniques including lake survey studies, paleolimnological techniques, and the analysis of long-term datasets to meet our research objectives.

2023 – 2024 Geography Courses:

  • GEOG 3106 Fall – Aquatic Science and Management


Aquatic ecology, limnology, paleolimnology, paleoecology, watershed conservation, ecosystem ecology, climate change, eutrophication


Taranu Z.E., Carpenter S.R., Ives A.R., Frossard V., Jenny J.-P., Thomas Z, Vermaire J.C. Perga M.-E. 2018. Can we detect ecosystem critical transitions and early warning signals of catastrophic shifts from paleo-ecological records? Ecosphere 9(10).

Reid A.J., Carlson A.K., Creed I.F., Eliason E.J., Gell P.A., Johnson P.T.J, Kidd K.A., MacCormack T.J., Olden J.D., Ormerod S.J., John P. Smol J.P., Taylor W.W., Tockner K, Vermaire J.C., Dudgeon D. and Cooke S.J. 2018. Emerging threats and persistent conservation challenges for freshwater biodiversity. Biological Reviews.

Provencher J.F., Vermaire J.C., Avery-Gomm S., Braune B.M., and Mallory M.L. Garbage in guano? Microplastic debris found in faecal precursors of seabirds known to ingest plastics. Science of the Total Environment 644, 1477-1484.

Dalton A.S, Patterson R.T., Roe H.M., Andrew L. Macumber A.L., Swindles G.T., Galloway J.M., Vermaire J.C., Crann C.A., Falck H. 2018. Late Holocene climatic variability in Subarctic Canada: insights from a high-resolution lake record from the central Northwest Territories. PLOS ONE 13 (6), e0199872.

Sprague* D.D., and Vermaire J.C. 2018. The landscape-scale relationship between lake sediment geochemistry and catchment bedrock composition from the Temagami and Gowganda areas of Northeastern Ontario, Canada. Environmental Earth Sciences 77 (12), 463.

Sprague* D.D, and Vermaire J.C. Legacy arsenic pollution of lakes near Cobalt, Ontario, Canada: Arsenic in lake water and sediment remains elevated nearly a century after mining activity has ceased. Water Air and Soil Pollution Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 229 (3), 87.

Vermaire J.C., Taranu Z.E., MacDonald G.K., Velghe K., Bennett E.M., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2017. Extrinsic versus intrinsic regimes shifts in shallow lakes: Long-term response of cyanobacterial blooms to historical catchment phosphorus loading and climate warming. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5:146. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00146.

Vermaire J.C., Pomeroy* C., Herczegh* S.M., Haggart* O., and Murphy. 2017. Microplastic abundance and distribution in the open water and sediment of the Ottawa River, Canada, and its tributaries. FACETS 2: 301–314. doi:10.1139/facets-2016-0070.

Boxem* R., Davis* E.L., Vermaire, J.C.2017. Long-term environmental change and shifts in the aquatic plant community of Jones Creek, Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario, Canada based on plant macrofossil analysis. Journal of Paleolimnology. DOI 10.1007/s10933-016-9938-7.

Davis* E.L., Courtney Mustaphi C.J., Gall A., Pisaric M.F.J., Vermaire J.C., Moser K.A. 2016. Determinants of fire activity during the last 3500 yr at a wildland–urban interface, Alberta, Canada. Quaternary Research 86: 247-259.

Cooke S.J., Rice J.C., Prior K.A., Bloom R., Jensen O., Browne D.R., Donaldson L.A., Bennett J.R., Vermaire J.C., Auld G. 2016. The Canadian context for evidence-based conservation and environmental management. Environmental Evidence 5:14 DOI 10.1186/s13750-016-0065-8.

Sprague D.D*, Michel F.A., and Vermaire J.C. 2016. The effects of migration on ca. 100 year old arsenic rich mine tailings in Cobalt, Ontario, Canada. Environmental Earth Sciences 75 (5), 1-12.

Cooke S.J., Chapman J.M., and Vermaire J.C.2015. On the apparent failure of silt fences to protect freshwater ecosystems from sedimentation: A call for improvements in science, technology, training and compliance monitoring. Journal of Environmental Management 164, 67-73

Cooke S.J., and Vermaire J.C.2015. Environmental studies and environmental science today: inevitable mission creep and integration in action-oriented transdisciplinary areas of inquiry, training and practice. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 5: 70-78.

Medeiros A.S., Gajewski K., Porinchu D., Vermaire J.C., Wolfe B.B. Detecting the influence of secondary environmental gradients on chironomid-inferred paleotemperature reconstructionsin northern North America. Quaternary Science Reviews. 124: 265-274.

Thienpont J.R., Steele C., Vermaire J.C., Kokelj S.V., Smol J.P., and Pisaric MFJ. 2015. Synchronous changes in chironomid assemblages in two Arctic delta lake ecosystems after a major saltwater intrusion event. Journal of Paleolimnology DOI: 10.1007/s10933-014-9815-1

Upiter*L.M., Vermaire J.C., Patterson R.T., Crann C., Galloway J.M., Macumber A.L., Neville L.A., Swindles G.T., Falck H., Roe H.M., and Pisaric MFJ. 2014. Middle to late Holocene chironomid-inferred July temperatures for the central Northwest Territories, Canada Journal of Paleolimnology 52:11-26.

Vermaire J.C., Greffard M.-H., Saulnier-Talbot E., and Gregory-Eaves I. Changes in submerged macrophyte abundance altered diatom and chironomid assemblages in a shallow lake.Journal of Paleolimnology 50:447-456.

Vermaire J.C., Pisaric M.F.J., Thienpont J.R., Courtney Mustaphi C., Kokelj S.V., and Smol J.P. 2013. Arctic climate warming and sea ice declines lead to increased storm surge activity. Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/grl.50191

Velghe K., Vermaire J.C., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2012. Declines in littoral species richness across both spatial and temporal nutrient gradients: a palaeolimnological study of two taxonomic groups Freshwater Biology 57: 2378–2389.

Irvine F., Cwynar L.C., and Vermaire J.C., and Rees A.B.H. 2012. Chironomid-inferred temperature reconstructions and vegetation change over the last ~15,000 years from Trout Lake, northern Yukon Territory, eastern Beringia. Journal of Paleolimnology 48: 133-146.

Vermaire J.C., Prairie Y.T., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2012. Diatom-inferred decline of macrophyte abundance in lakes of southern Quebec, Canada. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69: 511-524.

Vermaire J.C., Prairie Y.T., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2011. The influence of submerged macrophytes on sedimentary diatom assemblages. Journal of Phycology 47: 1230-1240.

Albert* M.R., Chen G., MacDonald G.K., Vermaire J.C., Bennett E.M., and Gregory-Eaves I. (2010). Phosphorus and land-use changes are significant drivers of cladoceran community composition and diversity: an analysis over spatial and temporal scales. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67: 1262-1273.

Vermaire J.C.and Cwynar L.C. 2010. A revised Late-Quaternary vegetation history for the unglaciated southwestern Yukon Territory, Canada, from Antifreeze and Eikland Ponds.Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 47: 75-88.

Kurek J., Cwynar L.C., and Vermaire J.C. 2009. A late Quaternary paleotemperature record from Hanging Lake, eastern Beringia. Quaternary Research 72: 246-257.

Brothers* S., Vermaire J.C., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2008. Empirical models for describing recent sedimentation rates in lakes distributed across broad spatial scales.  Journal of Paleolimnology 40: 1003-1019.

Vermaire J.C., and Gregory-Eaves I. 2008.  Reconstructing changes in macrophyte cover in lakes across the northeastern United States based on sedimentary diatom assemblages. Journal of Paleolimnology 39: 477-490.