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Michelle A. Chaput


Contact Information

Doctoral Candidate
Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology
Department of Geography

University of Ottawa
60 University Private
Ottawa , ON K1N 6N5

Office: SMD 0021C

Phone: 613-562-5800 ext. 1287
E-mail: mchap036 (at) uottawa.ca




Lac Noir, Québec, Canada

Research Interests

  • An early anthropocene in North America/prehistoric human land use during the Holocene
  • Paleoecological/model-based reconstructions of vegetation and land cover in North America
  • Paleoclimate reconstruction
  • Systematics, taxonomy and biogeography

Academic Background

• 2013 – Present
Ph.D. Geography
Department of Geography, University of Ottawa
Thesis: An early Anthropocene? Holocene human-vegetation-climate interactions in North America
Supervisor: Dr. Konrad Gajewski

• 2011 – 2012
Master of Science (fast-tracked into Ph. D. program prior to completion)
Department of Geography, University of Ottawa
Thesis: A record of Holocene lake-level change and vegetation dynamics near the Aishihik Lake area in southwestern Yukon
Supervisor: Dr. Konrad Gajewski

See my Graduate Student Report in section 2 of the Spring 2014 AMQUA newsletter

• 2006– 2011
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Department of Biology, University of Ottawa
Thesis : The Phylogenetic Utility of Molecular and Morphological Characters: An Example from Carex section Griseae (Cyperaceae)
Supervisor: Dr. Julian Starr

Publications and Citations


• Chaput, M.A., and Gajewski, K. 2014. Analysis of Daily Air Temperatures Across a Topographically Complex Alpine Region of Southwest Yukon, Canada. Arctic, 37(4): 537-553.

• Chaput, M.A., Kriesche, B., Betts, M., Martindale, A., Kulik, R., Schmidt, V. and Gajewski, K. 2015. Spatiotemporal Distribution of Holocene Populations in North America. PNAS, doi:10.1073pnas.1505657112.

Manuscripts in preparation or submitted

• Using radiocarbon dates as estimates of ancient human population size (submitted)

• An Early Anthropocene in North America? (in preparation)

• A Record of Holocene Lake-level Change and Vegetation Dynamics in the Aishihik Valley, Southwestern Yukon, Canada (in preparation)


• Chaput, M. (2014). Gyrosigma acuminatum. In Diatoms of the United States. http://westerndiatoms.colorado.edu/taxa/species/gyrosigma_acuminatum

Conferences/International Events

• 2015
I discussed a poster showcasing radiocarbon dates from Québec at the 2015 Joint Assembly of the American Geophysical Union in Montreal, Québec. The poster can be viewed here.

• 2015
I presented the results of a collaborative analysis of the distribution of prehistoric humans in North America based on data from the Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database (CARD) at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The presentation was given during a session on New Perspectives in Paleoenvironmental Change and Geoarchaeology in North America.

• 2014
As part of the 13th International NCCR Climate Summer School in Grindelwald, Switzerland, I attended a conference on "Linking land use, land cover and climate". Young researchers and international experts studying climate change, anthropogenic land use and land cover change, and "safe operating scenarios" for the future came together to discuss the consequences of intense land use and consider possible mitigation strategies. I presented a research proposal for studying past human-vegetation-climate dynamics in North America in the context of the Anthropocene.

• 2014
Between May 19th and June 13th, I participated in a course on the Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms offered by the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. This course, co-taught by Dr. Mark Edlund and Dr. Sarah Spaulding, was a field-oriented class with a laboratory component during which I was able to familiarize myself with the taxonomy and microscopic identification of diatoms. In class we discussed proper slide mounting techniques, bright field, dark field and phase contrast microscopy, and stratified counting procedures, as well as the evolutionary history and biogeography of diatoms. If you ever have the opportunity to attend a class or workshop at the Iowa Lakeside Lab, I would highly recommend it!

• 2013
At the International Biogeography Society's Special Meeting in Montreal, I presented a poster on "Holocene human-vegetation-climate interactions in North America". The theme of this meeting was "The Geography of Species Associations" which gave researchers in fields such as community assembly, null models in ecology, diversification, phylogeography and large-scale studies a chance to share their research results with an international audience.

• 2013
I attended the 12th International NCCR Climate Summer School hosted by the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research in Grindelwald, Switzerland. The theme of the summer school was "From climate reconstructions to climate predictions", a topic which gave young researchers the chance to attend keynote plenary lectures and workshops which focused on the important link between past and future climate scenarios. I also had the opportunity to present my own research during a poster session dedicated to recent advances in multyproxy climate reconstructions.

• 2013
I travelled to Kalmar , Sweden , to participate in a short course (The theory of pollen analysis and its applications) offered by Dr. Shinya Sugita and the Department of Biology at Linnaeus University. I studied concepts and mechanisms essential for paleoecological studies and the application of models, such as REVEALS and LOVE, used in the reconstruction of vegetation and land cover using fossil pollen.

• 2012
I travelled to London, England, to participate in two short courses (Ostracod Analysis/Stable Isotopes and Environmental Change) offered by the Geography Department at University College London. Here I practiced modern laboratory techniques associated with the use of paleoenvironmental proxies to reconstruct climate change.

• 2009
As a student in BIO3103 (Ecology of East African Ecosystems), I travelled to Tanzania, East Africa, and took part in an educational and multicultural experience devoted to raising awareness about malaria-endemic regions of the world, distributing bed nets to families in need and studying agroforestry techniques for the rehabilitation of degraded land.

Teaching Assistantships

  • GEG2304 – Climatology (Fall 2013)
  • GEG3114 – Biogeography (Fall 2012/2014/2015)
  • GEG2109 – Canada and its Regions (Winter 2012/2013)
  • GEG3107 – Geography of Polar Regions (Winter 2012)
  • GEG3102 – Hydrology (Fall 2011)
  • GEG1301 – Introduction to the Physical Environment (Fall 2011)


  • The daily and hourly temperature data from Chaput and Gajewski (2014) are available here
  • The movie from Chaput et al. (2015) is available here

Professional Affiliations


  • Je parle et j'écris courramment le français et l'anglais




Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon, Canada

Trying to get to the river! (Photo courtesy of Frank Oliva)

A beautiful day for lake coring in Aishihik Valley, Yukon, Canada

2014 NCCR Summer School, Grindelwald, Switzerland (Photo courtesy of Claire McKay)

Having some fun in Chicago with the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park following the 2015 AAG Annual Meeting

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