Steeve Côté


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Full professor



(418) 656-2131, ext 3490

(418) 656-2043

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in integrated resource management of Anticosti Island (Chair holder)

Caribou Ungava

Centre d'études nordiques

Research projects on alpine ungulates

Postdoctorate fellow, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, United-Kingdom.
Ph.D., Université de Sherbrooke

Research interests

Behavioural ecology of large mammals, evolution of life-history strategies, wildlife management, conservation biology and population genetics.

Courses at Laval University


  • BIO-4200   Écologie comportementale (2e et 3e cycles)
  • BIO-7011   Écologie comportementale (1er cycle)

Ongoing research projects

I am interested in population ecology, conservation biology and behavioural ecology. My research projects aim to understand the effects of individual differences at the behavioural and genetic levels on reproductive success, habitat selection and population dynamics. A major goal of my research is to produce knowledge useful for the conservation and management of large mammals.

  1. Ecology and behaviour of mountain goats in Alberta. This long-term study investigates the factors affecting individual variations in reproductive success in both sexes and population dynamics. It also addresses the mechanisms of selection of life-history traits. The project has already accumulated 24 years of data and is continuing.

    Collaborators: Dr. M. Festa-Bianchet, Université de Sherbrooke and Dr. D. Coltman, University of Alberta. Part of the funding comes from ACA.

    Maternal group of mountain goats, Caw Ridge, Alberta, June 1998.

  2. Ecology of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island. This project is part of the NSERC industrial research Chair in integrated resource management of Anticosti Island that I'm directing. The main goal of this Chair is to develop forest and wildlife management methods adapted to high deer densities. We are particularly interested in the patterns of deer habitat use and foraging behaviour in relation to forest structure and population density, resource selection and deer nutrition. We are also testing the effect of hunting regimes on population size and assessing how habitat quality affects deer body condition. This project was initiated in early summer 2001.

  3. Ecology and demography of caribou in Québec-Labrador. This project investigates patterns of space use, body condition, reproduction, genetics and demography of the Rivière George and the Rivière-aux-Feuilles caribou herds using satellite tracking and field observations. We are also pursuing experiments on the effects of climate change on the habitat of caribou.

    Collaborators : Dr. M. Festa-Bianchet, Université de Sherbrooke, Dr. J.-P. Tremblay, Université Laval, Dr. C. Dussault, Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs.

  4. Climate change and denning behaviour of grizzly bears in Alberta. We are assessing the impacts of global warming on the denning ecology and habitat selection of grizzly bears using satellite telemetry.

    Collaborator : Dr. G. Stenhouse, Alberta Natural Resources Service.

  5. Space use of mountain goats in Jasper National Park, Alberta. We are studying the distribution and movements of mountain goats in the Marmot Basin area using satellite telemetry.

    Collaborator : Dr. J. Wilmshurst, Jasper National Park.



Recent publications

  • Yannic, G., L. Pellissier, J. Ortego, N. Lecomte, S. Couturier, C. Cuyler, C. Dussault, K.J. Hundermark, R.J. Irvine, D.A. Jenkins, L. Kolpashikov, K. Mager, M. Musiani, K.L. Parker, K.H. Roed, T. Sipko, S.G. Þórisson, B.V. Weckworth, A. Guisan, L. Bernatchez, and S.D. Côté. 2014. Genetic diversity in caribou linked to past and future climate change. Nature Climate Change 4: 132-137.
  • Simard, M.-A., J. Huot, S. de Bellefeuille, and S.D. Côté. 2014. Influences of habitat composition, plant phenology, and population density on autumn indices of body condition in a northern white-tailed deer population. Wildlife Monographs 187: 1-28.
  • Giroux, M.-A., J.-P. Tremblay, M.-A. Simard, N. G. Yoccoz, and S.D. Côté. 2013. Forage-mediated density and climate effects on body mass in a temperate herbivore: a mechanistic approach. Ecology 95: 1332-1340.
  • Hidding, B., J.-P. Tremblay, and S.D. Côté. 2013. A large herbivore triggers alternative successional trajectories in the boreal forest. Ecology 94: 2852-2860.

  • Crosmary, W.-G., A.J. Loveridge, H. Ndaimani, S. Lebel, V. Booth, S.D. Côté, and H. Fritz. 2013. Trophy hunting in Africa: long-term trends in antelope horn size. Animal Conservation 16: 648-660.
  • Taillon, J., P.S. Barboza, and S.D. Côté. 2013. Nitrogen allocation to offspring and milk production in a capital breeder. Ecology 94: 1815-1827.
  • Shafer, A.B.A., S.D. Côté, and D.W. Coltman. 2010. Hot spots of genetic diversity descended from multiple Pleistocene refugia in an alpine ungulate. Evolution 65:125-138.

Complete list of publications

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281, October 2014

Ecology, volume 93, 2012 

Festa-Bianchet, M. et S.D. Côté. 2008. Mountain goats: ecology, behavior
and conservation of an alpine ungulate. Island Press, 265 p.


Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276, November 2009


Science, February 2011

New Scientist, April 2001

New Scientist, July 1999

Canadian Journal of Zoology 85 (9), 2007

Le naturaliste canadien 129 (1), 2005


Écoscience 11 (4), 2004

Post-doctoral fellows, research associates, graduate students, and staff working in my laboratory

Dr. Julien Beguin (Postdoctoral fellow)
Influence of biotic and abiotic disturbances on diversity patterns and organization of forest plant communities (Codirection: M. Vellend)

Emilie Champagne (Ph.D.) 
Influence of plant-plant interactions on the susceptibility of fir saplings to browsing after unfencing sectors under management on Anticosti Island.
(Codirection; Direction: J.-P. Tremblay)

Sabrina Plante (Ph.D.)

Impact of human disturbance on habitat selection and demography of migratory caribou.(Codirection: C. Dussault)

Marie-Andrée Giroux (Ph.D.)
Resources selection of white-tailed deer. (Codirection: J.-P. Tremblay)

Mael Le Corre (Ph.D.)
Habitat selection of migratory caribou. (Codirection: C. Dussault)

Karine Pigeon (Ph.D.)
Climate changes and denning behaviour of grizzly bears in Alberta.

Andrea Panagakis (M.Sc.)
The influence of early reproductive events on lifetime reproductive success in female mountain goats.

Edouard Bélanger (M.Sc.)
Space use, habitat selection and survival of the Torngat caribou herd.

Patrick Morissette (M.Sc.)
Effects of environmental variability on mountain goats.

Allen Brett Campeau (M.Sc.)
Spatiotemporal variation in the range use of migratory caribou.

Nicolas Houde (M.Sc.)
Effectiveness of trails and artificial grasslands to increase the vulnerability of deer to hunting.
(Codirection; Direction: J.-P. Tremblay)

Karina Charest (M.Sc.)

Role of post-weaning associations in mountain goats.

Amélie Drolet (M.Sc.) 
Cumulative impacts of anthropogenic activities on habitat use by white-tailed deer.
(Codirection: C. Dussault)

Michaël Bonin (M.Sc.) 
Adaptations of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island to a winter diet dominated by conifers.
(Codirection: J.-P. Tremblay)


Alice-Anne Simard (M.Sc.)
Relationship between body condition and parasitism in migratory caribou.

Valérie Saucier (M.Sc.)
Impact of climate changes and browsing on summer resources of caribou.
(Codirection; Direction: J.-P. Tremblay)

Alexandre Rasiulis (M.Sc.)
Survival of migratory caribou in Quebec-Labrador
(Codirection: M. Festa-Bianchet)

Julien Hénault-Richard (M.Sc.)
Space use of mountain goats in Jasper National Park. (Codirection: J. Wilmshurst)

Caroline Hins (Research professional, projects on mountain goats and migratory caribou)
Ecology and conservation of large herbivores.

Sonia de Bellefeuille (Research professional, NSERC industrial research chair in integrated resource management of Anticosti Island)
Ecology of large herbivores.

Former post-doctoral, research associates and graduate students

Dr. Glenn Yannic (Postdoctoral fellow)
Structure and genetic exchanges between caribou populations (Codirection: L. Bernatchez)

Emilie Champagne (Research professional, 2012)
Projects on mountain goats and migratory caribou.

Emilie is now a Ph.D. student in my laboratory.


Dr. Gaëlle Darmon (Postdoctoral fellow, 2010-2012)
Integration of knowledge in a global model of deer-forest-silviculture relationships, Anticosti.

Dr. Bert Hidding (Postdoctoral fellow, 2010-2011) 
Modelling the population dynamics of balsam fir seedlings in relation to white-tailed deer density.

Bert is now a researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

Dr. Joaquin Ortego (Postdoctoral fellow, 2010)
Temporal variation in genetic diversity in mountain goats.

Joquin is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos - IREC de Ciudad Real, Spain.

Denis Duteau (Research professional, NSERC-Produits forestiers Anticosti Industrial Research Chair, 2002-2010)
Field work on white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

Denis is now working for Pétrolia.

Dr. Robert Weladji (Research Associate, 2005-2006, NSERC-Produits Forestiers Anticosti Industrial Research Chair). Deer-forest relationships.

Robert is now an associate professor at Concordia University, Montréal.

Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli (Postdoctoral fellow, 2005-2006). Habitat-productivity relationships in large herbivores.

Nathalie is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of zoology, London UK.

Dr. Marylène Boulet (Postdoctoral fellow, 2004-2005). Population genetics of caribou of northern Quebec.

Marylène is now working for the CUEFR of Sherbrooke University.

Dr. François Fournier (Research Associate, 2003-2004, Industrial NSERC-Produits forestiers Anticosti Chair)
Nutritional ecology of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

François now works at the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Dr. Christian Dussault (Research associate 2001-2003, NSERC-Produits Forestiers Anticosti Industrial Research Chair)
Habitat use of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

Christian now works as a scientist for the Quebec government and collaborates with us on many projects.

Dr. Stéphanie Pellerin (Postdoctoral fellow, 2003)
Impacts of white-tailed deer on peatlands of Anticosti Island.

Stéphanie is now a staff scientist at the Institut de Recherche en Biologie végétale of Montreal.

Joëlle Taillon (Ph.D., 2007-2012)
Reproduction and body condition of female caribou. (Codirection: M. Festa-Bianchet)

Joëlle now works as a scientist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

William Crosmary (Ph.D., 2007-2012) 
Effects of sport hunting on the ecology and behaviour of African ungulates. (Codirection: H. Fritz).

William is now a postdoctoral fellow in biology at Laval University.

Aaron Shafer (Ph.D., 2007-2012)
Genetic structure of mountain goat populations. (Codirection; Direction: D. Coltman)

Aaron is now a Wenner-Gren postdoctoral fellow at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Ariane Massé (Ph.D., 2002-2010)
Habitat use and foraging behaviour of female white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

Ariane now works as a scientist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Anouk Simard (Ph.D., 2002-2010)
Effects of natural and experimental variations of density on body condition and reproduction of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

Anouk now works as a scientist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Vanessa Viera (Ph.D. 2003-2010)
Energetics and aggressiveness in king penguins
(Aptenodytes patagonicus) during the breeding period. (Codirection: R. Groscolas)

Vanessa works as a biologist for Roche.

Antoine St. Louis (Ph.D., 2002-2010)
Ecology and conservation of a rare Equid, the kiang (Equus kiang) in Ladakh, India.

Antoine now works as a scientist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Julien Mainguy (Ph.D., 2004-2008)
Genetic variability, phenotypic quality, and reproductive success of male mountain goats. (Codirection: D. Coltman)

Julien now works as a scientist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Sandra Hamel (Ph.D., 2002-2008; accelerated transition from M.Sc. to Ph.D. in summer 2004)
Costs of reproduction in female mountain goats.

Sandra is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

Serge Couturier (Ph.D., 2001-2007)
Body condition of caribou in Québec-Labrador. (Codirection; Direction: J. Huot).

Serge is now retired as a scientist of the MRNF in Quebec City.

Rachel Théoret-Gosselin (M.Sc., 2009-2012)
Long-term reproductive effort in mountain goats.

Melanie Pachkowski (M.Sc., 2009-2012)
Body condition of migratory caribou. (Codirection; Direction: M. Festa-Bianchet)

Melanie is now working for Parks in Alberta.

Emilie Champagne (M.Sc., 2009-2012) 
Impact of the abundance of migratory caribou on their food resources in the summer range. (Codirection; Direction: J.-P. Tremblay)

Emilie is now a Ph.D. student in my laboratory.

Étienne Cardinal (M.Sc., 2007-2010)
Impacts of white-tailed deer on songbirds on Anticosti Island. (Codirection: J.-L. Martin)

Étienne now works as a biologist on grizzly bears in Alberta.

François Lebel (M.Sc., 2008-2010)
Visibility and hunting success on Anticosti Island. (Codirection: C. Dussault)

François is working as a biologist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Léon L'Italien (M.Sc., 2007-2010)
Reproductive strategies of male reindeer in Finland. (Codirection: R. Weladji)

Léon now works as a biologist for Parks Canada.

Sophie Godde (M.Sc., 2007-2010)
Social networks in mountain goats. (Codirection; Direction: D. Réale)

Sophie is now doing a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology at UQAM.

Catherine Bajzak (M.Sc., 2005-2008)
Diving behavior and habitat use of hooded seals. (Codirection: M. Hammill).

Catherine is now working as a biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Jean-François Therrien (M.Sc., 2004-2006)
Maternal reproductive effort in relation to intraspecific competition in white-tailed deer. (Codirection: M. Festa-Bianchet)

Jean-François is now a researcher at the Mountain Hawk Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.

Valérie Harvey (M.Sc., 2003-2006)
Habitat use at different spatial scales in grey seals of the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Codirection:M. Hammill).

Valérie is now working as a biologist at the MDDEFP in Quebec City.

Joëlle Taillon (M.Sc., 2003-2005)
Effects of forage quality in winter on the social behavior of white-tailed deer fawns on Anticosti Island.

Joelle obtained a Ph.D. in my laboratory in 2012 and is now working as a scientist at the MDDEFP.

Marie-Lou Coulombe (M.Sc., 2002-2005)
Influence of population density on the foraging behavior and time budget of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island. (Codirection: J. Huot).

Marie-Lou now works as a biologist for Roche.

Daniel Sauvé (M.Sc., 2002-2005)
Influence of winter diet on the body condition of white-tailed deer on Anticosti Island.

Daniel is now a Senior Evaluator at Health Canada in Ottawa.

Yanick Gendreau (M.Sc., 2001-2003)
Post-weaning maternal care in mountain goats. (Codirection: M. Festa-Bianchet).

Yanick is now doing a Ph.D. at UQAR.

Field work in pictures

Mountain goat study area at Caw Ridge,
Alberta, June 1995

Field camp for the George river caribou
work in June 1992

Weighing a king penguin egg,
Crozet Islands, February 1998

A tame adult male in Grands-Jardins Provincial Park, March 1995, during a study on the effects of ecotourists on woodland caribou

Watching muskoxen on Victoria Island,
Northwest Territories, May 1993

Muskoxen on Victoria Island, Northwest Territories, May 1993

A typical day in the field,
Caw Ridge, June 1996

Extreme field work on Ram Mountain,
Alberta, September 1998

Mountain goat study area at Caw Ridge,
Alberta, June 1995

Reindalen, Spitsbergen,
April 2000

Bringing down a reindeer, Colesdalen,
April 2001

Field cabin Tarandus in Semmeldalen,
Spitsbergen, April 2000

Telaly, Spitsbergen, May 2000

Mountain goat trapping site at Caw Ridge,
June 1996

Muskox fieldwork on Victoria Island, June 1993. Sampling snow craters marked during winter

Grizzly bear and mountain goat in Alberta, September 2008.

With no. 106 who was 2 years in August 1994

No. 192 (10-yr-old) with her kid, Caw Ridge,
Alberta, September 2007

White-tailed deer doe on Anticosti Island, July 2002

Sampling vegetation on Anticosti Island,
July 2002

Field crew in a peatland, Anticosti,
July 2001

Data painting, Anticosti,
August 2001

Capture of a white-tailed deer fawn on Anticosti, November 2002

White-tailed doe, Anticosti,
June 2005

Kiangs in Ladakh, India, July 2004

Campus Far East, Ladakh, India, July 2004

Hooded seal female with her 2-day old pup, Maggies, March 2005

Fitting a satellite tag on a hooded seal pup,
near Prince Edward Island, March 2004 

Gaping king penguin,
Crozet Islands, February 1998

A group of juvenile Svalbard reindeer,
Semmeldalen, May 2000

With my collaborator Ø. Holand, fieldwork on reindeer during the rut, Finland, October 2006

Impala nursing, research on reproductive effort, Hwange, Zimbabwe, April 2007

Our research facilities on Anticosti Island, September 2008

Pulling out a stake in permafrost, Deception Bay , Ungava, August 2008

Caribou fieldwork, Kangiqsujjuaq, August 2008

White-tailed deer captured with a net gun, Anticosti, January 2009

Lunchtime on Anticosti Island, September 2010

Anticosti, September 2010

Deception Bay experimental site, Caribou habitat project, August 2010

Capture of a yearling, Caw Ridge,
June 2010

St. Jean Baptiste Day, Caw Ridge, 2010

Capture of a European roe deer, Sweden,
January 2010

Chaire de recherche industrielle CRSNG en aménagement intégré des ressources de l'île d'Anticosti - Université Laval
Pavillon Alexandre-Vachon, Local 3076, 1045, av. de la Médecine, Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6 Canada
Téléphone : 418-656-7769, Fax: 418-656-2043 Courriel :
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