Department of Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning
Department of Geography and Planning
Portrait of Julien Fouché.

Julien Fouché

Postdoctoral Fellow
Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Rm. E115
613-533-6000 ext. 77051

I grew up in the surroundings of Orléans (France), nearly 150 km south from Paris. Since my childhood, I have been interested in natural sciences and particularly in geology and biology; collecting rocks from every place I visited was one of my favourite hobbies.

I pursued undergraduate studies in Earth and Universe Sciences at Université d’Orléans La Source. While following captivating courses in natural sciences, I discovered soil sciences, which represent the complex interactions between earth sciences, biology and society issues. I obtained a MSc degree in soil sciences, agro-environmental sciences and fluvial geomorphology (2009) at Université de Tours (France), specializing in soil erosion. My graduate studies provided me with the opportunity to work at the University of Sydney where I characterized aeolian dust in topsoils of Fe-rich soils. During that time, I also investigated soil erosion risk at regional and local scales in the Mediterranean basin using modelling tools at the French Geological Survey (Montpellier, France).

I discovered Arctic environments and permafrost-affected soils (Cryosols) during my PhD. This project originated from the collaboration between M. Allard at Université Laval (Qc, Canada) and C. Keller and J.P. Ambrosi at Aix Marseille Université – CEREGE (Aix en Provence, France). During these five years, I investigated the impacts of global warming on the biogeochemical functioning of Arctic Cryosols in the Salluit region (Nunavik, Canada).

Since my first fieldwork in Arctic and with the curiosity for permafrost-environments I gained through contacts with my advisors, I decided to pursue studying soil processes in northern environments. These environments are quickly evolving under global changes and many processes remain unknown. Since November 2015, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the FaBRECC laboratory of Mélissa Lafrenière in the department of Geography at Queen’s University.


  • B.Sc. (Université d'Orléans La Source)
  • M.Sc (Université de Tours, France)
  • Ph.D. (Aix Marseille Université - CEREGE, Aix en Provence, France)

Research Interests:

Permafrost and related Cryosols are considered as the most important terrestrial carbon (C) pool on earth. Therefore permafrost C may have a significant role in the global C dynamics as permafrost thawing under a warming climate could lead to the release of important amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and dissolved organic C into arctic terrestrial and marine waters.

My researches focus on improving the understanding of biogeochemical processes in permafrost-affected soils. I investigate the impact of arctic changes (warming, permafrost degradation) on carbon cycle in tundra ecosystems through CO2 flux and DOC release. In addition to temperature and soil water content, C release is controlled by many soil and pore-water properties that I am interested in (i.e. pH, ion contents, the organic matter composition)

My PhD highlighted that 1) soil biogeochemical properties and pore-water geochemistry influence the warming-induced increase of CO2 fluxes; 2) the temperature sensitivity of CO2 fluxes evolves during the day; 3) the permafrost degradation might modify the biogeochemical composition of pore-water in permafrost-affected soils and impact related tundra ecosystems.

Within the FaBREEC lab at Queen’s, I work on assessing the size of the permafrost C pool and the characteristics of dissolved organic matter that will become available to microbial activity with permafrost degradation. Queen’s University as part of the ADAPT project provides the opportunity to assess the first wide picture of the C pool size as well as the nature and the bioavailability of organic compounds stored in the Canadian permafrost in various conditions of climate, vegetation and landscape.

Key words: Pedogenic Processes, Soil Biogeochemical Functioning, CO2 fluxes, Dissolved Organic Matter, Absorbance and Fluorescence, Arctic Environments, Permafrost Landscapes, Soil Erosion