Geneviève Bordeleau, Ph.D

Research Scientist

Research on groundwater geochemistry, including isotopic geochemistry

Natural Resources Canada

Current research and/or projects


I followed a winding path to become a researcher. After studying agronomy, I decided to focus my career more toward the environment. So I completed a master’s degree in hydrogeology and a PhD in contaminant geochemistry. In doing so, I discovered the wonderful world of isotopes, which are like molecule “fingerprints” and that make it possible to understand environmental processes, as well monitor and find the origin of various contaminants. This field of research has become a passion that I am still working in today as a researcher at the GSC. Ultimately, I view the variety in my path as an asset because it allows me to better contemplate and understand environmental problems as a whole.

Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

I am currently involved in two projects concerning the environmental impacts of shale gas development on aquifers; one of the projects takes place near Quebec City, while the other is in southern New Brunswick. The goal of these projects is to provide strong scientific data and contribute to protect groundwater resources in areas with a recognized potential for gas exploitation, and where aquifers are used for human consumption.

  • Responsible for the geochemical aspect of a research project concerning the potential impacts of shale gas development in an area still considered as “virgin” with respect to hydraulic fracturation (St-Edouard area, QC). The main goal of the project is to evaluate the vulnerability of local aquifers with respect to a future potential exploitation of gas resources.
  • Responsible for the geochemical aspect of a research project concerning the impacts of shale gas development in an area that is already under exploitation by the industry (near Sussex, NB). The main goal of the project is to evaluate the vulnerability of local aquifers and to verify whether current gas operations have an impact on groundwater quality.

Professional activities / interests

While working in the general field of hydrogeology, my work is focused on groundwater geochemistry, with a strong emphasis on isotope geochemistry. I use my areas of expertise to characterize the quality of drinking water and groundwater in general, in both natural and disturbed environments. My goal is to better understand environmental processes affecting groundwater, and striving to protect Canada’s valuable groundwater resources.

I co-supervise one student from the University of Ottawa, under the supervision of Dr. Tom Al, also from the University of Ottawa.

Education and awards


  • Postdoc in Isotopic chemistry, Natural Resources Canada (Geological Survey of Canada), 2015.
  • PhD in Water science (exceptional honours), Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), 2012.
  • M.Sc. in Earth science, specialisation in hydrogeology (excellent honours), Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), 2007. 
  • M.Sc. in Environment science (not completed; done only one year), UQAM, 2004.
  • Bachelor's degree in agronomy (with great distinction), McGill University, 2003.


  • Academic Governor General's Gold Medal, 2013.
  • Excellence Grant of the Director General of INRS, doctorate level, 2013.
  • Innovation Award, INRS-ETE, 2013.
  • NSERC Visiting Fellowships in Canadian Government Laboratories, 2013. 
  • Research Grant for a stay abroad (Spain), Ministère de l’Éducation, des Loisirs et du Sport du Québec,2011.
  • NSERC PhD Grant, 2008.

International experience and/or work

University of Barcelona, Spain (2011)

Along with a research associate and a PhD student, I co-piloted a research project with the Applied Mineralogy and Environment Research Group (MAiMa), headed by Dr. Albert Soler i Gil. The objective was to develop a new in-situ treatment method for groundwater contaminated with chloroform and to monitor performance using an isotopic approach.

University Christian-Albrecht, Kiel, Germany (2006)

I completed an internship with the Applied Geology Group, headed by Dr. Andreas Dahmke. The objective was to familiarize myself with their approach to the digital modelling of groundwater. Dr. Dahmke as well as Dr. Dirk Schäfer, collaborated on the modelling component of my master’s project.

Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark (2002)

I completed a semester specializing in ecological agriculture where I worked on a research project with Canadian and Polish students on the quality of organic versus conventional fruits and vegetables.

Key publications

Scientific Papers

  1. Lavoie, D., Pinet, N., Bordeleau, G., H-Ardakani, O., Ladevèze, P., Duchesne, M.J., Rivard, C., Mort, A., Brake, V., Sanei, H., Malet, X. (2016) The Upper Ordovician Black Shales of Southern Quebec (Canada) and their significance for naturally occurring hydrocarbons in shallow groundwater. Int. J. Coal Geol. In press (doi:10.1016/j.coal.2016.02.008) (ESS Cont.# 20150416)
  2. Bordeleau, G., Rivard, C., Lavoie, D., Mort, A., Ahad, J., Malet, X., Xu, X. (2015) Identifying the source of methane in groundwater in a “virgin” area with regards to shale gas exploitation: a multi-isotope approach. Procedia Earth and Planetary science 13: 219-222. (ESS Cont.# 20140591)
  3. Bordeleau, G., Savard, M.M., Martel, R., Smirnoff, A. (2013) Stable isotopes of nitrate reflect natural attenuation of propellant residues on military training ranges. Environ. Sci. Technol. 47(15): 8265-8272. (doi:10.1021/es4004526) (ESS Cont.# 20120361)
  4. Bordeleau, G., Savard, M.M., Martel, R., Ampleman, G., Thiboutot, S. (2008) Determination of the Origin of Groundwater Nitrate at an Air Weapons Range using the Dual Isotope Approach. J. Contam. Hydrol. 98(3-4): 97-105. (ESS Cont.# 20070018)

Conference Abstracts

  1. Assessment of potential impacts of shale gas development on shallow aquifers in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, Quebec, Canada. (2015) Rivard, C; Bordeleau, G; Lavoie, D; Lefebvre, R; Ladevèze, P; Duchesne, M; Pugin, A; Séjourné, S; Crow, H; Pinet, N; Labrie, D; Aznar, J C; Ahad, J. AGU-GAC-MAC-CGU 2015 Joint assembly; Montreal. (ESS Cont.# 20140429) 
  2. Assessing baseline near-surface bedrock and groundwater geochemical data prior to shale gas exploration and development - the case of the Utica Shale, Quebec, Canada. (2014) Lavoie, D; Mort, A; Haeri Ardakani, O; Sanei, H; Bordeleau, G; Rivard, C; Aznar, J C; in, Goldschmidt 2014 conference, abstracts (ESS Cont.# 20130388)
  3. Baseline geological and geochemical near surface data - the case of the Utica Shale in southern Quebec. (2014) Lavoie, D; Rivard, C; Bordeleau, G; Mort, A; Aznar, J -C; Malo, M; in, GeoConvention 2014: FOCUS, abstracts p. 1-4 (ESS Cont.# 20130389)
  4. Présence et origine du gaz naturel dissous dans l'eau souterraine dans la région de St-Édouard (Québec). (2014) Rivard, C; Bordeleau, G; Lavoie, D; Lefebvre, R; Aznar, J -C; Mort, A; Lamontagne, C; in, Congrès de l'Acfas, résumés. (ESS Cont.# 20140135)