Martine M. Savard

Research Geoscientist

Isotopic geochemistry applied to research on environmental impacts of natural resources development.

Natural Resources Canada

Current research and/or projects

What is the focus of your research ?

I am the supervisor of the stable isotope laboratory (Delta-Lab, GSC), which is dedicated to environmental research aiming at better understanding the pollution impacts on air and water associated with the extraction of natural resources, and to helping promote the sustainable development of groundwater resources.

What is the significance of your research?

My research on the isotopic geochemistry of tree rings is allowing me to understand historical changes in air quality and soil chemistry during periods when instrumental measurements were not available. More specifically, my activities focus on the carbon and nitrogen cycles and metal deposition in peri-urban regions and industrialized sectors, to better understand the dynamic of these elements from emission sources to air, soils, groundwater and vegetation.

Interesting Facts:

The research of my group has provided the scientific community with now tools allowing to distinguish between natural and man-made environmental effects. I am also part of an international multidisciplinary team working together to reconstruct the past thousand years of Northern Quebec climate which is a critical region for the hydro energy sustainability in Eastern Canada. Finally, I lead several scientific projects providing key information with respect to the sustainable development of non-conventional oil petroleum resources (oil sands), with the goal of providing non-bias recommendations concerning the environmental footprint of the extraction zones. My team develops new analytical protocols, and is using novel approaches and an array of new isotopic indicators to distinguish natural contaminants from anthropogenic ones.

Education and awards

PhD –Ottawa University (1991)

Master – Laval University (1986)


  • Excellence in science 2013 Natural resources Canada award for exceptional accomplishments.
  • Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Queen Elizabeth II, October 2012. This nomination came from the works done on the accumulation of nitrates in groundwater in Prince-Edward Island which was linked with agricultural practices.
  • 400 years of women in science, Québec city 400th anniversary, winner in the public service category, 2008.
  • Scientific excellence, 2007, Achievement award from Natural Resources Canada.
  • Achievement award from the Earth Sciences Sector, 2007 in recognition for the project on nitrates cycle and water quality on Prince Edward Island and the associated results impact.
  • Award from the Public Service Chief, 2002 for the regional hydrogeological characterization project.
  • Achievement award from the Earth Sciences Sector, 2000-2002 for contribution to the Metals in the Environment Program.
  • Honorable mention for an Outstanding Journal Paper, 1993 under the Society for Sedimentology Geology.

Key publications


Earth SciencesGeology
Earth SciencesGroundwater
Economics and IndustryPrimary industryPetroleum industry
Economics and IndustrySustainable development
EnvironmentAirAdaptation & ImpactsEnvironmental contaminants
EnvironmentAirAir Pollution & QualityStable Isotopes
SciencesScientific research


Adjunct professor: INRS-ETE