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Research into Quebec’s rivers aims to improve Atlantic salmon habitats

At a glance
The intern

Piyush Rai from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Hosted by

Dr. Normand Bergeron at Université INRS

The research

Analysis of Atlantic salmon passage through culverts

Most of Quebec’s rivers where Atlantic salmon swim are expansive networks of forest roads and watercourses that intersect at culverts.

This summer, Globalink intern Piyush Rai is working alongside Dr. Normand Bergeron at Université INRS to better understand how improved culvert design can positively impact the migration and survival of Atlantic salmon.

Piyush has travelled to Quebec from India, where his interest in sustainability began at a young age. He would frequently visit national parks and bio reserves that had endangered species, such as tigers, rhinos, and leopards. He was drawn to his Globalink project because Atlantic salmon are already considered endangered in parts of Canada and the United States. 

During his 12-week internship, Piyush is spending time between two research stations: one at Université INRS in Quebec City another — about three hours northeast — in the wilderness near the city of Sacré-Coeur, where he is tagging Atlantic salmon with sensors to study their passage through a variety of culverts. These tunnels can be different sizes, shapes, and made from various materials. When culverts are poorly installed or maintained, they can become barriers to fish passage for various reasons, such as high water flow velocity and a lack of refuge in their path.

After several 48-hour trials, Piyush will collect data on how many tagged salmon swam through the culvert versus how many salmon did not leave a cage installed at the downstream end of the culvert. At the end of his internship, he will provide measurements to predict if a culvert is passable or not.

When he’s not in the wilderness, Piyush is exploring the sights and sounds of Quebec City and befriending the many locals who have shown him all that the city has to offer. Piyush says the internship has provided him with a full experience.

“Mitacs Globalink is not just about students doing their research, it’s about introducing these students to different people through activities, workshops, and industry tours that will help them grow their networks on an international scale.”


Mitacs would like to thank the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, and the Government of Quebec for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program. In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Universities Australia; the China Scholarship Council; Campus France; India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico; Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education; and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.