Winners of the 2020 photo contest of the IRBV

The winners of the IRBV 2020 photo competition are:

Scientists In Action category: Béatrice Gervais
Working with contaminated soil
Neither the Botanical Garden nor the members of the team who participated in recycling and mixing contaminated soil for greenhouse experiments can be recognized. From 2019, we were taking major protective measures!

Life At The IRBV category: Marion Leménager
International Day of Women in Science
On February 11, we celebrated the International Day of Women in Science with this group photo!

Field Or Laboratory category: Audréanne Loiselle
A peatland symphony
Installation of a microphone in a floating bog to record song insects. The species are then identified by audiovisual analysis of the spectrograms of the recordings.

Flora And Fauna category: Rosalie Beauchamp
Canopy puzzle
Canopy formed by Agonis flexuosa (Willd.) Sweet at d’Entrecasteaux National Park in Australia. The crown shyness phenomenon is still poorly understood and can only be observed in certain tree species. Adaptation against the spread of pathogens, abrasion of branches when they swing in the wind, fierce competition for light or, on the contrary, a peaceful agreement to share space?

Three new professors at the IRBV

Two new botanists at the Botanical Garden and the IRBV

Following the retirement of two researchers during the summer of 2020, two new researchers are joining the IRBV research team: Marie-Hélène Brice and Geneviève Lajoie.

Marie-Hélène Brice wrote her Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of Pierre Legendre from the Université de Montréal and Marie-Josée Fortin from the University of Toronto. An expert of community ecology, she studied the effect of climate change on the spatio-temporal dynamic of the temporate boreal forests. Prior to that, she completed her M.Sc thesis at the IRBV under the supervision of Stéphanie Pellerin and the co-supervision of Monique Poulin from Université Laval.

Geneviève Lajoie studied biogeography and the evolution of plant-microbe interactions. She obtained her Ph.D. under the supervision of UQAM’s Steven W. Kembel, on the subject of the phyllosphere of trees. She completed her M.Sc thesis at the Université de Sherbrooke under the supervision of Mark Vellend.

A new curator for the Marie-Victorin Herbarium

The IRBV is also welcoming a new professor at the department of biological sciences, Étienne Léveillé-Bourret, who will also act as curator of the Marie-Victorin Herbarium.

Étienne Léveillé-Bourret is an expert of plant systematics, particularly of the Cyperaceae family. He uses genomic tools to understand evolution and the biogeography of plants. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Julian Starr.

Michael Rapinski receives the Marie-Victorin Excellence Award

We are happy to announce that the recipient of the 2020 Marie-Victorin Excellence Award is Michael Rapinski, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Alain Cuerrier.

The overall goal of his doctoral degree is to understand the role of local medicines and diets in the management of diabetes, predominant amongst Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Extensive field work in Quebec (North America) and French Guiana (South America) have shown a disconnect between healthcare workers and healthcare users regarding the use of natural resources, such as plants, to fight diabetesin Indigenous communities. Although this contributes to current dietary and lifestyle changes that increase the risk of diabetes, medicinal and dietary plant use and knowledge remain relevant to diabetics.Ultimately, results from this study should lead to an increased valorisation of local practices in diabetes treatment in Indigenous communities.

Starting with his masters and moving on to his doctorate with Dr. Alain Cuerrier, Michel began his studies in the interdisciplinary field of ethnobiology at the IRBV in 2010. From his early beginnings, approaching diabetes and plant use through the lens of pharmacology phytochemistry, he has increasingly incorporated elements of ethnology and anthropology. Michel now blends qualitative and quantitative methods, notably applying multivariate statistical methods developed in ecology to analyse thematically oriented conversations on health, healing and medicines.

The Botanical Institute, 100 years of science

An incredible article on the centenary of the Botanical Institute – now the IRBV – has just been published in UdeM Nouvelles. The article covers the years preceding the foundation of the Institute in 1920 as well as its early formative years. It includes bits of interviews with our professors Luc Brouillet, Jacques Brisson and Anne Bruneau.

Read the article (in French) and see its fascinating archive photos at the following link.

Two botanist positions open

The division of research and scientific development of the Montreal Botanical Garden is seeking to fill two open positions of full time botanist/researcher.


  • specialized in fields such as phytopathology, host-pathogens and symbiotic interactions, biological control, microbiology, etc.

Botanist/tree biologist

  • specialized in fields such as forestry, urban ecology, sylviculture, agroforestry or arboriculture, in a context of climate change and protection of biodiversity.

Applications can be submitted via the City of Montreal’s jobs website, under the section professional jobs/botanist.

Étienne Laliberté publishes in Science

Our collegue Étienne Laliberté has an article for which he is co-author just published in the prestigious magazine Science. The article, titled Plants sustain the terrestrial silicon cycle during ecosystem retrogression, stems from research done in Autralia on soil chronosequence and the development of ecosystems. For this particular article, the authors were interested in the global silicon cycle and the control of vegetation over it.

Read: the article, a perspective on it as well as an article in UdeM Nouvelles (in French).

Fungi and bacteria linked to the development of wild blueberries

UdeM Nouvelles has published an article on Mohamed Hijri and his Ph.D. student Simon Morvan who have recently discovered that specific fungi and bacteria are closely linked to the successful development of wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), a species that appears, lives and multiplies in harsh environmental conditions. Their research explains how this species is found in acidic soils that are poor in nutrients.

Read the article (in French) here.