New philanthropic fund at the IRBV

The University of Montreal’s Biodiversity Centre Collection Fund was just created, thanks to the initiative and generosity of our collegue Luc Brouillet. The purpose of this new fund is to support the Marie-Victorin Herbarium, the Ouellet-Robert Entomologic Collection and the Fungarium. We are hoping that further generous donators will contribute to the fund. Huge thanks to Luc for this great gesture.

When the bloom is off

UdeM Nouvelle and Le Devoir have both just published online articles about an important study recently published in Current Biology by the IRBV’s Simon Joly and McGill University’s Daniel Schoen.

Cleistogamy is a trait of certain flower species that produce beautiful, normal flowers to attract pollinating insects as well as ‘runts’ which are able to self-pollinate. The article confirms a 150-year old theory by Darwin stating that this self-polinating trait could be associated to bilaterally symmetric flowers. In order to verify this hypothesis, Simon Joly and Daniel Schoen studied over 2500 different flowering plants.

Read the full articles in UdeM Nouvelles and Le Devoir (both in French).

The CMMF fungarium featured

The CMMF fungarium featured in a repertoire of Quebec cortinarius

An important report on Quebec cortinarius has just been published (J. Landry et al. Janv. 2021) presenting over 1000 collections of specimen of this genus, including a large portion from the CMMF Fungarium which were sequenced and submitted to a phylogenetic analysis. The results of these analyses have revealed the existence of 363 species including 263 described species and 100 previously unknown. This is a first step, but further investigations will be necessary to completely understand the species that are part of this, the largest genus of the agarics in Quebec.

The 252-page repertoire includes of a photo of every species and is available in open access on the Mycoquébec blog.

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.