Base Camp 1000 days for the planet, presented by Radio-Canada
FacebookTwitterYou TubeSubscribe to the Space for Life newsletter
Espace pour la vie
Our researchers

Our researchers

Jacques Brisson – Full Professor, Université de Montréal

What does he do?

Jacques is interested in controlling reeds, an invasive sub-species that was introduced into Québec in 1916. With the construction of its road network, Québec saw an explosion of weeds, extremely resistant plants that grow profusely on the side of the road and choke other species. His project aims to develop a method to counter this invasion by planting a blend of fast-germinating indigenous plants in areas that have been disturbed before reeds can invade them. He is also studying the plant’s dispersal methods and ways to inhibit germination of their seeds.

Who is he?

A full professor of biological sciences at the Université de Montréal and member of the Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale (IRBV), he won the 2012 award of excellence in teaching (regular professors) at the Université de Montréal. He loves nature, field work and discovery.


Alain Cogliastro – Botanist, Montréal Botanical Garden

What does he do?

He reforests land that can no longer be used for farming. His current project is in Montérégie, a region that lost the majority of its forests over the past decade to such an extent that today, only 15% of its territory still has a forest cover. Alain first enriches abandoned farmland by planting fast-growing hardwoods – red oak, bur oak, black walnut, black cherry, sugar maple, yellow birch, ash. In addition to increasing biodiversity in depleted living environments, the wood becomes an ecological project that can be used to make sustainable items like furniture.

Who is he?

Alain is an affiliate researcher and associate professor in the department of biology sciences at the Université de Montréal. He is also an associate researcher in the biology department at the Université Laval, associate researcher at the Centre for Forest Studies and a member of the Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale (IRBV). Alain is dedicated to promoting tree cultivation and works closely with users and people in the field.


Alain Cuerrier – Botanist, Montréal Botanical Garden

What does he do?

He seeks to find the best methods of cultivating Rhodiola rosea, a plant whose properties may reduce the risks of diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Used traditionally by Inuit people, Rhodiola grows abundantly in northern Québec, but because the root is used, it risks being overexploited by the pharmaceutical industry. By developing Rhodiola plantations and getting Inuit communities involved in its culture and transformation, Alain hopes not only to protect the species in its place of origin, but also to preserve traditional knowledge and unite scientific information and ancestral wisdom.

Who is he?

Alain is an ethnobotanist, an associate professor in the department of biology sciences at the Université de Montréal and a member of the Institut de Recherche en Biologie Végétale (IRBV). Concerned by the loss of natural and cultural biodiversity, he is particularly interested in the medicinal plants and traditional knowledge of the First Nations peoples.


Mohamed Hijri – Associate Professor, Université de Montréal

What does he do?

To make plants absorb phosphorus from the soil more efficiently, Mohamed uses microscopic fungi called mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae live in symbiosis with plant roots and help plants on farmland assimilate non-soluble phosphorus, with which the soil is saturated, thereby increasing their productivity. This would make it possible to reduce the use of fertilizer and prevent water pollution caused by runoff of phosphorus, a solution that has proven its worth in developing countries. Because mycorrhizae are destroyed by tillage and fungicide, their use would necessitate a review of farming practices.

Who is he?

Mohamed is an associate professor in the department of biological sciences at the est Université de Montréal and its Centre for Biodiversity.

He specializes in molecular genetics, environmental genomics and microbial soil biodiversity. He wants to contribute to knowledge and help science and society evolve.


Andrée Nault – Scientific Advisor, Biodôme de Montréal

What does she do?

Through action in the field, she wants to restore two endangered plants in Québec: American ginseng and wild leek. Because of massive harvesting and the destruction of their fragile habitats, the survival of these two species has been seriously compromised. By educating people and involving them in the preservation of these plants which are emblematic of our biodiversity, Andrée hopes to create protection networks and develop programs – like those initiated by the Biodôme: SEM’AIL, SEM’AILjr and a ginseng restoration program created in 1994 – and mobilize resources to protect habitats and existing plant populations.

Who is she?

An associate professor at GREFi (UQAM), Andrée holds a master’s in biology from UQAM, a doctorate from Kyoto University and a postdoctorate degree in ecology from McGill University. She works actively with public and private stakeholders to promote the conservation of our indigenous plants.