Research is a key element in the Space for Life mission: there are roughly 300 people engaging in research at its four institutions. These true open-air laboratories contribute to the institution’s impact in the fields of biology, entomology, ecology and the environment.
At the Jardin botanique
The Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (IRBV) is the result of a partnership between Space for Life and Université de Montréal. It is recognized as a centre of excellence whose mission focuses on plant-biology research and teaching. The work carried out by the Jardin botanique’s botanist researchers, all of them members of the IRBV, falls into four areas:
- Interactions between plants and the environment
- Plant signaling and reproduction
- Urban ecology and phytotechnologies
- Origin, structure and conservation of biodiversity
The Biodiversity Centre, meanwhile, inaugurated in 2011, is an integral part of the IRBV. It is equipped with ultramodern facilities devoted to scientific research on biodiversity, its safeguarding and its enhancement. The centre promotes long-term conservation and the computerization of important collections of plants, insects and fungi. Its specialized teams contribute to the advancement of research and the training of the next generation in different spheres of activity linked to the inventory of biodiversity.
At the Biodôme
The Biodôme’s team of scientific advisors conducts research that supports maintenance operations for the living collections. These projects are part of the collective effort of the scientific community to preserve nature Their priorities focus on a number of themes:
- The ecology of species and habitats
- Habitat protection
- Biodiversity conservation
- The adoption of responsible behaviors towards nature, thereby fostering sustainable development
- Urban wildlife
- Ethics and animal well-being
At the Insectarium
By way of its network of associate researchers/entomologists, the Insectarium de Montréal contributes to numerous research projects in systematics (the science of the classification of living beings) and in taxonomy (the science of classifying diverse elements in a domain). In collaboration with the IRBV, and thanks to a contribution from Environment Canada, the Insectarium also runs an important monarch research program, whose aim is to document that butterfly’s areas of occurrence in Québec and Canada with a view to its conservation.
The SEM’AIL program
Launched and managed by the Biodôme, SEM’AIL is an awareness, education and restoration program for the wild leek. Since 2004, close to one and a half million wild leek seeds and bulbs have been planted by citizens in the six regions of Québec where the plant’s decline has been steepest. That citizen action has contributed in a significant way to the conservation of the species.
Invaluable collaborations on an international scale
Over the years, through its research activities and programs, Space for Life has developed a rich network of partners that fuel one another with their learning and knowledge. These are:
- American Public Gardens Association (APGA), United States
- Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)
- Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC)
- Association des planétariums de langue française (APLF), France
- Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), United States
- United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada
- Cornell University, United States
- Harvard University and Arnold Arboretum, United States
- International Planetarium Society (IPS), United States
- Muséum national d’histoire naturelle de Paris, France
- University of Florence, Italy