Student Testimonials

“Great prof, great course, great material! Going to make sure all my peers in my lab take it next year.”

“Great prof, great course, great material! Going to make sure all my peers in my lab take it next year.”

“Very helpful for me since I am just starting my PhD. It gave me a lot of ideas for research questions.”

“The course was great, and the prof was very engaging and helpful.”

“Great course. Perhaps the most useful course in my graduate career.”

January 18-29, 2021

Please note that QCBS students are eligible to apply for a QCBS Intensive course Awards to cover additional tuition fees.

Responsible Instructors
Steve Kembel (UQAM)
About The Intensive Course
Accessible to McGill students and non-McGill students as well as auditors

Course number: BIO860M

Credits: 3

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course will be held virtually this year using online discussion and videoconference tools. For the duration of the course, students will be expected to commit full time (approximately 90 hours, including theory and practicals) and participate in all aspects of the course.

For more information see below.

The course welcomes both French and English speaking participants, but most lectures will be given in English. Students can submit their work in French or English.
How to apply

Because class size is limited to a maximum of 20 students, candidates must first send an application by email to Philippe Auzel (

Please place the course number BIO860M in the subject line and include:

  • a short (1 page) C.V. detailing your academic background (in the body of the email, or in an attached document)
  • a statement of interest including a description of your current research (approximately 150 words). This letter must specify the research axis closest to your research (1 – discovery of biodiversity; 2 – changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services; 3 – management and adaptation to biodiversity changes). The letter should also indicate your university, program of studies (M.Sc. or Ph.D.), research supervisor and year of study.

Deadline for application submission is December 1st 2020. 

Official registration

After applicants have been accepted, the QCBS notifies UQAM, and students who wish to register for the course for credit can then register for the 3 credits course BIO860M (hiver 2021) via UQAM for students already registered there or through the BCI ( for students from other universities. Their application will be approved by UQAM based on the acceptance list provided by the course coordinator.

Auditors will be notified of their acceptance following the submission deadline (December 1st 2020).

Course Description


This intensive two week course offers a high level overview of concepts, methods and questions related to different aspects of biodiversity science. The course covers a variety of current topics including:

  • Patterns and drivers of biological diversity in space and time
  • Genetic and genomic applications in biodiversity sciences
  • Phylogenetic and functional community ecology
  • Ecological networks
  • Numerical ecology
  • Evolutionary extinctions and rarity
  • Biological invasions
  • Ecosystem function and services
  • Biodiversity, conservation and economics

This course targets science professionals at a high level (particularly graduate students and post-docs) and focuses on scientific aspects of biodiversity science. We encourage applications from those with interests in systematics, ecology, environment and other aspects of biodiversity. The course is open to students from all Québec universities, and internationally; a maximum of 20 students will be selected.

Assignments & Evaluation

  • Class participation (30%)
  • Oral presentations (15%)
  • Final project (55%) 

Typical Day

Online presentations and discussions in the morning, course practical in the afternoon, time to work on the final project that will serve to link the diverse aspects of biodiversity science presented during the entire course, and seminar or discussion animated by an invited speaker in the evening. Daily schedules will vary and will be adapted taking into account the online virtual format of the course this year.