Fostering biodiversity science
The mission of the QCBS is:
- To foster and promote a world-class research and training program in biodiversity science;
- To facilitate scientific cooperation and learning among a cross-disciplinary group of researchers;
- To assume a lead role on biodiversity related issues and to contribute to the academic and public debate on biodiversity loss.
The QCBS brings value-added to biodiversity research and creates opportunities for research breakthroughs by assembling a critical mass of researchers, structuring research activities along four key axes, and pooling access to high quality infrastructure.
Diversity of life on Earth, including the variety of genes, species and ecosystems, is an irreplaceable natural heritage crucial to human well-being and sustainable development. Over the last century, human exploitations of habitat and resources have influenced Earth’s natural ecosystems, eliminating genes, species, and biological traits at faster rates than observed in the fossil record. In fact, indicators such as the Living Planet Index suggest that global extinction rates will be 10 times greater by the middle of the century. In this context, biodiversity science has emerged and has relatively little time to provide solutions to these environmental changes. To develop the nascent network of biodiversity researches in the province we have established the Québec Centre for Biodiversity Science (QCBS).
The QCBS groups more than 120 researchers working at the forefront of the field both nationally and internationally, and represents a partnership between 12 universities and 4 collaborating organizations Bishop’s University, Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, INRS-institut Armand Frappier, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Université du Québec en Outaouais, TELUQ, the Montréal Botanical Garden, Biodôme de Montréal, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. The QCBS pools the available state-of-the-art infrastructure and field stations of these institutions and so facilitates access to all members (researchers and students alike). This integration of common pool resources will favor the multi-scale and multidisciplinary research required to generate biodiversity knowledge relevant to the region.
Since the Québec government mandated the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Faune to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and Québec’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, there has been a growing need for highly qualified personnel (HQP) in the field of biodiversity. Over the last decades there has been obvious growth in both the research and the private industry sectors of the environment. The QCBS aims to play a lead role in training the first generation of HQP in biodiversity science and offers multiple specific training programs. The Québec Strategy on Research and Innovation places great emphasis on training the next generation of scientists. Currently the members of the QCBS train more than 700 graduate students and this training capacity will increase over the coming years.
The QCBS has forged strong and highly productive collaborations with two Québec government ministries (MDDEP and MRNF), the consortium Ouranos, the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal (SCBD), Future Earth and the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The aim is foster science and transfer of knowledge vital to the implementation of policy on climate change and biodiversity loss mitigation strategies. Examples include new research projects of biodiversity sampling, impacts on ecosystem services, and the creation of climate-proof networks of ecological habitat. The QCBS is contributing to place Québec as a national and international leader in biodiversity research and policy area. Biodiversity science has never been stronger in Québec.