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Michel Labrecque

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Michel Labrecque
Photo: Seng Hok Ngo
  • Head of the Division of Research and Scientific Development  at the Botanical Garden
  • Guest researcher, Department of Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal
  • Read articles on our blog

Research interests and expertise

Ecophysiology of woody species.

  • Yield and productivity of fast-growing tree crops for biomass production purposes
  • Nutrition and assimilation under various environmental conditions
  • Biorestoration and phytoremediation of contaminated sites

About my work…

I am a researcher at the IRBV and Division Chief, Research at the Botanical Garden, specializing in the phytotechnology field. These new techniques use live plants to decontaminate the environment. Although it can take several years to get them established, phytotechnologies are less expensive than some conventional decontamination methods. They are also sustainable.

Over the past two decades, I have been striving to create noise barriers, decontaminate wastewater and clean up polluted soil. My work also involves many studies on plant stress and its origins in the wild: in response to bacterial infections, drought or contaminants, for instance. My research is applied and means that I have to get out in the field, with experiments often being conducted on vacant lots or contaminated sites. My work is very concrete! As a rule, I duplicate the work done in the field under more controlled conditions, in a greenhouse or with container-grown plants, for example. That lets me compare the plants’ reactions in the wild and in a controlled setting. 

Why I like research

I’m naturally curious. Research lets me be creative in approaching a problem and looking for a solution. I also feel like I’m always learning. Working with students forces me to stay up to date. I gain new knowledge by talking with other researchers, and it keeps me humble. You don’t do science in isolation! I enjoy teamwork and I really believe in multidisciplinarity. And last of all, I find it very gratifying to see my work being taken up by society, and to have my expertise recognized and supported by decision makers. 

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