Louis Bernatchez, Département de biologie
Beside being a full member of IBIS, the majority of the research projects conducted in our laboratory are integrated into the research program of the Chaire de Recherche du Canada in Genomics and Conservation of Aquatic Resources. However, many projects are also part of research programs of internationally renowned research centers, namely Québec-Océan (Groupe interinstitutionnel de recherches océanographiques du Québec), Réseau Aquaculture Québec (RAQ) and CIRSA (Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche sur le Saumon Atlantique).
The Canadian Research Chair in Genomics and Conservation of Aquatic Resources aims to accomplish three general objectives. The first objective is to acquire fundamental knowledge on evolutionary processes responsible for generating and maintaining genetic diversity within and among populations. This will in turn stimulate the long term economic viability and social value of aquatic species in three complementary domains of activity : recreational and commercial exploitation (fisheries), biodiversity conservation, and aquaculture. The second general objective is to foster the training of highly qualified biologists, researchers, and research professionals in areas of high priority for Canada, namely evolutionary genomics and molecular ecology. A third objective is to increase the public awareness of the usefulness of university research regarding the improvement of management and conservation practices of natural populations.
The most distinctive character of our research projects lies in the integrative approach that combines the fields of quantitative and functional genomics, population genetics, bioinformatics, ecology and physiology. The integrative nature of these projects is also reflected by the diversity of their topics. For instance, the current issues surrounding fisheries, aquaculture and biodiversity conservation are generally considered distinct with few common links between them. Such a view has most often been a source of conflict among the people that work or research these areas. In contrast, the view that we are promoting through the research chair program lies on the assumption that these three sectors are facing a common problem, which is the genetic erosion of genetic diversity, as well as incomplete knowledge of the fundamental processes that generate and maintain genetic diversity.