Co-dispersal of symbionts in the reindeer lichen Cladonia stellaris

Marta just published her most recent paper in collaboration with Raquel Pino Bodas, an expert on Cladonia‘s biology.  In this recent paper, they explored the genetic diversity in the proposed Canadian national lichen, Cladonia stellaris. They genotyped 122 individuals collected across a latitudinal gradient in Quebec. Using a population genomic approach for the main fungus, […]

Is the same moss species across the Arctic?

As part of his Ph.D. project, Dennis Escolástico and collaborators did research on cryptic speciation of a northern distributed moss. Wide spatial distribution ranges spanning different continents are characteristic of spore-dispersed organisms, such as plants and lichens. Bryophyte species exhibit worldwide and disjunct distributions as evidence of their vagility, but increasing research indicates that some […]

Microbiome of reindeer lichens in Eastern North America

Dr. Marta Alonso García is again looking at the biology and symbiosis of reindeer lichens. Why lichens are so important in the boreal forest ? Lichens cover nearly 7% of the earth’s surface and in eastern Canada, lichen woodlands occupy over 300,000 km2. Reindeer lichens (genus Cladonia), are the main component of lichen woodlands and they play a […]

Sandrine Toupin presents her Master’s project

A young and very talented québécoise student interested in symbiosis joined the lab in 2017 . After finishing her undergraduate studies, she started her M.Sc on cycad transcriptomics. Sandrine Toupin presented her work today, and starts a new chapter in her life. Sandrine did an excellent job putting together a de novo cycad transcriptome, and taking  a […]

Bryophytes, lichens, and northern ecosystems in a changing world (July 6-9, 2021)

We have four fabulous invited speakers!  

Une forêt boréale importante – Ya’nienhonhndeh- à protéger

Philip Bell-Doyon travaille sur la diversité de lichens d’une forêt dans la Réserve faunique des Laurentides, le Ya’nienhonhndeh. Le nom de ce région signifie « là où l’on cueille les plantes médicinales » en langue wendat. Philip Bell-Doyon a publié récemment sur la diversité de lichens de Ya’nienhonhndeh.      

Reindeer lichens in the news!!

Our research on reindeer lichens has attracted quite a bit of attention from the press. In a recent paper led by our postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Marta Alonso García, she’s brought new light on the biology of the reindeer lichens, especially Cladonia stellaris. The species has been proposed as our national lichen due to its ecological importance. We shared Marta’s article […]

Québec BL2021 – Joint Virtual Meeting- 6-9 July 2021

We are happy to confirm that we will host the Québec 2021 (July 6-9) joint meeting: “Bryophytes, lichens, and northern  ecosystems in a changing world“. The Québec B(ryophytes) and L(ichens) will bring together prestigious bryological, botanical and lichenological societies. The event is organized by members of the four societies:  International Association of Bryology (IAB), the American Bryological […]

Life without sex, the sad story of an emigrant

Sexual reproduction plays an essential role in species’ survival and maintenance and hence is, not surprisingly widespread across the Tree of Life. However, clonality and other forms of asexual reproduction do also exist, especially in plants. The hornwort Nothoceros aenigmaticus is a good example of a plant reproducing asexually and clonally as its male plants […]

Coralloid roots on the cover of the journal Environmental DNA

One of the photos in the paper by Philip Bell-Doyon and colleagues made the cover of the journal Environmental DNA. The photo was taken by Jorge Ceballos and Maycol Madrid (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama). A summary of the paper: Using a combination of Sanger-sequencing, 16S metagenomics and whole-genome sequencing, we have elucidated the bacteriome of […]

Lab photo 2020

Lab photo Fall 2020—— Standing (left to right): Anthony, Marta, Loïc, Laura, JC, Sandrine ——Sitting (left to right): Philip, Aurélie, Dennis. Absent: Adriel —– Credit: Loren Leport

News from the Villarreal lab group

Despite the global and local uncertainty and distress, we have an exciting beginning of the fall session. We have some very good news to share: We have a new graduate student in our lab: Laura Hjartarson. Laura will be starting her master’s degree under the supervision of Dr. Line Rochefort  and co-supervised by J.C. Villarreal. She’ll be working […]

A review on hornwort biology

Extant land plants consist of two deeply divergent groups, tracheophytes and bryophytes, which shared a common ancestor some 500 million years ago. While information about vascular plants and the two of the three lineages of bryophytes, the mosses and liverworts, is steadily accumulating, the biology of hornworts is poorly explored. Yet, as the sister group […]

Highlights of IAB IMOSS SEB 2019 Joint Conference

We are happy to share selected contributions from IAB IMOSS SEB 2019, the 2019 International Association of Bryologists (IAB), International Molecular Moss Science Society (iMOSS) and la Sociedad Española de Briología (SEB) joint conference, held in Madrid, Spain, on July 9-12, 2019.  The papers are published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Sciences and listed below:  

The Villarreal lab was awarded a Canada Research Chair

Each year Laval University launches a competitive process to postulate few candidates to the Canada Research Chairs. This year, the Villarreal Lab was awarded one of the seven Canada Research Chair, two professors of the Faculty of Science and Engineering were granted this competitive award. The 5-year project deals with the symbiosis between tropical plants (especially gymnosperms) and […]

The first bacteriome of a hornwort: insights on symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and many others

Symbioses between plants and nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are benchmark biological systems to understand mutualism and patterns of coevolution. The diversity of cyanobacteria associated to non-vascular land plants is still being unraveled, with a huge gap in knowledge from tropical areas, especially in hornworts. Hornworts are arguably the oldest land plant lineage with a widespread symbiosis with […]

Notes on the life history of the only epiphytic gymnosperm

As part of his undergraduate research project, Philip Bell-Doyon surveyed the Panamanian endemic cycad Zamia pseudoparasitica from May to July 2018 (here a previous paper from his project). The species is the only strictly epiphytic gymnosperm and its life history is little known due to the inaccessibility of the plants. He used single-rope and prussik-knot tree climbing techniques to […]

Extremely low genetic diversity of Stigonema associated with Stereocaulon in eastern Canada

Stigomena is a genus of cyanobacteria that is often the photobiont associated with the lichen genus Stereocaulon. To elucidate the evolutionary relationships between Stereocaulon and Stigonema and assess whether there is specificity or selectivity at the ecosystem or species levels, we performed phylogenetic analyses on specimens collected throughout Eastern Canada. We generated ITS sequences from the […]

La vie sans sexe, l’histoire d’une plante émigrante

Le sexe est répandu dans l’arbre de la vie. La reproduction sexuée est très importante pour la survie et la maintenance de toutes les espèces complexes. Néanmoins, la clonalité et d’autres méthodes de reproduction asexuée existent, particulièrement chez les plantes. L’anthocérote Nothoceros aenigmaticus est un exemple d’une plante qui n’a pas de reproduction sexuée. Par […]

Hornworts in a time of crisis!

We live grim times and our lives have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19. However, we continue to do research, and our remote work (télétravail in French), publishing two articles on our most dear group of plants: the hornworts. Hornworts are probably the most overlooked of all plant groups. In the last weeks, three important papers have been […]