Pierre Dansereau


Pierre Dansereau 1911-2011

1978 Scientific Scientific

Born in Outremont in 1911, Pierre Dansereau earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science in 1936 and a doctorate in science from the University of Geneva in 1939. He then came to work with Brother Marie-Victorin at the Botanical Garden from 1939 to 1942. From 1943 to 1950, he headed up a biogeography service at Université de Montréal, the Service de biogéographie du Québec. From 1950 to 1955, he taught botany at Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan. From 1955 to 1961, he was dean of the Faculty of Science and director of the Botanical Institute at Université de Montréal. In 1961, he returned to the United States, where he was assistant director of the New York Botanical Garden and professor of botany and geography at Columbia University.

In 1968, the year of his definitive return to Quebec, he taught ecology at the Université de Montréal’s Institute of Urban Planning. In 1971, he moved to Université du Québec, and then Université du Québec à Montréal, where he taught ecology and directed research in the field. In 1976, he was named professor emeritus and from that point on remained active in research and teaching. Dr. Dansereau put together a compendium entitled L'impact écologique, la gamme des habitats et la réponse des organismes (Ecological impact, the range of habitats and the response of organisms), drawing as much on social science as on natural sciences. He was regularly involved in international conferences and consulting mandates, particularly in Latin America.

His contribution to science, which stretched over more than 50 years, has been recognized with many awards and bursaries. In 1968-69, he became vice president of the Ecological Society of America and member of the Science Council of Canada. In 1969, he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 1983, the Government of Québec awarded him the Prix Marie-Victorin, and in 1985, he won an Izaak Walton Killam Prize. He is probably the only Quebecer whose name appears in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as an international pioneer in ecology. He has been awarded 12 honorary doctorates. In 1989, the Government of Canada awarded him the Environment Canada Citation of Excellence.

Pierre Dansereau was a member of the Board of the Ordre national du Québec from 1985 to 1991 and its chairman from 1987 to 1989. He was inducted into the academy of Great Montrealers in 1978.

Source: Ordre national du Québec

Photo Credit:
Pierre Dansereau, during an interview with the magazine Science Dimension published by the National Research Council of Canada, 1984.
Université du Québec à Montréal. Archives and Document Management Department.
Pierre-Dansereau archive group, 22P-810:F3/12.