René Pomerleau

René Pomerleau, mycologist and phytopathologist (b at Saint-Ferdinand, Qc, 27 Apr 1904: d at Québec City 11 Oct 1993). After studies in agronomy at Université Laval (1925), he pursued his education at McGill (M.Sc.

René Pomerleau

René Pomerleau, mycologist and phytopathologist (b at Saint-Ferdinand, Qc, 27 Apr 1904: d at Québec City 11 Oct 1993). After studies in agronomy at Université Laval (1925), he pursued his education at McGill (M.Sc. 1927), the Sorbonne, and the École des Eaux et Forêts in Nancy (1927-1930) as a Québec government scholarship student, then at the Université de Montréal (PhD in science, 1937). A pioneer of forest pathology in Canada, he was the director of research at the Québec government laboratories in Berthierville and Québec City from 1930 to 1952. He participated in founding the Laurentian Forestry Centre in Québec (1952), where he stayed until 1970. He is remembered there today through the René Pomerleau Herbarium, exclusively dedicated to mushrooms. He was also a professor of forest pathology and mycology at Université Laval and the Montréal Botanical Garden.

René Pomerleau's principal research was devoted to tree diseases and their agents, and he authored 250 scientific articles and seven books. He studied a number of parasitic infections, notably that which caused Dutch elm disease, whose presence he diagnosed in Canada in 1944. He was also distinguished by his work on decay in coniferous trees, a field in which he was acknowledged as an authority. A gifted popularizer, he published Champignons de l'est du Canada et des États-Unis (1951) a work surpassed only by his Flore des champignons sauvages du Québec (Flora of wild mushrooms in Québec), in 1980, and he founded several mycology clubs.

Awards and distinctions punctuated his long career: member of the Royal Society of Canada, 1948; president of L'Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas, 19520; Prix David (1947); Parizeau medal from l'Acfas (1955); medal from la Société botanique de France; and the Prix Marie-Victorin from the Québec government (1981). He was named an Officer to the Order of Canada in 1970, and Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec en 1988.