M. Sc. candidate in Forest Ecology, Université du Québec en Abitibi Témiscamingue (UQAT), IRF GREMA , Québec, Canada. Research advisors: Miguel Montoro Girona and Annie Desrochers (2022-present)
M. Sc. independent candidate in Ecology and Evolution, 1st semeste, Paul Sabatier University , Toulouse, Research advisors: Monique Gardes, Patricia Jargeat and Hervé Gryta (2021-2022)
B. Sc. in Biological Life Sciences, BOPE (Biology of Organisms, Populations, and Ecosystems), specialty Plant physiology, diversity, and systematics; with honors. Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse (2020-2021)
Classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles (CPGE), or Higher School Preparatory Classes (HSPC), BCPST (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences), General and Technological Education High School (LEGTA) of Toulouse-Auzeville (2018-2021)
Scientific Hight School Diploma, Life and Earth Sciences, and European option (mention Excellent-Très Bien), Catholic Hight School Saint Gabriel, Saint-Affrique, France (2018)
Hello there, I’m Jonathan CAZABONNE, a M.Sc student at the Ecology Research Group of MRC-Abitibi (GREMA) – Forest Research Institute (IRF), located in the lovely little city of Amos (QC, Canada), lost in the middle of the Boreal Forest. I also consider myself as an independent researcher in fungal integrative taxonomy, molecular systematics, ecology and evolution, at that time.
Just so you know, I’m not from Quebec, but from France! I was born in a town – south of the French department of Aveyron, in the Occitanie region. I grew up in a rural village not too far away named Lauras. It was in this village that I began to develop my passion for the surrounding biodiversity. When I was studying at the Saint-Gabriel Catholic Highschool (SGCH) as part of my scientific Baccalaureate graduating, I started digging into the interesting word of plants and got curious about them. More precisely, I got interested in Angiosperms and Coniferophytes. I remember myself, about 15-16 years old, trying to discriminate and learn at the same time all the different kinds of leaves from the trees nearby my parents’ house, during my free-time. Or counting all the needles present on a Pinus branch… I must have had time to waste at that time! This curiosity, greatly nourished by my devoted and beloved parents, led me to choose the Life and Earth Science (LES) specialty for my Baccalaureate. It’s here that I began to understand fundamental notions and concepts, such as the biology of living beings, how mountains and reliefs next to my home were formed, how to recognize basic molecules and their interactions, the vastness of the universe we’re living in…Well, this is where my scientific curiosity started to grow bigger and bigger! And most importantly, it was during this crucial period that I was undoubtedly conquered by the biology scientific domain. I owe this passion to Mrs Christine Taillefer, a passionate and fascinating LES teacher at SGCH. I will always thank her for it.
At that time, another element took a huge importance in my life : my currently 11-yo English Cocker Spaniel, Boby. All my free time was devoted to taking care of him, spending time and playing with him, and making sure he was healthy. In fact, I wanted to take care of all the dogs and cats I could.
So I decided to move to Toulouse and enter a Higher School Preparatory Classes (CPGE) in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science (BCPST), in order to become a canine and feline veterinarian. It was a year and a half of hard work, and important physical and mental fatigue. Working from morning until night, perpetually studying for “kholles” (1 hour of oral questioning, twice a week) and 4 hours-exams arranged every Saturday morning… I don’t know how I survived. But I’m still there! In fact, during this curriculum, no activities or lessons were planned in veterinary sciences. But it was almost one of the first times I heard about and studied… Fungi! Mycorrhizae, mycelium, chitin, mycotoxins, appressoria, haustoria, etc… so many new words I was learning for the first time, thanks to another incredible women, Mrs Catherine Tournebise. I recently learned that she was leaving for another preparatory class. We already miss you in Auzeville! As a matter of old facts now, she was a Biology and Geology teacher at the General and Technological High School (LEGTA) of Toulouse-Auzeville. Unintentionally, she gave me the specific taste of mycology (in particular, fungal physiology-genetics and ecology). Finally, mycology occupied all my mental space. I managed to create some free time in order to study Mycology on my own, leaving my CPGE lectures behind. One and a half year after the beginning of my CPGE BCPST program, I made the most important and crucial decision of my life : I’ve left everything and went to Paul Sabatier University (Toulouse, France) to devote myself, fully, to mycology.
You fell into the mycological soup.Monique Gardes, 2021.
This is where my Mycology journey started, still continues nowadays and, I hope, will last for the rest of my entire life! In addition, Paul Sabatier University is the unique, or at least one of the few Faculty of Sciences in France to have Mycology lectures (what a lucky boy I was). Usually, you can only find general Mycology lectures in Pharmacy Faculties. Yes, a self-respecting pharmacist must know how to differentiate Cantharellus cibarius from Leotia lubrica, or Clitopilus prunulus from Clitocybe nebularis or Entoloma livida! Otherwise, shame on you! (just kidding). Through my B.Sc in Biology of Organisms, Populations and Ecosystems (BOPE), I learnt about the fantastic Fungi kingdom. I remember it like it happened yesterday : I was following a course on microbial diversity given by the wonderful mycologist Dr. Hervé Gryta, during my second year as a bachelor. I never met such a patient and pedagogic teacher. He talked about the major lineages within the Fungi Kingdom (Basidiomycota, Ascomycota, Zygomycota, Glomeromycotina, Chytridiomycota) with their main characteristics and (simplified) phylogenetic relationships. I found myself drinking up his words. I went right back to my tiny little student apartment and started memorizing as many fungal genus and species names as I could, drew the most complete phylogenetic tree of the kingdom Fungi as possible on my brand new board I’d bought on leboncoin a few months before. I spend all my evenings reading and taking notes on scientific papers dealing with that subject. I clearly and formerly remember some of the first papers I red, including Blackwell et al. (2006), James et al. (2006), Hibbett et al. (2007), Yarza et al. (2017), Naranjo-Ortiz & Gabaldon (2019), and so on. As Pr. Monique Gardes will later say : ” I fell into the mycological soup”. She took me under her brood, believed in me, and gave me the opportunity to start some research in fungal phylogenomic and taxonomy. She helped me to obtain an internship with the talented Dr. Guillaume Besnard, worldwide specialist CNRS researcher in Oleaceae phylogenomic, in order to specialize myself in phylogenetic constructions, different types of topologies, whole-genome alignements, chloro- and mitogenomes annotations, writing drafts, etc. Even though he was very busy with his research during my internship, him and his doctoral student Pauline Raimondeau gave me the main keys and taught me some important things : (i) what is the real daily life of a researcher, with advantages and disadvantages, and (ii) manage and learn on my own. This last point may seem quite rude, but this is, to my opinion, the most important point of being a researcher, alongside being passionate and a team worker. Then I was caught in the research world loop and things went very fast. I was just 20-21 yo, in my third year of Bachelor, and started to launch and carry on several research project (in my modest way) : the first ever published field inventory of Mycetozoa (Cazabonne et al., 2021), also known as Myxomycetes, Lichens (not published) and Fungi (not published) from my native department, Aveyron; Field inventory of a unique little urban wood in the Paul Sabatier Campus, where I made a pretty important and surprising record (coming soon) for France; and so on (the list is kind of long, as this paragraph begins to be!). By the way (forgot to mention it), thanks to my B.Sc degree and my expertise in Mycology and Ecology and Evolution more widely, I’ve been hired as a Scientific mediator at the Natural History Museum of Toulouse, where I spend a fabulous year popularizing science and trying to promote the mycology field to the public and non-specialist. I make it a honor point of passing on my knowledge to everyone. To me, science without popularizing and communication would be nothing. Trying to contribute to this on a daily basis! Anyway, I didn’t see the time passing…I also like to say a few words about another mycologist/botanist, Dr. Patricia Jargeat, who taught me almost everything about DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing at the EDB Lab. She also trusted me, and we still continue working together today (Mind you, it wasn’t that long ago actually!). I realize I was incorporated into the world of research and started writing articles very early. Just don’t think I’m an exception. With passion and perseverance, we and you can do it! As I’m writing, I begun a first semester of an Ecology and Evolution M.Sc program at Paul Sabatier University as an independent candidate, in order to devote myself almost full time to research and consolidate my knowledge at the same time.
Now, I’m involved in a master program in ecology and forest ecosystem management working on the fungal diversity in esker forests and doing independent research in fungal integrative taxonomy, molecular systematics, ecology and evolution. I’m only in my second year and I still have a whole world to learn, but I can already tell you that this experience will remain memorable. I broaden my fields of horizons and expertise to environmental DNA, issues of forest management and even the arts and literature. A wide range of opportunities in a short time, and this is just the beginning!