Etienne Laliberte

Associate Professor, BSc McG., MSc Montr., PhD Cant.

  • The University of Western Australia (M084), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


I am a plant ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of changing plant biodiversity. Our research group uses functional (trait-based) approaches to understand and predict how vegetation is responding to environmental change. We also develop approaches for remote sensing of plant taxonomic and functional biodiversity to guide conservation.

I am an Associate Professor and a member of Université de Montréal’s (UdeM) Biodiversity Centre (Canada), where I hold the Canada Research Chair in Plant Functional Biodiversity. I am is also the Principal Investigator of the Canadian Airborne Biodiversity Observatory (CABO). I head the Laboratory of Plant Functional Ecology at UdeM’s Biodiversity Centre.

Prior to moving to UdeM, I was Assistant/Associate Professor at UWA, where I remain an Adjunt in the School of Biological Sciences. I still maintain an active field-based research program in south-western Australia, and my Adjunct status at UWA faciliates this research. In particular, since 2010 we have characterised a network of  long-term soil chronosequnences (i.e gradient of soil age) along the Swan and Scott Coastal Plains. These chronosequences are powerful natural gradients of soil fertility and allow us to study how soil nutrient availability influences vegetation. 

Our research seeks to determine the drivers of plant taxonomic and functional diversity along environmental gradients. Over the past two years, our research program has sought to determine the fundamental drivers of leaf spectral diversity among plant species and across environments. We have also developed methods to measure plant functional diversity and more recently we have developed a novel method for partitioning plant spectral diversity into alpha and beta components, using imaging spectroscopy data.

I have received international awards for my contributions to plant ecology and plant biology: the 2016 Cooper Award (Ecological Society of America), the 2016 Tansley Medal (New Phytologist Trust), and the 2016 International Recognition of Professional Excellence (International Ecology Institute). In 2017, I was elected Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, and he was runner-up for the 2018 “Prix de la relève scientifique du Québec”, the highest scientific distinction in the province for researchers under 40 years old. I am Associate Editor for the Journal of Ecology. The high impact of my research is evidenced by my appearance on the 2019 and 2020 Web of Science lists of Highly Cited researchers, those whose papers rank in the top 1% in their fields for the 2008-2018 period.

External positions

Associate Professor, University of Montreal

1 Jan 2015 → …

Industry keywords

  • Environmental

Research expertise keywords

  • Plant biodiversity
  • Plant functional ecology
  • Plant traits
  • Plant-soil interactions
  • Spectranomics


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  • A shift from phenol to silica-based leaf defences during long-term soil and ecosystem development

    de Tombeur, F., Laliberté, E., Lambers, H., Faucon, M. P., Zemunik, G., Turner, B. L., Cornelis, J. T. & Mahy, G., 11 Mar 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Ecology Letters.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
  • AusTraits, a curated plant trait database for the Australian flora

    Falster, D., Gallagher, R., Wenk, E. H., Wright, I. J., Indiarto, D., Andrew, S. C., Baxter, C., Lawson, J., Allen, S., Fuchs, A., Monro, A., Kar, F., Adams, M. A., Ahrens, C. W., Alfonzetti, M., Angevin, T., Apgaua, D. M. G., Arndt, S., Atkin, O. K., Atkinson, J. & 198 others, Auld, T., Baker, A., von Balthazar, M., Bean, A., Blackman, C. J., Bloomfield, K., Bowman, D. M. J. S., Bragg, J., Brodribb, T. J., Buckton, G., Burrows, G., Caldwell, E., Camac, J., Carpenter, R., Catford, J. A., Cawthray, G. R., Cernusak, L. A., Chandler, G., Chapman, A. R., Cheal, D., Cheesman, A. W., Chen, S. C., Choat, B., Clinton, B., Clode, P. L., Coleman, H., Cornwell, W. K., Cosgrove, M., Crisp, M., Cross, E., Crous, K. Y., Cunningham, S., Curran, T., Curtis, E., Daws, M. I., DeGabriel, J. L., Denton, M. D., Dong, N., Du, P., Duan, H., Duncan, D. H., Duncan, R. P., Duretto, M., Dwyer, J. M., Edwards, C., Esperon-Rodriguez, M., Evans, J. R., Everingham, S. E., Farrell, C., Firn, J., Fonseca, C. R., French, B. J., Frood, D., Funk, J. L., Geange, S. R., Ghannoum, O., Gleason, S. M., Gosper, C. R., Gray, E., Groom, P. K., Grootemaat, S., Gross, C., Guerin, G., Guja, L., Hahs, A. K., Harrison, M. T., Hayes, P. E., Henery, M., Hochuli, D., Howell, J., Huang, G., Hughes, L., Huisman, J., Ilic, J., Jagdish, A., Jin, D., Jordan, G., Jurado, E., Kanowski, J., Kasel, S., Kellermann, J., Kenny, B., Kohout, M., Kooyman, R. M., Kotowska, M. M., Lai, H. R., Laliberté, E., Lambers, H., Lamont, B. B., Lanfear, R., van Langevelde, F., Laughlin, D. C., Laugier-Kitchener, B. A., Laurance, S., Lehmann, C. E. R., Leigh, A., Leishman, M. R., Lenz, T., Lepschi, B., Lewis, J. D., Lim, F., Liu, U., Lord, J., Lusk, C. H., Macinnis-Ng, C., McPherson, H., Magallón, S., Manea, A., López-Martinez, A., Mayfield, M., McCarthy, J. K., Meers, T., van der Merwe, M., Metcalfe, D. J., Milberg, P., Mokany, K., Moles, A. T., Moore, B. D., Moore, N., Morgan, J. W., Morris, W., Muir, A., Munroe, S., Nicholson, Á., Nicolle, D., Nicotra, A. B., Niinemets, Ü., North, T., O’Reilly-Nugent, A., O’Sullivan, O. S., Oberle, B., Onoda, Y., Ooi, M. K. J., Osborne, C. P., Paczkowska, G., Pekin, B., Guilherme Pereira, C., Pickering, C., Pickup, M., Pollock, L. J., Poot, P., Powell, J. R., Power, S. A., Prentice, I. C., Prior, L., Prober, S. M., Read, J., Reynolds, V., Richards, A. E., Richardson, B., Roderick, M. L., Rosell, J. A., Rossetto, M., Rye, B., Rymer, P. D., Sams, M. A., Sanson, G., Sauquet, H., Schmidt, S., Schönenberger, J., Schulze, E. D., Sendall, K., Sinclair, S., Smith, B., Smith, R., Soper, F., Sparrow, B., Standish, R. J., Staples, T. L., Stephens, R., Szota, C., Taseski, G., Tasker, E., Thomas, F., Tissue, D. T., Tjoelker, M. G., Tng, D. Y. P., de Tombeur, F., Tomlinson, K., Turner, N. C., Veneklaas, E. J., Venn, S., Vesk, P., Vlasveld, C., Vorontsova, M. S., Warren, C. A., Warwick, N., Weerasinghe, L. K., Wells, J., Westoby, M., White, M., Williams, N. S. G., Wills, J., Wilson, P. G., Yates, C., Zanne, A. E., Zemunik, G. & Ziemińska, K., Dec 2021, In: Scientific Data. 8, 1, 254.

    Research output: Contribution to journalData articlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • Impact of ecosystem water balance and soil parent material on silicon dynamics: insights from three long-term chronosequences

    de Tombeur, F., Cornelis, J. T., Laliberté, E., Lambers, H., Mahy, G., Faucon, M. P. & Turner, B. L., 13 Sep 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Biogeochemistry.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Soil microbial communities are driven by the declining availability of cations and phosphorus during ecosystem retrogression

    Teste, F. P., Lambers, H., Enowashu, E. E., Laliberté, E., Marhan, S. & Kandeler, E., Dec 2021, In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 163, 108430.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Foliar spectra and traits of bog plants across nitrogen deposition gradients

    Girard, A., Schweiger, A. K., Carteron, A., Kalacska, M. & Laliberté, E., Aug 2020, In: Remote Sensing. 12, 15, 2448.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    4 Citations (Scopus)