New PhD project : Environmental Contaminants, Body Condition and Photogrammetry of St. Lawrence Estuary Belugas
Environmental Contaminants, Body Condition and Photogrammetry of St. Lawrence Estuary Belugas
The St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE) beluga population has been listed at risk of extinction in 2017 under the Species at Risk Act. This small population of about 900 individuals lives in a marine ecosystem that is strongly impacted by anthropogenic activities upstream. As a result, chronic exposure to environmental contaminants has been suggested as a factor that may affect the health of belugas in the SLE, and hence the recovery of this population. Exposure to a cocktail of contaminants via consumption of contaminated preys may interfere with lipid metabolism, and ultimately alter their body condition and survival. However, the effects of contaminants on lipid metabolism in SLE belugas are still unknown. The objective of this four-year PhD project is to investigate the linkages between exposure of SLE belugas to several organic contaminants and proxies of body condition including blubber tissue histology, metabolomic profile, expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and activity of associated enzymes, and photogrammetry (body size measurements obtained from drone’s photographs). This project is a collaboration between UQAM (principal supervisor: Jonathan Verreault), UQAR (Zhe Lu), Environment and Climate Change Canada (Magali Houde), GREMM (Robert Michaud), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Véronique Lesage).
Send your CV and transcripts (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) before September 15th, 2019 to:
Département des sciences biologiques
Université du Québec à Montréal
Phone: 514-987-3000, ex. 1070
The Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre is being expanded to accommodate three new skeletons!
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Tadoussac, June 27, 2019 / The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) welcomes the Government of Canada’s contribution – through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions and Canadian Heritage – for the upgrading of its Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre in Tadoussac. The grants being offered by the Government of Canada total $730,710. Tourisme Côte-Nord is also earmarking $50,000 to participate in the funding.
“Since 1991, we have been filling our Interpretation Centre with scientific knowledge that we acquired in the field and skeletons of whales recovered from our shores. Gradually, the Centre became home to these giants. But it’s getting a little crowded in there, so we must expand to make room for new giants!” explains Patrice Corbeil, GREMM’s Vice-President and Director of the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre.
In this context, the Centre will see its showroom enlarged to accommodate three enormous skeletons: a juvenile humpback whale, a fin whale and a North Atlantic right whale. These three whales came to rest on the shores of the St. Lawrence and were recovered by our team. The three species complete the collection of skeletons on display, which is the most impressive of its kind in Canada. It is a reflection of the diversity of cetaceans that visit the St. Lawrence.
In parallel with the expansion, the permanent exhibit will also be enhanced. “The renewed exhibit comes at a good time. We face tremendous challenges in terms of our cohabitation with whales, especially with the increase in shipping traffic. Our Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre reveals how fascinating whales are and the importance of protecting them,” adds GREMM’s President and Scientific Director, Robert Michaud.
To complete the funding for this major project, GREMM needs to secure a further $200,000. “Help us get these skeletons out of the closet!” exclaims Patrice Corbeil. “For a donation of $1,000, we will post the names of the contributors or a short message on a plaque installed on the life-size blue whale outline on the path leading to the Interpretation Centre. Other funding tools will be announced in the near future.
We would like to thank all our volunteers and collaborators who participated in carcass recovery, necropsies and skeleton cleaning. Our sincere gratitude also goes out to the 5 Étoiles farm in Sacré-Coeur for accommodating the skeletons in anticipation of their assembly before the expansion.
- Tadoussac’s Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre is managed by the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals.
- The Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre was officially inaugurated in 1991.
- Inauguration of the revamped Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre is scheduled for 2020, which coincides with GREMM’s 35th
To discover the stories of each of the three new skeletons due to join the collection: https://gremm.org/docs/The_Souffleur_2018.pdf
For photos of the skeletons, the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre or the press conference:http://bit.ly/cimmtadoussac
Marie-Ève Muller, head of communications, Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), 418 235-4701 (office) or 418-717-6061 (mobile), email@example.com.
– 30 –
Job Opportunity: Director of Intervention Program
DESCRIPTION OF ORGANIZATION
The Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network (QMMERN) is an umbrella group of organizations and institutions that work with marine mammals. The Network is responsible for organizing, coordinating and implementing measures aimed at reducing accidental mortality of marine mammals, rescuing animals in difficulty, and facilitating the acquisition of data from animals that have died in St. Lawrence waters.
The Network receives over 500 calls and handles approximately 300 cases a year. It documents and monitors cases, evaluates whether or not a response is warranted, responds as needed, or provides assistance to specialized response teams. QMMERN revolves around a group of more than 150 volunteers to assist in various types of interventions. The Network contributes to a number of research projects, in addition to helping manage a national data bank.
Coordinating the QMMERN and managing its call centre and new intervention program is the responsibility of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), a non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research and conservation education with a focus on the whales of the St. Lawrence and their habitat.
Beginning in 2019, the Network will launch an intervention program with mobile response units to cover all of southern Quebec. The selected candidate will be called upon to develop and implement this program, create intervention protocols and consolidate the network of partners and volunteers who can support response efforts. He or she will be responsible for training and coordinating teams and will participate in interventions.
The future Director will be required to complete a number of trainings and workshops with various partners of the Network in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada in the first two years of his or her mandate.
Under the supervision of the scientific coordinator and in close collaboration with other team members, the individual should be capable of assuming many of the responsibilities outlined below. However, the position will be tailored according to the applicant’s strengths and complementarity with other members of the team.
- Develop and update procedures, protocols and response kits;
- Develop the volunteer network and its training program;
- Establish new partnerships.
- Evaluate cases and determine appropriate interventions;
- Supervise interventions performed by mobile response teams, volunteers and support teams;
- Lend assistance to specialized response teams;
- Participate in handling calls and emergency standby duty;
- Prepare weekly debriefing meetings with call centre administrator.
Management and Communication
- Manage human resources associated with response teams (hiring, training, scheduling and meetings);
- Assist coordinator in certain management/administrative tasks;
- Assist coordinator of Canadian Marine Animal Response Alliance and various entities of Fisheries and Oceans Canada;
- Support call centre administrator and head of communications in the production of various communication tools.
REQUIREMENTS OF POSITION
- University degree in a relevant field (biology, veterinary medicine);
- At least 3 years of experience in coordination, project management or similar position involving multidisciplinary teams;
- Experience in crisis management and ability to work in the midst of an emergency.
- Excellent field work skills and physical ability to perform demanding work at sea and on land;
- Team player with strong interpersonal skills;
- Fluent in French and English (written and spoken);
- Excellent analytical and problem-solving capacity;
- Sense of organization and planning;
- Ability to work under pressure;
- Versatile, resourceful and autonomous.
Availability and Motivation
- Highly flexible with regard to work schedule depending on the case(s) being handled;
- Willingness to be on call evenings, weekends and holidays;
- Motivated to fill position for at least two years.
- Database management skills, knowledge of marine mammals, the marine environment, fisheries and eastern Quebec;
- Experience working at sea and operating watercraft;
- Knowledge of not-for-profit sector.
WORKING CONDITIONS, SALARY AND BENEFITS
- Full-time position;
- Annual salary: $45,000 to $55,000;
- Duration of position: preferably long term, with a six-month probation period;
- Possibility of working either out of Québec City or Tadoussac, with occasional travel;
- Mobile phone with plan provided;
- Scheduled start date: as soon as possible, no later than May 1.
Other benefits: friendly working atmosphere in an exciting sector offering the opportunity to work alongside researchers (marine mammals and related fields) and environmental education specialists with years of experience in stimulating projects, office at the Centre Culture et Environnement Frédéric-Back (Québec City) and a stone’s throw away from the Saguenay Fjord (Tadoussac), seasonal social activities, possibility of accompanying research teams at sea.
Interested in this job offer? Email your CV and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline: April 5, 2019
We thank all applicants for their interest; only selected applicants will be contacted.
If You Believe In Giants… Give Us a Whale of a Boost!
Show your support for marine mammals on a plaque in front of the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM) in Tadoussac. The plaques will be inlaid in one of 600 cobblestones composing the blue whale silhouette gracing the Jardin de la Grève. Each plaque represents a donation of $1,000.
Objective: 200 plaques to welcome new giants in 2020
Make your donation today by mailing a cheque in the amount of $1,000 to 108 rue de la Cale-Sèche, by phone at 418-235-4701, or make a donation online. We will contact you to confirm the inscription to appear on the plaque that will thank you for your donation. You can donate $ 1,000 by means of monthly donations, stock donations or a charitable bequest. A tax receipt will be issued.
Your plaque will be placed in this life-size blue whale silhouette in the cobblestones leading to the Interpretation Centre.
Read about the work on the skeletons here: My Week at the Whale Warehouse (Whales Online)
Master’s Degree Project on the Effects of Environmental Contaminants on Thyroid Functions of the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga
The St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population is considered as endangered since 2014. This small population of about 900 individuals lives in a marine ecosystem that is strongly impacted by anthropogenic activities upstream. As a result, chronic exposure to environmental contaminants has been suggested as a factor that may affect the health of belugas in the St.Lawrence Estuary and the recovery of this population. In addition, exposure to contaminants that may interfere with thyroid functions such as flame retardants (e.g., PBDEs) has been suggested as a potential cause for the unusually high number of deaths of parturient female belugas and their calves. However, the effects of contaminants on belugas in the St. Lawrence estuary are still unknown. The objective of this project is to study the effects of certain contaminants on genomic markers (gene expression) and hormones involved in the regulation of the thyroid axis in belugas. This project is a collaboration between UQAM (principal supervisor: Jonathan Verreault), Université de Montréal (Stéphane Lair) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (Magali Houde).
Master level funding for a period of two years.
Field and laboratory work.
Starting in May or September 2019
• Meet the basic admission requirements for the UQAM’s Master’s in Biology program;
• B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Biology or a related discipline. Knowledge in ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry is an asset;
• Very good command of spoken and written English and French.
To apply, send your CV and transcript (B.Sc.) before March 1st, 2019 to:
Département des sciences biologiques
Université du Québec à Montréal
Phone: 514‐987‐3000, ex. 1070
Master project: Temporal Trend of Emerging Environmental Contaminants in the Endangered St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga
The St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE) beluga has been listed as an endangered species since 2014 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). This small population of around 900 individuals inhabits a marine ecosystem significantly impacted by upstream anthropogenic activities. Therefore, chronic exposure to anthropogenic contaminants has been suggested as one factor affecting the health of SLE beluga and the recovery of this population. However, the occurrence and fate of many emerging contaminants in SLE beluga are unknown. The objectives of this project are to investigate the occurrence and temporal trend of industrial additives such as synthetic phenolic compounds, ultraviolet absorbents and aromatic secondary amines in SLE beluga tissues. This is a collaborative project with Université du Québec à Montréal (co‐supervisor: Jonathan Verreault), University of Montreal, University of Toronto, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and GREMM.
MSc‐level funding provided for two years.
Project should start in May or September 2019
• Satisfy the basic requirements for admission in the MSc program of oceanography at UQAR;
• BSc degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Oceanography, or a related discipline;
• Knowledge in analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry or ecotoxicology is an asset;
• Proficiency in French. Proof of French proficiency will be required for non‐Frenchspeaking candidates (e.g., international French test score > 650);
• Good communication skill in English is an asset.
To apply, send your CV and BSc transcript before February 18, 2019 to:
Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski
Université du Québec à Rimouski
Phone: 418‐723‐1986, ext. 1174
PHD Scholarship Opportunity
For a PhD project on habitat selection, movement, and fission-fusion dynamics of the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population
The St. Lawrence Estuary beluga population is currently listed as Endangered under the Canadian Species At Risk Act and the Loi sur les espèces menacées et vulnérables du Québec. Several threats to its recovery related to the navigation activities occurring in the population’s summer habitat are identified such as exposure to underwater noise and disturbance. Mitigating navigation impacts requires a good understanding of the factors underlying the behaviours of habitat selection along with the movements of this species in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay (i.e. summer habitat). However, this understanding is currently incomplete because: i) few studies have tried to identify the mechanisms underlying the spatial distribution and movements of the belugas in the summer habitat, and ii) the rare studies did not consider beluga’s social behaviour or group fusion-fission dynamics.
This PhD project aims at identifying the factors (biotic and abiotic) explaining the spatial distribution and the movements of beluga groups in their summer habitat, acknowledging that habitat selection behaviours and movements might be influenced by the social and gregarious behaviour of this species. The project will also look into the group fusion-fission dynamics in the beluga’s summer habitat by exploring the conditions (e.g. habitat characteristics, time of day, group size and composition) under which pairs of known individuals are encountered in the same groups or not. This will allow to interpret the spatio-temporal variation in group size and composition and ultimately contribute to explain the spatial distribution of this species in its summer habitat. This project will provide valuable knowledge to improve our understanding of navigation impacts on the St. Lawrence beluga’s habitat selection and movements in its summer habitat. These results will be integrated in a model that simulates the movements of individual belugasvia a collaboration with modellers.
This project will be carried out using existing datasets and might also require additional fieldwork to collect new observational data. The selected candidate will be part of the Natural Science Department and will be based in Ripon (QC) at Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée (ISFORT: http://isfort.uqo.ca/). She/He will work with researchers from the GREMM (Tadoussac) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Mont-Joli).
The desired candidate will show dynamism, motivation, intellectual curiosity and creativity, ability to work independently and as part of a team, along with a great sense of initiative. She/He will be encouraged and supported to travel for scientific communications (conferences, workshops), meetings with partners and stakeholders. The project funding is provided by the Government of Quebec. The selected candidate will contribute to the production of deliverables for the Ministry for Forests, Wildlife, and Parks and Ministry for Maritime Affairs on a yearly basis.
The candidate must hold a Master’s degree in biological sciences, or related field.
The following expertise and skills will be considered as assets:
– expertise on animal behaviour related to habitat selection and movements;
– expertise on social behaviour and fusion-fission dynamics in gregarious species;
– expertise on marine mammals;
– great expertise in data management and analysis with R software.
Project start: September 2019
Treatment: 20 000$/year for 3 years
Director: Angélique Dupuch (UQO-ISFORT)
Co-director : Véronique Lesage (DFO)
Collaborators: Clément Chion (UQO-ISFORT), Robert Michaud (GREMM), and Tyler Bonnell (Lethbridge University)
Application: Email your academic CV (long form), all academic records for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, an application letter (detailing your skills and assets related to the project requirements), and the name and contact information of 3 academic references to: angelique.dupuch @ uqo.ca, clement.chion @ uqo.ca, rmichaud @ gremm.org, veronique.lesage @ dfo-mpo.gc.ca, and tyler.bonnell @ uleth.ca.
Applications will be considered until the position is filled.
in the media
Call of the Baby Beluga
07/07/2018A baby beluga whale washes up on a beach, one of the 900 endangered belugas in Canada's St. Lawrence River. This is the story of a group of scientists who use knowledge and compassion to try to save the endangered baby and her family.More
on Facebook! Follow us