A doctor in whale country

Janie Giard has a rather unusual curriculum vitae, to say the least. In it you’ll find interests as wide ranging as music and classical dance, medicine, out-door activities and trips around the world. Nothing stops this woman’s lively spirit and keen intelligence. When she discovered whales, while interning on the Gaspé Peninsula, she discovered a passion. Three years later she spent a whole summer criss-crossing the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary in her Zodiac, learning the art and science of photography in order to study blue whale behaviour. In the fall she joined the GREMM, based in Tadoussac. Since then she has become an active member of this dynamic team which is dedicated to scientific research of the whales of the St. Lawrence and to raising public awareness for the conservation of the marine environment.

From 1994 to 1996 she supervised a bold project: to undertake the VHF radio tracking of St. Lawrence fin whales. The results of this epic adventure allowed her to complete a master’s thesis in biology at Laval University. She is now in charge of the photo-identification banks of all of the great whales
of the Estuary: fin whales, blue whales, humpback whales and sperm whales. And since 2004, she has headed the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network.

After many years spent juggling her work as a doctor, her family (she has three young children) and her research work on whales, she remains as enthusiastic as ever about her activities with the: GREMM. Her passion for these giants is maintained as much by magical encounters with whales as the burning questions that data analysis allows her to investigate. Whales have managed to arouse her scientific curiosity, as well as her appreciation of grace and beauty.