Jérôme Dupras holds the Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics. His multidisciplinary career reflects his varied research interests: after completing a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, he continued his academic career in geography up to a PhD, after which he switched to biology for his post-doctoral fellowship.
Amongst other things, the researcher specializes in environmental economics and the economic appraisal of ecosystem services. His projects aim to better understand and measure how biodiversity and ecosystems contribute to human well-being. His objective is to find solutions to ensure economic development with a view to combating the climate, environmental and biodiversity crises.
It was during a backpacking trip in Costa Rica that he discovered a business model that continues to inspire him in his research projects. “The country is developing through ecotourism. One-third of the country’s territory is protected and this is its main economic engine,” he explains enthusiastically. This was a trigger for me: I discovered a conservation approach for development, a good seam to explore.”
With his team – which currently comprises over 20 students and postdoctoral fellows – he spearheads various projects related to agriculture and ecosystems in southern Quebec as well as infrastructure in urban environments. He has also worked for several years with ISFORT researcher Clément Chion on a project entitled: Socioecological modelling of the acoustic environment during watercraft-whale interactions in the St. Lawrence Estuary. “This project consists of developing a large integrative model in order to create scenarios and thus better understand the system,” he describes. The objective is notably to understand the physical and acoustic impacts of rerouting a shipping lane or increasing maritime traffic. Dupras’s team provides the model with economic indicators that are used to assess the economic impact of imposing new measures on the tourism industry or shipowners in the St. Lawrence.
Bass player and founding member of the hit band Les Cowboys Fringants, Jérôme Dupras manages two complementary careers on a daily basis, one scientific and the other musical, the common denominator of which is the protection of nature. “With songs, we reach people’s hearts, and with science, we reach their heads!” he explains.