The Call of Canada’s North
When he was completing his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology in Guelph, Ontario, Mike Hammill dreamed of working in the Arctic. At that time, he worked part-time with seals in captivity. Cleaning the basins, washing the floors, feeding the seals, it was far from the pack ice, but, as it turns out, this is what gave him the chance to fulfill his dream. In fact, he was hired to work in the Northwest Territories. There, marine mammals hold a very important place in the Inuit culture, and Mr Hammill’s interest in marine mammals grew accordingly.
He then went on to complete his post-graduate studies at McGill University. His Master’s thesis focused on the Arctic fox as a predator of the ringed seal, a marine mammal whose ecology he examined in greater detail during his doctorate studies. Upon finishing his studies and other contracts that again led him to the Arctic, he was hired as a researcher at the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, a marine sciences research centre of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. His interest in marine mammal ecology, population dynamics, and energetics as well as their interactions with fisheries was put to good use.
Mike Hammill is currently the Section Head of the Marine Mammals Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the Laurentian Region, which covers the St. Lawrence River and northern Québec, at the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute. What he likes most? Fieldwork and sharing his findings with fellow researchers. His work allows him to communicate with people from all walks of life*fishermen of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Inuit hunters, and the media. He actively supervises several post-graduate students in three universities, thereby getting closer to achieving one of his fondest wishes: to develop a greater expertise concerning marine mammals in Québec. There is so much to learn that the combined efforts of many researchers will be needed.