Anik Boileau

Ethologist and Director of CERSI

For Animal Welfare

As far back as she can remember, Anik Boileau has always been fascinated by marine mammals. At the age of 7, on a trip to Percé, she finds herself face to face with a stranded fin whale. Initially moved by this encounter, emotion quickly gives way to her first scientific reflections. What happened next?

A few years later, while at Cégep and after reading Michèle Marineau’s Cassiopée – L’Été des baleines which her friend highly recommended, she discovers the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) and the student internships offered by the organization. Initially hired for 10 days, she winds up staying 5 years. Drawing from this experience, she returns to the classroom, specializing in behavioural sciences. She joins the American Psychological Association, where she takes a particular interest in behavioural neuroscience and comparative psychology. She goes on to pursue a certificate in veterinary medicine, wavering between medical and cognitive sciences. Her academic career does not stop there, and it is during her master’s studies in veterinary medicine and animal welfare at the University of Edinburgh that she fully combines her two passions.

As current director of the Sept-Îles Education and Research Centre (CERSI), which she founded in 2006, Anik is dedicated to the conservation and welfare of marine mammals in the St. Lawrence. The research conducted at the centre focuses on the behaviour and dynamics of social interactions in harbour porpoises. Alarmed by the abnormally high mortality rate amongst newborns of these small cetaceans, she leads a flagship project aiming to examine the causes behind these deaths. Working in close collaboration with Marine Mammal Emergencies, she is the first person on-site when it comes to beached porpoises.

She spends her summers at sea. Photo-identification of whales, observation of porpoise behaviour and necropsies thus punctuate part of her year. In winter, she’s back in the classroom, sharing her passion and expertise with the researchers of tomorrow at the Cégep de Sept-Îles.

Last Update: August 2017