Canada Research Chair in molecular ecotoxicology applied to coastal environments at the Institut
des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER)
On the footprints of contaminants
It was while tracking down contaminants that Émilien Pelletier ended up studying whales.
Émilien Pelletier was born in the Lowerthe Lower St. Lawrence region. He finished a BSc degreeBSc degree in chemistry at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR) before turning to sea and completing a MSc degree in oceanography at the same institution. For his PhD, he moved to Montreal to study organometal
chemistry at McGill University. He then moved back to Rimouski to begin his career in environmental chemistry at the INRS-Océanologie. In 1998, he actively contributed to the creation of the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER) and in 2001 he obtained the Canada Research Chair in molecular ecotoxicology applied to coastal environments.
His research work has been focused for 20 years on the bioavailability and trophic transfer of contaminants and their effects on predators. He was initially interested in mercury in the Saguenay and oil spills in the St. Lawrence. More recently, he has become interested in tributyltin (TBT), a highly immunotoxic organometallic pesticide that is added to the paint applied to boat hulls as an antifouling agent. Dr. Pelletier is interested in the presence of TBT and other contaminants in marine mammals.
Dr. Pelletier spends much of his time each day discussing research results, problems in the laboratory or the development of new projects with members of his team. These highly diversified projects include assessing environmental risks throughout the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and characterizing contaminants in municipal wastewater including silver nanoparticles that might affect the St. Lawrence marine ecosystem. The writing of scientific papers also occupies much of this researcher’s time, along with the preparation of funding requests and research contracts. Yet, he never misses a chance to head out to sea for sediment and marine organism sampling!
Since 2010, he has been president of the coordination committee of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, a marine protected area that is dear to his heart.