Researcher, Secondary production and trophic relations section of the Ocean Sciences Division at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute/Fisheries and Oceans Canada
From zooplancton to whales…
While working as a research assistant at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Michel Harvey developed an interest in research. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in biology from UQTR in 1978, he worked eight years for a researcher studying the fauna and flora of the St. Lawrence riverbed between Montreal and Québec City. This experience—his initiation to research work—motivated him to continue his studies. He completed a master’s degree and then a doctorate at the Université du Québec à Rimouski. At the time he was studying the ecology of Macoma balthica—a small bivalve mollusc, very abundant in the Lower Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. Finally, he completed his post-doctoral studies at Laval University under the supervision of Dr. Edwin Bourget. He presently holds the title of researcher in the secondary production and trophic relations section of the Ocean Sciences Division at the Maurice Lamontagne
Institute and supervises students.
Michel Harvey has been studying macrozooplankton—large-sized animal plankton (2 cm to 20 cm) such as krill—for a number of years. These small animals, which make up part of the baleen whale diet, have led Michel Harvey to investigate the world of whales. Every year he heads out on an oceanographic mission aboard
a Fisheries and Oceans Canada research vessel into the Gulf and Estuary of the St. Lawrence—as well as into Hudson Bay—where he tracks variations in the abundance, composition and distribution of macrozooplankton. This study, which is being followed with great interest by several other scientists, has led him to collaborate with other researchers and question the effects of variations in krill abundance on the presence and dispersal of fin whales at the head of the Laurentian Channel, a preferred whale-watching area.
Michel Harvey’s research has also led him to investigate broader questions such as the effects of climate change on macrozooplankton and the rest of the St. Lawrence ecosystem, a particularly relevant subject.