St.Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology (SLNIE).
From dinosaurs to whales
Passionate towards life and naturally inquisitive, Pierre Béland hurled himself into the science world, as one embarks on a great journey. His academic training (doctorate and post-doctorate studies on the ecology of animal populations) and work experience led him to travel the world and to address all kinds of interesting questions: dinosaur metabolism, mass extinctions, aquaculture and whales!
It is completely by chance that he first became interested in the St. Lawrence beluga. It was in 1982, he was then the head of the Fisheries Ecology Research Center of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and he had gone to the beach near Rimouski where a dead beluga had been found. With his colleague Daniel Martineau, he started the work of a genuine sleuth: to find out why the belugas of the St. Lawrence River were dying and whether a link existed between their death and the health status of the River. Their findings have been seen throughout the world: the beluga has become a symbol of threatened wildlife resulting from over-industrialization and their research now constitutes an international reference in the field.
His ties with the St. Lawrence beluga whale have led Mr Béland to question the health
of the environment, the future of humanity, and our responsibility towards other
life forms. He now shares these questions and concerns with the general public.
Mr Béland does a lot of popularizing: conferences, articles, and documentaries.
His book, Beluga: a farewell to whales, is a vibrant homage to the fragility of
life and our sometimes awkward attempts to safeguard it.