harbour seal - northern lexicon

Northern Lexicon | Harbour Seal

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Did you know that the harbour seal has remarkable diving abilities? It can remain under water for about thirty minutes and reach impressive depths. This marine mammal is also equipped with sensitive vibrissae, or whiskers, which allow it to detect fish in the water, even from several dozen meters away. To find out more about this amazing animal, Marie-Christine Lafrenière, a doctoral candidate in biological sciences and artist, has prepared an infographic.

This information sheet is the second in a series of six on northern wildlife. Other sheets will be released in the coming weeks on the various INQ platforms, so stay tuned! These infographics, which are intended for a young audience, are also accompanied by a drawing of the featured animal in its habitat that can be coloured. Enjoy discovering this marine mammal!



About Marie-Christine Lafrenière

Status: PhD student (beginning of 4th year)
Supervisor: Marc Amyot
Co-supervision: Jean-François Lapierre
Department: biology
Research interests: ecotoxicology, freshwater ecology, biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry
Thesis topic: Fate of rare (earth) metals in the St. Lawrence River


Marie-Christine Lafrenière, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology (UdeM 2015-2018), is currently a PhD student in Biology at the Université de Montréal. Specifically, she is studying ecotoxicology, freshwater ecology and biogeochemistry. Her doctoral research aims to understand the fate of rare earth metals, metals that occur naturally in Canadian soils and are used in the design of green or digital technologies, in the water, sediments and organisms of the St. Lawrence River. Originally from the north shore of Lake St. Pierre and a true enthusiast of the Quebec river landscape, she spent several summers navigating the river and its tributaries to collect her samples and develop an integrated understanding of the system.

Also interested in scientific communication, she has organized several conferences for academic audiences and several for the general public (Women and Science, Journey of a Biologist, Demystifying the St. Lawrence, The Paradox of the Energy Transition). She has also led thematic workshops on water for students as part of a university group and to the general public as part of the Eureka! festival. Her commentaries on current events and the environment can be read alongside those of law students in the newspaper Le Pigeon Dissident. In addition, Marie-Christine defines herself as a biologist-artist and develops her artistic vision in conjunction with her scientific interests in her paintings, in her graphic design commissions, notably in computer graphics for Institut Nordique du Québec, or in the creation of a comic book to illustrate her own research. 

Currently, she shares the microphone with her friend Stéphanie, hosting the Les Lucioles podcast about undergraduate research in biology. When she's not writing her thesis or developing the podcast, you can find her outdoors, reading a feminist novel, writing a poem, or researching a new vegan recipe.  


The "Northern Lexicon" is a communication project for the general public aimed at broadening our general knowledge the North.

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