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High profile scientist signs on to Labrador Institute

By Kim Thornhill

Memorial has combined the resources of its Labrador Institute and the Marine Institute's Centre for Fisheries and Ecosystems Research (CFER) to attract new researchers, improve the region's resource and development capacity and enhance its research collaboration with stakeholders.

Dr. Marie Clément is one of five researchers recently recruited by CFER to focus on fisheries ecosystems needs in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her appointment to conduct fundamental and applied research within Labrador is a result of the recent $4.4 million investment from the federal and provincial governments in Memorial's Labrador Institute.

Dr. Clément obtained her PhD in zoology from the University of Guelph, her M.Sc in biology from the University of New Brunswick and her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Moncton. She was employed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) as a river ecologist in the Gulf region and as a salmon stock assessment biologist.

Dr. Clément's focus will be on the freshwater environment while her CFER counterparts will be focusing on the marine environment. Dr. Clément is currently exploring the needs of aboriginal groups, communities, industry, governmental agencies and researchers at Memorial to better understand the research needs and priorities in the region and develop collaborative projects.
"Our goal is to provide a service to the community and work in collaboration with different stakeholders to generate scientific knowledge for sustainable management of the fisheries," said Dr. Clément.

Given the proposed future hydroelectric developments on the Lower Churchill River, baseline biological information will be key in determining effects, if any, on the long term health of this ecosystem.

One of Dr. Clément's research interests is to document the mercury bioaccumulation through the food chain; including fish, birds, seals and humans. This research project will link the freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and establish collaboration with other researchers within Memorial University.
Another part of Dr. Clément's role is to develop a research program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for graduate students.