Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Brock University
Member, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Brock University
UNESCO Chair, Community Sustainability: From Local to Global, Brock University
Dr. Liette Vasseur is full professor in Biology and Environment Sciences at Brock University. Previously, she was the Vice-President, Research at Brock (2009-10, stepped down to focus on research), Associate Vice-President, Research at Laurentian University (2004-2008) and from 2001-2004, full professor at the University of Moncton where she held the K.C. Irving Research Chair in Sustainable Development.
Her research program is mainly in climate change, sustainable development, community-based ecosystem management (including ecological restoration and biodiversity assessment) and environmental health. Projects have been or are carried out in Canada or other countries such as China (where she is an adjunct professor at the Fujian University of Forestry and Agriculture), Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama, Brazil, and currently in Burkina Faso, in Africa.
Her projects also involve the training and support to undergraduate and graduate master and doctoral students as well as postdoctoral fellows. She has intensively published in various sectors related to these topics. Funding comes from various sources (e.g. NSERC, CIDA, CCAF, Parks Canada, Environment Canada, etc.). Several projects had policy considerations, especially through appointments to committees.
Being bilingual gives her the advantage to work in both French and English speaking countries. She is involved in many scholarly and professional activities related to environmental and policy issues, such as a member of the Commission in Ecosystem Management of IUCN, the Ocean management Research Network, and AFFESTIM. In Sudbury, she was a member of the Nickel District Conservation Authority, Innovation Sudbury, Mayor’s Round Table on Children, and the Sudbury Mayor’s Expert Panel on Health Cluster, as well as a founding member of the Community Research Network on Children and Youth of Greater Sudbury. She was also part of C-CIARN Atlantic then Ontario. She has been appointed to the Science Advisory Council of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans since 2004. She was the lead author for the Atlantic chapter of the Climate Change Assessment Initiative of Natural Resources Canada.
She is an associate editor of Botany (formerly Canadian Journal of Botany) since 1998, associate editor-in-chief of Journal of Biosafety and from 2004 to 2009, on the editorial board of Recherches féministes. In 1999, Christine Stewart, Minister of Environment appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation under the North American Agreement for Environmental Cooperation (of which she was also chair in 2001, until 2002). In 2001, she was appointed to the CIDA-UPCD Tier 1 Selection Committee (until 2005), then for the competitions of Building on Success in 2007 and 2008.
How does biology relate to sustainability/ESRC?
Doing environmental research using an interdisciplinary approach, my work is directly in line with the vision and values of ESRC.
For me, as an ecologist (in a discipline) and an environmental scientist, it is important that even my fundamental work can be translated into knowledge used for the betterment of the ecosystem (which includes all components, services and functions including humans). In our case, the ecosystem can start with the Niagara Biosphere Reserve but does not stop here, as my research is also abroad such as China and Africa. Locally and worldwide, we are facing challenges that are becoming more complex due to climate change, resource limitation and overexploitation.
My work has brought me to understand that in most cases, changes have to start locally (SIMBY – “Start In My BarkYard” as I proposed at Ecosummit 2000, Vasseur et al. 2002) and through strong engagement can move to other levels. It requires all aspects of the ecosystems to be examined and pros and cons for our activities being transparently discussed. I am using this approach in various projects where we not only examine ecological impacts of climate change for example but also health, socio-economic, cultural, etc.