Richard Sears

Richard Sears


Richard Sears was born in Paris, from a French mother and an American father. At eighteen, he took part in SEA sail-training expedition in oceanography onboard the schooner Westward, from Puerto Rico to Boston, via the Bahamas, Bermuda and eastern seabord. It is during this trip that he approached whales for the first time and took part in several oceanographic projects, including coral reef ecology.

In 1976, after having completed his studies in biology in Maine, he worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at the Matamek research station along the north shore of the gulf of St. Lawrence studying Atlantic Salmon ecology and behavior. During the summer of that year, he shared privileged moments with the whales in Moisie Bay, notably blue whales.

Afterwards, he became a naturalist onboard whale-watching vessels in Massachusetts and worked alongside the pioneers of whale research: David Sergeant, Steven Katona, William Schevill, William Watkins, and Roger Payne - all his greatest sources of inspiration. From them, he learned that in order to know whales one must spend a lot of time at sea with these giants.

It is with this motivation that Richard returned to Matamek and Mingan in 1979 to study blue whales. He created the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) during the winter of 1979.  His first research field teams included  Liz Lowe, Fred Wenzel, and Mike Williamson, Massachusetts biologists.  Decades later, his passion remains, and continues to be invloved in blue whale research in the North Atlantic. He hopes the MICS Station will welcome more and more post-graduate students and provide new incentives on cetacean research. What is the greatest achievement of his career? His research station now has wings. His greatest frustration? The surface of the water!