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Annual expedition to support research projects

CCGS Amundsen © Martin Fortier/ArcticNet

On May 25, the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen left its home port of Quebec City for its 14th annual expedition to Canada’s Arctic.

The 2018 expedition will be first devoted to the Hudson Bay System (BaySys) Study, co-led by the University of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro. Initially planned for 2017, this program was postponed due to unusual southerly drift of hazardous Arctic sea ice. Funded at a level of $17 million, the five-year program will develop an understanding of how to separate the impacts of climate change from those of hydroelectric development on freshwater-marine coupling in Hudson Bay. It will also support research on the GENICE project, funded by Genome Canada, to investigate the potential for microbial genomics to remediate oil spills in sea ice.

A portion of the 106-day expedition will be dedicated to research and training activities of the Sentinel North program, a major Université Laval-led multidisciplinary initiative funded by the Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF). Sampling as part of the BriGHT project (Bridging Global change, Inuit Health and the Transforming Arctic Ocean) will be conducted to help clarify the complex links between global change, the marine food web and Inuit health in Nunavik. An international Ph.D. School in Baffin Bay will provide students with a unique opportunity to interact with high-profile scientists and mentors as part of a transdisciplinary and highly technological training program to investigate the role of light in driving the Arctic ecosystem. Operations will also be conducted in support of Sentinel North’s BOND project (Beacons of Northern Dynamics), which develops and deploys new sensors to detect climate active gases in the ocean and atmosphere.

The expedition will support the Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems program, led by Memorial University of Newfoundland in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ArcticNet, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. Operations will be conducted between Iqaluit and Resolute Bay to acquire baseline data on the biodiversity and productivity of fragile ecosystems in the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay such as coral forests and sponge grounds.

The final leg of the expedition will be dedicated to ArcticNet’s marine based research program as well as the Kitikmeot Marine Ecosystems Study, a collaborative project with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Parks Canada to advance knowledge on the Queen Maud Gulf region of Nunavut, home to the wrecks of the historic Franklin expedition ships HMS Terror and Erebus.

The results of these research projects and many others will be presented this year at ArcticNet’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting in Ottawa December 10 to 14.