ArcticNet: an Integrated Regional Impact Study of the Coastal Western Canadian Arctic
Principal Investigator: Fortier, Martin (8)
Licence Number: 14543
Organization: ArcticNet
Licenced Year(s): 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Jun 30, 2009
Project Team: The complete list of participants will be sent to the ARI as soon as it becomes available

Objective(s): The central aim of the ArcticNet marine-based research program is to study on a long-term basis how climate induced changes are impacting the marine ecosystem, contaminant transport, biogeochemical fluxes, and exchange processes across the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interface in the Canadian Arctic Ocean.

Project Description: The central aim of the ArcticNet marine-based research program is to study on a long-term basis how climate induced changes are impacting the marine ecosystem, contaminant transport, biogeochemical fluxes, and exchange processes across the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interface in the Canadian Arctic Ocean. Ultimately, the knowledge generated from this multi-year program will be integrated into regional impact assessments to help decision makers develop effective adaptation strategies for the changing coastal Canadian Arctic. The proposed ArcticNet 2009 marine-based research program will be conducted in partnership with Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited (IORVL), the France-led Malina project and the Geotraces project funded by the Canadian International Polar Year program. These partnership initiatives are aimed at increasing the diversity, temporal and spatial coverage of environmental data collected by the ArcticNet network.

The 2009 program will be conducted on the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. The planned sampling operations for 2009 are identical to those carried out in the Beaufort Sea/Mackenzie Shelf/Amundsen Gulf region by the CCGS Amundsen since 2004. The sampling program is developed around 3 main research components:

1) Meteorology, ocean & sea ice component: the general objective of this research component is to collect data on the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere (OSA) interface over a range of time and space scales, focusing on spatial and temporal variability over diurnal, seasonal and inter-annual time scales.

2) Marine resources and environment component: in the Arctic Ocean, sea-ice dynamics and hydrography will ultimately determine primary production, microbial activity, zooplankton and larval fish dynamics and benthos productivity. The objectives of this research component are 1) to quantify and map the summer-fall distribution and contamination of the main components of the pelagic and benthic food webs in the study area and 2) to quantify the response of the pelagic and benthic communities to physical forcing processes over the summer-fall season.

3) Geology/bathymetry component: the major goal of this research component is to conduct a bathymetric and sediment characterization survey to investigate seafloor stability conditions at the outer shelf/upper slope area of the central Beaufort Sea and to provide the necessary geosciences knowledge to understand the distribution of ecologically and biologically sensitive benthic ecosystems.

Three of the five general objectives of ArcticNet are to: 1) involve northern communities and Inuit organizations as partners through bilateral exchange of knowledge, training and technology; 2) contribute to the training of the next generation of young Arctic specialists (including northern residents) and, 3) contribute to the development and dissemination of the knowledge needed to formulate policies and strategies to adapt to change in the Arctic. Hence, it is ArcticNet’s mandate to involve the residents of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) at various levels of research and training. Oceanographic fieldwork in the ISR started in 2004 which generated various involvement opportunities for the residents and more opportunities are expected to arise throughout the duration of ArcticNet.

During the 2009 marine-based research program in the ISR (from 11 July to 18 October), local involvement opportunities will include positions on the CCGS Amundsen as research technicians and wildlife monitors. Wildlife monitors have been a great asset in the past and the researchers intend to continue hiring them throughout the existence of the ArcticNet project.

As part of ArcticNet’s education and training initiatives, the Schools on Board program was developed to bridge Arctic research with science education in high schools across Canada. Since 2005, the ArcticNet Schools on Board program has welcomed a number of Inuit students from the NWT and Nunavut onboard the CCGS Amundsen. This is an excellent opportunity for young, enthusiastic students to see part of their environment and experience first hand Arctic research.

An ArcticNet regional Arctic research workshop will be held in Inuvik within the next year (before March 2010). This workshop will be an opportunity for ArcticNet researchers in all fields of science (natural, social and human health) with their partners in Inuit organization and northern communities to report and get feedback on their different research activities conducted in the Western Arctic.

As in past years, research results and progress reports will be submitted to the Joint Secretariat, the Game Council, the Aurora Research Institute and the HTCs of all Inuvialuit communities. Research results will also be communicated through community visits conducted by ArcticNet researchers.

A compendium of ArcticNet research results (2004-2008) is due out in March 2010 and will be submitted to the aforementioned organizations. ArcticNet’s annual report and quarterly newsletter are also sent out to Inuit partners and Northern organizations. All results ensuing from ArcticNet’s marine-based research program are made available as peer-reviewed primary publication in scientific journals.

ArcticNet is also co-funding a full time position of Inuit Research Advisor (IRA) for all 4 Inuit regions of Canada. Presently, the position for Inuvialuit is held by Shannon O’hara of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. Part of the IRA’s mandate is to promote communication between researchers and community members and therefore facilitate the dissemination of results and information to and from the communities.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 11 to October 18, 2009, in the Beaufort Sea/Mackenzie Shelf/Amundsen Gulf region, from the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, at stations and along transects distributed in a delimited study area within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. There will be no land-based sampling.