Human and chemical ecology of arctic pathways taken by marine pollutants

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: food web, traditional knowledge, pollution, marine mammals, invertebrates

Principal Investigator: Kassam, Karim-Aly S. (1)
Licence Number: 13026
Organization: University of Calgary - Arctic Institute of North America
Licensed Year(s): 1999
Issued: Jul 11, 1999
Project Team: Dr. David Norton, Barrow Arctic Science Consortium Dr. Derek Muir, Environment Canada Dr. Todd O'Hara Dept. of Wildlife Management , Alaska

Objective(s): The project will focus on processes to improve the understanding of structure and function in arctic foodwebs as these contribute to pollutant fluxes, pathways and residence times. We group our areas of focus as: 1) Human case studies within resource dependent communities in the arctic to quantify dependence on resources at risk from pollutants, and incorporate traditional knowledge systems in the role of adaptive community response and protection; 2) Marine mammal sampling to monitor temporal and spatial trends in levels of key pollutant levels for species and tissues of concern to subsistence users, and verify trophic dependencies; 3) Fish, invertebrate and background sampling to assess the status of pollutants at suspected intermediate trophic levels leading to mammals, birds and humans.

Project Description: Research will begin with the development of a database of existing information concerning impact of pollutants on the human ecology. An interview protocol will be developed for collecting indigenous knowledge on the impact of chemical pollutants. By training two researchers in each community surveyed, local indigenous knowledge will be collected through participation by community based staff. All information and insights obtained in this project will be copyrighted by the respective communities. Subject to written consent these results will be made public. All results will be published in non-technical language and made available to community members.