Project Description

Kelps are large brown seaweeds that form unique habitats along many rocky Arctic coasts. Many fish and other animals use these lush underwater forests or shelter and food, which are particularly striking along Arctic coasts where ice scour and harsh climate leave the nearby land barren with little vegetation.

 

Kelp forests have been recorded throughout the Canadian Arctic, yet we know little of these habitats, and their fate in this era of rapid change represents a critical gap in our knowledge of Arctic coastal ecosystems. Research to date suggest that a warmer Arctic with less sea ice may increase the extent of kelp by providing extended periods of light and warmer waters for growth. However, melting sea ice and permafrost may offset this benefit by freshening and increasing water color and turbidity in coastal areas.

 

This project will combine coastal surveys, scientific dive experiments, laboratory tests, community meetings, remote sensing, research cruises, and modelling approaches to map kelp forests in the Arctic, assess their importance for coastal ecosystems and coastal societies, and predict climate-driven impacts on them. Knowledge on Arctic kelp forests may help northern communities and societies anticipate and prepare for changes in the coastal zone and possibly even benefit from these new ecosystems.

Scientific objectives:

  1. Create predictive actual and anticipated maps of kelp in subarctic and arctic seas globally.

  2. Assess how changing environmental conditions could impact the extent and performance of kelp across multiple systems.

  3. Quantify the stability of these ecosystems by resampling sites with historic measures of kelp abundance.

Researchers

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Philippe Archambault
Network Investigator

Laval University

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Simon Bélanger
 

UQAR

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Kimberley Howland
Principal Investigator

Department of Fisheries and Ocean Canada

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Christian Nozais
Principal Investigator

UQAR

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Sue Ziegler

Memorial University

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Kjell Magnus Norderhaug

Institute of Marine Research

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Dorte Krause-Jensen

“ I study the ecology, functional roles and ecosystem services of marine vegetated ecosystems, particularly seagrass meadows and macroalgal forests. I address their responses to global and local pressures as well as the potential of restoration, protection and sustainable use. ”

Aarhus University

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Carlos Duarte

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

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Christopher Mundy

"I seek to better understand the physical and environmental drivers of Arctic marine primary production and their spatio-temporal variability."

University of Manitoba

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Ladd Johnson
Principal Investigator

Laval University

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Paul Snelgrove
Principal Investigator

Memorial University

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Christopher McKindsey 
Principal Investigator

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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Gary Wong

Laval University

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Jean-Carlos Montero-Serrano

UQAR

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Frédéric Olivier

Museum D'histoire Naturelle

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Zou Zou Kuzyk

University of Manitoba

Highly Qualified Personnel

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Karen Filbee-Dexter
Project Manager

Laval University and Norway Institute of Marine Research

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Cindy Grant

Laval University

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Lisa Treau De Coeli

Laval University

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Camille Lavoie

Laval University

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Jennifer Amagoalik

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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Laura Castro De La Guardia

University of Manitoba

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Matthieu Huot

" I contribute to the development of an underwater phytobenthos and ice algae LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) instrument that could provide a more large-scale characterization of the presence and distribution of algae in the Arctic."

Laval University

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Marie-Hélène Picard

Laval University

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Lisa Zoé Auclert

Laval University

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Kathleen MacGregor

Laval University

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Rob Schlegel

Woodshole & Dalhousie University

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Rebecca Evans

"My Master's project investigates the functions and services that kelp and other food sources provide to the sub-Arctic benthic communities along Labrador's coast."

Memorial University