CERC - Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing of Canada’s New Arctic Frontier


Members of the CERC in remote sensing of Canada’s New Arctic Frontier initiate, lead and collaborate in a variety of projects that are improving our understanding of the complex processes that occur in Arctic ecosystems in the face of ongoing climate change.

Malina Project (2008-2012)
The goal of the Malina project was to determine how changes in ice cover, permafrost and UV radiation impact biodiversity and biogeochemical fluxes in the Arctic Ocean. The international consortium of French, American, Canadian scientists, led by Marcel Babin (Le Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer, CNRS / Université Laval), focused on three processes - primary production, bacterial activity and organic matter photo-oxidation - that play a major role in the organic - inorganic fluxes of carbon.
A major field campaign was launched in in the southern Beaufort Sea and the shelf adjacent to the outlet of the Mackenzie river in the summer and early fall of 2009 aboard the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.
The findings of the Malina project were published in a special issue of Biogeosciences in 2012.

GreenEdge Project (2015-2018)
GreenEdge project researchers from France, Canada, USA and Greenland are to studying the dynamics of the phytoplankton spring bloom (PSB) in Baffin Bay and its role in the Arctic Ocean of the future. More specifically, they strive to:

  • understand the key physical, chemical and biological processes governing the PSB,
  • identify the key phytoplankton species involved in the PSB and model their growth under various environmental conditions,
  • predict the fate of the PSB and related carbon transfer through the food web and toward the bottom sediments in future decades.

The field component of the project was comprised of ice camps, installed near the community of Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut in the spring and early summer of 2015 and 2016, and a six-week oceanographic campaign in June/July 2016 in Baffin Bay aboard the CCGS Amundsen. Analyses are currently being conducted in laboratories on both sides of the Atlantic.
Research results will be diffused at a topical session at the Arctic Change meeting in Québec City in December 2017 as well as in a special journal issue, planned for 2018.

Network on Coastal, Oceans and Lake Optics Remote Sensing (NetCOLOR) (2014-2017)
NetCOLOR is a network of Canadian experts and end-users in the field of aquatic colour remote sensing established in 2014 by Marcel Babin through funding from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Its main purpose is to provide a means for the Canadian aquatic remote sensing community working in academic, government and private sectors to create a centre of expertise through the development of a national strategy for research, training and dissemination of water colour products.

Accelaration of permafrost thaw by snow-vegetation interactions (APT)
APT, a Canadian and French consortium, launched by Florent Dominé in 2014 and supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation, studies how climate change is accelerating the thawing of permafrost, a phenomenon that is still poorly understood.
The APT Project’s objective is to accurately predict temperature changes in permafrost (soil or rock that remains frozen year round) while taking into account new feedback mechanisms to predict the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by thawing permafrost and to quantify permafrost–climate feedbacks. The consortium will explore how permafrost temperature changes impact Arctic vegetation, wildlife, landscapes and geomorphology, as well as the lifestyle and infrastructure of Inuit populations. APT researchers will examine the environmental threats posed by such changes and model the rate at which permafrost is thawing.

Takuvik Joint International Laboratory (UMI 3376)
Takuvik was created in January 2011 through a partnership between Université Laval (UL, Canada) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, France) as a joint laboratory for the study of the impact of ongoing climatic and anthropogenic changes on Arctic marine and terrestrial ecosystems and geosystems. The CERC in remote sensing of Canada's New Arctic Frontier, is one of the keystones of the program. Takuvik is located at Université Laval, where expatriate CNRS employees work alongside UL staff and students on a full-time basis. CNRS has about 25 such joint laboratories around the world.

French Arctic Initiative
Under the jurisdiction of the CNRS, the Chantier Arctique Française (French Arctic Initiative) was established in 2013 as a scientific overseer for the Arctic, following the recommendations of a report of the French Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST) and the Ministre de l'Enseignement supérieur et la Recherche, to "reflect on the working methods and to find answers to the critical global issues facing the Arctic". Marcel Babin served as its co-scientific director 2013-2015 and continues to serve on the scientific committee.

Study of Under-ice Blooms In the Chukchi Ecosystem (SUBICE) 2013-2017
Eight members of the Babin, Lovejoy, Tremblay and Massé labs participated in the SUBICE campaign in the Chukchi Sea aboard the USS Healy in 2014. The project, led by Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University, is one element in a long-time series ongoing collaborations between Takuvik researchers and American Arctic oceanographers.

Tara Oceans Polar Circle 2013
Joannie Ferland and Claudie Marec of the Babin lab participated in a circum-Arctic campaign aboard Tara, a French research schooner, in 2013. Tara and her crew made a stopover in Québec City in November 2013. The public was invited to visit the schooner and an evening of conferences was organized at the Musée de Civilisation. Marcel Babin serves on the scientific committee of Tara Oceans.

Arctic Oceans Arctique (AOA) 2014-2017
In association with KNGFU and Parafilms, the CERC produced a series of web-based educational capsules targeted at middle school-aged students. Funding for this project was provided by numerous government and private organizations including: NSERC Promosciences, Fondation Airbus, Canadian Space Agency, CNRS Images, Fondation Albert de Monaco, Région Ile de France, ICI Explora and Fondation Total.