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Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski, UQAR


Project Member

Arc3Bio (Marine Biodiversity, Biological Productivity and Biogeochemistry in the Changing Canadian Arctic)

Student Information

Thesis Title not available

Thesis Abstract:
The rapid warming, especially in polar regions, will result in higher water temperatures, increase of fluvial run-off and reduction of ice-cover which will lead to severe ecosystem changes, propagating through all trophic levels. As primary production is strongly dependent of oceanographic features, studying its variability and response to environmental modifications remains a challenge for scientists. North Water Polynya (NOW), in North Baffin Bay, is one of the most productive ecosystems of the Arctic. In the NOW,sea ice melts earlier comparing to other surrounding area, allowing sunlight to penetrate and wind to affect water column processes (upwelling of nutrient), leading to a phytoplankton bloom. Since a few decade, sea ice dynamic has changed leading to modifications of the primary production dynamic and related to pelagic and benthic food web. Despite the numerous evidences of recent alterations in the ecosystem of the NOW, reasons of this modification still unexplained, and knowledge of polynya ecosystem dynamic need to be improve. The aim of this study is to understand how primary production, and pelago-benthic coupling will respond to environmental changes (retreating sea ice) in the NOW. We expect to observe a change in the dominant pathways, timing, and composition of the primary producers bloom. We also expect to see changes in intensity links in the sea-ice dynamic. Moreover, we believe modifications in the pelagic pathways could lead to a drastic modification in the community and production. To answer these questions, we will develop a 3-D physical circulation model for the area. This will allow us to understand the mechanisms necessary for the formation and maintenance of the polynya (Ice bridge and up welling) over a year. For the second part of this project we will build and parameterise a pelago-benthic coupling realistic model of the marine system of the NOW. The main challenge of this project will firstly be, to build this biological model while taking into consideration the different time and space scales between pelagic production and benthic response, and secondly to couple these features into the physical circulation model. The third part of this study, will be to implement this tool (the general physical-biological coupling model set up for the NOW) in order to predict ecosystem dynamic, especially primary production, under climate change conditions expected for the NOW region.

Network Supervisors:
Dany Dumont
Philippe Archambault

Primary Address

Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski, UQAR
Physical Oceanography

Rimouski, Quebec G5L 3A1

Phone: 418 723-1986 poste 1873