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About us

Our organization

A research partner for your projects in the Arctic

Amundsen Science is the nonprofit organization responsible for the scientific mandate of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. Primarily funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through Université Laval where it is hosted, Amundsen Science coordinates the deployment of the icebreaker for science in collaboration with the Canadian Coast Guard, maintains the ship’s pool of scientific innovative equipment, and provides financial, technical and logistical support to user programs.

Read our Strategic Plan 2021-2025

Within the Amundsen Science Corporation are twelve universities and two Arctic colleges, but the broader user base comprises more than 125 national and international institutions and organizations. The Board of Directors and multiple committees are actively involved in the overall governance of the Facility.

Learn more about the governance

Our mission

We are committed to provide equitable access to a state-of-the-art research icebreaker to enable observations and data collection that will inform decisions on environmental, economic, and societal issues of strategic importance to Canada.

Our vision

We seek to maintain Canada as a global leader in the multidisciplinary and multinational scientific exploration of the changing Arctic Ocean with the primary objective to inform the sustainable development of the Arctic.

Our guiding principles

We are dedicated to:

  • Build knowledge for Canadians;
  • Enable excellence in research and training;
  • Demonstrate organizational excellence and cultivate awareness of how unconscious biases impact our decision-making.
Our team

A dedicated and
highly qualified team

Daniel Amirault
Marine Geomatics Technician

Daniel Amirault

Marine Geomatics Technician

Daniel Amirault

BSc in Technologies of Ocean Mapping | Memorial University

Amundsen Science’s collaborative initiatives to map the Arctic and sustain its environment inspired Daniel to join its workforce through his position as Lead Hydrographer during Leg 2 of the CCGS Amundsen’s 2019 expedition.

Now as a Marine Geomatics Technician for Amundsen Science, Daniel strives to continue broadening Canada’s northern bathymetric database; acquire and process bathymetric data from a range of platforms (Amundsen, small vessels, AUVs); operate remotely piloted aircraft; train student hydrographers; and support international projects in Arctic environments.

Most of Daniel’s free time is spent pursuing his passion for guitar, rock climbing, biking, and trekking through nature.

Marcel Babin
Scientific Leader and Chief Executive Officer

Marcel Babin

Scientific Leader and Chief Executive Officer

Marcel Babin

Ph.D. in Biology | Université Laval

Marcel Babin is a field oceanographer with a strong expertise on light propagation and light-matter interactions in the Ocean.

Laureate of the Canada Excellence Research Chair in remote sensing of Canada’s new Arctic frontier and leader of the Takuvik International Research Laboratory (Université Laval and CNRS), his devotion to oceanographic research is no longer to be demonstrated.

Through his inspiring career, he has lead several major international research initiatives onboard the CCGS Amundsen such as Malina in the Beaufort Sea (2009) and Green Edge in the Baffin Bay (2016). Marcel undertook the role of Scientific Leader at Amundsen Science in summer 2020.

As Scientific Leader, Marcel intends on reinforcing the use of the CCGS Amundsen by the broadest possible Canadian and international community. He promotes ambitious multidisciplinary projects, and implements best practices in terms of open science.

Kerstin Brembach
Hydrographer

Kerstin Brembach

Hydrographer

Kerstin Brembach

MSc in Environmental Geography and Monitoring | University of Kiel

Having grown up on the coast, Kerstin became a physical geographer with a focus on marine processes. 

She has worked in many areas, such as monitoring salt marsh development, detecting wave heights with radar imagery, modeling sea level rise, and mapping submarine landforms, before joining Amundsen Science as a hydrographer in 2023.  

Her duties include operating the hydroacoustic systems on board and managing the seafloor data.   

When she’s not at sea, Kerstin can be found playing beach volleyball or exploring nature.

Martine Desgagnés
Finance Manager

Martine Desgagnés

Finance Manager

Martine Desgagnés

BSc in accounting | Université du Québec à Rimouski

Martine Desgagnés joined the Amundsen Science team at the beginning of 2018 to oversee various administrative and accounting tasks. In addition to her studies in accounting science, Martine has several other educational backgrounds, including a certificate in human resources management. She thus combines her passions for science, the maritime field and finance in her job at Amundsen Science.

In addition, Martine coordinates the procurement management with Amundsen Science’s technical team, in compliance with the financial rules applicable to the research sector. She also prepares financial information for Amundsen Science’s various external auditors, and assists new team colleagues with administrative procedures. Nicknamed the team’s “”mom””, she’s the one everyone writes to when something goes wrong.

Alexandre Forest
Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer

Alexandre Forest

Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer

Alexandre Forest

Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography | Université Laval

Alexandre has been the Executive Director and COO of Amundsen Science since 2017.

He is no stranger to Arctic research, having sailed aboard the Amundsen since 2004. Since his first expedition on the research icebreaker as a MSc student, Alexandre has accumulated more than 510 days in the Arctic on the ship as part of various expeditions over the last 15 years.

Prior to assuming a management position with Amundsen Science, Alexandre worked as a research scientist with the Sedimentation Group of the ARCTOS Network (Tromsø, Norway), the Takuvik Joint Laboratory (CNRS-Canada), and with Golder Associates Ltd. Alexandre is a specialist of Arctic shelf seas and is passionate about research vessels, oceanographic instrumentation and the Arctic.

Amélie Desmarais
Logistics, Administrative and Communication Coordinator

Amélie Desmarais

Logistics, Administrative and Communication Coordinator

Amélie Desmarais

MSc in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science | McGill University

Amélie joined the team in 2020. She contributes to numerous aspects of the planning and logistics of the Annual Amundsen Expedition. Amélie is also involved in various administrative tasks of the organization related with our funding agencies. During the field season, you may see her onboard the CCGS Amundsen operating the CTD-Rosette and photographing landscapes and scientific activities.


Outside of work, Amélie is an outdoor enthusiast. She coaches mountain biking during the summer and loves exploring the backcountry on her skis during the winter.

 

Thibaud Dezutter
Oceanographic Instrumentation and Research Professional

Thibaud Dezutter

Oceanographic Instrumentation and Research Professional

Thibaud Dezutter

MSc in Marine Biology | Université Laval

Thibaud joined the Amundsen Science technical team in September 2020. His multiple experiences aboard the CCGS Amundsen as a scientist and net specialist have enabled him to develop a variety of oceanographic skills that complement the technical team well. Having obtained a MSc degree in marine biology, Thibaud uses his research experience to enhance the data and research activities related to the annual Amundsen expedition.

Throughout his studies, Thibaud was a member of Université Laval’s Rouge et Or basketball team. He is a proud representative of Université Laval and an excellent teammate at Amundsen Science. Passionate about adventure and the outdoors, Thibaud spends most of his free time in the woods, whether hiking, skiing or biking.

Fatma Dhifallah
Logistics and Administrative Coordinator

Fatma Dhifallah

Logistics and Administrative Coordinator

Fatma Dhifallah

MSc in Oceanography | Université du Québec à Rimouski

Fatma joined the team in 2023 with previous experience in coordination and scientific operations at sea. She holds a master’s degree in oceanography from ISMER/UQAR, where she began her professional career. In addition to logistics and administrative responsibilities, Fatma is a CTD-Rosette operator and social media manager during the Annual Amundsen Expedition.

During her free time, Fatma spends quality time with her family and her dog Snow.

Pascal Guillot
Data Quality Manager

Pascal Guillot

Data Quality Manager

Pascal Guillot

MSc in Physical Oceanography | Institut des Sciences de la Mer de Rimouski

Pascal works on the CCGS Amundsen since the very beginning of the adventure, in 2003. He’s in charge of the processing and quality control of the CTD, LADCP, and SADCP physical data. At sea, he is the main CTD-Rosette operator, supervises the operations and trains rosette operators interns. His expertise, patience and discipline earned him the title of ”Grand Maître Rosette.

Quentin Lahaye
Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Quentin Lahaye

Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Quentin Lahaye

BSc Oceanography | INTECHMER, Cherbourg

Passionate about the sea since childhood, Quentin studied oceanography at the Institut Technique de la Mer (INTECHMER) in Cherbourg, France. Before joining Amundsen Science. Quentin has had various experiences working on research vessels in the French fleet as an oceanographer technician. The previous missions he carried out enabled him to forge his practical experience of the instruments and electronic equipment used for scientific research at sea.

When he’s not on board, Quentin spends his free time surfing or discovering the world with his van and backpack.

Anissa Merzouk
Marine Research Coordinator

Anissa Merzouk

Marine Research Coordinator

Anissa Merzouk

Ph.D. in Oceanography | Université Laval

Anissa is Marine Research Coordinator since 2017 but has worked closely with the CCGS Amundsen team since 2014 as Project Manager for ArcticNet.

During her graduate studies on climate active gasses at Université Laval and University of British Columbia, she sailed on several research vessels as part of multidisciplinary scientific programs (SERIES, SOLAS, Line P). This at-sea experience serves her well in the operational management and logistical planning of the Annual Amundsen Expedition. She likes connecting with researchers and students and supporting them to carry out their sampling and experiments on the Amundsen and achieve their science goals.

Luc Michaud
Scientific Equipment Manager

Luc Michaud

Scientific Equipment Manager

Luc Michaud

MSc in Marine Biology | Université Laval

As Luc oversaw the conversion of the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker into a state-of-art oceanographic research vessel, he definitely knows the ship inside and out. He’s been Amundsen’s scientific equipment manager since 2003.

Since then, he has sailed the Amundsen from the Labrador Sea to the Chukchi Sea and has participated in most of the ship’s science expeditions. He sure is the reference for a good old Amundsen anecdote. He is an unconditional lover of the Arctic, and a passionate wildlife photographer.

Alexandre Morin
Accounting and Management Technician

Alexandre Morin

Accounting and Management Technician

Alexandre Morin

A 2013 graduate of Cégep Garneau in accounting and management, Alexandre has taken several other university courses at UQAR and ULAVAL, mainly in administration and accounting. Since 2023, he has been helping the technical team with purchasing and payroll.

Simon Morisset
Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Simon Morisset

Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Simon Morisset

MSc in Ocean Science | Université du sud Toulon-Var

Simon is an instrumentation professional for the CCGS Amundsen since 2014. He assures the installation, the integration and the maintenance of Amundsen Science scientific pool of equipment. He specializes in technological and computing development and is in charge of the ship core instrumentation data processing with Pascal.

Simon’s great creativity at work may come from his renowned musician talent; just hear him jam with his band!

Christopher Morrissey
Marine Robotics Professional

Christopher Morrissey

Marine Robotics Professional

Christopher Morrissey

BSc in Underwater Vehicles Technology | Marine Institute

Christopher has joined the Amundsen Science technical team as a marine robotics professional in 2020 after graduating from the Marine Institute’s Bachelor of Technology in Underwater Vehicles. He maintains, operates and integrates essential research instrumentation for the Annual Amundsen Expedition. As he works closely with our remotely operated vehicule named ASTRID, Christopher goes every year at sea on the icebreaker to survey various marine ecosystems with scientists and a team of highly qualified technicians.
Christopher is also driven by his passion for exploration and enjoys the thrill of downhill biking, rock climbing and hiking with his dogs when he is not with ASTRID!

Marcia Pearson
Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Marcia Pearson

Oceanographic Instrumentation Professional

Marcia Pearson

MSc in Water and Coastal Management | Cadiz and Bergen Universities

Marcia is an oceanographer, with a master’s degree in Water and Coastal Management. She worked in many areas of oceanography, from paleontology to changing climate, and from seismic to whale conservation research, before joining Amundsen Science as an oceanographic instrumentation technician in May 2021. It is at the warehouse and at sea that she feels most at ease.

In her free time, she enjoys playing with her pets, making all kinds of crafts, accumulating books (not necessarily reading them all), and organizing her rock collection, to which she is always looking for new additions.

Tahiana Ratsimbazafy
Data Management and Valorization Coordinator

Tahiana Ratsimbazafy

Data Management and Valorization Coordinator

Tahiana Ratsimbazafy

MSc in Water Science | Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique – Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre

Tahiana holds a postgraduate diploma (DEA) in physics from the University of Antananarivo in Madagascar. During his studies, Tahiana’s research project involved the application of spatial remote sensing as a tool for detecting changes in forests.

Currently at Amundsen Science, Tahiana is responsible for archiving and publishing the scientific data collected during the Annual Amundsen Expedition. He supports Amundsen Science’s technical team in ensuring research-quality data to international standards. Tahiana is also involved in several nationwide data management projects, where he collaborates to promote open science practices within the organization.

Véronique Rochefort
Communication manager

Véronique Rochefort

Communication manager

Véronique Rochefort

MSc in Communication Sciences | Université de Montréal

Véronique has joined Amundsen Science as Communications Manager in 2022. She has several years of experience working as a communications director for a non-for profit organization in the life sciences and health technologies sector and as a public relations strategist in a communication agency.

Having achieved a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a master’s degree in communication sciences, Véronique has developed an expertise in popularizing and democratizing science for everyone. Her passion for environmental sciences now helps her build outreach initiatives that highlight the activities of Amundsen Science’s community.

Our history

Unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean

Learn more
2024+

Looking into the future

With the continued support of the Canadian Coast Guard and from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through the Major Science Initiatives (MSI) Fund, the CCGS Amundsen has now become the most important research vessel across Canada, supporting an increasing number of multidisciplinary research programs. Since the 45-year-old icebreaker is aging and maintenance periods are increasing, we aim at preserving Canada’s research capacity to study ice-covered seas by pursuing our efforts to stimulate federal government authorities into developing a plan to replace the CCGS Amundsen through the construction of a modern and first purpose-built research icebreaker for Canada.

2022-2023

Start of a new cycle

An extensive Vessel Life Extension dry dock curtailed the science season and limited the number of days available at sea for the 2022 Amundsen Expedition. But the efforts invested through the retrofit of several systems allowed to add at least another 15 years of operational life span. Funding for the Amundsen through the CFI-MSI fund was renewed in 2023 for another 6 years. This major investment will maintain the Canadian Arctic research community in a world-wide leadership position. The financial support will facilitate access to the Amundsen for the Canadian scientific community, international users and Northern researchers, consolidate the technical expertise and contribute to extend and maintain the pool of scientific equipment.

2020-2021

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, such as the inability to conduct research in the Arctic in 2020 due to lockdown measures and continued risks in 2021. Despite these constraints, an Amundsen expedition with limited participants in the Canadian sub-Arctic was implemented in 2020, whereas an expedition of 122 days with berths at near full capacity ran flawlessly across the entire Canadian Arctic in 2021. Mitigation measures were implemented both on the vessel and in off-ship areas where personnel were active, which allowed the planning team to build on these learnings. During these difficult times, our organization was able to maintain and advance its capacity in administrative and technical resources, equipment maintenance and upgrades, vessel life extension repairs, and effective engagement with users and stakeholders.

2018-2019

Diversification

A change in the formula of the CFI-MSI funding allocated to the Amundsen and other national research infrastructures in 2017 provided the opportunity to add $19.6M and a 6th year of funding for the scientific operation and maintenance of the ship. This utmost beneficial change was recommended by the Naylor Report on Fundamental Science and allowed an unprecedented diversification of scientific projects on board and an improvement of the technical support for the deployment of the ship’s extensive pool of equipment. Thus, opportunistic science expeditions on the St. Lawrence Seaway for the Odyssée Saint-Laurent program of the Quebec Maritime Network was organized during winter for the first time since 2003. With that additional funding, a new ROV was also acquired to explore the Arctic seafloor ecosystem as well as several upgrades to the hull-mounted sonars of the ship were undertaken to augment data quality and quantity.

2017

Successes and Challenges

The CFI-MSI funding for the Amundsen was renewed for another 5 years at a total amount of $18.2M. In June, the first leg dedicated to the BaySys program in Hudson Bay was canceled as a result of the unusually heavy ice conditions prevailing along Newfoundland. Later this summer, the Inuit Health Survey Qanuilirpitaa? (How are we now?) was conducted as a follow-up survey to the 2004 Qanuippitaa?. Unprecedented in size, the project compiles knowledge aiming to improve the health and well-being of Nunavimmiut communities.

2016

New major projects

The success of the year 2016 for Amundsen Science was primarily based on multiple new major projects led by various organizations. One of them was the innovative Green Edge program in Baffin Bay that gathers international experts in marine optics and ecology to better understand the Arctic spring bloom and predict its variability in the Arctic Ocean of tomorrow. Other projects supported include the Kitikmeot Marine Ecosystems Study, the integrated Beaufort Observatory (iBO) sponsored by the Environment Studies Research Fund, and a dedicated project on the ecology of deep-sea coral forests in the Labrador Sea and Baffin Bay.