Follow Amundsen Science latest news; Science highlights, press releases, and events to come!
September 16, 2022
The first Leg of the 2022 scientific Amundsen expedition is studying the coastal marine environments of Labrador Sea, from fish biology to chemistry cycles using various advanced technologies. The expedition is also a great training opportunity to learn about the Nunatsiavut and Inuit culture.
The five Inuit communities of Labrador are located on a territorial area called Nunatsiavut, which means Our Beautiful Land. The teams are very fortunate to have Michelle Saunders and Carla Pamak onboard, who both work for the Nunatsiavut Research Centre. In addition to helping with scientific operations, they continue to guide the research objectives of the expedition and to share their culture and history.
Nakummek! (Thank you!)
Carla (left) ad Michelle (right) during the visit of Hebron, a settlement that was closed by the government and missionaries in 1959. The area is still visited and used by Inuit people.
September 9, 2022
The 2022 Expedition has begun!
On September 9th, the CCGS Amundsen left Quebec City for its 18th annual scientific mission. The multidisciplinary expedition will run until October 19th and will allow a contingent of scientists from national and international research teams to study the marine and coastal environments of the Canadian and Greenlandic waters. From aquatic microorganisms to carbon cycle to melting glaciers and seabed mapping, all aspects of the northern environment will be studied during the 41 days of the expedition.
Visit our social medias for more details and updates on the 2022 Amundsen expedition and follow the ship in real-time.
August 19, 2022
Université Laval will receive $54.8 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support and broaden the scientific activities of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen over 2023–2029. This major investment will maintain the Canadian Arctic research community in a 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.
More details on the impact of this investment on Amundsen Science’s activities in Université Laval’s press release.
More details on the CFI investments in major science initiatives.
June 28, 2022
Quebec-Ocean announced today the recipients of different annual scientific publication awards. Among the awarded articles, we note the presence of two publications resulting directly from oceanographic campaigns carried out on board the CCGS Amundsen.
The 2021 Student Publication Excellence Award was given to Laure Vilgrain, a PhD student at Laval University. Using thousands of images collected by an advanced imaging system called Underwater Vision Profiler during the Green Edge campaign (CCGS Amundsen, 2016) and new analysis techniques, she documented how copepod life resumes with the return of spring sunshine and phytoplankton growth. It should be recalled that this research had also been nominated by the Sea Foundation and the Ocean Institute (France) in 2021. The full article is available here.
The 2021 Joint Publication Award was presented to Philippe Massicotte, research professional at Laval University for the Takuvik International Joint Unit, and to his numerous co-authors. The paper presents the results of a joint effort to compile and standardize data sets collected during the MALINA oceanographic expedition (CCGS Amundsen, 2009) to facilitate their reuse in other studies of Arctic Ocean evolution. The full paper is available here.
Congratulations to all!
April 29, 2022
An exhibition of scientific equipment related to northern science will be held on May 7, 8 and 10, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Musée de la civilisation de Québec, as part of the activities Science Moi! organized by ACFAS and Université Laval.
An array of state-of-the-art scientific equipment will be on display. Come and discover the underwater robotic vehicles, the rosette, the nets, and much more! Multimedia presentations will complete the experience by illustrating this equipment in action, in the St. Lawrence and in the Arctic environment. Scientific teams will be on hand to answer your questions. We hope to see you there!
The INQ’s Nordic Day will also take place on May 10th at the Museum!
March 17, 2022
Geological changes are usually perceived as processes taking place over long time periods. The comparison of multibeam data acquired over the last decade prove the contrary.
Paull et al. (2022) compared mapping data collected by an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) during recent surveys with the mapping data acquired from the CCGS Amundsen in 2010 using a multibeam sonar. Their results reveal rapid morphological changes, such as the development of new steep-sided depressions up to 28 m in depth, associated with submarine permafrost thawing.
The spread and extent of these changes on the Arctic shelves is still unknown, as multiple multibeam bathymetric surveys are necessary to identify the changes. Rapid seafloor changes associated with submarine permafrost thawing may be an important process that requires further investigating.
To learn more:
February 10, 2022
An historic agreement was signed today between Université Laval and the French National Institute for Ocean Science (Ifremer) to foster collaboration between the Canadian and French oceanographic communities in the Arctic seas and in the North Atlantic. The partnership will lead to ship-time exchange between the CCGS Amundsen and three science vessels of the French Fleet: the Pourquoi Pas?, the Thalassa and the Atalante.
This sharing of naval infrastructure will make it more efficient to coordinate research efforts to study the marine environments and their changes in a globally warming climate.
“[Collaborative scientific partnerships are essential to global marine protection, environmental restoration and economic prosperity. I am thrilled to learn more about the understanding that this scientific research partnership will provide].”
– The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Amundsen Science is looking forward to contributing to the exchange of scientific knowledge and infrastructure in the Arctic.
More details (in French):
January 21, 2022
Amundsen Science is hiring!
We are seeking an experienced and motivated AUV engineer to meet the operational, maintenance and project management needs for a Kongsberg Hugin 1000 AUV. The position will bring the selected candidate to work with a diversified and highly experienced team of Arctic technicians, professionals, and researchers.
Application accepted until February 18, 2022.
Mere details on the job posting.
January 14, 2022
Vessel traffic has been increasing in the Northwest passage, particularly in the newly established Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area. This important habitat for marine wildlife is seeing the greatest levels of vessel traffic in the Canadian Arctic.
In a paper published in Environmental Science & Policy, Halliday et al. (2022) modelled underwater noise levels and examined the overlap with the distribution of wildlife. In particular, they studied the impact of noise on two cetacean species (beluga and narwhal) and three seabird species (thick-billed murre, northern fulmar, and black-legged kittiwake). Conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) measurements taken by the CCGS Amundsen during its annual expedition helped model underwater noise levels.
This study identifies the regions where greater risks are presents for the wildlife species and provides information and suggestions for implementing monitoring, conservation, and management initiatives. Of the five species studied, narwhal had the greatest high-risk area (Eclipse Sound and Milne Inlet).
Read the journal article here.
December 9, 2021
The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat just released a thorough science advisory report on the North Water area, a region of Northern Baffin Bay often visited and studied from the CCGS Amundsen. This report details the current state of the very biologically productive North Water Polynya (a region that remains ice-free during winter).
Findings from annual Arctic Expeditions of the Amundsen are incorporated in this report to support decision-making and the development of conservation and management policy.
November 3, 2021
After more than 115 days at sea, five Legs and hundreds of scientific operations, the CCGS Amundsen is finally back to it’s home port of Quebec City. Congratulations to all research teams who took part in the 2021 Expedition!
Stay tuned for the result of this Arctic mission.
October 28, 2021
A team of scientists studied the nutrient transport pathways in the lower St. Lawrence Estuary using results from the 2018 Odyssée St-Laurent winter mission. The mission provided the first winter turbulence observations, which cover the largest spatial extent ever measured in the area during any season.
Scientists previously assumed that the estuary’s surface layer received its nutrient supply from vertical mixing processes. On the contrary, Bluteau et al. found that fluvial nitrate inputs are the most significant source of nitrate in the estuary. The authors also provide seasonal perspectives on the nutrient transport pathways.
Read the full paper here.
Picture by Alexis Riopel
October 5, 2021
During Leg 2 of the 2021 Expedition, a team of scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada were onboard the CCGS Amundsen to study the biodiversity of the deep ocean near Makkovik, Labrador. Hints from a local fisherman helped them localize an important biodiversity hotspot. The location was explored with Amundsen Science’s new remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
Listen to their story on CBC’s show The Broadcast with Jane Adey.
Access footage of the submarine “hanging gardens”.
Learn about the capacities of Amundsen Science’s ROV.
New: Read their story on CBC News
September 29, 2021
The health survey Qanuilirpitaa? (How are we now?) was carried out in 2017, when the CCGS Amundsen was transformed into a clinic to visit the 14 communities of Nunavik. A team of 40 people was on board for seven weeks to collect health data in the region in order to improve programs and services.
The documentary Qanuilirpitaa? How Are We Now? broadcasted on Absolutely Canadian follows the interviewer Lydia Audlaluk through this survey which addresses sensitive subjects and revives painful memories for some, but also allows finding solutions.
The results of the health survey are available here.
September 9, 2021
Members of the PeCaBeau team boarding the CCGS Amundsen for Leg 4 are publishing a series of short field blogs to explain their work and the life onboard the ship.
“[A deep corer involves a] 9-m long core barrel, which holds 9 m of plastic liner inside, is attached to 800 kg of weight on top of it. […] A core with such a length of several meters may contain information about climate and environmental history of several thousands of years. Maybe right into the last ice age.”
See below for the complete list of field blogs, which will be updated as field blogs are posted.
September 1, 2021
A new nematode species has been discovered on cold-water bamboo corals collected during various surveys in Davis Strait and in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The roundworms were notably found during rock dredge operations from the 2019 Arctic Expedition on the CCGS Amundsen.
Researchers describe the new species called Aborjinia corallicola sp. n. in a paper recently published in Systematic Parasitology.
Read the full paper here.
July 8, 2021
A combination of satellite imagery and bathymetric surveys shows that a submarine landslide caused by the grounding of an iceberg occurred in Southwind Fjord in 2018. Bathymetric data from the CCGS Amundsen was used to identify other locations where grounding of icebergs could have caused submarine landslides. These results show that icebergs are hazardous over a great distance away from their source of origin and can affect the development of marine infrastructures.
Repeated surveys are key to identify this type of natural hazard. “Unlike the terrestrial environment where satellites take images every few days, it is very rare to have annual images of the seabed, especially in the Arctic”, says Alexandre Normandeau, researcher at Natural Resources Canada. He and a team of scientists will participate in the 2021 Expedition to survey the area again, map the morphology of the landslide with Amundsen Science’s ROV and study the benthic ecosystem recovery.
July 4, 2021
The 2021 Expedition has begun!
On June 4th, the CCGS Amundsen left Quebec City for its 17th annual scientific mission. The multidisciplinary expedition will run until November 3rd and will allow a contingent of scientists from national and international research teams to study the marine and coastal environments of the Canadian and Greenlandic waters. From aquatic microorganisms to carbon cycle to melting glaciers and seabed mapping, all aspects of the northern environment will be studied during the 122 days of the expedition.
April 13, 2021
A newly published collaborative paper studies the abundance and types of plastic pollution in surface waters in the Eastern Arctic (Inuit Nunangat) using data collected during the 2018 Arctic Expedition of Amundsen Science. The authors also provide insights on how to move the scientific work towards reconciliation while producing knowledge about environmental pollution.
Key findings are:
Read the paper here.
March 3, 2021
The Amundsen Science Outreach Workshop will take place on 23 March. Join us for this open event to learn about the history of the Amundsen, its role as a National Research Facility and get involved in the future of the infrastructure.
Our speaker include: Alexandre Forest, Anissa Merzouk, David Barber, Canadian Coast Guard, Jean-Éric Tremblay, Marcel Babin, Marlon Lewis and Martin Fortier.
February 11, 2021
On 11 February 2021 Amundsen Science launched its first newsletter. This newsletter provided the community with valuable information on the 2021 Arctic Expedition, the Planning and Outreach Workshop and Amundsen Science’s new leadership.
February 2, 2021
PhD Student and corresponding author Laure Vilgrain explains:
“During the GreenEdge cruise in June and July 2016 aboard the CCGS Amundsen, an advanced imaging system named ‘Underwater Vision Profiler’ was deployed at more than 150 stations across the ice-edge. Hence, zooplankton organisms measuring between 0.7mm and few centimeters were taken in photos in their natural environment, under the ice and in ice-free waters.
Researchers from Université Laval and from the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche-sur-Mer (France) used these images in an original statistical analysis to study how the morphology (size, color) and posture of copepods (active or resting) vary in response to ice melt and phytoplankton spring bloom. The insights from this study are useful to better understand copepod ecology in relation with sea ice dynamics, in particular because these organisms are key components for fish, birds and marine mammals in Arctic food webs.”
The “Underwater Vision Profiler” is visible in the bottom part of the Rosette in the picture on the left (photo by Pierre Coupel).
Read the full paper here: https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11672.
January 6, 2021
The ATLAS project is one of the largest oceanic research projects in the world and promotes collaboration in deep sea trans-Atlantic research, innovation and management.
In 2019, ATLAS scientists boarded the CCGS Amundsen to explore the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean. They mapped oceanic currents and used remotely operated vehicles (ROV) to discover new species of fish, deep-water corals and other invertebrate sponge species.
To learn more :
December 1, 2020
Results from the Qanuilirpitaa? 2017 Nunavimmiut health survey have been published on the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services website. Over a total of 19 reports, 9 have been issued covering 3 topics:
Qanuilirpitaa? is the most important Nunavik resident health survey since 2004 and took place in 2017 onboard the CCGS Amundsen. A total of 1,326 Nunavimmiut over the age of 16 took part in the survey. They came from the communities of Kuujjuaraapik, Umiujaq, Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Akulivik, Ivujivik, Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq, Quaqtaq, Kangirsuk, Aupaluk, Tasiujaq, Kangiqsualujjuaq aud Kuujjuaq.
See the results here.
November 12, 2020
The 2020 Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering is awarded to members of NETCARE in recognition of their outstanding contributions to climate research in the Canadian Arctic.
The Network on Climate and Aerosols (NETCARE) was established in 2013 to understand how aerosols form and move through the atmosphere and their effects on climate. The multidisciplinary team includes more than 40 experts from university departments and federal research laboratories. These researchers have combined their varied expertise and efforts to improve climate models.
Read the official announcement here.
November 10, 2020
Scientists from St. John’s published a new study in the PLOS ONE journal using samples obtained from the CCGS Amundsen. They analyzed environmental DNA to monitor deep-sea fish diversity in the Labrador Sea. This technique called eDNA metabarcoding might help scientists for implementing sustainable management efforts as well as understanding the impacts of commercial fishing and climate change.
Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei comments:
“Characterizing biodiversity is key for ecological and environmental investigations. In this study we used environmental DNA from seawater samples to identify various fish species living in one of the most challenging and understudied ecosystems, deep waters of the north Atlantic in the Labrador sea. We were able to optimize and demonstrate the utility of eDNA analysis by comparing our results with a combination of conventional tools such as trawling, baited camera traps and hydroacoustic analysis. This study was possible largely due to an excellent collaborative framework especially access to DFO’s expertise and CCGS Amundsen’s capabilities for sampling in this remote and challenging waters.”
October 22, 2020
Water mass distributions were mapped throughout the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) through the use of Radium isotopes collected in the summer of 2015 aboard the CCGS Amundsen as a contribution to the NSERC-CCAR GEOTRACES project.
In a recent paper, published in the Biogeosciences journal, authors shed new light on the dominant water mass patterns in the area, including the bulk Eastward current and the effects of the prominent coastal shelf system, which is responsible for inhibiting Atlantic waters within the CAA. In addition, they were able to show that against the bulk eastward transport Atlantic waters intrude the CAA from the east, which then, in a “U-turn”, are reflected back into Baffin Bay. As the area provides the North Atlantic with the cool waters necessary for deep water formation, gaining better knowledge of the water mass distribution in this region is imperative.
To read the full article:
September 28, 2020
Through deployments of robotic ice-avoiding profiling floats from the CCGS Amundsen between 2017 and 2019, researchers from Takuvik Joint International Laboratory demonstrate that net phytoplankton growth occurred even under 100% ice cover as early as February and that it resulted at least partly from photosynthesis. This demonstration is strongly contrasting with the popular belief wanting that Arctic marine phytoplankton cannot grow until sea ice and snow cover start melting and transmit sufficient irradiance to allow photosynthesis.
These results highlight ”the adaptation of Arctic phytoplankton to extreme low-light conditions, which may be key to their survival before seeding the spring bloom.”
To read the full paper:
Complementary articles and resources:
September 3, 2020
”At any moment, approximately half of the world’s population is wearing blue jeans and other denim garments.”
University of Toronto’s researchers who sampled Arctic marine sediments from the Amundsen over 2014-2017 detected indigo denim microfibers. They found that one pair of used jeans can release about 56000 microfibers per wash. Their conclusion: ”blue jeans, the world’s single most popular garment, are an indicator of the widespread burden of anthropogenic pollution by adding significantly to the environmental accumulation of microfibers from temperate to Arctic regions.”
To read the full paper:
Complementary articles and discussion:
July 21, 2020
Université Laval will receive $20.7 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support and broaden the scientific activities of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen over 2020–2023. The additional support will facilitate access to the Amundsen for the Canadian scientific community and international users, consolidate technical expertise for the deployment of cutting-edge instrumentation, and further support the renewal of scientific equipment that has reached its end of useful life. It also comprises operational funds to access, on an opportunity basis and non-interference basis with other Coast Guard programs, additional seagoing time.
More details on the impact of this investment on Amundsen Science’s activities: www.ulaval.ca/en/about-us/media-centre/press-releases
More details on the new investments in major science initiatives: www.innovation.ca/about/news
July 16, 2020
And it’s a go!
It’s early this morning that the CCGS Amundsen left Quebec City for its 16th scientific expedition. The multidisciplinary expedition will run until October 24 and will allow a reduced contingent of scientists from national research teams to study the marine and coastal environments of the Canadian and Greenlandic waters.
Next step: a second mobilization in Dartmouth where will embark researchers from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) and their scientific equipment.
For more details on the 2020 Amundsen expedition, read the Departure Press Release.
Stay tuned for more expedition updates and follow the ship in real-time!
July 10, 2020
In preparation for the departure of the 2020 Amundsen Expedition, Amundsen Science has developed a statement that explains our official position during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
We remain available would you like to obtain any additional information.
To all of our community, stay safe, and remain vigilant!
May 6, 2020
On Earth Day, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard released Canada’s Oceans Now: Arctic Ecosystems, 2019.
The report summarizes the current status and trends of arctic marine ecosystems.
A very interesting read full of educational contents in these times of confinement.
May 5, 2020
“The Arctic is often referred to as the “canary in the coal mine” and the changes that happen there will have an influence on the global climate system as a whole, including the Maritimes and New Brunswick.”
Read this article describing Josh Evans participation to the 2019 Amundsen Expedition as a University of New Brunswick grad students.
April 22, 2020
Amundsen Science is very proud to share the work of Philippe Tortell, a longtime member of the Amundsen’s community and renowned oceanographer with more than two decades of experience documenting the effects of climate change on marine systems around the world.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Philippe edited a multi-disciplinary collection: Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet.
This book ”responds to a public increasingly concerned about the deterioration of Earth’s natural systems, offering readers a wealth of perspectives on our shared ecological past, and on the future trajectory of planet Earth. An essential reading for everyone seeking a deeper understanding of the past, present and future of our planet, and the role of humanity in shaping this trajectory.”
See also complementary journal articles and discussions:
February 11, 2020
We had a very productive day here in Quebec City, refining the 2020 expedition plan and enhancing collaboration between science teams.
Thanks to everyone for making this workshop as efficient and collaborative!
Note: The 2020 Amundsen Planning Workshop has been held before the current sanitary measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic were implemented. See our Amundsen Science Statement for more details.
January 17, 2020
Through the years, a discrepancy between observed changes in the extent of the Arctic sea ice cover and the climate model predictions has been observed. To better understand how much heat flux increases from the ocean to the atmosphere and how it influences the melting of sea ice in the Arctic region, different sampling equipment are deployed by ArcticNet teams onboard the CCGS Amundsen. One of them, definitely the most aesthetic one, is the weather balloon.
Weather balloons are used to profile low-pressure systems, cyclones, and periods of significant warm or cold-air advection aloft.
It sure gives this sunset a little «je ne sais quoi»!
Photo credit: @Lauren Candlish