Research Highlights

Follow Amundsen Science latest news; Science highlights, press releases, and events to come!

November 10, 2020
Science

eDNA metabarcoding for deep-sea fishes detection

eDNA metabarcoding for deep-sea fishes detection

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.”

Full paper: Harnessing the power of eDNA metabarcoding for the detection of deep-sea fishes

To read more: DNA in seawater can reveal fish diversity in the deep ocean

October 22, 2020
Science

ARCTIC WATER MASSES DISTINGUISHED USING RADIUM ISOTOPES

ARCTIC WATER MASSES DISTINGUISHED USING RADIUM ISOTOPES

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:

Using 226Ra and 228Ra isotopes to distinguish water mass distribution in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

September 28, 2020
Science

Arctic mid-winter phytoplankton growth revealed by autonomous profilers

Arctic mid-winter phytoplankton growth revealed by autonomous profilers

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
Science

Environmental Footprint of Blue Jeans Microfibers in Arctic sediments

Environmental Footprint of Blue Jeans Microfibers in Arctic sediments

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
News

$20.7 million to support Canada’s research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen

$20.7 million to support Canada’s research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen

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
Event

Launch of the 16th Science Expedition on board the CCGS Amundsen

Launch of the 16th Science Expedition on board the CCGS Amundsen

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
News

Amundsen Science COVID-19 Statement

Amundsen Science COVID-19 Statement

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
Science

Canada’s Oceans Now: Arctic Ecosystems, 2019

Canada’s Oceans Now: Arctic Ecosystems, 2019

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.

http://dfo-mpo.gc.ca

May 5, 2020
News

News from a 2019 CCGS Amundsen Expedition Participant

News from a 2019 CCGS Amundsen Expedition Participant

“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.

https://www.unb.ca/

April 22, 2020
Science

Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet

Earth 2020: An Insider’s Guide to a Rapidly Changing Planet

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
Event

2020 Amundsen Expedition Planning Workshop

2020 Amundsen Expedition Planning Workshop

The 2020 Amundsen Expedition is taking shape!

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
Science

Weather Ballons

Weather Ballons

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