Meet the scientists studying Canada’s oceans

Meet three of the researchers involved in our ongoing study and monitoring of Canada’s three oceans.

Access our completed research studies on the impact of climate change and development of applied-science adaptation tools and strategies.

Kumiko Azetsu-Scott

Kumiko Azetsu-Scott, Research Scientist, Nova Scotia. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Kumiko Azetsu-Scott, Research Scientist, Nova Scotia. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Dr. Azetsu-Scott leads chemical oceanographers in the Carbon and Tracer group at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. They study climate change and ocean carbon cycles. Their goals include a better understanding of ocean acidification, uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) by the ocean, deep-ocean ventilation and roles of freshwater from rivers, precipitation, and meltwater of sea ice and glaciers in physical and chemical processes in the ocean. Tools used to study these issues include measurements and modelling of the carbonate system and transient tracers and stable isotopes. Their research extends from coastal to offshore regions in the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

This is important for understanding climate change and Canada’s oceans/ocean acidification because:

Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is not only heating the ocean and melting sea-ice and glaciers, but also changing fundamental ocean chemistry. Ocean acidification is one of these changes. Clarifying short term temporal and spatial variability, long term trends, and controlling mechanisms of ocean acidification and other environmental changes helps us to mitigate the changes and adapt to future ocean conditions.

Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller, Geochemist, British Columbia. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Lisa Miller, Geochemist, British Columbia. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Dr. Miller focuses on how oceanic processes control the partitioning of climatically-active substances (mainly carbon dioxide) between the atmosphere and the ocean. That is, she determines the circumstances under which and the efficiency with which the Arctic Ocean releases or absorbs CO2. In addition to the processes that change CO2 concentrations in the water, Dr. Miller studies the things that control the actual transfer of carbon across the air-sea interface, including the composition of the sea-surface microlayer (the 100 micrometer-thick film at the interface between the water and air) and the very complex biogeochemistry and physics of sea ice.

This is important for understanding climate change and Canada’s oceans/ocean acidification because:

Understanding how much carbon is in the ocean versus in the atmosphere, and how that partitioning changes depending on the conditions, is fundamental to how the oceans control the climate and, in turn, are controlled by the climate. This work generates conceptual models of the role of the Arctic Ocean in the global climate system and provides concrete data monitoring how the system is changing. Both of these results are critical to developing and validating complex numerical models that can accurately predict the future state of the Arctic Ocean and both global and regional climate.

Helen Gurney-Smith

Helen Gurney-Smith. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Helen Gurney-Smith. Photo credit: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Dr. Gurney-Smith does research that looks at how different types of climate change (such as ocean acidification) affect animals, which are important either commercially, socially or ecologically (for example lobsters, shellfish, and those which are food for other animals). She does investigations of how animals will respond to ocean conditions that we may have in Canada in the future, and if they will be able to live in this new environment.

This is important for understanding climate change and Canada’s oceans because:

This helps us understand what may change in the future – will we see more or less shellfish or lobsters? That information is then used to assist in the development of climate-informed management practices.

Date modified: