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Research funded by the Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP)

Access our completed research projects funded through the Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program, which has these research priorities.

Description Code Eco-region Year(s)
Vulnerability of Southern Great Lake Coastal Areas, Fish Habitat and Fisheries

This project will develop the prototype of the Lake Ontario Vulnerability Assessment (LOVA) Tool to provide eventual online access to scenario evaluation of products developed by the ongoing Lake Ontario Vulnerability Assessment to Climate Change. The LOVA Tool will display the current state and projected changes in physical and biological variables that have been modelled for different shoreline zones including: water temperature and levels,...

Principal investigators: Susan Doka, Tom Hoggarth, Dave Gibson

ACCASP #CA17 Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin 2014 2015- 2016
Inclusion of Regional Climate Projections in Geo-referenced Databases

In order for the results of climate change projections to be used in routine operations or to address specific issues, end users must have access to them in a convenient format. This project will transform the output of regional ocean-climate models, and their analysis, into datasets for inclusion in geo-referenced databases. The datasets—encompassing oceanographic variables such as temperature, salinity, stratification, freshwater content, i...

Principal investigators: Venitia Joseph, Joël Chassé, Marc Ouellette

ACCASP #Gulf 10 Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf 2014 2015- 2016
Impacts Tools for Arctic Climate Change in Storm Waves and Storm Surge (iTACS)

Climate change is expected to impact sea ice, winds, waves, currents, and coastal sediment transport, which affect Arctic communities, the maintenance of small craft harbours, offshore industries, and the potential for future marine transport in the Arctic. Fisheries and Oceans Canada mandates include the maintenance of coastal infrastructure and safe secure waterways, both of which require reliable estimates to inform routine maintenance and...

Principal investigators: William Perrie, Adele Butcher

ACCASP #MAR 8 Arctic: Beaufort Sea 2014 2015- 2016
Fish Stock Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Species Supporting Capture Fisheries

The impacts of climate change on the aquatic environment pose a growing risk to fish and other marine life. As a result, there is a need to systematically assess the risks to aquatic organisms and fisheries that are managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including commercially valuable finfish and invertebrates. This project will develop a Fish Stock Climate Vulnerability Assessment “Tool” to provide a standardized method for identifying whi...

Principal investigators: Karen Hunter, Kim Hyatt

ACCASP # Pac19 Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast 2014 - 2015
Delineation of Ocean Acidification and Calcium Carbonate Saturation State of the Atlantic Zone

Ocean acidification, caused by the formation of carbonic acid as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in the ocean, is expected to have profound effects on marine ecosystems. Organisms that form shells and skeletons of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), including phytoplankton, zooplankton and other invertebrates, will be particularly affected. As ocean acidity increases, there is ...

Principal investigators: Pierre Pepin, Stephen Snow, Kevin Anderson

ACCASP # NFLD 2 Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves 2014 - 2015
Database of Past and Future Storm Surges and their Return Period Analyses

Storm surges are a severe coastal hazard that can affect coastal erosion, flooding and navigation safety, and can also damage marine infrastructure. Climate change has the potential to cause more storm surges. This project aims to establish a database of past and future storm surges (1950–2100), which can be used to assess the possibility of changes in surge return periods due to climate change. A “return period” is the average length of time...

Principal investigators: Zhigang Xu, Denis Lefaivre, Richard Sanfaçon, Michel C. Goguen, George Schlagintweit, Denis D’Amours, Stéphane Dumont

ACCASP # Que 12 Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary 2014 2015- 2016
Climate Change Impacts for the Arctic Ocean Tool (CIAO Tool)

Compared to past decades (before 1980), the Arctic Ocean and atmosphere are transitioning to a more dynamic state. Projections of ice-free Arctic Ocean summers by the mid-21 st century may actually underestimate the rate of change. This project will develop and deliver an interactive, web-based planning tool, associated datasets and high-resolution maps as a way to present the results of CIAO—Climate Change Impac...

Principal investigators: William Perrie, Steven Newton

ACCASP # MAR 5 Arctic: Canadian Arctic Archipelago 2014 2015- 2016
A National Coastal Infrastructure Vulnerability Index (CIVI)

Fisheries and Ocean Canada is responsible for maintaining 1,038 Small Craft Harbours across the country, which support nearly 90 percent of all fish landings in Canada as well as recreational activities. These coastal assets—including nearly 6,000 structures valued at $2.1 billion—are susceptible to the impacts of sea-level rise and climate change. This project will initiate the development of a Coastal Infrastructure Vulnerability Index (CIV...

Principal investigators: Blair Greenan, Matthew Cloutier

ACCASP # MAR4 National 2014 2015- 2016
A modelling tool for biogeochemical changes prediction and incorporation of climate change into the implementation of an MPA Network in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

This project will further refine and validate a climate modelling tool to provide geographically detailed projections of future changes in biogeochemical conditions for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf and the Gulf of Main. The tool will inform the implementation of a Marine Protected Areas Network in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and many other resource- and ecosystem-related decisions. It can also be used to evaluate: habitat changes and...

Principal investigators: Diane Lavoie, Guy Cantin

ACCASP # Que 11 Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary 2014 - 2015
A Bivalve Carrying Capacity Model for Bay Management in a Changing Environment

A significant portion of Canadian aquaculture production is comprised of shellfish, which accounted for more than 40,000 tonnes of product with a farm gate value of approximately $83 million in 2012 ($40 million of that for Blue Mussels alone). This project will develop a computer model capable of predicting the impact of climate change on the capacity of estuarine ecosystems along Canada’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts to support bivalve aquac...

Principal investigators: Luc Comeau, David Whorley

ACCASP # GULF 9 National 2014 - 2015
Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Northwest Atlantic Harp Seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus

Harp seals, the most abundant marine mammal in the northwest Atlantic, require suitable ice cover for birthing (whelping) and nursing young harp seals. Declining ice conditions as a result of climate change have led to high mortality in young seals. To study the changes in ice suitable for whelping, researchers created models that relate the presence of harp seal whelping patches to the ice habitat conditions in a given area. This was done us...

Principal investigator: Garry Stenson

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Spatial Distribution and Commercial Productivity of Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) Under Climate Change

Snow Crab is one of Canada's marine fishery resources that is most adapted to cold, and may be especially sensitive to climate-change related warming. Snow Crab populations and fisheries currently only exist on Canada's East Coast, however this ecologically and commercially important species appears to be rapidly spreading from the North Pacific and Chukchi Sea toward the western Canadian Arctic. This project will fill knowledge gaps necessar...

Principal investigator: Bernard Sainte-Marie

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Vulnerability of Nearshore Lake Ontario Fish Habitat and Fisheries in a Changing Environment

Nearshore fish habitats in Lake Ontario, which are of critical value to Canadians, are vulnerable to changes in water levels, temperature, storm severity, and ice cover. Using a range of climate projections for Lake Ontario, this project will assess the impact of climate change on these habitats and use this information to evaluate changes to habitat supply based on fish community needs. Potential risks to lake-wide fish production, focusing ...

Principal investigator: Susan Doka

  Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin  
Variations in Regional Climate Predictions for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf, and Gulf of Maine

Global Climate Models (GCMs) are useful tools when it comes to understanding potential climatic change for entire ocean basins, but they lack the spatial resolution that is necessary to provide accurate estimates of change that can occur over continental shelves or waters bounded by land. Higher spatial resolution is useful when considering the factors that are not handled well by GCMs, such as winds, precipitation, and runoff. Results: ...

Principal investigator: Joël Chassé

  Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf  
Understanding the Winter Conditions Required to Avoid the Formation of Sea-Ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and its Shallow Bays

In the winters of 2010 and 2011, the Gulf of St. Lawrence experienced a near-absence of sea ice. This project will compare data collected during those winters—i.e. information about the thickness, temperature and heat content of the fall and winter mixed layer (winter season surface mixed layer) and surface heat fluxes—to ice cover data from the Canadian Ice Service to determine what atmospheric and oceanic conditions led to the lack of winte...

Principal investigator: Peter Galbraith

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change on Cod Productivity using Bioenergetic Modelling

Changes in ocean temperatures and their seasonality due to climate change will alter the productivity of fisheries resources. Temperature changes may be accompanied by changes in dissolved oxygen, which can impact the physiology and productivity of fish and crustaceans. This project will develop bioenergetics computer models for Atlantic Cod, initially focussing on the two stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Bioenergetics concerns energy flow...

Principal investigators: Doug Swain, Yvan Lambert

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Testing the Efficacy of a New Floating Breakwater Design: Maximizing Effectiveness of Engineering Solutions and Minimizing the Environmental Damage Associated with Climate Change

One responsibility of the Small Craft Harbours Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the provision of protected harbours and berthing facilities for commercial fishing vessels. The cost of providing and maintaining such infrastructure (particularly protective breakwater structures) is expected to grow as climate change raises sea levels and increases the size and frequency of storms and destructive storm surge events. This project will pro...

Principal investigator: Gregory Robert

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Species Vulnerability to Climate Change and the Likelihood of Significant Changes in Spatial Distribution

As marine ecosystems adapt to climate change, gains or losses in available habitat will alter the distribution of species. This project will develop a reliable method of measuring the vulnerability of species to climate change, providing valuable knowledge for fisheries management in the Maritimes, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Quebec regions. Specifically, this project will use data from existing databases to deliver: a "Species Vulnerability to...

Principal investigator: Nancy Shackell

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Snow Crab and Lobster Thermal Habitat Changes in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

Snow crab and lobster, two of the most economically important species in Eastern Canada, both inhabit the Gulf of St. Lawrence but have distinctly different temperature preferences—snow crab inhabit cold water (-1℃ to 5℃) and lobster inhabit warmer water (-1℃ to 26℃). Changes in the bottom temperature of the region brought on by climate change are expected to have an impact on the habitats and life cycles of both species. This project aimed t...

Principal investigators: Joël Chassé, Mikio Moriyasu, Michel Comeau

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Simulating Climate Change Effects on Fish and Fisheries Management

Fishery yields are limited by the productivity of food sources, such as plankton, which in turn are affected by climatic and ocean conditions. A greater understanding of how environmental changes have an impact on fish populations would be gained by knowing how those disturbances enter the ecosystem. This project aimed to generate new information on how changes in plankton populations that result from different climate change scenarios affect...

Principal investigator: Caihong Fu

  Pacific: Strait of Georgia  
River Temperature Forecast Models

Across Canada, a lack of water temperature information for freshwater ecosystems limits the ability of scientists to assess how current temperatures and changes in temperature affect fish. Management of fisheries supported by these ecosystems is uncertain because of this lack of information. Several water temperature models currently exist, but no single model can provide the type of information that is needed to create tools that are needed ...

Principal investigator: David Patterson

  Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast  
Regional Mean Sea-Level Rise Scenarios for the Canadian Coasts

Just as the global mean sea level has risen over the past century, so have regional mean sea levels in many coastal areas of Canada, increasing the frequency, magnitude and duration of coastal flooding associated with storms. Existing estimates of future sea-level rise (SLR) vary widely, and variations in regional estimates may be even greater. Given these uncertainties, future potential SLR scenarios are useful to support decision-making rel...

Principal investigator: Guoqi Han

Regional Climate Projections for the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf

This project will develop a regional ocean-climate computer model for the Labrador and Newfoundland Shelf to provide high-resolution projections of ocean climate changes for the area from 1970 to 2069. The model will improve the knowledge of potential changes in environmental conditions over the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf, including changes in sea level, sea-surface temperature, bottom temperature, salinity, sea ice, currents, and strati...

Principal investigator: Guoqi Han

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Real-time Ice Data and Ice Forecasts (RIDIF) for Canadian Coast Guard Operations in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Rapidly changing ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic—including a trend toward reduced summer sea-ice cover—has led to increased marine traffic and the prospect of regular commercial shipping through the Northwest Passage in the near future. To aid climate change adaptation of Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) operations in area, this project will deliver an on-line web tool that provides real-time sea-ice conditions and forecasts for the eastern N...

Principal investigator: Jim Hamilton

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Projections of Future Oceanic Biogeochemical Conditions Using a Coupled Regional Climate Downscaling Model of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine

Observed changes in the oceans over the last several decades—including higher ocean temperatures, lower salinities and decreasing sea ice cover—could affect ecosystem productivity. If climate change causes these trends to persist, associated changes in biogeochemical processes and marine food web relationships could severely reduce ecosystem productivity, causing shifts in the distribution of species and displacement of fisheries from one loc...

Principal investigator: Diane Lavoie

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Projections of Climate Change Impacts in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is becoming more dynamic than in previous years, and projections that it will see ice-free summers by 2030–2050 have underestimated the rate at which ice is being lost. Better projections are needed to understand how this will affect ecosystems, transport routes, and northern infrastructure. This project will use computer models to estimate high-resolution regional climate change projections of Arctic atmospheric variables su...

Principal investigator: Will Perrie

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Projecting the Arctic Marine Ecosystem Response to Climate Change on a Regional Scale: Development of a Canadian Arctic Ecosystem Model

Observed and projected climate changes will have significant effects on marine ecosystems due to, for example, changes in sea-ice cover, the distribution of nutrients in the water column, and ocean acidification—an increase in ocean acidity (declining pH) as atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in surface waters, forming carbonic acid. This project will develop a high-resolution computer model of the Canadian Arctic ecosystem for analyzing an...

Principal investigator: Nadja Steiner

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Prediction of the Date of Onset of Lobster Spring Mobility Based on Environmental Factors

Lobster begin to move in spring when the water reaches a threshold temperature of about 1.5℃. In recent years, this has occurred earlier in the season, and it is expected to occur even earlier in the future due to climate change. This project will analyze archived thermograph data, as well as data from new deployments at three sites—north and south of Iles-de-la-Madeleine, off northeastern Prince Edward Island—to evaluate variations in the da...

Principal investigator: Peter Galbraith

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Potential Impacts of Floating Breakwater Designs on Underlying Seabeds: Maximizing Effectiveness of Engineering Solutions and Minimizing Environmental Damage Associated with Climate Change

Rising water levels brought about by climate change will make it more difficult and expensive to build and maintain fixed structures designed to protect harbours and fishing vessels from destructive storm surges. As climate change causes northern areas to become ice free all year, the use of floating, semi permanent breakwaters will become a viable and cost-effective alternative. This project aimed to test possible designs, using computer sim...

Principal investigator: Robert S. Gregory

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Pilot Tools for Estimating Waves and Sea-level Extremes under Conditions of Uncertain Climate Change

Extreme sea level is a combination of storm surge, tides, and ocean waves. As a result of climate change, rising sea levels and declining sea ice will cause changes in extreme sea level, which will impact Canada's coastlines and the infrastructure in these areas. Understanding these changes is essential for developing adaptation strategies that can minimize the harmful effects that may result. When engineers and planners develop strategies fo...

Principal investigators: Blair Greenan, Will Perrie

Optimal Habitat and Predicting Potential Changes in Spatial Distribution of Important Pelagic Forage Species in the Northwest Atlantic in Response to Future Climate Change

In some regions of the Northwest Atlantic, the sea-surface temperature has increased by 1 to 1.5℃ since the early 1980s and is predicted to warm by as much as 2℃ over the next half century. Due to their relatively short life cycle, zooplankton and pelagic fish populations will likely respond to environmental changes within a year or two, possibly triggering changes higher in the food web since many top predators prey on pelagic fish. This pro...

Principal investigator: Stéphane Plourde

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecosystem Responses to Warm Conditions in 2011/2012: Changes in Groundfish Distributions and Communities

The distribution and interaction of fish communities can change dramatically in response to periods of warming, which has consequences for managing fisheries that are carried out within set geographical boundaries. Summer ocean temperatures were among the warmest on record in 2011 on the Newfoundland Shelf, and in 2012 in the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and on the Scotian Shelf. This project will prepare and compile the data necessar...

Principal investigator: Nancy Shackell

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Modifying a Habitat Alteration Assessment Tool for Use in a Changing Climate

The Habitat Alteration Assessment Tool (HAAT) has been used to determine the availability of fish habitat in freshwater lakes and rivers before and after changes. The tool combines information on depth, substrate, and vegetation associations to calculate the changes in availability of suitable habitat after in water projects. Results inform possible impacts or improvements to the ongoing productivity of fish communities and fisheries populati...

Principal investigator: Susan Doka

  Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin  
Modelling the Changing Availability of Landfast Sea Ice Suitable for Breeding Ringed Seals Along the Coast of Labrador

Ringed seals are a key species in ice-covered Arctic marine ecosystems because they link the aquatic food web to higher level predators. In addition, this species is culturally important and is an important food source for northern Inuit communities. Ringed seals construct a well-sheltered birth lair under snow drifts created by rough sea ice to protect the pup from the cold and predators. As the quantity and quality of sea ice decreases due ...

Principal investigator: Becky Sjare

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Long-Term Storm Surge Simulations with Future Climate Forcing

Future climate change may cause more frequent storm surges, a severe coastal hazard that affects water levels, coastal erosion, flooding and navigation safety, and that can also damage marine infrastructure. Advancements in climate modelling provide new opportunities for assessing the potential impacts of future storm surges, which has been challenging to date. This pilot project explores the use of climate model solutions to forecast future ...

Principal investigators: Zhigang Xu, Denis Lefaivre

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Long-term Storm Surge Simulation to Indicate the Climate Change Trends in the Past and in the Future

Storm surges can cause significant damage to marine infrastructure. Climate change may result in more harmful storm surges in the future and accurately assessing coastal vulnerability to climate change is an important step in mitigating these impacts. Assessing the future impacts of storm surges is challenging because predictions on future water level predictions are not available. Researchers aim to address this challenge by using recent dev...

Principal investigators: Zhigang Xu, Denis Lefaivre

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Linking Variations in Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Stocks to Pacific Ocean Productivity and Climate Variability Using Stable Isotopes

Fraser River sockeye salmon are a significant ecological, cultural, and economic resource for Canada, and climate change poses a very real risk to their abundance. However, obtaining information on how the marine environment affects Pacific salmon is very difficult and it remains poorly understood. By analyzing stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon in fish tissues, this project will address this knowledge gap by gathering information about t...

Principal investigator: Daniel T. Selbie

  Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast  
Instrumentation and Methods for Identifying Changes in Arctic Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification has the potential to substantially alter ecosystems in ways that are, as yet, unknown. The limited data available for the Canadian Arctic indicates that this region is particularly vulnerable to acidification—an increase in ocean acidity or declining pH (a measure of acidity) as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in surface waters, forming carbonic acid. To effectively predict region...

Principal investigator: Lisa Miller

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Incorporating Climate Change into Marine Protected Area Network Planning

Diversity in an ecosystem—ranging from the number of species that it supports, to the number of different age levels that are present for each species—provides resilience to impacts such as those resulting from climate change. Since intensive fishing tends to reduce all aspects of diversity in an ecosystem, the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) where no fishing is allowed can help to buffer marine species and habitats against the impacts o...

Principal investigator: Nancy Shackell

  Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf  
Impacts of Climate Change on Waves and Storm Surge in the Southern Beaufort Sea and Western Canadian Arctic

As sea ice decreases in the Arctic, and large, open expanses of ice-free water develop between Siberia and the Mackenzie Delta, powerful storms are occurring more frequently. With the waves, currents, and storm surges generated by these intense storms, low-lying coasts off the southern Beaufort Sea, and western Canadian Arctic, are being damaged. This project aimed to study the effect of climate change on the interactions between atmosphere a...

Principal investigator: Will Perrie

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Impact of Environmental Change on Growth, Reproduction, and Survival, and on Estimation of Productivity/Fishery Reference Points

Understanding how temperature affects the productivity of fish stocks is important as we move into a world of variable climate change that affects ocean temperatures. In turn, certain elements of fish stock recovery plans, such as sustainable fishing levels, are directly linked to stock productivity. This project will use extensive fisheries and oceanographic data collected by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to predict the types of changes in pro...

Principal investigators: Edward Trippel, Joanne Morgan

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
High-Resolution Digital Elevation Models in Intertidal and Shallow Zones

Computer simulations of shoreline characteristics such as coastal erosion, transportation of sediments, and wave action are important for understanding how climate change impacts will affect coastal infrastructure. Without this information, it is impossible to accurately forecast how much damage will occur in zones that are affected by storm surges or properly plan projects designed to protect infrastructure. Until recently, intertidal and sh...

Principal investigator: Louis Maltais

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
High Resolution Simulations of Future Ocean Climates in the Northwest Atlantic

Fisheries and Ocean Canada requires scientifically sound, high-resolution, ocean-climate projections to inform decision-making, particularly in light of the potential impacts of climate change on coastal areas. The resolution of atmosphere-ocean, general circulation models are not high enough to capture key ocean processes that affect ocean climate variability in the Northwest Atlantic. To address this knowledge gap, a high-resolution (5 kilo...

Principal investigator: David Brickman

  Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf  
Fishery Adaptations to Range Extensions and Contractions of Freshwater, Anadromous/Marine Fishes, and Marine Mammals Due To Climate Change: Conflicts Between Temperate Invaders, Arctic Species, and Northern Communities

Understanding and predicting how climate change will affect the habitat ranges of freshwater and marine species is critical for effective management of fisheries, especially for the traditional aboriginal fisheries used by Northern communities. The identification of potential changes in the ranges of individual species, and an assessment of the impacts that these changes will have on other species and aquatic communities, will help this proje...

Principal investigator: Kevin J. Hedges

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Fauna and Ecosystem Processes in the Northwest Atlantic

As seawater absorbs atmospheric CO2 , increased ocean acidification resulting from elevated pCO2 concentrations can disturb the physiology and nervous systems of marine organisms. However, sensitivity to the effects of ocean acidification can vary from species to species and among individuals within a species, which indicates that adaptation to acidification is possible. This proje...

Principal investigators: Edward Trippel, Michel Starr

  Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves  
Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Fauna and Ecosystem Processes in the Northwest Atlantic

To date, global studies have revealed that marine organisms have a diverse response to climate-change related ocean acidification, an increase in ocean acidity or declining pH (a measure of acidity) as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in surface waters, forming carbonic acid. The most direct biological impact will be on organisms that form shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate (CaCO ...

Principal investigators: Edward Trippel, Michel Starr

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Ecosystem-based Vulnerability Framework to Prioritize Research on Climate Change Impact and Adaptation Issues Affecting Pacific Fisheries

The impacts of climate change on a wide range of elements in freshwater and marine ecosystems increase the complexity of how managed species interact with their ecosystems. This complexity makes it difficult for resource managers to establish research priorities for understanding how climate change affects healthy ecosystems and economically viable fisheries. This project aimed to develop a climate change risk assessment framework to help inf...

Principal investigators: Kim Hyatt, Jim Irvine, Bill Crawford, Karen Hunter

  Pacific: North Coast and Hecate Strait  
Disentangling the Relative Roles of Temperature Changes, Density Dependence, and Predation Risk on the Spatial Distribution of Marine Fishes

Climate change is likely to affect the way different species are distributed in the marine environment, although other factors—such as density dependence and predation—are also likely to play a role. Understanding the nature and causes of shifts in species distribution is key to sustainably managing living marine resources. A failure to do so may result in misinterpreting shifts as changes in abundance, or lead to misunderstanding the product...

Principal investigators: Hugues Benoît, Doug Swain

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Development of an Ecosystem-based Adaptive Management Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Effects on Some Northern Aquatic Ecosystems

Climate change is occurring more rapidly in the North than anywhere else in Canada, and northern ecosystems face a high risk of impacts from warming. These changes affect top predators, food species, and the way they interact with each other, and will have the most serious impact on ecosystems that are adapted to cold water. This project will allow scientists to develop models of freshwater and marine ecosystems that support important fisheri...

Principal investigator: Ross Tallman

  Central Canada: Mackenzie River, Delta  
Development of a Management Model for the West Coast Vancouver Island Area G Chinook Troll Fishery to Improve Economic Viability to Fishers and Conservation Benefits to Southern BC Chinook Stocks

The troll fishery for Chinook salmon is economically important to local communities along the west coast, but its viability and stability has been affected by a number of issues, some of which are directly related to climate change. The long-term viability of this fishery also depends on the ability of managers to adapt to climate change impacts, such as reduced overall abundance of the salmon and annual variability in abundance. This project...

Principal investigator: Gayle Brown

  Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast  
Development of a Cumberland Sound Ecosystem Model as an Ecosystem-Based Adaptive Management Strategy Evaluation Tool for Adaptation to Climate-Change Effects

Ecosystem computer models are important tools for exploring the effect of fishing and climate change on the structure and function of ecosystems. Cumberland Sound—a large, deep, biologically productive ocean inlet on the southeast coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut—provides an ideal opportunity to develop an ecological model under climate change scenarios due to emerging fisheries in the region and the small number of other environmental stress...

Principal investigator: Ross Tallman

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Development of a Coupled Biogeochemical-Circulation Model of the British Columbia Coastal Ocean

Oxygen levels are declining and acidification is increasing along the British Columbia (BC) coastline, possibly reflecting biogeochemical effects as the ocean responds to climate-related changes. This project aimed to better understand the interaction between physical and biogeochemical processes in the ocean to determine whether these changes are mainly the result of natural variability or in fact responses to climate change. Results: ...

Principal investigator: Angelica Peña

  Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast  
Cumulative Impacts of Environmentally Controlled Life History Events on Climate Induced, Production Variations of Wild and Hatchery-Origin Salmon Populations: End-to-End Assessment from North-to-South

Climate variation and change events have an impact on salmon at a wide range of life stages, in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. Useful review of trends exhibited by Pacific salmon requires an assessment of interactions among salmon growth, survival, and reproduction, and how each of those considerations is associated with environmental factors at different life stages. Because for most populations of Pacific salmon there is a deficienc...

Principal investigators: Kim Hyatt, Gayle Brown, James Irvine, Chuck Parken

  Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast  
Colonizing Fish Species as Threats to, and Indicators of, Ecosystem-Level Changes in the Western Arctic

Freshwater, marine, and anadromous (migrating upstream or into freshwater for spawning) fishes that were once geographically limited appear to be colonizing the western Arctic, possibly as a result of climate change and its effects on ecosystems. This may lead to increased competition for habitat, predation, diseases, or parasitism among native fishes, and may destroy their genetic integrity, resulting in the need for new fisheries management...

Principal investigator: James D. Reist

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Climate-Related Changes in Marine Invertebrate Communities and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Risk in the North

Over the past century, aquatic invasive species have become a serious threat to biodiversity in North America. The combination of climate change, resource exploitation, and the resulting increase in Arctic shipping activity is expected to increase the risk of exotic species being introduced to vulnerable Canadian waters. This project aimed to improve the knowledge of current biodiversity in the Canadian Arctic in the context of a changing cli...

Principal investigator: Kimberly Howland

  Central Canada: Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River Drainage Basin  
Climate Change-Driven Hudson Bay Phytoplankton Phenology and Composition

Phytoplankton form the base of the marine food chain and therefore have a significant effect on all other ocean-dependent species, from fish to birds and marine mammals. Hudson Bay is an area where the physical factors that affect phytoplankton, such as ice break-up (which affects the light available for phytoplankton growth), storms, and surface warming is experiencing significant change as a result of our fluctuating climate. This project w...

Principal investigator: Pierre Larouche

  Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin  
Climate Change and the Cumulative Impacts of Environmental Stresses (CIES)

Climate change can influence a variety of factors, including waves and storm surges, which contribute to extreme high sea levels and uncertainty in estimates. These changes can impact coastal ecology and infrastructure, and also affect marine transportation. To inform climate change adaptation strategies, the Small Craft Harbours Program and the Real Property, Safety and Security Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada have requested better inf...

Principal investigator: William Perrie

Assessing the Abilities of Ecopath with Ecosim Models to Identify Climate Impacts to Upper Trophic Level Species in Canada's Marine Ecosystems

Ecosystem models are used to help understand how the structure and function of ecosystems are affected by the impacts of fishing, climate change, and environmental variability. They also help to identify gaps in our understanding of species changes within ecosystems. This project examined the capabilities of the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) modeling software to simulate the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. It also developed a new ...

Principal investigators: Ian Perry, Alida Bundy, Lisa Loseto

Assessing Exposure to Hypoxia in Cod from the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence Estuary Using Otolith Microchemistry

Low levels of dissolved oxygen, known as hypoxia, which is suspected to be caused in part by climate-related changes in ocean circulation and temperature, are known to decrease the growth rate of Atlantic cod. Otoliths—a structure of the inner ear of fish—accumulate mineral deposits over time, which creates characteristic rings representative of the fish's age, much like the rings of a tree trunk. The ratio of specific elements in the deposit...

Principal investigator: Denis Chabot

  Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary  
Assessing Climate-Mediated Impacts to Boreal Lakes through Whole-Ecosystem Manipulation

This project experimentally disconnected a lake from its upstream watershed to observe how a whole aquatic ecosystem responds to the drier conditions predicted by climate change. It aims to understand how dry conditions change lake characteristics and how they affect factors such as energy flow, fish habitat, and population. Results: Researchers collected a complete set of data necessary to observe the impacts of their climate...

Principal investigator: Paul Blanchfield

  Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin  
Accurate Estimation and Referencing of the Tidal Water Level Elevations for Effective Determination of the Future Risk of Sea-Level Rise and Increased Storm Surge Severity at all Canadian Coastline and Marine Areas

For the safety and security of people, property, ecosystems and the environment, it is important to define tidal water reference levels (datums) in Canadian waters, particularly for all coastal areas. To accurately measure the current height or a change in height, including the impacts of climate change, the chosen reference levels must be accurately defined in space. At present, datums are most accurate at and near widely spaced tidal statio...

Principal investigator: Kian Fadaie

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