Terry A. Dick

Terry A. Dick

Department of Zoology
University of Manitoba

Chair title

NSERC Northern Research Chair in Aquatic Northern Ecosystems: Freshwater and Marine Environments

Chair program

Northern Research Chair Program


Senior Chairholder since 2002


Northern freshwater and marine ecosystems are and will continue to be under considerable pressure due to global environmental changes and increased exploitation of natural resources. At the same time, the continued use of traditional food sources is important to many northern communities. Several factors are involved, including the need for sustainable subsistence fisheries, the development of new marine fisheries and the environmental impacts of oil and gas exploration, transportation and hydroelectric development.

The value of new Arctic marine fisheries is unknown but will likely be substantial, and there is a need to make them sustainable. Northern economic opportunities through the exploitation of oil and gas (more than $1 billion spent over the past five years on exploration and an estimated 33 per cent of Canada’s conventionally recoverable gas reserves and 25 per cent of remaining recoverable crude oil), mineral production (approximately $2 billion) and potential hydroelectricity (estimated at $27 billion) will have significant impacts on a sensitive environment. Consequently, new tools are needed to assess and develop mitigation standards in the context of a region with rich traditional and local knowledge of the environment.

Solutions to these problems involve using traditional and local knowledge as well as scientific knowledge. We are building on community-based research questions that are relevant to natural resource management and developing education opportunities in this area. With changes in natural processes, such as warming trends, long-term aquatic biological data sets are being reassessed and new research is emerging to assess feeding patterns of fish and the construction of simple and complex food webs. We are also establishing environmental criteria and standards for streams and lakes, and developing methods to assess fish and invertebrate habitats through the application of acoustic technologies (sonar) to map river and lake depths and substrates and describe long-term fish movements.

The Chair program is multidisciplinary and involves university researchers, government scientists and biologists, northern research institutes and colleges, northern communities, and hunter and trapper associations. Through this successful partnership, community-based research questions and fundamental research questions pertaining to aquatic ecosystem dynamics are being addressed and new tools for environmental assessment are being developed.


  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Central and Arctic Region/Pêches et Océans Canada, Région du Centre et de l'Arctique
  • Nunavut Research Institute/Institut de recherche du Nunavut
  • Nunavut Arctic College/Collège de l'Arctique du Nunavut

Contact information

Department of Zoology
University of Manitoba
Duff Roblin Building, Room Z320
66 Chancellor’s Circle
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 2N2

Tel.: 204-474-9896
Fax: 204-474-9896


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