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International Polar Year - Projects

These projects are the result of a one-time funding opportunity through NSERC’s Special Research Opportunity (SRO) Program for research related to the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-08. They are all part of larger international efforts to investigate a wide range of physical and biological research topics, ranging from the impact of climate change on northern glaciers to the biodiversity of northern ecosystems.

Program description

NSERC IPY Grant Recipients

David Barber University of Manitoba The IPY Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) system study

The Circumpolar Flaw Lead system study is designed to examine how changes in the physical system affect biological processes. Three integrated components will be studied: field program, an observatory and a modeling effort. This triumvirate will integrate a series of testable hypotheses designed to examine the importance of climate processes in changing the nature of the flaw lead system in the Northern Hemisphere and the effect these changes have on the marine ecosystem, contaminant transport, carbon fluxes and the exchange of greenhouses gases across the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere interface.
Jean-Pierre Blanchet Université du Québec à Montréal Detection and assessment of the dehydration-greenhouse feedback in the Arctic: A contribution to the HIAA's project

This proposal is aimed at using the unique opportunity of massive measurements that will take place in the Arctic during the IPY, as well as the launch of a new group of satellites, CloudSat and CALIPSO that will provide unprecedented observations of cloud and aerosol processes in the haze on the Arctic climate system. Emphasis will be placed on the cold season as it is during this season that anthropogenic aerosols have a profound and, as yet, unaccounted for impact on the Arctic climate. Investigating the links between anthropogenic aerosols and climate will be the main goal of this project.
Gilles Gauthier Université Laval Arctic WOLVES ( Wildlife Observatories Linking Vulnerable EcoSystems)

This proposal aims to build a network of six terrestrial wildlife observation stations across the Canadian arctic to complement an international effort involving more than 40 researchers from nine countries. The central purpose is to analyze the dynamics of Arctic food webs and their sensitivity to disturbance, with the ultimate goal of modeling the food webs of these terrestrial communities quantitatively. To achieve this objective, researchers will measure plant production, herbivore and predator densities, as well as food habits for all the dominant species at each site.
Paul Hebert University of Guelph Polar Research Observatories for Biodiversity and the Environment (PROBE)

This proposal aims at making an important contribution to the Microbiological and Ecological Responses to Global Environmental Changes in the Polar Regions (MERGE) program, a large-scale international initiative that endeavors to advance the understanding of biotic processes and diversity in the polar realms. This project will play a lead role in the application of the genomic technologies that are poised to revolutionize our understanding of Arctic biodiversity.
Gregory Henry The University of British Columbia The state of Arctic tundra using the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) network

The aim of this project is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the “state of the tundra” across the Arctic, especially Canada. Researchers will examine the long-term responses to experimental warming and climate variability at the ecosystem level, and begin to scale these results to landscapes and regions through vegetation models and connections to other terrestrial programs.
David Hik University of Alberta Climate forcing of alpine tundra ecosystems in southwest Yukon

The project will exploit existing research synergies to improve the understanding of change in high-latitude alpine environments.
Susan Kutz University of Calgary Resilience of caribou and reindeer populations: Validation and application of the filter paper technique to access exposure to pathogens during International Polar Year(s)

This research will validate and apply the innovative, yet simple and user-friendly field collection technique, dried blood on filter paper, to assess the occurrence and diversity of infectious diseases in wild caribou and reindeer populations. Filter paper blood collection will be a valuable tool that can be employed by biologists, hunters and lay people for long-term surveillance and monitoring of disease in wild Rangifer populations.
André Rochon Université du Québec à Rimouski Natural climate variability and forcings in the Canadian Arctic and Arctic Ocean

The objective of this proposal is to understand and document the evolution of the Arctic climate during the Late Quaternary Period from a continental and marine perspective. Researchers will first be looking at climate change in a context of global warming and then link the observed changes to historic records in order to assess the anthropogenic contribution of global warming.
Martin Sharp University of Alberta The dynamic response of Arctic glaciers to global warming

The goal is to investigate the role of ice dynamics in the response of Arctic glaciers and ice caps to global warming, with a view to improving the ability to predict future changes and their impact on global sea level and fluxes of fresh water to the ocean.
Theodore Shepherd University of Toronto Structure and evolution of the polar stratosphere and mesosphere and links to the troposhere

The purpose of this proposal is to collect, compare and archive data assimilation products under the auspices of the Data Assimilation Working Group of the Stratospheric Processes And their Role in Climate (SPARC) project of the World Climate Research Program.
Warwick Vincent Université Laval Microbial biodiversity of High Arctic ecosystems:  Canadian partnership in the International Polar Year program MERGE

This program proposes to bring together seven laboratories in Canada to apply molecular and classical techniques to High Arctic Canada and to work in concert with the international IPY community to address fundamental questions in polar biodiversity. The research will focus on the microbial richness at three Arctic sites that have analogues in Antarctica.