Scientific Program

Climate change has triggered fundamental modifications of marine biotopes in the Arctic Ocean (AO). The decrease in the extent of the summer ice pack  has led to a 20% increase in pan-Arctic primary production (PP) over the last decadePhytoplankton blooms now occur earlier in several parts of the AO. In other parts, the structure of the phytoplankton community is shifting toward smaller species, typical of more oligotrophic conditions and some species found in warmer waters now migrate into the Arctic Ocean.

Arctic Ocean view from the CCGS Amundsen, 2014. Credits: Pierre Coupel, Takuvik.
Arctic Ocean view from the CCGS Amundsen, 2014. Credits: Pierre Coupel, Takuvik.

Phytoplankton grow in the top tens of meters of both ice-free and ice-covered waters.

The phytoplankton spring bloom (PSB) that develops at the ice-edge accounts for >50% of annual primary production in the AO and is generally associated with both large energy transfer to higher trophic levels and export of carbon to the bottom. In turn, the culturehealth and economic capacity building of Northerners are closely associated with marine resources supported by the PSB.

The Arctic PSB develops in the seasonally-covered ice zone (SIZ), the extent of which is expected to increase significantly during the next years, possibly over the whole AO as early as in 2030. How the PSB will evolve in this context is currently unknown. Learn more…

The overarching goal of Green Edge is to understand the processes that control the Arctic phytoplankton spring bloom (PSB) as it expands northward and to determine its fate in the ecosystem by investigating its related carbon fluxes.

Visit the Green Edge website for more information…

To understand the dynamics of the phytoplankton spring bloom and determine its role in the Arctic Ocean of tomorrow, including for human populations.