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OFI has launched its next phase of ocean research and plans to invest approximately $16 million in projects that will focus on climate change and how changes to the North Atlantic impact coastal communities.  

Phase 2 Research Themes

Phase 2 research projects will address one of two themes, or a combination of both: 

Theme 1: The North Atlantic as a Climate Ocean


This theme centres on understanding the role of ocean dynamics and climate in the North Atlantic and Arctic gateways; the coupling of the ocean and atmosphere, biogeochemical processes and the important role of convection in the region. Through research, OFI seeks an improved mechanistic understanding and parameterization of key physical, chemical, and biological processes governing climate, productivity, and ecosystem structure, particularly in the western North Atlantic, Labrador Sea and Canadian Arctic gateway. This understanding should link to future ecosystem services and their human impacts.

Potential topics include:

  • water property modification, freshwater transport, and convection with links to meridional overturning circulation 
  • benthic ecosystems
  • shelf sediment dynamics including seabed mapping
  • projections of future ecosystem services and ecosystem health
  • social and cultural aspects and impacts of the issues addressed in the research, including Indigenous-led research, Indigenous worldviews, traditional and local knowledge
  • technologies and processes supporting new ocean observations
  • coupled models that facilitate projections of the potential impacts of future change on climate, Atlantic productivity, species, and ecosystems, with an assessment of associated sensitivities and uncertainties

Theme 2: Coastal Communities and the Ocean

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Canada’s coastal communities bordering the Atlantic Ocean and Arctic gateways face significant contemporary challenges and opportunities in their interactions with the ocean. These include both climate and human-induced ecosystem alteration, shifts in fishery abundance and distribution, sea level rise, as well as rapidly-evolving social, institutional, and economic conditions. Theme 2 research projects will address how changing ocean dynamics impact diverse coastal communities, and how rapidly evolving social, institutional, and economic conditions subsequently impact pressures on the marine environment. Research in this theme will also develop solutions to these challenges to help communities support and maintain sustainable ecosystem services and human impacts.  

Potential topics include:

  • mobilization of new marine data streams and technologies to support community-led decision making and governance, marine spatial planning, conservation, and coastal business and industries
  • responses by communities to climate or human-induced changes in ecosystems and their services 
  • sustainable fisheries including ecosystem-based management 
  • aquaculture, particularly novel species and community-driven ventures, and social license to operate
  • sources of resilience and innovation for coastal communities, including Indigenous communities
  • integrated knowledge systems for sustainable marine governance