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Canada's Arctic Biodiversity

Symposium Program

Canada's Arctic Biodiversity: The Next 150 Years is organized by the Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The symposium heralds a year of dialogue about the Arctic at the museum in celebration of the opening of a new Arctic gallery in 2017.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Optional Evening Activities

5 pm: Registration

5 pm – 7 pm: Posters
Engage one-on-one with museum visitors in an informal setting.

5:30 pm – 7 pm: Hosted Movie ScreeningSold Out

The documentary film Arctic Greenhouse explores the "Greenhouse Period" in Earth's history (Cretaceous Period) with a focus on Canada's Arctic. Understanding past greenhouse phases will help improve our models of future climate change. How would life adapt to an Arctic Greenhouse? The answers are in the rocks!

Watch the trailer.

The film will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the Executive Producer, Carleton University Professor Claudia Schröder-Adams.

Arctic Greenhouse is created by Hinaani Media and FineHat Productions.

Cost: Free—Sold Out.

7 pm – 8 pm: Networking Reception

  • Posters
  • Displays
  • Refreshments provided.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Arctic ecozone comprises nearly 40% of Canada's landmass. The climate in the Arctic is changing rapidly, which is likely to have major impacts on the diversity and distribution of Arctic life. How can Canada become better prepared to understand the present and the future of its Arctic biodiversity?

Watch It Here, Live!
8:30 am – 4 pm, Eastern standard time (UTC−05)

8 am: Registration
Meg Beckel, President and CEO, Canadian Museum of Nature

8:30 am: Opening Remarks and Welcome

8:45 am: Keynote Speaker
Adrian Schimnowski, CEO and Operations Director, Arctic Research Foundation

9:15 am: An Overview of Arctic Biodiversity: Current Knowledge, Knowledge Gaps and Critical Questions
A fast-paced overview of Canadian Arctic biodiversity by taxonomic group:

  • How well known is biodiversity in each group in the Canadian Arctic?
  • What are the major knowledge gaps?
  • What priority areas does Canadian research and policy need to focus on?

Topic areas will focus on

  • Algae – Connie Lovejoy, Professor, Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (IBIS), Laval University
  • Birds – Grant Gilchrist, Research Scientist, Marine Birds, National Wildlife Research Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fishes – Noel Alfonso, Senior Research Assistant, Zoology, Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Lichens – Troy McMullin, Research Scientist, Botany, Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Mammals – Dominique Berteaux, Canada Research Chair in Northern Biodiversity, Université du Québec à Rimouski
  • Marine invertebrates – Kathleen Conlan, Research Scientist, Zoology, Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Terrestrial invertebrates – Chris Buddle, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University
  • Vascular plants – Jeff Saarela, Director, Centre for Arctic Knowledge and Exploration, Canadian Museum of Nature.

10:30 am: Networking Break

  • Posters
  • Displays
  • Refreshments provided.

11 am: Approaches to Understanding Arctic Biodiversity in Canada
Presentations will focus on different ways of studying Arctic biodiversity in Canada, covering multiple taxonomic groups.

Topics to include

  • Revealing Arctic biodiversity through DNA barcoding – Sarah Adamowicz, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph
  • Modelling Arctic-organisms' response to climate change – Jeremy Kerr, Professor, and University Research Chair in Macroecology and Conservation Biology, University of Ottawa
  • Arctic remote sensing – Darren Janzen, Section Head, Optical Methods and Application, Natural Resources Canada
  • A Northern knowledge system for understanding biodiversity change in the Canadian Arctic – Donald McLennan, Lead Science Officer, Polar Knowledge Canada
  • Relationships between cultural practices and biodiversity in Nunatsiavut – Erica Oberndorfer, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Labrador Institute (Happy Valley - Goose Bay).

12:15 pm: Poster Lightning Talks
Poster presenters will each deliver a one-minute pitch of their poster, on display during the symposium

12:30 pm: Lunch

  • Posters
  • Displays
  • Lunch provided.

1:45 pmActive and Emerging Initiatives Relevant to Canadian Arctic Biodiversity Research
This session looks at both active and emerging major research programs and initiatives in Canada that are engaged in monitoring and/or generating new knowledge about Arctic biodiversity:

  • Lessons from Bylot Island – Dominique Berteaux, Université du Québec à Rimouski
  • Canadian Mountain Network – David Hik, Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Alberta
  • Centre d'études nordiques – Warwick Vincent, Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Ecosystem Studies, Université Laval
  • Circumpolar Arctic Flora and Fauna – Risa Smith, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF)
  • Vancouver Aquarium Arctic Research – Eric Solomon, Vancouver Aquarium.

3 pmIs Canada Prepared to Assess, Monitor and Understand Change of Its Arctic Biodiversity?
This moderated panel will address these questions:

  • At a time of rapid climate change, what are the pieces needed for a long-term Arctic biodiversity monitoring system?
  • Are we there yet, and how do we get there?
  • Is there a mechanism for Canada to assess long-term biodiversity issues?

Panellists will represent the following perspectives:

  • Arctic national parks – Gilles Seutin, Chief Ecosystem Scientist, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate, Parks Canada
  • Data management for biodiversity – Julie Friddell, Associate Director, Canadian Cryospheric Information Network/Polar Data Catalogue, University of Waterloo
  • Industry – Ryan Vanengen, Environment Superintendent, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited
  • Logistics for field research – Dianne Galus, Director General, Strategic Policy and Operations Branch, Natural Resources Canada
  • Natural-history collections and baseline data – Mark Graham, Vice-President, Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Research funders – Pierre Charest, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Traditional knowledge – Erica Oberndorfer, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Labrador Institute (Happy Valley - Goose Bay).

4:15 pm: Closing Remarks
Mark Graham, Vice-President, Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature

4:30 pm – 6 pm: Closing Reception

Optional Evening Activity

8 pm – 12 am: Nature Nocturne
Enjoy an after-hours, themed evening of dancing, activities and refreshments while you visit our exhibitions.