Project Dashboard

Reconstructing Past Arctic Sea Ice Cover with Coralline Red Algae (148976)
Proposal Status: Conformity Determination Issued
Project Overview
Type of application: New
Proponent name: Natasha Leclerc
Company: University of Toronto
Start Date: 2019-08-20
End Date: 2019-09-08
Operation Type: Seasonal
Project Description:
Sea ice has always been an important resource for Inuit: a place to hunt, a means of travel, a foundation for making a home. It has also played a necessary role in Earth systems as a cooling mechanism by reflecting solar radiation back to the atmosphere. However, since the industrial era, sea ice conditions have changed; current projections estimate ice-free summers in the Arctic by 2050. With less sea ice, more radiative heat is being absorbed by the ocean, which in turn melts more ice and reduces the globe’s ability to cool itself. Accordingly, scientists are working to predict future outcomes using satellite records (1978 – present). Though satellite records only extend 40 years, the integration of longer-term, high-resolution and cross-Arctic sea ice records can improve their accuracy. Local, high-resolution and annual sea ice records that pre-date the satellite era have been produced through chemical and growth rate analyses of coralline red algae species, Clathromorphum compactum, from Labrador and Arctic Bay, Nunavut (Halfar et al. 2013). These algae live at shallow depths (10 – 20 m) on the rocky Arctic seafloor. As they grow, they form ‘tree ring-like’ annual layers in their calcified skeletons: layers that can record annual sea ice concentrations (Adey et al. 2013). When sea ice cover blocks out sunlight, algal growth is halted. Therefore, during years of high sea ice cover, growth rings will be thinner in comparison to years with less sea ice coverage. Further, the integration of various elements including magnesium and calcium in C. compactum’s hard skeleton are also dependent on sunlight (Williams et al. 2018). By combining annual magnesium to calcium ratio data and growth ring widths, growth and growth cessation periods can be identified, thereby recording local annual sea ice cover variability. A long-lived specimen of C. compactum can live up to 600 years, making it an indispensable multi-century sea ice proxy. Currently, there is a lack of records relating to cross-Arctic annual sea ice concentration prior to 1978, which would assist in predicting future sea ice conditions. In short, a network of C. compactum-derived sea ice records can aid in modelling future environmental outcomes in the Arctic. Accordingly, we are proposing a field expedition assisted by SCUBA to collect coralline red algae, C. compactum, around Gjoa Haven, Cambridge Bay, and Anderson Bay, Nunavut. Collection locations were selected based on information gleaned from previous Arctic coralline red algae surveys and suspected habitat locations found through a review of the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s multi-beam radar imagery. Furthermore, these locations are significant due to their association to modern and historic Inuit settlements and European exploration expeditions (e.g., Amundsen and Ross expeditions) and shipwrecks (i.e., HMS Erebus and HMS Terror of the Franklin Expedition). We are also proposing to work with the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and local community members to reach dive sites by charting vessels operated by SCUBA-experienced crew. In addition, we plan to conduct a series of interviews facilitated with the help of the Hunters and Trappers Association to provide information on past local sea ice conditions, and on experiences living in a changing sea ice landscape. Results will produce high-resolution records of local sea ice conditions, which can aid in modelling future environmental outcomes in the Arctic, and inform policy makers on how to best manage sea ice-related issues. Furthermore, these data can provide historical regional sea ice information that can shed light on how sea ice affected shipwrecking events, which is currently poorly understood. References: Adey, W. H., Halfar, J., and Williams, B., 2013, The Coralline Genus Clathromorphum Foslie emend. Adey: Biological, Physiological, and Ecological Factors Controlling Carbonate Production in an Arctic-Subarctic Climate Archive: Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, p. 41. Halfar, J., Adey, W. H., Kronz, A., Hetzinger, S., Edinger, E. and Fitzhugh, W.W., 2013, Arctic sea-ice decline archived by multicentury annual-resolution record from crustose coralline algal proxy: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, v. 110, no. 49, p. 19737-19741. Williams, S., Adey, W.H., Halfar, J., Kronz, A., Gagnon, P., Bélanger, D., & Nash, M., 2018, Effects of light and temperature on Mg uptake, growth, and calcification in the proxy climate archive Clathromorphum compactum: Biogeosciences, v. 15, no. 19, p. 5745-5759.
Persons: 4
Days: 10
Project Map
List of all project geometries:
ID Geometry Location Name
4708 polygon Anderson Bay
4709 polygon Cambridge Bay
4710 polygon Gjoa Haven
Planning Regions:
Affected Areas and Land Types
Inuit Owned Surface Lands
Settlement Area
Project Land Use and Authorizations
Project Land Use
Scientific Research
Marine-Based Activities
Scientific Research
Licensing Agencies
NRI: Scientific Research Licence
Other Licensing Requirements
No data found.
Material Use
Type Quantity Size Use
SCUBA regulator 4 75 cm Mandatory equipment for SCUBA diving. A regulator is the breathing apparatus which is connected to the air tanks, that permits divers to breath underwater.
SCUBA Drysuit 4 Body size Mandatory equipment for cold water diving. This is the protective exposure suit that must be worn while diving to keep divers dry, to maintain their body heat and to prevent hypothermia.
SCUBA Gloves and Hood 4 Variable depending on body size Mandatory equipment for cold water diving. This is the protective exposure equipment that must be worn while diving to keep divers dry, to maintain their body heat and to prevent hypothermia.
Fins 4 pairs Variable depending on body size Mandatory equipment for diving. Fins fit onto divers feet and allow them to propel forward underwater.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) 4 Variable based on body size These are vests that allow divers to adjust their vertical position within the water columns.
Electric air compressor 1 37 x 74 x 48 cm 120 V electric air compressor to fill air tanks .
Dive computer 4 Wrist size Will monitor divers depth and time underwater. These are either attached to BCDs or to wrist of diver and are monitored by during dives to ensure safe diving procedures.
Boat 2 TBD One boat will be used in Cambridge Bay and the other in Gjoa Haven. Boats will bring divers to selected dive locations and back to docks. They will be operated by crew with SCUBA diving experience.
Pickup truck 2 1,000 lbs One truck will be used in Cambridge Bay and the other in Gjoa Haven. They will be used to bring divers to and from boat docks.
Iridium Satellite Phone 1 143 x 55 x 30 mm Communication between boat and land operations and medical professionals
Compass 3 4 cm diameter Connected to divers via watch, or attachment to air pressure gauge to assist in underwater navigation.
GPS 1 N/A Used to document collection locations and for navigation.
SCUBA octopus 4 75 cm An octopus is a backup regulator which is connected to the air tank, that permits a diver to breathe underwater in the case that the first regulator free-flows under cold water conditions.
SCUBA redundant regulator 4 75 cm Connected to the pony bottles as an extra security measure in case there is an issue with the first regulator and tank.
Weights 4 sets 10% of body weight for each diver Weight belts will be worn on a belt or will be integrated in BCD to allow divers to descend.
Reflective diving indicators 4 (hoods)/2 (tubes) head size(hoods)/ 1 metre (tubes) To prevent local hunters to mistake divers for seals, divers will wear reflective orange hoods and inflatable diver tube will be used as divers surfaces the water.
Portable CO2 Analyzer 1 10cmx5cmx2cm Will be used to test air quality during tank fills.
First Aid kit 1 N/A With all equipment listed in Schedules H & I of the Nunavut Safety Act’s Consolidation of Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
A complete set of DCIEM dive tables 1 N/A As stated in Nunavut Safety Act’s Consolidation of Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 300.2.
Fuel Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Diesel 0 1200 Gallons Diesel will fuel boats that bring us to dive sites
Hazardous Material and Chemical Use
Type Container(s) Capacity UOM Use
Oxygen tanks 2 14 Cubic ft Mandatory equipment for safe diving operations. These oxygen tanks will be kept on board of vessels as a safeguard for the possibility of a decompression sickness injury (i.e., the bends). In the eventuality of an emergency, these should provide a victim enough oxygen until they reach medical help.
Air tanks 8 80 Cubic ft Mandatory equipment for SCUBA diving. These are filled with an air compressor, strapped to divers and hooked up to a regulator in order to allow divers to breath underwater. We will have multiple cylinders with us on each day to allow for 2 dives per day. Will be shipped empty.
Air pony bottles 4 13 Cubic ft Mandatory equipment for safe diving operations. A pony bottle is a smaller backup air cylinder that attaches to the diver as they dive as an extra precaution in case the first cylinder fails.
Water Consumption
Daily Amount (m3) Retrieval Method Retrieval Location
0.012 Capped bottles or tap into portable water bottles Municipality
Waste and Impacts
Environmental Impacts
Waste Management
Waste Type Quantity Generated Treatement Method Disposal Method
Sewage (human waste) 4 people N/A Municipal toilets
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2018-12-12
Originator: Natasha Leclerc
Public Registry ID: 14973
Document Size: 289.87 Kb
Category: Application form attachment - Project description
Recieved: 2018-12-14
Originator: Natasha Leclerc
Public Registry ID: 14992
Document Size: 47.12 Kb
Category: Application related document - Conformity Determination Letter
Recieved: 2019-01-04
Originator: Peter Scholz
Public Registry ID: 15026
Document Size: 224.1 Kb