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Shedding Light on Arctic marine ecosystem services

International Ph.D. School

July 12 to 24, 2018, Baffin Bay (Nunavut), Canada


Under the leadership of the Sentinel North program of Université Laval (Quebec City, Canada), the International Ph.D. School (IPS) provides international students with a unique opportunity to interact with high-profile scientists as part of a transdisciplinary and highly technological training program aiming to demystify the role of light in driving arctic marine food webs, ecosystems services, and human health in the North.

Taking place on board the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen deployed in Baffin Bay and the Fjords of Baffin Island, Nunavut (Canada), the school will provide participants with a hands-on and integrative experience with a wide range of disciplines such as optics / photonics, Arctic marine biology and ecology, marine physics, biochemistry, remote sensing and human health. Under the supervision of renowned researchers and experimented professionals, school activities will be conducted as part of an actual ocean research program, deploying state-of-the art samplers and sensors.

The call for application is closed.


Program overview

The school will maintain a sharp focus on the themes detailed below. The school favors a multi-faceted approach that includes lectures, case studies and a strong hands-on component supervised by experts from various disciplines.

In addition to the scientific training program offered on board the icebreaker, the school will promote knowledge-transfer through conferences and activities within the community of Iqaluit.​


The fundamental role of light in the Arctic Ocean

  • Light regimes at the cryosphere-hydrosphere interface and impacts on Arctic marine food webs
  • Changes in light availability in a context of climate change and consequences for ecosystems: from microscopic to planetary

The potential of light to study the changing Arctic Ocean

  • Deployment and use of optical tools and instruments to explore the Arctic environment: from stereo microscopes to satellite imagery
  • Innovative light-based technologies to monitor marine ecosystems and their impact on human health in the Arctic

Light-driven processes and Arctic marine ecosystem services

  • Provisioning services – fisheries resources
  • Regulating services – carbon storage, climate control
  • Cultural services – recreation, tourism, pedagogy
  • Supporting services – ecological functions that underlie and shape all services


The school will also foster the development of transversal skills such as networking and international scientific collaboration, as well as creativity, communication and planning in a transdisciplinary research context.

During the school and in the following weeks, participants will also be invited to actively contribute in the analysis of the data collected and in the writing of a scientific paper in collaboration with mentors and research professionals.


Who should apply

Up to 18 international graduate students with various backgrounds will be selected. The target audience are PhD students, but in some cases, postdoctoral fellows or M.Sc. students (or equivalent) with relevant professional qualifications may also apply.

Note: Due to the practical and hands-on approach of fieldwork at sea in Arctic environment, all applicants should be in reasonably good physical condition, and be equipped/dressed accordingly. Details will be provided to selected participants.


Confirmed speakers

Marcel Babin, Professor, department of biology, Université Laval, laureate of the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Remote Sensing of Canada's New Arctic Frontier and Director of Takuvik
Louis Fortier, Professor, department of biology, Université Laval, Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair on the Response of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, and Scientific director of Amundsen
Martin Fortier, Oceanographer and Executive director of Sentinel North
Martine Lizotte, Research associate, Takuvik, Université Laval
Jean-Éric Tremblay, Professor, department of biology, Université Laval, Director of the FRQNT Strategic Cluster Québec-Océan


Selection process

Applications will be assessed by the Sentinel North IPS Steering Committee according to the evaluation criteria below.

Knowledge transfer is a major goal and objective of the IPS. For this reason, participants will be selected based not only on academic excellence, but also on their disposition towards knowledge sharing and their openness to think and learn “outside the box”. Gender equality and geographic representation will also be considered.

Evaluation criteria include:

  • Academic excellence
  • Aptitude for research and leadership
  • Relevance of the candidate’s research field with the IPS themes

Participants will be notified of the final selection around mid-March, 2018.


Registration fee

Registration fee: $1900*

This amount includes:

  • Registration
  • Flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit (round trip)
  • Pedagogical and scientific materials
  • Food (3 meals a day + coffee breaks)
  • Lodging in Iqaluit (double occupancy)
  • Lodging onboard the icebreaker (double occupancy cabins)
  • Activities for the duration of the session

Registration fee does not cover:

  • Your transport to Ottawa and return (including airfare, Visa fees, etc.)
  • Meals in Iqaluit
  • Additional excursions and activities not included in the program
  • Personal expenses
  • Health insurance (mandatory)

Payment must be received in full at least one month prior to the start of the session. Payment details will be provided to the selected candidates.

*Amount is in Canadian dollars

For more information, please contact:

Marie-France Gévry

Training programs coordinator
418-656-2131 ext. 8910