As sea ice disappears due to climate change, ship traffic is increasing in the Arctic Ocean. This is also increasing the risk of oil spills that could have a devastating impact on Arctic ecosystems and communities. As Canada Research Chair in Arctic Marine Microbial Ecosystem Services, Dr. Eric Collins is working to understand how sea ice loss, economic development and other human impacts affect the ecosystem services provided by Arctic marine microbes.
Collins and his research team are conducting a series of controlled oil, sea water and sea ice experiments at the Churchill Marine Observatory. They are also producing the first “biodiversity budget” for the Arctic by mapping and visualizing Arctic marine microbial ecosystem services in real time in remote locations. Ultimately, their work will support environmental sustainability and community resilience in Canada’s Arctic.