ClosedEnvironment & Energy

GENICE: Microbial genomics for oil spill preparedness in Canada’s Arctic marine environment

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Casey Hubert (University of Calgary) & Gary Stern (University of Manitoba)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada – 2015 Large-Scale Applied Research Competition: Natural Resources and the Environment
PROJECT START DATE October 1, 2016
PROJECT END DATE December 31, 2022

Increased shipping activity in the Northwest Passage brings increased risk of accidental releases of diesel or bunker fuel and other transportation related contaminants. The GENICE project will use microbial genomics to generate credible, science-based knowledge on the role and potential of the biodegradation of oil by naturally occurring microorganisms in Arctic marine environments critical to mitigating oil spills. The objectives of this project are: 1) test spill scenarios using samples from habitats at risk, including seawater, different sea ice types and different sediments, hydrocarbon seeps and shorelines, 2) investigate of oil and fuel biodegradation by marine microbial communities by incorporating different -omics methods,  3) describe how sea ice dynamics and thermodynamic processes create microbial habitats and if microbial communities can catalyze natural attenuation of oil in ice infested waters, 4) leverage experience working with marine seawater and sediments for testing questions about low temperature biodegradation and the potential of the Arctic marine microbiome, and 5)integrate and communicate genomics outcomes to residents of Arctic communities, different levels of government, and Indigenous organizations. This project promotes the use of genomics in Environmental Effects Monitoring of marine systems resulting in advancement, innovation, and enhanced monitoring in the Artic.

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