Wildlife genome information is extremely valuable for environmental decision making, yet much remains unused for this purpose.
The Arctic Genomics team is working to co-develop a suite of genomics knowledge-mobilization tools that will support environmental decision making. Our focus is on supporting end-users with responsibilities for or interests in the areas of biodiversity monitoring, conservation, and the co-management of wildlife that are key to the social, cultural, physical and economic well-being of northern Indigenous Peoples.
To achieve our goals, this project draws together partners with expertise across disciplines, cultures and organizations, building upon team strengths in Arctic observation and monitoring, biology, conservation, cyber-cartography, data management, genomics, geography, Indigenous Knowledge, the legal and policy sciences, and resource management.
In developing our decision support tools, we are building on our assessment of genomics data availability (can it be located and is it obtainable?) and accessibility (is it useable by non-experts and for decision making and policy development?). We are also considering the potential practical, economic, legal and ethical issues of mobilizing genomics for decision making – including those pertaining to Indigenous perspectives and rights, and national and international frameworks and commitments that may influence policy at different levels of government.
Our project activities and outcomes will support conservation, natural resource management, and the sustainability of Arctic wildlife. Outcomes will also support Canada’s efforts to protect Arctic species, and ensure food security for Arctic Peoples. This project will also serve as a model for mobilizing genomics in different regions of Canada and in other nations.
The Arctic Genomics project is divided into a series of five work packages:
Creation of a pool of experts.
An inventory and assessment of available genomics (including from paleo samples) for key northern species and their pathogens that can be utilized by non-experts.
A biodiversity monitoring and conservation gap analysis including best practices for application of genomics to wildlife monitoring and conservation and in policy frameworks development.
Cyber tools for information translation and for end users.
Assessment of potential legal and ethical issues associated with the mobilization of genomics information for use by multiple and diverse groups, including governmental decision makers, Indigenous organizations, local communities, co-management boards, conservation and intergovernmental organizations, and treaty bodies.