Image: Natalie Gillis

Project Overview

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.


Work Packages

The Arctic Genomics project is divided into a series of five work packages:

  1. Creation of a pool of experts.

  2. 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.

  3. A biodiversity monitoring and conservation gap analysis including best practices for application of genomics to wildlife monitoring and conservation and in policy frameworks development.

  4. Cyber tools for information translation and for end users.

  5. 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.


Maribeth Murray

Project Leader
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary
Maribeth Murray is Executive Director of the Arctic Institute of North America, and Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary. Her research is focused on system dynamics in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, emphasizing the integration of multi-disciplinary climate, ecologic and social-science data to better understand regional change and local, regional and global responses and adaptations. She has longstanding research interests in conservation, biodiversity, and environmental monitoring.
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Peter Pulsifer

Project Co-Lead
Carleton University
Peter Pulsifer is Associate Professor with the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University, and Chair of the international Arctic Data Committee. His research addresses questions around computer-based information representation with a particular focus on interoperability and data sharing across knowledge domains. This includes examining technical and social aspects of data and information sharing.
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Jennifer Parrott

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Jennifer Parrott is the Director of Innovation, Science and Climate Change at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. This division keenly focuses on knowledge mobilization, cyberinfrastructure, community engagement, environmental policy and community development. Mrs Parrott leads research related to regional environmental assessments, Traditional Knowledge integration in regulatory decision making, carbon pricing, climate change, disaster mitigation, knowledge mobilization and cyber infrastructure.
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Srijak Bhatnagar

Athabasca University
Srijak Bhatnagar is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Athabasca University. His research utilizes genomics and other omics technologies in an ecological context to study various environments and their issues, such as biodiversity assessments and changes, ecosystem functions, pollution, and remediation.
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Shivangi Mishra

Postdoctoral Associate
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary
Shivangi Mishra is a researcher with the Arctic Institute of North America. Dr Mishra's research focus is the role of genomics in fostering and supporting Arctic Biodiversity. The goal of her project is to mobilize genomics research outcomes on Arctic wildlife to diverse end users for the widest possible benefit and in the interest of environmental management and the sustainable use of living resources. Dr Mishra previously worked on the conservation of globally endangered Egyptian Vultures in Uttar Pradesh, India.
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Steven Crookes

Research Associate
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary
Steve Crookes is a Research Associate with the Arctic Institute of North America. He has spent much of his career working in the nascent ‘environmental DNA’ biomonitoring sector, including co-founding a company — Precision Biomonitoring, Inc — in 2016 whilst a postdoc at the University of Guelph. Steve has also worked in functional ecology, investigating the relative efficacy of resource utilization by invasive species and their native trophic analogs in areas where they now coexist.
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Emily Marston

Project Coordinator
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary
Emily Marston works with the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary, and is a student at Royal Roads University, pursuing a degree in Environmental Management. Emily graduated from Olds College in 2018 with a diploma in Environmental Stewardship and Rural Planning.
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Zahra Azin

Research Assistant
Carleton University
Zahra Azin is a PhD student of Linguistics, Language Documentation and Revitalization at the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton University. Her work focuses on documenting concepts and semantics of genomics and geospatial data, and creating an ontology for identifying genomics and related geospatial data relevant to non-specialist users. Zahra has an MSc in Computational Linguistics and Computer Science and is interested in computational semantics, semantic web, and geolinguistics.
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