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Leading ocean research from the East Coast of Canada

Dalhousie University is a member of the U15 group of leading research‐intensive universities in Canada. The university attracts more than $140 million in research grants and awards each year, making it the largest research university in the region.

Building on a broad range of expertise in ocean research, and our proximity to the ocean, Dalhousie has established national leadership in ocean research and we're increasingly defined as a world leader in this area.  

Dalhousie’s ocean research areas

Marine Biological Resources and Conservation of Biodiversity

Dalhousie is a leader in research on the diversity and conservation of marine organisms, big and small. From phytoplankton and zooplankton to large mammals, including seals and whales, our research helps to conserve biodiversity in every ocean around the world.

What we research

Dalhousie researchers are examining fundamental genetic diversity in the biochemistry and physiology of organisms, characterizing population dynamics, distribution and behaviour, and exploring the diversity of communities and ocean ecosystems locally and globally.

How we’re different

Our research is enhanced by our interdisciplinary approach. Scientists and researchers in landscape ecology, genetics, oceanography, economics, statistics and risk management strengthen and broaden the scope of Dalhousie’s work.

Marine Technologies

Marine Technologies is an emerging cluster building on historic strengths across Dalhousie, from Oceanography to Engineering and Computer Science.

What we research

Our research into marine technologies like high frequency broadband underwater acoustic techniques and wireless networks is known around the world, and we’re currently developing sensors and autonomous platforms for their use. Cooperation with industry relating to aquaculture and oil and gas is ongoing.

How we’re different

A unique collaborative opportunity, the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy awarded to Nova Scotia is changing the impact of our technology research across Canada.

Ocean Environmental Processes

With more than 60 per cent of humans living close to a coastline, it’s important to understand how global ocean change is impacting coastal ecosystems through warming, sea‐level rise, acidification and changes in oxygen levels.

What we research

Dalhousie researchers are studying the rapid changes in the North Atlantic as a result of human activity by measuring and evaluating carbon storage in the ocean.

Dalhousie also participates in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Earth System Evolution research program, which has important links with government and private sector partners.

How we’re different

Our continuing research in geodynamics, tectonics, marine geophysics, surface processes and paleoceanography builds on our expertise in Ocean Environmental Processes, like marine observation and prediction, environmental statistics, and earth system evolution.

Arctic Studies

Dalhousie’s research in the Arctic is shaped by rapid environmental changes and global pressure to understand the effects of ocean and atmospheric processes on ever increasing resource exploitation, commerce and security concerns.

What we research

Current Arctic and subarctic research at Dalhousie covers the land, air and sea. As part of the Ocean Tracking Network, our researchers are studying the movement, ecology and interactions of fish and marine mammals.

How we’re different

Through a collaborative project on Change, Risk and Resources: a TransAtlantic Arctic Approach with three of Germany’s Helmholtz Institutes, Dalhousie’s commitment to Arctic research continues to grow.

Ocean Law and Governance

Dalhousie’s Marine & Environmental Law Institute (MELAW) is a centre in ocean and environmental law with a global reputation, and covers many areas, including law of the sea, international environmental law, Canadian environmental law and environmental assessment, energy law, ocean boundaries, biodiversity protection, fisheries, shipping, maritime security, maritime labour law and Arctic issues.

What we research

Dalhousie conducts diverse legal research into coastal community health and public policy, ocean and coastal governance, new modalities for integrated coastal zone management and climate change adaptation.

How we’re different

To encourage research excellence and innovations, we’ve allocated a CRC that’s devoted to encouraging interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

Atmospheric Science

Atmospheric science and ocean sciences are inextricably linked, and impact every aspect of human life. Dalhousie is committed to understanding the changing atmosphere over Nova Scotia and Canada.

What we research

Dalhousie’s expertise in atmospheric science spans the Faculties of Science and Engineering, and our researchers work closely with Environment Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and Health Canada, as well as with universities across the country and around the world.

How we’re different

The strengths of our research lie in the construction and operation of measurement systems, particularly in extremely hostile environments, the interpretation of large datasets and the development of atmospheric models.

Marine Bio-Resources

To continue to help feed our world in a sustainable and conscientious way, Dalhousie is becoming increasingly involved in marine bio‐resources including finfish, shellfish and algal culture research.

What we research

Dalhousie researchers are defining the nutritional requirements and identifying appropriate alternative diets for fish. Emerging aquaculture research areas include land‐based finfish and shellfish production systems.

How we’re different

Our research partners in the private sector help drive Dalhousie’s development of marine bio‐products. We also are developing our research into sea-farming and responsible aquaculture practices.

Marine Affairs

The Marine Affairs Program is an integrated knowledge centre, focused on understanding the impact of climate change on Canada’s North. Dalhousie’s work is informing Canadian and global policy to make wise and timely decisions.

What we research

Dalhousie’s work and research into effective marine management and technology helps us understand our impact on our coastlines around the world, so we can better assess and manage risks, opportunities and impacts.

How we’re different

Dalhousie has a depth of relevant expertise in the areas of law and policy, natural science, social science (including maritime security, indigenous knowledge and culture), coastal and ocean management, engineering, planning and architecture.