Seaweed and oomycete benthic diversity in the Canadian Marine Arctic: managing scientific diving operations in a remote location

Martin Sayer, Frithjof Küpper, Pieter van West, C Wilson, Hugh Brown, Elaine Azzopardi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


Knowledge of the diversity of high-Arctic macroalgae and their eukaryotic pathogens (fungi, oomycetes, plasmodiophoraleans) is scarce, particularly in the American Arctic. Global climate change is expected to alter the Arctic bioregion markedly in coming decades and the macroalgae of this region are considered to be very sensitive to physico-chemical impacts related to reductions in ice coverage. In 2009, a diving-based multinational research expedition was undertaken with the specific aims of establishing an inventory of the diversity of seaweeds and their pathogens that was broadly representative of a high Arctic marine environment. The expedition obtained a significant range of viable isolates and specimens that are now subject of ongoing investigations. In addition, molecular approaches are being used to characterize the largely unknown diversity of seaweed associated eukaryotic pathogens. Many of the locations had never been dived before and so, as well as collecting biological, sediment and water samples, the diving team took over ten thousand underwater images and many hours of high-definition underwater video. In total 50 diving operations were completed in 12 different locations around the Cape Hatt area of northern Baffin Island. The diving operations were conducted in locations that were remote from any specialized diving medical intervention with the earliest realistic recompression being over 48 hours away. This presentation will highlight some of the logistical considerations associated with conducting diving operations in the high-Arctic and outline the nonrecompression treatment pathway that would have been adopted in the event of a diver suffering decompression illness.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event2010 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium - Honolulu, United States
Duration: 25 Mar 201027 Mar 2010


Conference2010 AAUS Diving for Science Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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