Understanding the impacts of global change on Canada’s Arctic will be incomplete without comprehensive information on biodiversity. The Arctic BIOSCAN (ARCBIO) project, led by the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph and supported by the Northern Science and Technology Program of Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR), is developing a DNA biosurveillance system for the Canadian Arctic.
This research benefits from Indigenous Knowledge shared by elders and members of Hunters & Trappers Associations across Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region. As well, Inuit students are employed as Science Rangers, extending BIOSCAN’s strong linkages with staff at the $250 million Canadian High Arctic Research Station.
New research avenues are being explored, including species interactions (symbiome analysis), the detection of pollinator insect DNA on flowers, and sample image analysis by machine learning. The 2021 field season was organized to rely entirely on local researchers, staff and students, and will pave the way for community-based biodiversity monitoring programs to support conservation and adaptation efforts in Canada’s north.