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Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network - MEOPAR

$53.5 million for 2012-21
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Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$13.4 million

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Scientific Director
Douglas Wallace Douglas Wallace

Board chair
Robert Walker Robert Walker
Former President and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Protecting Canadians from ocean hazards

The opportunity

Port authorities, municipalities, and the oil and gas sector are among those needing accurate and rapid assessments of marine conditions, both for routine operations and emergencies. They also require improved tools to anticipate and plan for the effects of climate change over the coming decades. Canada’s long coastline, dispersed emergency response assets and economic dependence on oceans make the country particularly vulnerable to extremes and emergencies in the marine environment. A 2013 report by the Council of Canadian Academies affirmed Canada’s historical strength in ocean science, but noted that capacity is dispersed geographically and across a variety of organizations with diverse mandates and priorities. Greater coordination among stakeholders and between scientific disciplines was critical.

How MEOPAR is seizing the opportunity

The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) facilitates partnerships between academia, government, the insurance industry, the oil and gas sector, the marine transportation sector, ocean technology firms, coastal communities and NGOs to reduce Canada’s vulnerability to marine hazards and emergencies. MEOPAR’s three major goals are to develop and test new technologies and strategies to guide response to existing marine hazards; develop new tools to anticipate, plan and adapt to changing patterns of marine emergencies and extremes of the future; and train qualified personnel with skills in disciplines relevant to risk and response in the marine environment.

Among the results

  • MEOPAR researchers launched Resilient Coasts Canada, a web-based platform that identifies communities with similar socioeconomic and governance structures that are vulnerable to similar marine hazards. The platform, which is currently being tested in 50 communities in coastal British Columbia, helps communities share knowledge, experience and resources with one another for risk reduction.
  • In partnership with exactEarth Ltd., MEOPAR supports the widespread use and training of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), an emerging technology that uses satellites to track ship movements across the globe. This technology is bolstering Canada’s understanding of maritime traffic, including its risks and opportunities, particularly in the Arctic.
  • MEOPAR investigators analyzed the potential for near-surface spreading of oil following an accidental release within the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The research found that the widespread use of low-resolution oil spill trajectory models that use seasonal average information on currents can provide misleading results. The study has influenced federal evaluation of environmental assessments related to marine oil spills.
  • By establishing coastal prediction systems for the Salish Sea and the Halifax Harbour and approaches, MEOPAR research is contributing to the development of a new pan-Canadian network of integrated ocean observation and prediction systems for strategically important locations.

Connect with MEOPAR


January 20, 2017
November 24, 2016
September 30, 2016
August 25, 2016
July 11, 2016
September 29, 2015
May 6, 2015
October 29, 2014
MEOPAR Leading National Effort to Untangle Ocean Acidification’s Risks
November 24, 2015
As the world deliberates on climate change at the United Nations conference in Paris later this month, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) looks to keep ocean acidification, “the other CO2 problem,” squarely in their focus. Read more
Building Canada's Strengths: Oceans R&D
April 17, 2014
Canada is a global steward of the sea, with three world-class science clusters (British Columbia, Quebec and Atlantic Canada) and the longest coastline in the world. A recent Council of Canadian Academies report concluded that coordination across jurisdictions and disciplines is critical to maintaining this leadership position. The NCE has been doing exactly that since funding the first national network in this sector in 2003. Read more
Protecting Canadians from ocean hazards
March 20, 2013
Launched in 2012, the Halifax-headquartered Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network is working with several government agencies, the private sector, communities and international partners to develop and test new technologies and strategies that will help Canada better anticipate and respond to marine hazards. Read more
Watch Video
Research profile: Dr. Max Liboiron
July 14, 2016
Watch Video
Marine Traffic and Noise in the Salish Sea
May 9, 2016
Watch Video
Irving Shipbuilding and MEOPAR Award $1.8 million to Ocean Research
February 15, 2016