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Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network - MEOPAR

$53.5 million for 2012-23
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Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response Network

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$35.7 million

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Scientific Director
Douglas Wallace Douglas Wallace

Board chair
Karen Dodds Karen Dodds
Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Science & Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada

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 not-for-profits to reduce Canada’s vulnerability to marine hazards and emergencies. MEOPAR funds leading-edge, multidisciplinary and collaborative research; trains the next generation of marine professionals; and connects with partners, stakeholders and end users to anticipate, plan and adapt to the opportunities and challenges of a changing ocean environment.

Among the results

  • MEOPAR has worked closely in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to establish and fund the pilot program of a Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS). This addresses a significant gap in Canada’s international standing in the oceans sphere. This initiative has brought together multiple Centres of Excellence, CFI investments and universities across the country.
  • MEOPAR has established the partnered research Call funding model. This has led to an expansion of research specifically addressing partner and end-user needs. These agreements range from a cost-sharing perspective and/or the development and use of new technologies. For example, 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 are leading the response to the North Atlantic right whale crisis, with the MEOPAR-funded WHaLE project recently funded for an additional three years. Researchers, working closely with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and partners such as the Ocean Tracking Network, are working to address the crisis and apply their research to the shipping industry so that whale strikes can be mitigated.
  • MEOPAR researchers from the University of Ottawa have established an important area of expertise related to Arctic marine shipping, ensuring that the traditional activities of Indigenous communities in the north are appropriately mapped to the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors (NMTC) initiative. The work has grown from its initial scope of three communities to encompass twelve communities, and continues to draw positive attention from stakeholders and partners.

Connect with MEOPAR


September 21, 2020
March 23, 2020
September 16, 2019
February 26, 2018
January 20, 2017
October 19-22, 2020
October 26-29, 2020
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
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Research profile: Dr. Max Liboiron
July 14, 2016
Watch Video
Marine Traffic and Noise in the Salish Sea
May 9, 2016
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Irving Shipbuilding and MEOPAR Award $1.8 million to Ocean Research
February 15, 2016