Canada is an Arctic nation, with our iconic North accounting for nearly half our landmass and 70 percent of our coastline. Yet few Canadians will ever visit this remote and defining region.

Thanks to technology, learning about the Arctic — and the profound threat it faces from climate change — doesn’t take a trek into the tundra. This fall, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has been recording lectures on northern species, from plankton to polar bears, by some of the country’s foremost Arctic researchers, and you can tune in no matter where you live.

As part of our Science in Canada’s North Café Scientifique Series, people from across Canada— and beyond — can attend our online Arctic Marine Life Course by watching live-streamed or archived webinars filmed here at the Aquarium and at our partner institutions, the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa and Calgary’s Telus Spark and Discovery Centre. (Those living in or visiting the Vancouver area can also attend remaining events in person.) Those who intend to take in all 12 lectures can also register for a certificate of completion from the Vancouver Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium associate researcher Dr. Valeria Vergara will share some of her insights into beluga whale behaviour in our Arctic webinar series.

Vancouver Aquarium associate researcher Dr. Valeria Vergara will share some of her insights into beluga whale behaviour in our Arctic webinar series.

Presenters include Dr. Sandie Black, head of veterinary services at the Calgary Zoo, who has been travelling to the Arctic to study Narwhals for the past five years; Vancouver Aquarium research associate Dr. Valeria Vergara, whose groundbreaking research on beluga whale communication systems is shedding crucial light on this iconic species; and York University associate professor Greg Thiemann, who has been researching the foraging habits and habitat use of polar bears. Each half-hour lecture is a chance to learn about the latest research happening across Canada.

As the Aquarium turns its attention to educating our audience about the plight of the Arctic, it’s fantastic to be able to offer online education to everyone, regardless of where they live, said Jonathan Hultquist, manager of public programs at the Vancouver Aquarium. He noted our Arctic seminar series follows our inaugural webinar series last year, when we offered an online introduction to the marine life of B.C. Students of that program included people living in landlocked U.S. states and young people hoping to become marine biologists. We’ve been pleased to see many of them sign up for this fall’s course. With that kind of reach, we’re optimistic our message about protecting our Arctic will continue to spread far and wide.

Vancouver Aquarium Arctic narwhal research

From narwhals to invertebrates, learning about Arctic inhabitants may be key to their survival.

Find out more about our scheduled and archived Arctic lectures here. And join us, in person or online, for our remaining live events, including a scientific panel discussion on the impact of melting sea ice on local Arctic communities and people across Canada and the world, on Nov. 25 at 6:30 PM. For details, click here.

The Arctic marine life course is part of the Science in Canada’s North Café Scientifique Series. The Vancouver Aquarium gratefully acknowledges the support of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Canadian Association of Science Centres for their support of this program.

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