Exploring the Environmental Impact of Offshore Marine Industries

Dr. Casey Hubert is using $113,228 of research funding from Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) and Irving Shipbuilding to gather and study genetic information from marine microbes off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The data gathered by Dr. Hubert and his team will be used to create a detailed profile of the population of marine microbes in Nova Scotia’s shores. This data will serve as a ‘baseline’ that offshore marine industries can use to monitor their environmental impact, such as identifying leaks or potential sources of contamination.  This project is particularly relevant due to the recent attention attracted by Nova Scotia’s offshore oil from the oil and gas sector.

The microbial world is the foundation of the marine food web and is especially sensitive and responsive to minor chemical changes in the marine environment. As a result, scientists can use information about population diversity among ocean microbes to assess the severity and impact of a marine contamination event, like an oil spill, relative to initial pristine conditions.

“Ensuring Canada has a sustainable and vibrant marine industry is a priority for Irving Shipbuilding under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy,” said Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding. “We are proud to work with MEOPAR to support leading edge research across the country that can help achieve this goal.”

Irving Shipbuilding’s funding is pursuant to its Value Proposition obligation under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, whereby Irving Shipbuilding is committed to spending 0.5% of contract revenues with the aim of creating a sustainable marine industry across Canada.

In total, Irving Shipbuilding is funding nine primary investigators based at six Canadian universities: University of Victoria, University of Ottawa, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Newfoundland, University of Calgary, and Dalhousie University. Together, the projects will involve 48 partner organizations (27 of whom are also contributing financially to the project), creating 57 student and graduate research positions at 12 universities across Canada.  

Read more about MEOPAR and Irving Shipbuilding’s joint funding of Canadian oceans research.


The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) is strengthening Canada’s ability to anticipate and respond to marine risk.  Established in 2012 through the Federal Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary academic research, trains highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and connects academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry and the private sector.  To learn more, please visit www.meopar.ca.

About Irving Shipbuilding Inc

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (ISI) is part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies. ISI’s primary site is the Halifax Shipyard. ISI was selected in 2011 as Canada’s Combatant Shipbuilder under the merit-based National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is in the early stages of a 30-year military shipbuilding program.  Halifax Shipyard has recently completed a $350 million modernization making it the most modern shipyard in North America.  Today we are underway with the next generation of combatant ships for Canada and our workforce continues to grow.

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