Ever since its establishment, Université du Québec à Rimouski has made the marine environment a vitally important field of study and research. Eastern Quebec is blessed by its unique geographical location along the vast St. Lawrence Estuary, home to an exceptional natural environment and a rich maritime tradition.
UQAR has brought together an extraordinary group of researchers whose expertise covers a broad spectrum of ocean-related issues.
Several scholarship programs are available to help students acquire new knowledge and improve their professional skills through various training activities, including northern field schools, research fellowships, oral and written communications, national and international mobility, and internships.
ISMER and oceanography
Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER) is at the forefront of oceanography research at UQAR, occupying an entire building on the UQAR Rimouski campus. The institute has close to 100 students in graduate oceanography programs. Researchers and students have access to high tech equipment, a 50 m long research vessel (Coriolis II), and an aquaculture laboratory kept supplied with seawater. ISMER’s multidisciplinary research teams of biologists, chemists, geologists and physicists, and other associated specialists are actively involved in a number of national and international marine science programs.
ISMER is devoted to the discovery and advancement of basic and applied knowledge of coastal environments. Operating from a sustainable development perspective, the institution is a leader in fields such as climate change at different latitudes, the effects of ultraviolet rays on the lowest links in the food chain, and the impact of contaminants on coastal ecosystems. Marine acoustics, aquaculture, population dynamics and sediment transportation are other areas where it has developed extensive expertise.
Training programs include:
- Master’s in oceanography aimed at training scientists to adopt a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the study of ocean phenomena
- PhD in oceanography aimed at training independent researchers on the cutting edge of their fields
Every year ISMER’s oceanography summer school also welcomes postsecondary students for a brief introduction to the world of coastal oceanography.
Marine resource management brings together specialists in economics, management, finance, natural sciences and law, with experience in fishery management, maritime transportation and environmental studies.
The management sciences are fundamental to the field of marine science research. An integrated and sustainable approach to marine resource management calls for a broad range of decision-making skills at both strategic and operational levels.
Research in marine resource management focuses on two main areas: group decision support and integrated modeling.
Decision support in mixed group settings deals with complex decision-making processes involving several government officers and local stakeholders. Integrated modeling, which incorporates biophysical models from the natural sciences with management sciences and economics, is a challenging area with applications in the management of commercial fisheries and aquaculture and in the assessment of climate change impacts on marine and coastal environments and maritime transportation.
UQAR offers Master’s and PhD programs in Marine Resource Management, as well as specialized graduate diplomas (DESS), with concentrations in the environment, maritime transportation, and fishery resources. These programs develop students’ decision-making abilities, both on a strategic and an operational level, by providing in-depth knowledge of marine environments.
Another team specializes in studying economic problems in the maritime sector that affect fishing, processing, marketing, aquaculture, biotechnology, and shipping, a field in which UQAR has a research chair, with an interest in public policy.
UQAR also has a broad range of ocean-related expertise in the fields of biology, chemistry and geography, which supports both undergraduate and graduate training programs and leading-edge research projects. For example, in addition to its Master’s and PhD programs in biology, UQAR offers the following training programs:
- Bachelor’s in biology with a concentration in marine sciences that includes an environmental focus and fieldwork
- Bachelor’s in geography with a concentration in marine environments that seeks to familiarize students with cartography, current dynamics, the geography of maritime Quebec, and ecosystem enhancement
- Bachelor’s in environmental chemistry and bioresources, a multidisciplinary training program unique in Quebec that includes paid internships, laboratory work and field trips
Maritime themes and issues can also be part of programs in history, regional development and engineering. On the research side, teams of biologists and chemists study marine biomolecules, fish and aquaculture, and seabirds. In geography, bank erosion, marine remote sensing, and the interface between fresh and salt water are major areas of interest. Engineering professors and students strive to meet the technological needs of the maritime sector, working for example to develop innovative equipment for fishing, aquaculture and marine acoustics. In sociology, certain specialists have taken an interest in the particularities of island communities.
Institute of Marine Science Rimouski (ISMER)
Quebec Aquaculture Network (RAQ)
- Canada Research Chair in Molecular Ecotoxicology in Coastal Areas
- Canada Research Chair in Marine Geology
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada Chair in Underwater Acoustics Applied to Ecosystem and Marine Mammal Research
- UNESCO Chair on Integrated Analysis of Marine Systems
- Canada Research Chair in Maritime Transport