Since its inception, Université du Québec à Rimouski has been at the forefront of the study and understanding of the marine environment.

The recognition of marine sciences as an area of excellence has enabled UQAR to develop a sizeable research capacity in the field. Today, UQAR has brought together a remarkably strong group of researchers, whose expertise touches on a vast array of questions in the field of marine sciences.

UQAR's diverse field of marine sciences

The Marine science institute (UQAR-ISMER) and oceanography

The Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (Marine science institute) enjoys international recognition as the flagship of Quebec research.

Located on the Rimouski campus, the institute has cutting-edge infrastructure and it brings together a critical mass of researchers and students of various disciplines, devoted to the discovery and advancement of knowledge on coastal environments with a view to sustainable development.

The Institute brings together a community of researchers from UQAR and other associated institutions with a variety of academic backgrounds: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, remote sensing, and aquaculture. These experts focus specifically on the functioning of marine ecosystems in relationship to climate change, the impacts of human activities on ecosystems, marine resource exploitation, maritime geology, and natural hazards.

Maritime resource management

Management sciences are equally crucial to the research being undertaken in marine sciences. Integrated and sustainable management of marine resources requires knowledge in a number of fields in order to successfully build strategies and make operational decisions. This field brings together specialists in economics, management, finance, natural sciences, and law with experience in fisheries management, maritime transportation, and environmental studies.

Researchers study the economic problems that are specific to the maritime sector, including fishing, transformation, commercialization, aquaculture, biotechnologies and transportation.

Biologie, chimie et géographie

In relationship to marine sciences, UQAR has developed a large body of expertise in the areas of biology, chemistry, and geography. Teams of biologists and chemists study, among other things, the exploitation of marine biomolecules, aquatic environment pollution, ocean acidification and the impact of climate change on marine environments, fish ecophysiology, aquaculture, and seabirds.

Researchers in geography focus on natural hazards, shoreline erosion, coastal geomorphology, marine remote sensing, integrated coastal area management, river dynamics and sediment transport, as well as on the biogeochemistry of intertidal and coastal systems.

Regional Developmentl

In the field of regional development, researchers and students specifically analyze the socio-territorial dynamics of the marine environment in Quebec and create development assistance tools. Understanding the socio-territorial dynamics of coastal regions is indeed essential to being able to develop assistance tools.

Research looks specifically at the impacts of development policies on the regional economy, the social acceptability of natural resource exploitation projects, and local community adaptation to climate change.


UQAR is home to a wide range of expertise in the mechanical and electrical engineering fields, which has allowed for the development of a variety of projects, including automation and optimization of marine microalgae cultivation in photobioreactors for biofuel production.

Cutting-edge research units

Historically, the field of marine sciences is central to research at UQAR. The Rimouski Marine Science Institute and its researchers bring together a critical mass of experts and important achievements in the field.

Highly specialized research infrastructure

UQAR has cutting-edge infrastructure that offers researchers unique research potential. Over the past decade, more than $50M have been invested in infrastructure, including equipment, to support the marine science sector in the Rimouski region, in particular at UQAR-ISMER.

The ISMER has a variety of research tools that allow it to position itself as a world leader in the vast field of marine science. In addition to high-performance oceanography instruments and laboratories equipped with the latest technologies, ISMER researchers enjoy two major infrastructures: an oceanography research vessel and an aquaculture station.

Oceanographic research vessel Coriolis II

In addition to high-performance oceanographic instruments, UQAR has a 50m-long state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel, equipped with the latest technological innovations.

Coriolis II is a genuine floating laboratory with space devoted exclusively to research work. These laboratories make it possible to form multidisciplinary research teams of up to 14 scientists, aside from the ship’s regular crew. It meets the highest standards of maritime certification and can navigate throughout the world. It was used to carry out the MARES and MARGES missions for Argentina in the Gulf of San Jorge.

Aquaculture station

ISMER's aquaculture station is a satellite laboratory resembling a marine station, equipped with a high-performance sea water pumping facility that allows for cutting-edge research work to proceed throughout the year on a variety of subjects, including aquaculture, marine biology, and ecotoxicology.

The aquaculture station is also equipped with mesocosms for the purpose of ecosystem study. These non-modified components of ecosystems taken from the natural environment, are placed in a laboratory, and maintained in a controlled environment (temperature, salinity, organic matter, and so on) in order to conduct various studies (hypoxia simulation, addition of contaminants, temperature increase, and variation in the quantity of organic matter, for example).

Centre for Innovation Support through Research

UQAR possesses a building comprising laboratory space for chemistry, biology, and oceanography research. The mission of the Centre for Innovation Support through Research (CAIR) is to support business and organization innovation, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, by promoting and facilitating access to UQAR’s expertise and cutting-edge equipment.

Examples of state-of-the-art laboratories

  • Particle and surface analysis laboratory
  • Paleomagnetism of sediments and marine geology laboratory
  • Marine chemistry and mass spectrometry
  • Simulations and analyses of ocean systems
  • Computer-assisted production research laboratory

Undergraduate and graduate study programs with a focus on maritime issues

Graduate programs

The following master’s and doctoral level programs are associated with the area of excellence in marine science.


Maritime resource management



Regional development


Undergraduate programs

At the undergraduate level, the following programs, involving associate researchers affiliated with the area of research excellence in marine science, constitute an entry opportunity for students looking to pursue graduate studies in this area.





Other programs

The Bachelor’s degree in administration also allows students to pursue graduate studies in the field of marine resource management. Finally, every year, ISMER's Oceanography Summer School welcomes graduate students who wish to take a short introduction to coastal oceanography.

An engine of maritime developmentclosed

UQAR's activities in the maritime sector have led the university to become a founding partner of Quebec Maritime Technocity. This leadership has undeniably made UQAR a driving force behind the current positioning of Quebec and Canada as international centers of expertise in marine sciences.UQAR's activities in the maritime sector have led the university to become a founding partner of Quebec Maritime Technocity.

This leadership has undeniably made UQAR a driving force behind the current positioning of Quebec and Canada as international centers of expertise in marine sciences.UQAR has contributed to the establishment of numerous organizations that today play a major role in sustainable maritime development in Quebec and Canada.


  • Funding of $10M/year on average is devoted to maritime environment research
  • More than $20M have been invested in research equipment over a three-year period
  • Over 350 research projects have been carried out over the last five years
  • Marine science institute
  • Department units of the management science discipline sector
  • Department of Societies, Territories, and Development
  • Department of Mathematics, 
    Computer science, and Engineering
  • Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Geography

25% faculty resources

34% research units

5 Bachelor’s programs

6 Master’s programs

6 PhD programs

Over 300 students per yeare