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SDG 14: Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Oceans are essential to human life on Earth; they provide us with food and water, and regulate the planet’s weather. SDG 14 seeks to keep our oceans and coastlines healthy for all living beings who rely on them by reducing pollution and overfishing. EUC researchers are working to promote the conservation and sustainable development of our oceans and coastlines by diving into the environmental and human factors affecting water in our changing climate.

Impact of landscape disturbances and climate change in the Mackenzie Delta 

Understanding the impact of climate change on our coastlines is an important step towards strengthening the resiliency of marine ecosystems. Joshua Thienpont’s research investigates the cumulative impact of ongoing environmental changes on aquatic ecosystems. His research has uncovered the critical impacts of climate change on our oceans through marine storm surge-induced coastal flooding in the outer Mackenzie Delta region in the Western Canadian Arctic. He relies on paleolimnology, the study of lake sediment archives, to reconstruct changes in the environment, with a focus on northern Canada. 

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Wild Dolphin-Swim Tourism in the Hawaiian Islands

Regulations and protections are required to ensure that people can sustainably share ocean-space with marine animals. Leesa Fawcett is a leading scholar in Animal Studies and Biological Conservation. In 2020, she took part in an investigation into the effects of dolphin-swim tourism in Hawaii. Together with her collaborators, they uncovered the monetary, and environmental, costs and benefits of this industry. The report urges greater global collaboration and regulation in marine tourism to ensure the conservation of dolphins and promotes more sustainable interactions between humans and marine animals.

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Restorative ocean farming: Possibilities and pitfalls for addressing food security with Metlakatla First Nation

MES student Mary Williams worked alongside the Metlakatla First Nation and EcoTrust Canada in advancing a Restorative Ocean Farming Project. This project aims to meet locally produced seafood demands in vertically grown ocean plots while increasing ocean-based food security, territorial stewardship, economic development and marine livelihoods. Partnering with coastal Indigenous communities is vital to ensuring the development of sustainable and resilient ocean food systems that can withstand economic and environmental challenges.

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Offshore oil drill plant

Offshore oil exploratory drilling and marine protected areas

Marine pollution poses a serious risk to the health of our oceans. Gail Fraser understands this and has dedicated the past two decades to unearthing the impacts of offshore oil and gas operations on marine environments. Her most recent initiative examines the regulatory processes leading to decisions to permit offshore drilling in and around marine-protected areas. Her research will improve Canadian offshore oil governance to minimize socio-ecological consequences in a desire to improve the conservation and protection of marine habitats.

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