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NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) II


Canada's oceans add immeasurably to our economy, health, and culture.  Increasing pressures on ocean resources have created a critical need to enhance ocean sustainability and to understand how different activities will change marine living resources. Ocean stakeholders need a strong, effectively networked marine science community to apply leading-edge scientific knowledge to develop sustainable ocean use strategies. CHONe II will contribute to meet Canadian national and international commitments on sustainable oceans. It will also advance the new National Conservation Plan.

We need to understand better how global stressors exacerbate local pressures. For example, climate change has already warmed oceans, raised sea level, affected dissolved oxygen and pH, and increased storm intensity, but we need to understand the consequences for coastal and open ocean ecosystems. Marine species are interconnected by their ecosystems and the services that benefit humans, like fisheries production, and these interconnections influence the efficacy and benefits of ocean use management strategies. At the same time, complex linkages complicate our understanding of how management strategies may mitigate human needs and cumulative impacts on species and ecosystems. Understanding the risks and mitigation needed to maintain ocean productivity and health represents the greatest challenge for sustainable oceans.

Multiple challenges demand that Canada’s ocean scientists work toward common objectives in different geographic regions, sharing a wide range of infrastructure and approaches. CHONe II will build on diverse data sets and novel tools developed in a previous network, CHONe I, to address complex needs in accelerating ocean sustainability objectives, integrating current knowledge, and filling knowledge gaps.

CHONe II’s research program will explore the ecosystem characteristics that define the capacity of Canada’s oceans to recover or respond to management strategies, such as networks of Marine Protected Areas, spatial closures or restoration. Research will also understand and quantify how key stressors, including cumulative impacts, alter marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in high use environments. 

Network Structure

CHONe II is a strategic partnership between Canadian postsecondary researchers and government scientists that is made up of 39 researchers from 11 universities, one community college and multiple federal research labs from coast to coast in Canada.

The Network will train a large cohort of interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will work in multiple university and laboratories of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The Network governance structure is comprised of a Board of Directors, a Scientific Advisory Committee, and Research Theme leaders made up of a university co-leader and a DFO co-leader. The CHONe II administrative office, led by Network Director, Dr. Paul Snelgrove, is housed at Memorial University of Newfoundland. The network is also partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Parks Canada, the Port of Sept-Îles, the City of Sept-Îles, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW Unifor), Institut Nordique de Recherche en Environnement et en Santé au Travail (INREST), the Ecology Action Centre and World Wildlife Fund Canada.

Research Objectives

  • To understand ecosystem characteristics that define the resilience and capacity of Canada’s oceans to recover or respond to management strategies such as networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), spatial closures, or restoration;
  • To understand how key stressors, including cumulative impacts, alter marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in high use environments.


  • Developing metrics and strategies to evaluate stressors on Canadian marine ecosystems so that ocean users can effectively understand the status and spatial and temporal extent of those stressors;
  • Development of a generalized, scalable, framework to inform potential management actions in Canada in order to optimize ocean sustainability;
  • Training of the next generation of scientists to work at the interface of science, policy, and management for the sustainability of Canada's oceans;
  • Development of data management strategies/templates for coastal ecological data for future generations of scientists.


Dr. Paul Snelgrove
Tel: 709-864-3440
Website: This link will take you to another Web site

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