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The Role of Genomics in Fostering and Supporting Arctic Biodiversity: Implications for Wildlife Management, Policy and Indigenous Food Security

Genomics in Society Interdisciplinary Research Teams
Genome Centre(s):
Genome Alberta, Ontario Genomics
Project Leader(s):
Maribeth S. Murray (University of Calgary), Peter Pulsifer (Carleton University)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

Wildlife genome information is extremely valuable for environmental decision making, yet much remains unused for this purpose. This project draws together partners with expertise across disciplines, cultures and organizations, building upon team strengths in Arctic observation and monitoring, biology, conservation, cyber-cartography, data management, genomics, geography, Indigenous Knowledge, the legal and policy sciences, and resource management. Together the team will co-develop a suite of genomics knowledge-mobilization tools that will support environmental decision making. The focus is on supporting end-users with responsibilities for or interests in the areas of biodiversity monitoring, conservation, and the co-management of wildlife that are key to the social, cultural, physical and economic well-being of northern Indigenous Peoples.

The team will develop decision support tools building on an assessment of genomics data availability (can it be located, is it obtainable?) and accessibility (is it useable by non-experts and for decision making and policy development?), and we will consider the potential and the practical, economic, legal and ethical issues of mobilizing genomics for decision making – including those pertaining to Indigenous perspectives and rights, and national and international frameworks and commitments that may influence policy at different levels of government. Project activities and outcomes will support conservation, natural resource management, and the sustainability of Arctic wildlife. Outcomes will also support Canada’s efforts to protect Arctic species and ensure food security for Arctic People. The project can serve as a model for mobilizing genomics in different regions of Canada and in other nations.