Project Dashboard


  • NIRB File No:


  • Application No.:


  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

  • Project Name:

    Evaluation of natural bioremediation potential of Arctic beaches

Completed Screening

  • McGill University, Lyle Whyte
  • McGill University, Lyle Whyte
  • 21,111, Lakeshore Rd., Ste Anne de Bellevre, QC H9X3V9, Phone: 514-398-7889, Email:
  • Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec H9X 3V9 Canada
Primary Contact
Regulatory Authorities

The warming Arctic climate results in annual reductions of sea-ice. With decrease in Northwest passage ice cover, the amount of shipping traffic is increasing. Unfortunately, a consequence of more shipping is an increased risk that shipping fuel will be accidentally released into the vulnerable Arctic environment. In southern latitudes, naturally occurring bacteria in the environment can consume shipping fuels as food sources. However, it is unknown if naturally occurring bacteria living in Arctic beaches can do this in the colder Arctic conditions. The objective of this research is to determine if naturally occurring Arctic bacteria have the ability to degrade shipping fuels under Arctic conditions. It is important to know this so that in the event of a future accidental shipping fuel spill in the Arctic, we will know exactly how to respond to minimize negative environmental impacts.Research to be conducted in Resolute Bay for this project will involve collecting beach sediment samples for microbial and chemical analysis in our laboratory at McGill University, as well as a field research portion that will take place over a two-month period in summer of 2019. Following consultation with the local Hunter and Trappers association, this field research has been planned so as not to interfere with hunting activities, and to have no negative impacts on environment or wildlife. Sampling chambers will be buried in the sediment of a beach in the Resolute Bay area in early July and will be retrieved in late August. These sampling chambers are approximately the dimensions of a small school ruler (2 cm x 10 cm), and contain an adsorptive material holding 0.1 mL of shipping fuel. The beach will remain fully accessible to the community, as the sampling chambers will be buried. The total volume of fuel will be removed together with the sampling chamber. After the two-month incubation, we will retrieve the sampling chambers and determine which beach bacteria were able to break down the shipping fuel, and how fast they were able to do so. Ultimately, our objective is to produce a catalogue of fuel degrading bacteria that are active on Arctic beaches, and to determine if their activity alone would be enough to clean up a spill, or if additional remediation treatments would be required. Nunavut residents will be employed as wildlife guides (protecting us from bears) and research assistants to guide us with installing the sampling chambers. Their valuable knowledge of local boating practices and beach usage will help us to choose the best locations for sampling. As the Whyte lab research group is in Resolute Bay every year, we look forward to giving annual presentations to the community on the importance and progress of our experiments.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Received Project Licences, Permits and Authorizations from AA 2019-07-05
  • Application screening completed 2019-07-02
  • NOI Issued 2019-06-28
  • SDR Issued 2019-06-28
  • Board voting 2019-06-28
  • Board voting 2019-06-26
  • Opportunity to Respond 2019-06-18
  • Received Comment submissions from Parties: Notice re comments received 2019-06-14
  • Technical advisor assigned 2019-06-14
  • Commenting period 2019-06-13
  • Application screening started 2019-05-28
  • North Baffin
Project Images
Click on document name to download it, or select the document to add to a download list.
Click on the icon to preview PDF.  Click on the sign to view document details.
Documents within selected category
Display per page:
Comment Form for NIRB Screenings

We appreciate your feedback/input. However you are currently not registered on the site (or your session has expired).

Registering for an account takes only moments and will provide you with more options/opportunities to participate in the NIRB process...

Register an Account