Canadian Committee on Antarctic Research (CCAR)

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Since 1994, the Canadian Polar Commission (CPC) has served as Canada's adhering body to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), an inter-disciplinary committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU) with responsibility for the initiation, promotion, and co-ordination of scientific research in Antarctica, and for the provision of scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty System. As the adhering body to SCAR, the Commission is responsible for representing Canada's national interests in Antarctic and bipolar science and for disseminating relevant information from the Committee to Canada's polar research community. To advise on these and other matters pertaining to research in the Antarctic region and to ensure that the Canadian polar research community participates in critical planning activities and encourages international co-operation in Antarctic and bipolar research, the Commission has established the Canadian Committee on Antarctic Research (CCAR) as Canada's National Antarctic Committee under the provisions of SCAR.

CCAR Mandate

CCAR will serve as a national advisory body on Antarctic matters, reporting primarily to the CPC, and act as a link between the international Antarctic science community and Canadian scientists active in or seeking to become involved in Antarctic and/or bipolar research.

CCAR will recommend to the CPC Canadian representatives to serve on SCAR working groups, to advise on appropriate terms of office, and to ensure a proper flow of information among Canadian scientists and the respective working groups.

CCAR will review Antarctic research proposals (e.g., from the Canadian Arctic-Antarctic Exchange Program and others) when requested.

Members and Advisers, 2014-2015

Dermot Antoniades

Photo of Dermot Antoniades

Dermot Antoniades is a Canada Research Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Université Laval. His current research is focused on the effects of environmental change and anthropogenic processes on aquatic environments, including those in temperate, subtropical and polar regions. These effects are assessed using proxy indicators including diatoms, algal pigments, and sediment geochemical properties.

Dr. Dermot Antoniades holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Kathleen Conlan

Kathy Conlan is a scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature who studies communities of marine life on the sea floor of the Arctic and Antarctic and how natural or human-induced changes affect them. She and her colleagues have studied the renewing effect of ice scour, the enriching effect of submarine canyons, the interactions between introduced and native marine species, and the recovery of marine life from pollution. In the Canadian Arctic, she recently found a hotspot of sea floor life that includes the preferred food for Pacific grey whales when they travel from Mexico to Alaska each summer to feed. Areas like this may become an increasingly desirable destination as receding sea ice enables the whales to visit the Canadian Arctic longer each summer.

In the Antarctic, Kathy discovered that the B-15 iceberg, the world's largest recorded iceberg, could affect life on the sea floor over 100 km away when it blocked access to their main food supply, the annual plankton bloom. Such long-reaching effects had not been seen before. Kathy is also dedicated to outreach, mentorship and conservation.

She is past Chief Officer for Life Sciences in the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and is a judge for SCAR’s prestigious Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica, represents Canada for the Canadian Committee on Antarctic Research, taught at Huntsman Marine Science Centre and Students on Ice, mentors university students and gives popular talks and "show and tells" at the museum.

She  holds a PhD in systematics and evolution and an M.Sc. in marine ecology.

Luke Copland

photo, Luke CoplandLuke Copland is an Associate Professor and holds the University Research Chair in Glaciology in the Department of Geography at the University of Ottawa.

His research focuses on the dynamics and recent changes of glaciers and ice shelves, mainly in northern Canada. This research combines remote sensing with field measurements, and is primarily aimed at understanding the controls on ice motion and glacier mass balance, and how these may change under a changing climate.

Dr. Luke Copland holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta.

Nathan Gillett

Photo of Nathan GillettDr. Nathan Gillett is a research scientist and manager at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. His research is focused on understanding, attributing and predicting climate change through analysis of climate model simulations and comparison with observations. He has worked to establish the causes of observed changes in variables such as temperature, pressure, precipitation, humidity and stratospheric ozone. He also has an interest in stratosphere-troposphere coupling and the effect of stratospheric ozone depletion on Antarctic climate.

 Nathan served as a Lead Author of the IPCC Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports, and as a Lead Author of the 2014 WMO/UNEP Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion.Nathan Gillett holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Oxford.


Tom James

Dr. Thomas JamesDr. Thomas James is a research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada of the federal Department of Natural Resources. He holds a Ph.D. in geophysics from Princeton University and is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria and Ohio State University. Dr. James studies glacial isostatic adjustment, which is the response of the solid Earth to ice sheet and glacier changes, and is particularly interested in sea-level change - past, present, and future. He has worked on models of glacial isostatic adjustment for Antarctica that are used in the analysis of satellite data to discern the present-day Antarctic contribution to sea-level change. In the 2005/06 Antarctic field season, Dr. James was based at McMurdo with American colleagues and carried out field work in the Transantarctic Mountains to measure crustal motion. He has been a Canadian representative at meetings of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research since 2004.

Thayyil Jayachandran

photo, Thayyil JayachandranThayyil Jayachandran is Professor at the University of New-Brunswick (UNB). His research focus is on the Solar wind – Magnetosphere – Ionosphere (SW-M-I) System. The research measures the ionosphere to understand the relationships between the SW-M-I, using a number of ground-based radio and optical instrument located in the Canadian Arctic. Dr. Jayachandran is the Principal Investigator of the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN) and a member of different Canadian and International Satellite Missions. He is also the current Chair of Commission G and H of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Canadian National Committee (CNC). Dr. Thayyil Jayachandran holds a Ph.D. from Andhra University, India.


Anita Dey Nuttall (Chair)

photo, Anita Dey NuttallAnita Dey Nuttall is Associate Director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta. She holds a PhD in Polar Ecology and Management from the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the interface between science and politics in the Polar Regions, and in particular how a nation's science policy and strategic interests influence and determine the development of its national Antarctic program.  She is also developing new research on Canada's strategy for polar science and its place in Canada's national science policy. Additionally Dr. Dey Nuttall is interested in exploring the leadership of the Nordic countries in setting the scene for cooperation in the Polar Regions in the global context, in particular, their approach to promoting the notion of 'comprehensive security'. She is co-editor of International Relations and the Arctic: understanding policy and governance (Cambria Press, 2014).

Emilien Pelletier

Dr. Emilien PelletierDr. Emilien Pelletier is Professor at the Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER/UQAR) and director of the Canadian Research Chair in Marine Ecotoxicology. He is a specialist in environmental chemistry and toxicology applied to high latitude ecosystem. A large part of his work is dedicated to bioremediation of contaminated soils and sediments in the vicinity of sub-Antarctic and Antarctic stations. He developed cooperation programs with the Institut Paul-Emile Victor (IPV, France) and the Instituto Antarctico Argentino (IAA, Argentina) and published a number of papers on contamination levels observed in Antarctic stations and on means to clean up soils from spilled hydrocarbons using mild techniques and indigenous bacterial communities conforming to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. Emilien and his research team are also working on environmental risks associated with commercial navigation in the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Fjord where winter conditions are often comparable to those prevailing in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Wayne H. Pollard

Photo, Wayne PollardDr. Wayne H. Pollard is Professor at McGill University. His research centers upon the field investigation of water and ice in cold polar desert environments of the high Arctic and Antarctic. Dr. Pollard’s long-term goals are to understand and explain the hydrological and physical processes that shape and define cold arid landscapes and to identify niche environments in permafrost that are capable of harboring microbial life at or near the limit of its habitability. His research ranges from the field observation and measurement of natural processes at the landform and landscape scales to the microscopic examination of soil pores, ice crystals and intra crystalline brine films.

Central to his research are: (a) the investigation of the dynamic interaction between water and cryotic ground, (b) the formation and degradation of surface and subsurface ice and (c) the interpretation of the environmental significance of landforms related to permafrost, ground ice and ground water. Wayne H. Pollard holds a Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa.

Peter Pulsifer

photo, Peter PulsiferPeter Pulsifer is a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), University of Colorado at Boulder. Peter resides in Canada where he is a visiting research fellow at Inuit Qaujisarvingat: The Inuit Knowledge Centre. Before moving to NSIDC, Peter was a doctoral candidate and postdoctoral fellow working under Prof. Fraser Taylor at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa where he continues to act as a research associate. During his doctoral studies he was the lead researcher for an on-line atlas portraying, exploring and communicating the complexities of the Antarctic continent for education, research and policy purposes. Since 2002, Dr. Pulsifer has been an active member of what is now the SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information where he has contributed to the conceptualization and development of The Antarctic Spatial Data Infrastructure. In 2003, he became the Canadian representative to what is now the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management. He participated in the International Polar Year Data and Information Service, and is currently a member of the International Arctic Science Committee’s Standing Committee on Data Management and the chair of the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks program data committee.

Irene R. Schloss

photo, Irene SchlossIrene Schloss is a researcher at the Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA) / Dirección Nacional del Antártico and at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council Research (CONICET) of Argentina. She is also an Associate Professor at the “Institut de la Mer de Rimouski” (ISMER). She worked in many international research projects, relating climate change to CO2 fluxes between the atmosphere and the ocean, the effects of UVB radiation, as well as physical-biological coupling processes and  the dynamics and ecology of marine plankton.

 Dr. Schloss is committed to promote scientific co-operation between Argentina and Canada, particularly with regard to research in Polar Regions, the Arctic and the Antarctic.  She is a member of the Steering Committee of SCAR Biology “Antarctic Thresholds - Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation (AnT-ERA)” Program and part of the expert group involved in the SCAR Horizon Scan.

Dr. Irene Schloss holds a Ph.D. from the University of Buenos Aires.

Peter Suedfeld

photo, Peter SuedfeldDr. Peter Suedfeld, FRSC, is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of British Colombia (UBC).

His research focuses on how human beings adapt to and cope with novelty, challenge, stress, and danger. The research has three major aspects: laboratory and clinical studies on restricted environmental stimulation (REST; for example, in flotation tanks); field research on psychological and psychophysiological concomitants of working in extreme and unusual environments such as space and polar stations; and the archival and experimental study of information processing and decision making under uncertainty and stress.

 Dr. Suedfeld has been President of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Western Association of Graduate Deans; he was the founding President of the International REST Investigators' Society; and has been Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Antarctic Research Program. In that capacity, he represented Canada at the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). He represents both Canada and the International Union of Psychological Science in the SCAR Standing Scientific Group in Life Sciences. Philippe Tortell is an Associate Professor at the University of British Colombia (UBC). His current work focuses on understanding the biological, chemical and physical factors regulating oceanic primary productivity and the concentration of climate active gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), dimethylsulfide (DMS), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Current field areas of interest include the Subarctic Pacific Ocean, Canadian Arctic Archipelago and a variety of coastal Antarctic systems.


Philippe Tortell

photo, Philippe TortellPhilippe Tortell  is an Associate Professor at the University of British Colombia (UBC). His current work focuses on understanding the biological, chemical and physical factors regulating oceanic primary productivity and the concentration of climate active gases including carbon dioxide (CO2), dimethylsulfide (DMS), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Current field areas of interest include the Subarctic Pacific Ocean, Canadian Arctic Archipelago and a variety of coastal Antarctic systems.

Dr. Philippe Tortell holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University.


Diana Varela

photo, Diana VarelaDr. Diana Varela is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, with a joint position in the Department of Biology and the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. Her main areas of interest are marine biogeochemistry and ecological physiology of phytoplankton. Her research program seeks to understand variations in marine primary productivity and cycling of nutrient elements in the oceans. Dr. Varela’s long-term research goal is to link physiological studies on phytoplankton to larger marine phenomena, so as to better understand the effects of unicellular algae on earth's biogeochemical cycles, marine ecosystem structure and global climate change over geological times. Studies are conducted in the laboratory and on oceanographic cruises to coastal and open ocean waters in the equatorial and north Pacific Ocean, in the Arctic Ocean, and in the Antarctic.

Dr. Diana Varela holds a B.Sc. from Universidad Nacional del Sur (Argentina), an M.A. from Boston University, and a Ph.D. from the University of British Colombia. She was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of British Columbia, West Vancouver Laboratory (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), University of California at Santa Barbara, and Simon Fraser University.