Dr. Robie Macdonald Receives the 2014 Northern Science Award

Ottawa, November 19 2014

The Canadian Polar Commission is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2014 Northern Science Award is Dr. Robie Macdonald. The award was presented at a ceremony prior to the Annual Dinner of the Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, on November 19th in Ottawa, Ontario.

Left: Robie Macdonald; Right: His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada Photo: Matt Zambonin/Canadian Geographic


Dr. Robie Macdonald, a marine geochemist, has won international respect for his innovative, rigorous, and groundbreaking research using geochemistry to understand earth and ocean processes.

 As Head of Marine Environmental Quality at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Institute of Ocean Sciences, Dr. Macdonald’s work spans a gamut that includes trace metals in lake and coastal marine sediments, chemical and biochemical impacts of underwater mine tailing discharges, the fate of pulp-mill derived dioxins and furans in coastal waters and sediments, and Arctic Ocean hydrography.

 Through his extensive and ever-expanding body of work, Dr. Macdonald has enriched our knowledge of Beaufort Sea hydrology through his highly novel application of oxygen isotope analyses in sea ice near the Mackenzie Delta; he has improved our understanding of deep-water circulation in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean; and he has mapped (and continues to map) contaminant distributions across the Arctic through measurements of chlorinated organic compounds, PCBs, and metals including mercury.

 His key insights into the cycling of contaminants in the Arctic Ocean have been crucial for northerners who rely on fish and marine mammals for food.

 Dr. Robie Macdonald is one the world’s leading marine geochemists. Honourable, unassuming, and humble, he is held in great esteem by his peers.