About the Science Sector and resources

Learn about the Science Sector, professional science network and our regional science facilities.

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About the Science Sector

The Ecosystems and Oceans Science Sector (also known as the Science Sector) is part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). It's an active part of Canada's science and technology community.

Careers in the Science Sector are devoted to:

  • expanding knowledge about:
    • our oceans
    • ocean and freshwater species:
      • health
      • diversity
      • sustainability
  • mapping the depths of our oceans and freshwaters to enable safe navigation:
    • at sea
    • on the Great Lakes and rivers

In pursuit of scientific excellence in service to Canadians, we're close to 1,800:

  • scientists
  • biologists
  • researchers
  • oceanographers
  • research technicians
  • support staff

Our mandate includes:

  • conservation and sustainable use of Canada's fisheries resources
  • providing safe, effective and environmentally sound aquatic services that are responsive to the needs of Canadians in a global economy

Science Sector team duties include:

  • conducting leading edge research in:
    • oceans
    • fisheries
    • aquaculture
    • habitat management
  • supporting learning and career development
  • building an inclusive workforce that reflects Canada's diversity
  • promoting collaborative research and development projects with:
    • industry
    • universities and research institutes
    • federal science-based departments and agencies
    • provincial and territory governments and museums
  • publishing and communicating our scientific research and findings
  • promoting access to all scientific data and to advanced technologies
  • collaborating and working with scientific peers across the country and around the world in an international role

The Science Sector offers meaningful and rewarding work while providing a safe, healthy and respectful work environment.

Regional science facilities

Leading edge research is conducted in science facilities across Canada in 6 regions. The headquarters of the Science Sector and the Canadian Hydrography Service are located in the National Capital Region (NCR) in Ottawa.

Newfoundland and Labrador Region

Newfoundland and Labrador is an ideal place to study ocean science research. The region has 29,000 km of coastline and a 2.5 million square kilometre continental shelf.

There are virtually limitless opportunities for fieldwork, as our research supports:

  • aquaculture
  • environmental sciences
  • marine protected areas (MPAs)
  • commercial and recreational fisheries, including:
    • shellfish
    • groundfish
    • pelagic fish

Maritimes Region

The Maritimes Region research facilities include:

  • one of the oldest, St. Andrews Biological Station
  • Canada's largest, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography

We've amassed a wealth of biological, physical and chemical oceanographic expertise to report on:

  • the state of the northwest Atlantic
  • issues sustaining the ties of coastal communities to the marine environment

Gulf Region

The Gulf Region science team offers world-class science, allowing us to plan for decades to come. We:

  • study and track a variety of fish species
  • research the environment in the southern part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada's most productive body of water

Our work supports tens of thousands of Canadians who make a living as commercial fish harvesters or enjoy fishing recreationally.

Quebec Region

Quebec scientists have access to more than 70 laboratories, including a state-of-the-art wet lab. These scientists have made notable advances, including:

  • confirming the genetic structure of rockfish
  • discovering oxygen-deprived areas in the estuary
  • designing the Viking ocean buoy and its innovative wave sensor
  • shedding light on the dietary and migratory behaviour of the blue whale
  • measuring and modelling the oceanographic conditions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence

For the last 30 years, the teams at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute have been providing:

  • advice to fisheries management and ensuring navigational safety
  • essential scientific foundations for protecting the marine environment

Central and Arctic Region

The Central and Arctic Region has 4.4 million km of shoreline in the Arctic alone. We're home to the largest freshwater ecosystem on the planet with:

  • 84% of North America's surface fresh water
  • approximately 21% of the world's supply of surface fresh water

Our team is:

  • world-renowned
  • at the forefront of cutting edge science and technology
  • contributing to the sustainability of our abundant resources for generations to come

Pacific Region

The research topics under investigation in the Pacific Region include:

  • effects of aquaculture
  • protection from oil spills
  • species invading ecosystems
  • species affected by global warming
  • dynamic fluctuations in oceanic currents

National Capital Region

The NCR administers and coordinates DFO's science initiatives across the country.

Working in close collaboration with regional research teams, the NCR encompasses expertise in all science areas covered by DFO's mandate, such as:

  • oceanography
  • aquatic animal health
  • marine mammal biology
  • fish population sciences

Among others, the NCR is responsible for the development and administration of:

  • national science programs
  • the provision of peer-reviewed science advice
  • the establishment of science partnerships and collaborations

Science Early Career Network

As an employee in the ecosystems and oceans Science Sector, you may join the Science Early Career Network (SECN). This organization engages early career science professionals in strengthening science through:

  • innovation
  • collaboration
  • peer-supported professional development

The network's vision is to establish a strong and connected workforce. This benefits the sector as a whole through activities such as:

  • armchair discussions
  • regional social events
  • mentoring and training opportunities
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