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Special Feature: Four Decades of Arctic Climate Change: A Tribute to Louis Fortier

Louis on board the Amundsen. Courtesy of Keith Lévesque.

Collection launched: March 2021

Caroline Bouchard, Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Greenland
Maxime Geoffroy, Fisheries and Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
Dominique Robert, Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Canada
Marcel Babin, Takuvik International Research Laboratory, Université Laval, Canada & CNRS, France

Professor Louis Fortier (1953-2020) revolutionized Arctic research in Canada. Both driven by his scientific fascination for ice-covered seas and an unusually strong and natural leadership, he has launched initiatives that have since brought Canada among the leading nations in Arctic research. The retrofit of the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen and the foundation of ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence in Canada, are among his most significant and long-lasting contributions to Arctic sciences.

Over the course of his career, Louis Fortier witnessed first subtle, then tremendous changes in the Arctic, and devoted endless efforts to understand climate change in this fragile environment. Dozens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows under his mentorship contributed to our current understanding of the shifting dynamics of lower trophic level within Arctic marine ecosystems, with a particular focus on zooplankton communities, fish population dynamics, and carbon fluxes.

Early during his career, Louis Fortier understood the importance of developing novel multidisciplinary initiatives to optimize the overall impact of Arctic research. He mastered the art of bringing people together and bridging research fields to ensure the success of his ambitious scientific endeavors. A passionate communicator, his gripping speeches never failed to relay convincing messages to diverse audiences, being other scientists, funding agencies, journalists, or policymakers.

This Special Feature with Elementa honors Louis Fortier’s outstanding contribution and devotion to Arctic sciences and expands his monumental legacy with contributions centered on the responses of Arctic marine ecosystems to climate change. Mirroring his sharp attention to details, broad range of scientific interests, and ambitious nature, the collection includes original articles and reviews covering different spatial scales and scientific approaches.

Video tribute to the career of Professor Louis Fortier.

Routes and oceanographic stations visited by the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen since 2003 demonstrate Louis Fortier’s impact in the study of the Canadian Arctic. Courtesy of Amundsen Science.

View All Articles in this Special Feature Collection

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