CEN Bylot Island Research Station

The CEN Bylot Island Research Station runs one of the largest and longest Arctic ecological monitoring studies in the world. It is located off the northern tip of Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada.

The CEN Bylot Island Research Station is accessible through the communities of Pond Inlet and Nanisivik, both found on Northern Baffin Island. The primary station can host up to 18 people daily.

The field research covers the southern plain of the island, but the research station is located in a large glacial valley at the southwest end of the island. The station is operated by CEN (Centre d'études nordiques) and co-owned with Parks Canada.

A central theme of the research conducted here is trophic interactions in the Arctic tundra in relation to environmental change and Greater Snow Goose ecology, but also long-term monitoring of animal populations, vegetation and climate of the Arctic tundra, impacts of bird populations and climate change on lake ecosystems (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions), and geomorphology of ice wedge polygons. The site is also part of several national and international research networks including EMAN (Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network), EMAN-North, the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX), ArcticNet and ArcticWOLVES (Arctic Wildlife Observatories Linking Vulnerable EcoSystems).

Established in 2001, Sirmilik National Park encompasses most of Bylot Island, except for a few pockets that are Inuit-owned lands. Covering an area of 22,000 km2, this park extends to the northern part of Baffin Island. Sirmilik (which means "place of glaciers" in Inuktitut) reflects the complex of glaciers and ice caps covering most of Bylot Island.

Several permits must be obtained prior to conducting the work, hence, the field season must be prepared well in advance. Located in Sirmilik National Park and in the Bylot Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a joint research permit from Parks Canada (www.pc.gc.ca) and the Canadian Wildlife Service is required to access the site (Parks Canada, Iqaluit). It is also recommended to meet with the wildlife officer and Hunters and Trappers Organization representatives from Pond Inlet before going to the field.

Climatic and
data :  
Several climate stations of the CEN SILA Network (www.cen.ulaval.ca/sila) operate year-round on site. For requests concerning ecological monitoring data, please contact the lead researcher and project leader Gilles Gauthier.
Nordicana-D :  

CEN's Nordicana-D series freely and openly give access to online climatic and environmental data reports archived at CEN, aiding the management of the wealth of environmental data sets produced by CEN's monitoring and research activities. The following data series from Bylot Island in Nunavut is available : CEN 2016. Environmental data from Bylot Island in Nunavut, Canada, v. 1.51 (1992-2015). Nordicana D2, doi: 10.5885/45039SL-EE76C1BDAADC4890. Visit the Website www.cen.ulaval.ca/nordicanad/ to view the complete list of available data.


This station is part of the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators (CNNRO, www.cnnro.ca) and the international network INTERACT (www.eu-interact.org).

Institution Université Laval
Country Canada
Infrastructure type Research station
Disciplines Biology and biochemistry
Environmental sciences
Earth sciences
Natural environments and wildlife
Language of operation French
Keywords permafrostperiglacial environmentglacial processesgeomorphologyecologyclimate changearcticaquatic systems


Availability: Early May to late August.

Rate: No fixed rate. Rates to use the facility must be negociated with the contact people in advance.

Contact information

Contact the CEN secretariat by email : cen@cen.ulaval.ca, or by telephone : +1-418-656-3340.

Lead Researchers
Dr. Gilles Gauthier, professor
Dept. biologie, Université Laval
Tel. : +1-418-656-5507

Dr. Dominique Berteaux, professor
Dept. biologie, chimie et géographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski
Tél. : +1-418-723-1986 # 1910

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