The Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) was established in September 2016 through a partnership led by Dalhousie University, Memorial University and the University of Prince Edward Island. An international hub for ocean research, OFI brings together experts from both sides of the North Atlantic to explore the vast potential of the ocean.  

The Ocean Frontier Institute recognizes that our staff and research community are located on diverse ancestral and traditional territories of diverse Indigenous groups. Our Dalhousie University and University of Prince Edward Island partners are located on the ancestral and unceded traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq people of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia and PEI). Our Memorial University partners are located within the traditional territories of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit (Newfoundland and Labrador).

We acknowledge and recognize that the ocean research we undertake and support takes place across Canada and the Atlantic Region and engages a variety of Indigenous communities and cultures. We recognize and offer our respect to these Inuit, First Nation, and Metis people and their communities. We strive for respectful and meaningful partnerships with all the peoples of this country as we honour this land and, together, search for true healing and reconciliation. We are all treaty people and acknowledge the original Peoples of this land.

Research priorities

OFI's ocean research focuses on: 

  • Changes — research examines key aspects of atmosphere-ocean interaction, resulting ocean dynamics, and shifting ecosystems 
  • Solutions — research focuses on effective approaches to resource development that are sustainable, globally competitive, societally acceptable and resilient to change

Research benefits

OFI research will help:

  • improve prediction and mitigation of major storms
  • manage human activities as they relate to ocean resources
  • improve the potential for fisheries and aquaculture industries to meet global seafood demand in a sustainable manner
  • strengthen marine safety
  • transform how we monitor the ocean with new data capture and IT tools. 

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Geographic focus

OFI research focuses on the North Atlantic and Canadian Arctic Gateway, which includes the Labrador Sea and eastern portions of the straits of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

The region's unique physical, chemical and biological processes make it an epicentre of international scientific interest and a predictor for the global ocean. Its deep overturning circulation results in the most intense carbon sequestration on the planet. It has a highly productive marine ecosystem and air-sea interactions that modulate the weather and climate of North America and Europe. Diminished ice cover has increased shipping in the Canadian Arctic, raising sovereignty, security, social and environmental issues.  


The ocean’s changing, and much of what’s happening is still a mystery. We know more about the moon
than we do about the ocean. Yet, we depend on the ocean for our very survival and well-being:

  • 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • 71% of Earth’s surface covered by the ocean
  • About half of the atmospheric carbon emitted by humans is absorbed by the ocean
  • 90% of goods shipped by sea, 5% of global GDP
  • In Canada: 300,000 jobs and $6.6 billion in seafood exports per year.