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Northwest Atlantic (Marine)  
Map of the Arctic Archipelago Maritime ecozone  

| Climate | Geography | Flora and fauna | Humans

The waters of this marine ecozone nclude Hudson Bay and encompass most of the water surrounding the islands of Nunavut and Northwest Territories.

This is the ecozone that saw so many attempts to find the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. Long cold winters and short cool summers make this a cold ecozone; winter temperatures on the surface average -30C, and July only sees an average temperature of 10C. Shores are often scoured by the packs of ice that drift in the brief summer.

Given their northern location, it is not surprising that the waters of this ecozone are often covered in ice. During winter, the ice forms a solid sheet and one can freely walk from island to island. The brief summer allows the ice to melt and break up, although it still exists in floating sheets. Average water depths range from 150 to 500 metres.

Flora and Fauna
Only tiny phytoplankton are found throughout the area, although intertidal zones in the south contain kelp beds.

Only some of the mammals here spend much time out of the water, such as the polar bear, walrus, ringed seal, bearded seal, and harp seal. Beluga, narwhal, orca, and bowhead whale are present in the water.

Birds in the area can only take advantage of area of open water during the brief summer. They include tundra swans, arctic terns, northern fulmars, black guillemot, and various loons, ducks, geese, gulls, jaegers, and alcids.

Arctic cod, arctic char, arctic cisco, arctic lamprey, pink salmon, and chum salmon are some common species of fish found in the ecozone.

Four molluscs that are found here are Lacuna glacialis, Cingula castanea, Trichotropis borealis, and Velutina undata.

Many crustaceans are found here, including stone crab, Sclerocrangon boreas, striped pink shrimp, and Lebbeus groenlandicus.


The mostly Inuit population has a largely subsistence lifestyle, although mineral and fossil fuel exploration may have large effects in the future. Waters in James Bay are affected by hydroelectric projects and will be more affected by population growth in the lands around the southern part of this ecozone.


Northwest Atlantic (Marine)

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