Our Team

Arctus is composed of highly qualified personnel (HQP) with a solid background and experience in both theoretical and practical aspects of remote sensing applied to ocean, coastal and inland water environments, and particularly to polar environments. Domains of expertise comprise the development of algorithms and numerical models for the exploitation of Earth Observation data produced by various space agencies.

Dr. Simon Bélanger, Arctus scientific director, is a professor in remote sensing at the Université du Québec a Rimouski (UQAR). He has more than fifteen years of experience in the field of ocean colour remote sensing.  SB worked successively for the department of fisheries and oceans of Canada at Maurice Lamontagne Institute, the European Space Agency (ESA-ESRIN) and ACRI-ST. He was actively involved in MERIS commissioning phase after the launch of ENVISAT in 2002.  Dr Bélanger obtained his PhD in 2006 (“Response of light-related carbon fluxes in the Arctic Ocean to climate change: Quantification and monitoring of dissolved organic matter photo-oxidation in the Beaufort Sea using satellite remote sensing”) under the direction of Dr Marcel Babin at the Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV), France. His research interests are broad, from atmospheric correction and bio-optical algorithms improvement to applications of remote sensing to ocean biogeochemistry problems (primary production and photochemical processes from space). He has created the AquaTel lab (Laboratoire d’optique aquatique et de télédétection) at UQAR. He is a member of the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG).

Dr. Christiane Dufresne is a Project Manager and researcher in coastal oceanography. She manages projects related to coastal erosion and ocean modelling. She currently leads the SIMBA project – Système Intégré de Modélisation de la Baleine noire de l’Atlantique funded by the Canadian Space Agency through the smartWhales initiative. She recently managed the project Earth observation solutions addressing coastal erosion issues, their impacts on ecosystems and the risks to infrastructure assets, funded by the Canadian Space Agency under the Climate Change Impacts and Ecosystem Resilience Program (CCIER). She was also PM and lead modeler for the project Modélisation hydrodynamique 3D de la Baie de Sept-Îles, funded by INREST. Christiane is a physical oceanographer whose work focuses on interactions of environmental compartments (i.e. ocean, atmosphere, rivers, sediments, ice). She assesses hydrodynamics influence on sediment dynamics and biogeochemical processes through an inter-disciplinary approach, using in situ observations and numerical models. For the past 10 years, she has developed and handled several international projects aiming to support coastal management. In her spare time, Christiane enjoys cycling and snowboarding.

Thomas Jaegler has joined our team to support activities as part of Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Center (S3-MPC) (ESA contract). His research interests involve optical remote sensing, in-water bio-optical and radiometric measurements. Thomas has extended knowledge in processing, analyzing and displaying spatial dataset for environmental applications using Open Source tools like R, GRASS, Python, GDAL etc. He is currently working on implementing a processing chain for the validation of Level 2 marine product of OLCI (Ocean Land Color Imager) sensor onboard Sentinel 3 satellite. He has collaborated on a review on the detection of Vibrio non-cholerae in the Canadian coastal water in February 2017.  He has collaborated with Hatfield Consultant on the development of a chlorophyll-retrieval algorithm for the monitoring of Northern lake in Canada together as part of the Looknorth-funded.  He has also participated at the feasibility study on monitoring environmental variables during the construction of Port of Montreal new infrastructure.

Dr. Yanqun Pan has recently joined the Arctus team (October 5, 2020) after completing a 2-yr postdoc at UQAR under Dr.Bélanger’s supervision. Dr. Pan obtained a PhD in geographic information systems (GIS) in 2018. He has strong skills in statistics, machine learning, deep AI, and EO data visualization. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Pan worked at an international hightech company in China (CHCNAV). As a software development engineer, he developed excellent skills in software design, mastering multiple programming languages such as Java, Python and C, as well as the use of databases like Oracle and MySQL. He has developed different atmospheric correction algorithms for turbid waters based on genetic algorithms and neural networks.

Dr. Gholamreza Mohammadpour is presently completing a 2-year postdoc at the Universite Laval under the supervision of Dr. Frederic Maps and Dr. Simon Belanger. He obtained his PhD in Oceanography from the University of Quebec at Rimouski with a special interest in Remote Sensing of biogeochemical processes in coastal and ocean waters. He was a meteorologist for 12 years in the Iranian Meteorological Organization, as well as a researcher at the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences for five years. With more than 22 years of experience, he has knowledge in biogeochemical processes in estuarine and coastal waters, monitoring water quality, climate variability and change and the influence on air-sea interactions, and ocean and weather models.

Carlos Araújo is an oceanographer and joined Arctus in 2022 as an Earth Observation scientist.  With more than 15 years of experience, he has knowledge in coastal geomorphological and sedimentological processes, operational and biological oceanography, geomatics, physical limnology and remote sensing. In his current PhD project, he studies the biogeochemical background that modulates the underwater optical environment in nearshore zones of the Estuary and Gulf of the St. Lawrence River,  focusing on phytoplankton assemblages but also attempting to document the spatial variability of seagrass meadows over the last decades.

Niloufar Haghighatgou graduated with two MSc degrees in Geomatics, first concerning remote sensing and second concerning photogrammetry. She has extended knowledge of different geospatial data including hyperspectral/SAR images and LiDAR point cloud. Her specialty lies in the conceptualization, processing, and analysis of geospatial data. She developed great practical skills in MATLAB and python programming. She previously worked as a geospatial specialist in a consulting engineering company in her country, where she was involved in the implementation of GIS/LIS systems for cities.

Mr. Robert Duplain, Arctus Chief Financial Officer, is a professionnal engineer who has developed extensive skills over 25 years of practical experience in engineering, R&D, project management and as consultant in the field of technological development. He worked at Bombardier Research Center and was member of the management team for Canadian Frigate construction Project at a major canadian shipyard. Robert joined KPMG in 1994 and developed a practice to assist clients in structuring and presenting R&D projects to facilitate financing.  He collaborated with ACRI-ST for the ESA project Earth Watch.