Marine Poirier-Defoy


Marine Poirier-Defoy

Expedition student, from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

I had always heard about the Arctic's rich and vibrant natural history and culture. I was so excited to be able to witness this with my own eyes.


Meet the student


Marine Poirier Defoy is from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada and loves to travel and discover new places.  Confident and curious, she likes to meet new people and explore new places during her travels.

Marine had the opportunity to travel on a Students on Ice expedition to Nunavut and Greenland. Worried about the environment and very interested in science, Marine is always eager to learn more about the world. She believes that this trip allowed her to better understand the environment and the impact of her actions on the planet.


My trip

I was very excited to meet new people and to be in a different environment. Watch this video to see what we accomplished on our first day in Iqaluit!

A taxidermied polar bear mount.

Polar bear

The polar bear (its scientific name being Ursus maritimus) is the world's largest land carnivore, or meat-eater.  It is the biggest member of the bear family, known by the scientific name, Ursidae. Image: A polar bear.

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Puijila darwini

Puijila darwini (its scientific name) represents a “missing link”—a branch on an evolutionary tree—between an ancestor that walked on land and today's sea-going seals and their relatives. Most people think that all life evolved out of the sea onto land. Puijila darwini proves them wrong as it is an example of evolution that went from land to the sea. Image: A reconstruction of Puijila darwini.

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A reconstruction of the prehistoric mammal Puijila darwini's skeleton.

My adventure

Although we had a fun time with our extra days in Iqaluit, I was so excited to finally make it on to the expedition ship! It was not easy and took a lot of people and a lot of effort to make it happen. Watch this video to see how we finally arrived to the ship.

The upper portion of a walrus's skull.


The walrus (scientifically named Odobenus rosmarus) is a large marine mammal with flippers, tusks, thick blubber, and whiskers. It is the only living member of the Odobenidae family of mammals, closely related to seals and sea lions. The scientific name, Odobenus, is Greek and means “tooth-walker,” referring to the walrus behaviour of pulling themselves onto and along the ice using their tusks. Image: A walrus's skull.

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Sunburst lichen

Lichens are not plants, but rather a mutually-beneficial partnership between two types of organisms: fungi and algae. The fungi provide a protected home for the algae, which, for their part, provide nutrients as the result of photosynthesis. Lichens are very tough and can survive in harsh conditions where many plants cannot. Image: Orange Sunburst lichen

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Sunburst lichen on a rock.

My experience

I had such a great time and saw so many incredible things. I am so grateful for having been able to experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!


Interested in the expedition? Watch this video.


Marine Poirier-Defoy’s blog posts


Sunneshine Fiord – Monday, August 6

Wow! What a wonderful day! This morning we took a hike to Sunneshine Fiord and visited the Arctic Circle. We attended workshops and I learned a lot about survival in the Arctic, a rather interesting topic. The day continued with a great Yoga session on the deck of the boat. The sun on my cheeks […]

Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland – Thursday, August 9

We arrived in Greenland! After travelling through the Davis Strait, we woke in a beautiful small town called Qeqertarsuaq. We spent the morning visiting a museum and walking around icebergs on the beach. My favourite part of the day was a hike to a huge waterfall. Another beautiful day is finished and I cannot wait […]