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BIO Coffee Talks: February 2019

Who: Raphael Garduno

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Dartmouth Laboratory

What: DNA barcoding and its use in food inspection

The ability to sequence DNA was crucial in the development of molecular biology as a scientific discipline. An early practical application of DNA sequencing was in the identification, classification and phylogeny of life forms in our planet. DNA Barcoding is a "Made in Canada" technology based on DNA sequencing of a single gene, originally proposed to inventory animals. To date, DNA barcoding is also applicable to plant species and even microorganisms.

At the CFIA, DNA barcoding is used to support food inspection efforts, and to monitor the presence and(or) spread of invasive plants or insects. While other CFIA laboratories focus on different aspects of DNA barcoding, we at the Dartmouth Laboratory apply DNA barcoding to the identification of seafood, including finfish and crustaceans. The results of our DNA barcoding analyses help CFIA inspectors in identifying product mislabeling and combat fraud.

Regulatory applications of DNA barcoding require stringent quality assurance and a robust and properly validated method. The most contentious issue around the application of DNA barcoding in regulatory testing is the creation of databases containing properly authenticated DNA sequences (barcodes). This presentation includes some background information on barcoding, the biology/biochemistry behind the method, a retrospective analysis of DNA barcoding of fish at the CFIA Dartmouth Laboratory, and the future development of DNA barcoding as a tool for seafood inspection.

When: Friday, February 15, 2018

Where: 10am, George Needler Boardroom, Room VS-427, van Steenburgh Building, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


Who: Youyu Lu

Bedford Institute of Oceanography

What: Update on Forecasting Models for Oceans around Canada, and a Case Study on West Coast Sea Level Variations

This presentation starts with an overview of the ocean model configurations used in forecasting systems for oceans around Canada developed over the past decade. The forecasting systems include two streams in terms of operational implementation: the "best-efforts" and "24/7" systems, at universities and in government research and operation centers. In particular, the down-scaling capacity from the global ocean, to basins, shelf seas, and nearshore waters are presented. The second part presents a case study on the forcing mechanisms of sea level variations in shelf water off the coast of British Columbia, based on analyzing the solution of the high-resolution model for northeast Pacific during 2007-2016. The analyses quantify the significant contributions of steric effects (density variations), and the remote wind forcing, on sea level variations beyond monthly time scales.

When: Friday, February 15, 2018

Where: 10am, George Needler Boardroom, Room VS-427, van Steenburgh Building, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


Who: Robert Schlegel

Dalhousie University

What: Marine heatwaves: the new normal

In our post-industrial world it comes as little surprise that the occurrence of extreme thermal events, often referred to as heatwaves, have been increasing for decades. The reality of the potential disasters that a changing climate may bring became clear to the world in 2003 when much of Europe was blanketed by a heatwave that caused devastation on not only land and sea, but also cost thousands of people their lives. For several years, news of heatwaves dropped off until the massively destructive 2010-11 event off the coast of Western Australia that has been responsible for the permanent loss of more than 100 km of kelp forests. In 2012, half the world away in the North West Atlantic, sustained record breaking ocean temperatures saw the crash of multiple commercially important fish stocks. But it was when the now famous "Blob" of 2014-2016 cooked everything from sardines to sea lions along the Pacific Coast of North America that the world was forced to grapple with the reality that these events could become "the new normal". In response to this call to action, a methodology for statistically defining extreme ocean temperature events was agreed upon by research groups around the world. The body of knowledge investigating these events, now known as marine heatwaves (MHWs), has been growing steadily since and the drivers behind the aforementioned events have now been extensively documented. How MHWs are studied, why we should care, and what is being done about them from physical oceanography to fisheries form the basis of this talk. We will also discuss how machine-learning techniques may be used to better understand and potentially predict MHWs at a global scale. The tools presently available for interested researchers will be covered and this talk will conclude with a near-future road-map of the study of MHWs.

When: Friday, February 8, 2018

Where: 10am, George Needler Boardroom, Room VS-427, van Steenburgh Building, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


Who: Pierre Coupel

Bedford Institute of Oceanography

What: Nutrient decline in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea

The Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP), a long-term monitoring program of hydrographic data provides evidence of decreasing silicate and phosphate concentrations in the Labrador Sea over the last two decades. The most significant decline in nutrient concentrations is observed in the Labrador Shelf sector, which is dominated by the circulation of the Arctic outflow. Here we propose two main causes to explain the decreasing trend of nutrient content over the Labrador Shelf. First, the decrease of nutrient-rich Pacific waters proportion relative to the Atlantic waters in the Arctic outflow. Second, a nutrient dilution by freshwater accumulation in the surface layer coupled to an enhanced nutrient uptake by phytoplankton over the Arctic Shelves. The decline of nutrient has already noticeable consequences on the primary producers in western Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean ecosystems.

When: Friday, February 1, 2018

Where: 10am, George Needler Boardroom, Room VS-427, van Steenburgh Building, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia


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Last Modified: 2019-02-19