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BIO Coffee Talks: May 2018

Who: Chantal Giroux

Dalhousie University

What: 3d Mapping and Analysis of River Habitat for Atlantic Salmon Conservation in the Inner Bay Of Fundy

In 2004, the Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon were listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act, their populations having seen rapid declines in recent years. With 33 rivers considered as potential breeding ground, there is a need to understand population bottlenecks related to spawning. Characterization of rivers with aerial habitat mapping provides a quantitative assessment of river quality for growth and reproduction. Fundy National Park contains two well-studied rivers (Upper Salmon & Pointe Wolf rivers), that have historically been known as good salmon habitat. The staff of Fundy National Park, the University of New Brunswick and Cooke Aquaculture have collaborated to rear smolts in sea cages for release back to the river, where they are tracked acoustically and by river surveys. In 2016 the Upper Salmon river was flown and photographed by a DJI Phantom 4 drone. Using Pix4D software, a 3D map of the river was created and is being classified based on water velocity, water depth and stream gradient. Substrate size is also currently being analyzed through segmentation and texture analysis. Our habitat mapping contributes directly to assessing habitat and spawning usage as an approach to understanding the success of this restoration effort.

When: Friday, May 25, 2018

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


Who: Stephen O'Leary

National Research Council

What: Recent NRC activities in applied algal technologies

The National Research Council's laboratories in Halifax and Ketch Harbour have a 75 year history of research and development activities concerning seaweeds and microalgae. Over that period, the focus of NRC's algae programs has evolved in response to social need and public policy, addressing topics including the provision of bio-based chemicals to alleviate wartime shortages of gelling agents, to food production, shellfish toxin monitoring, biofuel feedstock development and, most recently, greenhouse gas abatement and bioremediation.

The recently concluded Algal Carbon Conversion (ACC) Flagship Program directed NRC's algal research platforms toward the technical and economic barriers to using microalgae as a means of intercepting industrial carbon dioxide emissions in a Canadian context. A biorefinery approach was explored to derive the maximum economic benefit from the biomass produced while utilizing local waste streams as inputs. The primary testbed for the program was a 25,000 litre photobioreactor operating within an ACC pilot plant jointly deployed by NRC and industry partners Pond Technologies and St Marys Cement Canada. At the pilot plant, algae is cultivated on raw emissions from a cement kiln. In addition to activities at the pilot plant, the ACC program hosted more than a dozen large, multi-year, internal research projects and collaborations to address bottlenecks at key points in the pathway to commercially scaled microalgae production. These projects were grouped into four main areas: (1) algae strain selection and characterization; (2) photobioreactor technologies; (3) microalgae harvesting, dewatering and extraction technologies; and (4) biomass utilization. The range of projects included three different approaches to harvesting and dewatering dilute microalgae cultures, advanced biomass characterization, genomic analysis of strains and the development of algae-derived products including biofuels and other bioproducts such as pigments, animal feed ingredients, and bioplastics. The overall program strategy was to develop a suite of algae strains, processes, and products that can be optimized for a particular industry site for commercial deployment of algae cultivation facilities linked to large emitters of carbon dioxide. This presentation will provide an overview of the activities and achievements of the Algal Carbon Conversion Flagship Program and discuss the current capabilities and future opportunities for NRC's algal research teams and facilities.

When: Friday, May 18, 2018

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


Who: Ricardo L Silva

Dalhousie University (Canada) and MARE-University of Coimbra (Portugal)

What: Oceanic dissolved organic carbon as a first-order control of the carbon cycle during the Bathonian–Callovian

The Bathonian–Callovian is one of the Mesozoic intervals that best approximate modern climatic conditions. This interval records several planetary-scale paleoenvironmental changes (e.g. global warming, sea-level rise, ocean deoxygenation) that induced a dramatic (sub-lethal) revolution in the marine ecosystems. We hypothesize that at least two paired d13Ccarb-TOC decoupling events during the latest Bathonian–Callovian resulted from the accumulation of a large dissolved organic carbon (DOC) reservoir in widespread anoxic/ferruginous areas of the oceans. Enlargement of the DOC pool increased C residence time in this reservoir and buffered δ13CDOC (approximated by δ13CTOC) to changes in δ13C of dissolved inorganic carbon (approximated by δ13Ccarb). The reduction in size of the DOC pool led to the recoupling of the paired δ13Ccarb-TOC and a positive carbon isotopic excursion in δ13CTOC. Recoupling was coincidental with preservation of organic matter in sediments. Demise of the DOC pool resulted from the change of accumulation of oceanic organic carbon to export of organic carbon to sediments. Due to its marginal importance in modern environments, oceanic DOC is normally discarded as a significant reservoir to explain current and past climatic changes and perturbations of the C cycle; our study calls attention to its potential as a key driver for planetary-scale changes over geological time periods.

When: Friday, May 11, 2018

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


Who: Leigh Howarth

Dalhousie University

What: Investigating the effects of the UK's first community-led, fully protected marine reserve

Commercial fishing dates back to the medieval times in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland; however, due to centuries of overexploitation, the majority of these fisheries no longer exist. In response to declining fish stocks, residents on the Isle of Arran became increasingly concerned for their local marine environment. After a decade of campaigning for better protection of their seas, the Scottish Parliament designated Lamlash Bay as the UK's first community-led, fully protected marine reserve in September 2008. This community's success story has since been re-told around the world and has helped to inspire other small communities to fight for better management of their local natural environment. Through a combination of science and underwater imagery, Dr. Leigh Howarth summarises his findings from five years of researching the fishery and ecological effects of Lamlash Bay Marine Reserve and discusses how these results can help guide the management of newly created protected areas across Europe and further afield.

When: Friday, May 4, 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: 2018-12-05