Experimental and field-based validation of environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring of juvenile and resident salmonids in British Columbia streams

Determining the distribution and abundance of species is a central requirement for making sustainable resource management decisions. Ecofish, in collaboration with the University of Victoria, would like to evaluate if environmental DNA (eDNA) methods can be used to reliably detect low density salmonid species in streams, with the objective of implementing eDNA as a defensible methodology in the environmental consulting industry in British Columbia.

First Nation Environmental Review and Analysis

The Government of Canada is in the process of reviewing legislation and procedures related to environmental processes, e.g. the Canadian Environmental Assessment process (CEAA) and the National Energy Board process (NEB). Indigenous groups across Canada have participated in engagement sessions, and made formal written submissions which have been made publically available.

Modeling the Risks and Damages from a “Potential” Invasive Plant Species: Yellow Starthistle in British Columbia

The purpose of this research project is to forecast the timing and estimate the costs of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) invasion into southern British Columbia. Yellow Starthistle is an invasive plant that has caused tens of millions of dollars of damages to agricultural production in the United States as well as millions of dollars of costs in the form of reduction of soil moisture, losses of biodiversity and tourism.

Balancing costs and benefits of invasive species management for endangered wetland reptiles

Invasive species can have major effects on the landscape, but sometimes their effects are assumed to be negative before they are scientifically tested. The common reed is an extremely tall and robust grass that is moving rapidly into wetlands across Canada. Common reed is believed to threaten some reptiles by reducing their access to suitable habitats, but this has not been tested. In this project, we use state-of-the-art tracking equipment to directly test whether endangered turtles and snakes are forced to change their habitat use in areas impacted by the common reed.

Innovative Financing for Energy Access – The Role of Finance and Energy Service Companies in Promoting Energy Development

The proposed postdoctoral research focuses on addressing the challenges associated with energy access in developing countries as well as promoting energy-independent communities in Canada in a bid to promote sustainable development. The study would investigate a consortium-like financing model for small and medium scale renewable energy projects in which energy service companies are financed by a number of investors to in order to reduce the investment risks.

Sustaining our forests in southwestern Alberta

This MITACS internship will support Julie Fortin, an MSc student whose focus is on developing new techniques for analyzing oblique historical mountain survey images based on the world’s largest systematic collection of historical mountain survey images, the Mountain Legacy Project. Her research is driven by questions about shifts in biodiversity over time, built atop biodiversity data and models developed by Dr. Jason Fisher and his colleagues and crews with Alberta Innovates for Willmore Wilderness.

Informing Indigenous Marine Protection in Gitga’at Territory

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a popular strategy for ocean conservation in Canada and several
options are available to pursue this type of protection. However, the current federal and provincial processes for
MPA development involve engagement in lengthy multi-stakeholder processes that can overwhelm local
communities and their conservation objectives. An alternative strategy is the establishment of MPAs led by
individuals or organizations in a community.

Sustainability planning and performance assessment in Maple Ridge, BC

The Centre for Sustainable Development at Simon Fraser University has been a leader in sustainable development theory and practice, in Canada and internationally, since 1989. The Centre stimulates sustainable development research and study in BC and elsewhere; collects and provides information about sustainable development; carries out sustainable development projects in partnership with communities and agencies, and facilitates effective use of university resources in responding to requests for assistance on sustainable development problems.

Municipal Climate Change Planning Guidance

The objectives of this research project revolve around the emerging world of municipal climate change policy, planning and implementation in an Ontario context. Specifically, this project will:
1. Assess and compare innovative policies and procedures that are being used by Ontario municipalities to integrate growth planning with climate and energy planning.
2. Assess the factors that support and define net zero community building in Ontario.

Tracking the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on migratory birds

Declines in migratory bird populations have been linked to a range of complex environmental factors, including the dramatic increase in application of neurotoxic neonicotinoid insecticides in recent decades. Neonicotinoids are used as seed treatments in a wide variety of Canadian crops, and consumption of treated seeds could result in poor navigation and migration delays in migratory birds. However, the influence of insecticides on cognition and patterns of movement is poorly understood.