Identifying the drivers of polar bear-human interactions

Polar bears are curious, and that curiosity often leads them into conflict with people. Park and wildlife managers across the Arctic need to understand why polar bears approach people and whether they do so because of human activities, a lack of sea ice, or a combination of both of these factors. Currently, this is not known, which makes it hard to plan how to prevent conflicts between polar bears and people; especially with sea ice conditions changing rapidly as a result of a warming Arctic climate.

Morphodynamic model development to better integrate the impact of riparian vegetation on bank erosion

Morphodynamic models are increasingly used in watershed management to predict the evolution of river channels and to test management scenarios prior to their implementation. The impact of plants in riparian zones is particularly critical to better document, but the current models rarely integrate this component. This project will use a bank erosion module and a vegetation module, recently developed during the intern’s PhD research to address some of the weaknesses of existing morphodynamic models, to develop knowledge on the effects of riparian plants on bank erosion.

Towards a sustainable anti-biofilm technology based on natural materials

Biofilms, surface-adherent microbial populations with enhanced tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectants, are widely-known contamination sources in environmental, industrial and medical settings. Novel approaches for the prevention and remediation of biofilms using nontoxic materials are urgently required. Interestingly, natural polysaccharides and nanopowders have anti-biofilm properties. We will develop a sustainable anti-biofilm technology using PhytoSpherix™ (Mirexus), a natural nanosized polysaccharide extracted from corn.

Cross-sector partnerships for implementing sustainable community plans: comparison between a Canadian city and international communities to determine drivers for partners to remain in the partnerships

The project involves the identification of a Canadian community to be compared with Barcelona (Spain), Bristol (UK) and other two international communities, all experienced cities on sustainability with more than 100 partners including businesses, NGOs, academia and the public sector. The Canadian community must comply with certain criteria to make findings comparable with the international communities.

Wintering Hills Reverse Auction

This research would determine the costs of securing and restoring drained wetland areas on private lands in the Wintering Hills area of Alberta, Canada, through the use of an approach called a “reverse auction.” Collaborating with Ducks Unlimited Canada, the project would pay farmers to allow wetlands to be restored on their property. The payment levels would be determined by the landowners through the auction process. Understanding the costs of restoration is largely unknown, but is critical for the Government of Alberta as they implement the 2013 Alberta Wetland Policy.

Roche Lake Eutrophication study

Roche Lake is the Roche Lake is the largest lake among 12 highly productive water bodies in the Thomson-Nicola region of BC’s southern Interior Plateau. It has experienced algal blooms over the past four years indicating a change in nutrient loadings to the lake. Roche Lake suffered a winterkill of more than 50% of fish due to low oxygen levels during the 2013-2014 winter, with low oxygen levels persisting throughout summer 2014. The algal blooms and impacts on fish populations indicate a significant level of eutrophication that needs to be addressed.

Combining telemetry and mark-recapture models to manage a mixed stock fishery

In 1995, proportions of several stocks of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) began to enter the Fraser River system early to spawn creating uncertainty in mortality and spawning abundance estimates. This has created large problems for fisheries management in their attempt to protect less abundant stocks. To address this issue, Fisheries and Oceans Canada performed a large tagging study of sockeye salmon using radio telemetry in the Harrison River.

Development of rapid and accurate genomic techniques for ballast water UV treatment - Year two

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) recently introduced stringent regulations for the treatment of ballast water. Ultra-violet (UV) light is a useful technology in a ballast water treatment system (BWTS), for inactivating species which could be invasive and harmful to humans and the environment. UV damages DNA and prevents replication, but the vital stain methods mandated in the USCG protocol do not detect UV damage. Alternative culture-based measures of cellular replication capacity are yet to be approved, time consuming, and have limitations (some species mayn't grow).

Sport-for-resilience: 4-H participation and youth lifeskill development

The current wellbeing crisis in Canada is magnified in rural areas. Also, rural economies are negatively affected by lack of suitable youth lifeskill training. Rural communities lack financial capital to address these issues on their own. 4-H has been building rural youth skill for over 100 years, offering a variety of options, including physical activities which occur on farms such as horse activity. For rural youth, there is potential for 4-H physical activity programs to be sport-for-development- a field combining physical activity and lifeskill development.

Integrated hydrodynamic and water quality modelling tool for the Toronto Waterfront

The goal of this project is to develop the first ever high definition integrated water circulation and water quality model for the Toronto Waterfront. As one of the most urbanized freshwater ecosystems with complex geometries and physical processes, Toronto Waterfront is in an urgent need for modern scientific tools that can support effective environmental management strategies and inform design of costly new development and restoration projects that have considerable socioeconomic implications.

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