An ecosystem-based approach to conserving salmon species: Using bald eagle foraging behaviour as an ecological indicator to the health of coastal food webs and salmon ecosystems

Across British Columbia, pacific salmon species provide nutrients for coastal food webs and ecosystems by returning to their natal rivers to complete their spawning cycle. As salmon are the main prey species of bald eagles, it is essential to further understand the effect that the current decline in salmon populations across British Columbia could have on the foraging behaviour of these apex predators.

Watershed-scale connectivity analysis: An applied GIS model towards the strategic management of barriers to Atlantic salmon migration

Barriers to connectivity are often associated with roads, culverts, and even beaver dams. An M.Sc. student with the CRI at UNB working in collaboration with the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council will develop a watershed-scale connectivity analysis using a GIS model to best inform the management of connectivity to reproductive habitats for Atlantic salmon in the Restigouche River watershed. The project will evaluate the current and potential available habitats for egg deposition, juveniles, and conservation requirements needed for an adaptive and integrated management plan.

Defining the effects of pineal compounds in longevity and cystogenesis using a Drosophila melanogaster model

Promoting healthy ageing and prolonging life span has become a global priority to improve quality of life and reduce caring costs for age-related diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Pineal gland extract was shown to increase longevity in many organisms and protect against age-related degeneration. We will systematically analyze the life-extension properties of components of the pineal gland using the short-lived fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Investigating the Role of Cannabis Derived Phytocannabinoid Formulations for the Development of Novel Mental Health Pharmacotherapies

Cannabinoid phytochemicals derived from the marijuana plant are increasingly being recognized for their potential in treating a wide variety of mental health conditions. For example, specific compounds found in marijuana such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are showing promise as pharmacological treatments for disorders including schizophrenia, anxiety, depression and PTSD. However, very little is understood regarding the underlying neurobiological and molecular mechanisms by which these treatments may produce their clinical effects.

Novel applications of technology to Arctic wildlife research and management

The Arctic can be a challenging place to conduct wildlife research and thus a difficult place for scientists and wildlife managers operate. However, technological advances are constantly being made that could have applications in the north. These new technologies, improvements in existing technology, or novel applications have the potential to make Arctic research less expensive, safer for researchers, animals and the environment, and improve data quality or coverage. With any new process that involves wildlife there is a need for extensive validation.

Disturbance thresholds and factors influencing community dynamics of epiphytic cyanolichens in Nova Scotia, with an emphasis on rare and at-risk species

The coastal wet mixedwood forests of Nova Scotia are globally important for lichen biodiversity, but several lichen species are now declining or endangered. This is concerning for forest managers, because forest companies may be subject to penalties if they inadvertently destroy the habitat of an endangered species. The causes of lichen declines are not fully understood, but hypotheses include forest harvesting, acid deposition (from SO2 emissions), and grazing pressure from slugs.

The Cannabis Bioproducts Toolbox

Cannabis sativa (hemp or marijuana) produces a remarkable range of bioproducts that serve rapidly expanding markets for pharmaceuticals, nutritional products, and industrial fibre. With partners Supra THC Services (SUPRA) and Valens AgriTech Limited (VAL) (both wholly owned subsidiaries of Valens GroWorks), we will identify genes responsible for producing healthful oils and proteins in hemp seeds, new methods for identifying the chemicals in medical marijuana, and innovative, non-transgenic techniques for making improved varieties of hemp and marijuana.

Sublethal effects of neurotoxic pesticides on bats: from cells to behavior

Pesticide application in crops has been considered a potential cause of bat population declines in Europe. However, no research on this topic has been conducted in tropical agrosystems, where the use of pesticides is extensive and bat diversity is higher. Considering that insectivorous bats can eat more than 90% of their body mass every night, species that hunt preferentially in crops could be highly exposed to pesticides through their prey. This study seeks to determine the sublethal effects of pesticides on bat species foraging in or near crops.

Filling in the gaps of the IMD immune pathway of the kissing bug Rhodnius prolixus

Rhodnius prolixus is a hemathophagous insect that has served for decades as a model to study insect physiology. Rhodnius prolixus is also a major vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease that kills 45,000 people annually and affects over 8 million people worldwide. The genome of R. prolixus contains ~15,500 predicted protein-coding genes. Many pathways such as the Toll and JAK-STAT pathways were present.

Monitoring cherry postharvest rot and predictive analysis

Postharvest rot of sweet cherry destined for export markets has caused significant economic losses to Okanagan growers. The major fungal pathogens causing rot have not been identified. This project will identify the two major pathogens responsible for postharvest rot in cherry during two growth seasons and characterize them with respect to temperature effects on growth and sensitivity to fungicides. Using DNA-based methods we will track the abundance of the pathogens in the orchard during the growth cycle of cherry, following major rain events and postharvest.

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