The influence of local and global stressors on coral reef ecosystems

Vibrant coral reefs are amongst the world’s most diverse and economically important marine ecosystems, but are also imminently threatened by climate change and local threats, including fishing and pollution. Understanding how these threats impact coral reefs, and the capacity for reefs to recover after bleaching events is critically important. This project will focus on Kiritimati (Christmas Island), a ‘natural laboratory’ in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which experienced extensive coral bleaching during a recent intense heat wave.

A novel, bioactive compound, found in the leaves and bark of a tree species abundant on the west coast of British Columbia, as a candidate natural pesticide

In nature, plants have evolved sophisticated defense mechanisms against insects, fungi, and other pests. When isolated, many of these chemicals have tremendous potential as natural pesticides, as they pose little threat to the environment, are non-toxic to the user, and are readily biodegradable. Recent research has determined a correlation between a novel compound found at significant concentration in a tree species abundant on the west coast of Canada, and increased resistance to leaf eating pests.

TRICHUM: Translating Research into Innovation for Cannabis Health at Université de Moncton

Supplying cannabis, and cannabis products, to a legalized retail market represents a major economic opportunity and has been identified as a growth opportunity under New Brunswick’s Economic Growth Plan (Province of New Brunswick, 2016). Indeed, the retail market value for recreational cannabis in Canada is expected to reach $8.7 billion annually (Deloitte, 2016); however, current production capacity will not meet the anticipated demand.

Development of Bacterial Semiochemicals for Insect Pest Management

This MITACs proposal seeks funding to establish an internship cluster dedicated to development and testing of novel semiochemical solutions with potential for worldwide distribution and sales. The objective of this three-year project is to enable successful development, testing and commercialization of effective and environmentally-responsible pheromone-based detection and mitigation products that will complement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies for controlling insect pests in agriculture and forestry within Atlantic Canada and beyond.

Bird Density and Species Richness in Interior British Columbia – tools to inform conservation value and risk assessment in forestry

Forest companies would like to reduce the number of birds, eggs, and nests that are negatively affected by logging. They are particularly interested in reducing impacts on species at risk. The problem is that we don’t have detailed knowledge of where every bird lives, so it’s difficult to make educated choices about where and how much forest to harvest. This research will help provide a solution to this problem. We can relate bird data to landscape and forest characteristics like elevation, forest age, and forest height to understand which forest types have the most birds.

Biomaterials for the reduction of bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation

Stents are tubes placed between the kidney and the bladder which prevent blockages which might otherwise damage the kidney. Introducing foreign material into this system allows a platform for bacteria to exist and which will potentially cause infections. These are very common. We propose modifying the surfaces of the materials used in stents to make them “non-stick” to prevent bacteria attaching and then causing infections. We can test this in the laboratory and wish to test different types of material under different conditions which mimic the clinical environment.

Optimization of Bull Semen Cryopreservation through Iterative and Rational Media Design

Cryopreserved (frozen) semen provides optimal genetics to cattle and especially dairy farmers, facilitating improved breeding programs. The sperm cryopreservation process significantly reduces fertility compared to fresh sperm. Each percent of reduced fertility amounts to a significant financial loss to farmers. Thus there is great pressure on semen providers to improve post thaw fertility, as it is a significant market decider. In order to be successfully cryopreserved, sperm must undergo a number of damaging processes.

Impacts of once-through cooling on the aquatic environment

Many thermal power plants, including Bruce Power, rely on once-through cooling using water from the Great Lakes. The warmer water that is released back into the lake has the potential to impact temperature sensitive aquatic species that occupy the near shore water close to the discharges. The proposed research will investigate the genetic population structure of three fish species surrounding Bruce Power (lake whitefish, round whitefish, yellow perch), and study the impacts of varying water temperature on embryonic development and post-hatch fitness.

Nutritional value of Mysis diluviana for the growth, development and reproduction of hatchery-reared salmonids

Mysis diluviana, a shrimp-like crustacean, is an invasive species in Okanagan Lake. As part of a strategy by the BC government to reduce the impact of this species on the natural lake ecosystem, Piscine Energetics Inc. has been harvesting Mysis from Okanagan Lake since 2000 and retails the harvested Mysis as fish food to the ornamental aquarium industry. There are indications that Mysis could also be an effective source of nutrition for rearing trout and salmon in hatcheries.

Characterizing lytic bacteriophages against pathogenic E. coli: killing spectrum, efficacy in vivo, and genomic analysis

Bacterial pathogens of importance to animal health and food safety have major and global impacts on agriculture and food industries. There has been an increase in bacterial resistance to antimicrobials, and antibiotic use in livestock and poultry has been questioned due to likelihood of increased antimicrobial resistance. Alternative strategies to contend with bacterial pathogens within the food production chain are therefore needed. Lytic bacteriophages (phages) are bacteria-specific viruses that can lyse and kill their bacterial targets. One of the focuses of SyntBioLab Inc.