In light of the current crisis in our forests, there has been a general push towards ecosystem management, in which forests are managed for ecological as well as social and economic values. One way to accomplish this may be for management to emulate natural disturbance patterns, thus creating a forest similar to the natural forest. Unfortunately, industrial exploitation has been so extensive that it is often impossible to tell what the natural forest should look like without extensive research on natural disturbance patterns and historical forest composition.
The objective of this project is to develop a novel agricultural‐based approach for producing high levels of stearidonic acid (SDA)‐containing seed oil in plants using co‐cultivation with microbial inoculants. Production of seed oil enriched in SDA, a dietary product possessing proven health benefits, is promising for use as animal and human diet supplements. SDA has been found in plant species and cultivars belonging to the Boraginaceae family that have significant potential for development into commercially viable crops.
Native prairie is critical to the survival of avian grassland specialists. This internship will determine the extent to which recent natural gas development on native grasslands in Southwestern Saskatchewan influences grassland songbird abundance. Natural gas activity may negatively affect bird abundance via habitat degradation (well density, noise pollution, human disturbance, exotic species, soil compaction, gas wells etc.) and loss.
Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a unique technology that allows the preservation of the entire genome from an individual, thereby avoiding dilution of valuable alleles. This is an important criterion in endangered species preservation. Our interest in the Canadian wood bison, a threatened species, has brought us to consider the application of SCNT as a method for embryo production and genome preservation. This project will evaluate the developmental competence of bison embryos produced by interspecies SCNT, whereby a bison donor cell is transplanted into a domestic cattle oocyte.
Assisted reproductive technologies can provide unique alternatives for wildlife managers interested in preserving genetically valuable individuals. The Canadian wood bison, currently listed as threatened, will benefit greatly from the use of in vitro fertilization and embryo banking as a method for producing genetically healthy, disease‐free herds. However, minimal or non‐existent knowledge of the fundamental aspects of reproductive biology has limited the success of reproductive technologies in non‐domestic species.
The primary determinant of fish population size accessible for fisheries is the survival beyond the egg and larval stages. To estimate the number of fish available for harvest therefore, modelers must be able to accurately predict the percent of fish that survive these early life stages. Many species, such as walleye, must reside in nursery areas to survive the larval stage and current flow is a major factor determining their retention in these areas.
In many actively managed forest ecosystems, the most disturbed locations are the areas where excess woody slash has been piled and burned. Burning slash creates barren patches, which may provide locations for the invasion of exotic plant species. The intern will study the restoration of native species to these sites where slash piles have been recently burned, with the intent of preventing the entry of exotic invasive species into the area or, if invasive species are already present, preventing their further spread.
The intern will collaborate with MGS Horticultural, a major supplier of fertilizer and pest management controls, to study the relationship between scent and pollination success in commercial greenhouses. Previous (unpublished) research has suggested that scent is an integral component of pollination in greenhouse tomato, and that scent can be affected by growth conditions within a greenhouse. The research proposed will attempt to not only confirm this, but use it in developing a course of action for tomato crops which are experiencing a deficit of pollination.
The goal of this project is to develop a method of estimating optimum stocking strategies in mixed species lakes in collaboration with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, a non-profit organization which works in partnership with the provincial government to deliver the fish stocking program as well as providing conservation fish culture services. The growth and survival of stocked fish will be estimated across a range of initial sizes, trout densities and competitor fish densities.
Streams become contaminated with pesticides through runoff, groundwater contamination and aerial deposition. Previously, a research team had determined that aquatic insects are negatively affected by insecticides at concentrations that are detected in streams in Atlantic Canada. These concentrations were so low that they were not thought to cause effects. It was found that mayflies were smaller, less fit and always female when exposed to insecticides in artificial streams. In some cases, we saw these effects even at the lowest concentrations (0.1 parts per billion).