City trees and forests provide numerous ecosystem services (e.g. cleaner air, cooler environment, recreation) to human society but they are increasingly threatened by the changing climate, urban sprawl, invasive pests and diseases. This is particularly the case for Eastern Canadian cities that see the need to replace a large proportion of their trees killed by the Emerald ash borer (an invasive exotic insect). Current species choice is mostly based on aesthetics, economics and tradition.
Problem: Airports are increasingly important, both economically and socially, for the movement of people and goods. A major risk faced by airports is the potential for collisions between aircraft and birds (bird strikes). Bird strikes are dangerous and expensive, with costs including the repair of damaged aircraft and of closed runways delaying flights and leaving planes in the air until they are cleared.
Objective: We will determine whether pest control of insects around airfields can decrease the abundance of foraging birds near runways and reduce the risk of bird strikes.
Several fish species produce species-specific sounds that can be identified in the wild using Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) (i.e. dataloggers configured with underwater microphones). Our project will use existing and new PAM recordings to monitor the distribution of several fish species in the western Canadian Arctic, with particular focus on a keystone Arctic species, the Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). Acoustic signal detection techniques will be implemented to identify fish sounds from large acoustic datasets.
Development of new and improved plant biotimulants through the combination of soil-borne bacteria like Pseudomonas chlororaphis PA23 should provide new opportunities for crop improvement in the Canadian Agri-Food market. The proposed MITACS Accelerate project will support collaborative research and develop synergies between industry and scientists at the University of Manitoba to investigate the effect an an established plant growth promoting bacteria, PA23, in the presence and absence of one of Stoller Enterprises most well-known biostimulant product, BioForge.
Canadas coastal regions are an excellent source of marine renewable energy. These regions are also popular with marine mammals, providing good feeding opportunities. However little is known about how marine mammals will be affected by tidal energy developments. Concerns include the impacts of sound on animals ability to find food and navigate, the indirect effects of changes in prey distribution and abundance, and the direct impacts of collision with tidal energy structures in the water column.
Wetland habitats are critically important to many animal and plant species, and they are in trouble. The North American prairies, for example, comprise some of the most productive wetland habitats in the world, but many areas of the prairies have lost up to 90% of their wetlands and more than 90% of their native grasslands due to farming practices and more recently, climate change. This project will build a decision-support framework to prescribe the conservation actions needed to sustain wetland biodiversity in the face of climate and land-use changes.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline and similar projects propose to transport oil from Alberta to tidewater terminals in British Columbia and eastern Canada. Accidental release of petroleum distillates and related by-products would have consequences on the marine ecosystem. To evaluate spill implications for seabirds, we propose to develop and apply molecular tools to assess toxicological and health endpoints in selected seabird monitoring species, using a combination of laboratory and field research.
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.
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.
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.