Energy and emissions reduction through local municipal planning tools in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe

Municipalities across Canada have declared climate emergencies but are they able to deliver solutions and make change in their communities? What is the role of municipal land use planning tools, such as zoning, green performance standards, and urban design guidelines? Which tools are poised to have the highest impact? Climate change policies related to energy and emissions reductions are now included in virtually all comprehensive municipal plans. The purpose of this research is to understand how policies set out in community climate action plans are going to be implemented.

Automatic detection and classification of marine biogenic habitats, species, and substrates

Canada works towards designating 30% of our national waters as Marine Protected Area (MPA) by 2030. The need to collect baseline information and monitor such a huge territory, which is equivalent to the area covered by Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia altogether, will be next to impossible without a paradigm shift in the way field observation data are processed. We propose a platform for automatic classification of bedrock and species for habitat classification, coastal monitoring, and resource assessments.

The State of Bonne Bay: An Historical and Contemporary Study of the Littoral and Marine Ecology

This project will contribute to an assessment of the historical and contemporary “state of the environment” of Bonne Bay. The aim is to establish the extent to which its marine and littoral ecosystems are resilient and “healthy”, and what changes, if any, have occurred in recent decades to its physical, biological and ecological components. These would include pelagic and demersal fish, marine plants, tides, water temperature and chemistry. Particular attention will be paid to the diversity and habitats of fish and other marine organisms, as well as to estuaries, shorelines and deltas.

Seasonal Change in Roosting Ecology in the Silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)

Silver-haired bats are common species of bat found in North America. They use cavities in trees and space under loose bark to roost, or rest and raise young. The silver-haired bat is thought to migrate south over the winter. Despite this, we have found them in parts of British Columbia during the winter, suggesting they may not migrate in these areas. Our work will help support a MSc student who will investigate how silver-haired bats are using trees in areas where they overwinter in British Columbia and compare with how they use trees in the summer.

Participatory Cities Every One, Every Day: Toronto

This proposal details an approach for evaluating a planned project led by SII called Participatory Cities: a new inclusive, system-based approach to stimulating and supporting dense networks of practical ‘participation culture’ in cities around the world. With proof of concept developed and tested in London, UK, by the Participatory City Foundation, the model will now be implemented in Montreal and Halifax, as well as the community at the centre of this proposal, Regent Park in Toronto.

Assessing the acoustic and physical disturbances of marine traffic on the Northern Resident Killer Whales in the Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve

The northern resident killer whale (NRKW) population off British Columbia’s coast is considered ‘threatened’ within Canada. Recent studies have shown that NRKWs face many threats, with a key stressor being the negative interaction with commercial and recreational vessel traffic. The Robson Bight Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve is a marine protected area in Johnstone Strait, east of Northern Vancouver Island. NRKWs migrate here in the summer to hunt, mate, and perform their unique “rubbing behaviour”.

Satellite Monitoring and Surveillance of Habitat for Right Whales

The critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale resides in waters with busy shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where incidents of ship strikes have proven to be a primary cause of whale death, resulting in their numbers dwindling to less than 400. Though the implementation of speed limits for ships has been somewhat successful in reducing mortality should a collision occur, a lack of knowledge as to the whereabouts of the whales has prevented ships from being able to avoid collisions entirely.

Assessment of metabarcoding eDNA as a strategy for risk evaluation and biomonitoring at disturbed environmental sites in Canada

Industry and environmental consultants are increasingly using environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding approaches to complement traditional environmental risk assessments. However, the application of these technologies to field locations where sampling is limited due to access to secure sites, or remote locations where the environment is very heterogenous, poses challenges to acquiring representative eDNA samples. Furthermore, the interpretation of amplicon sequencing data from environmental samples presents extreme analytical challenges.

Building the Durham Region Food System Report Card: Assessing the opportunities and gaps in attaining a sustainable and just regional food system

Using simplified language understandable to a layperson; provide a general, one-paragraph description of the proposed research project to be undertaken by the intern(s) as well as the expected benefit to the partner organization. (100 - 150 words)
To address local food system issues like loss of farmland, people without enough food, or climate change impacts, it is important to see such issues as all related. This project will assess Durham Region food system resources, like local research and policy documents, to find strengths, areas to be addressed, and areas to be studied more.

Restoring the Historic Fire Regime in the Chittenden Meadow, Skagit Valley Provincial Park, BC

The proposed research project to be undertaken involves the following two objectives: (1) Evaluate the effectiveness of prescribed burning as a management technique for maintaining native vegetation in the Chittenden Meadow, which has ecological and cultural importance. Continued long-term monitoring of the meadow, including assessing burn intensity, will help to increase our understanding of vegetation community change following prescribed fires and will build on 13 years of existing data, and (2) Understand the historic role of fire in the surrounding forest and meadow.