The intern will measure the concentrations of organic contaminants (PAHs) and inorganic contaminants (metals) in cores from two lakes in Northern Ontario. One lake has an adjacent industrial site while the second lake represents a control site with no associated industry. Comparison between the lakes will determine whether contaminants previously measured were associated with the industry or are a result of non-point source atmospheric deposition in the region.
The intern will be completing experimental work on compost-based stormwater filters. The experiments will provide necessary data for the development of a predictive mathematical model that will be used to predict the service and maintenance schedule of a compost-based stormwater filter. Specifically, the intern will be collecting data for the dissolved metal uptake capacity of the compost, determining how fast the metals are uptaken, and finally, constructing and gathering data from a pilot site at the University of British Columbia.
This study seeks to work towards a restoration plan for one of the most significant coastal dune ecosystems ties remaining on Vancouver Island. The dune ecosystem at the Cordova Spit represents a unique and fragile environment that offers vital habitat to a number of plants and animals that are at-risk in BC, including several different groups and dozens of species of migratory birds. A large pt of the study site is located on the Tsawout First Nation reserve and is culturally significant to the community.
Vancity Credit Union has been a leader on the climate change issue for many years and has been actively attempting to reduce its carbon footprint since the mid-1990s. Climate change activities at Vancity were undertaken to invest in Canadian solutions to climate change, to build local knowledge about reducing emissions and to create local sources of high-quality carbon offsets. The carbon offset program, in particular, was developed under the advisement of The David Suzuki Foundation, the Natural Step, the Pembina Institute and Ecotrust.
The intern’s study will establish a network to monitor coastal erosion and shoreline changes related to erosive water levels and longer-term trends (e.g. sea level rise, storm surges) associated with climate variability and change in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Climate data, water levels, air photos and cross-shore profiles are crucial indicators of coastal responses to climate change yet their availability and continuity are sparse in some regions.
Groundwater over-extraction and the associated adverse effects have raised significant concerns. In order to respond to the urgent calls for effective management approaches and control actions, this study aims to develop an innovative groundwater evaluation and planning system by integrating water balance modelling, system optimization, scenario analysis and capability assessment.
Victoria, BC has become a favorite stopping point for cruise liners, the majority of which are en route to, or heading back from, Alaska. A record number of 184 ships and 352,000 passengers visited Victoria during the 2006 cruise season (April to October) and 163 calls are expected in 2007. To help understand the impact of the cruise traffic on the surrounding waterways, the intern will use CALPUFF atmospheric dispersion modeling to model emissions from visiting cruise ships and the associated bus and taxi traffic.
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).
Geostatistics uses statistical modelling to assess the uncertainty inherent in natural resource problems. There is always a sparsity of data because of the cost of getting samples. Statistical models have emerged as the preferred method of quantifying the uncertainly in this situation. These models allow mining, petroleum and environmental companies to make better decisions when faced with sparse data. Thus, the intern’s research will develop a methodology to calculate the true distance between samples.
AMEC Earth & Environmental is a company that provides assessments and potential solutions for environmental issues. The intern will assist AMEC by creating mathematical models for several environmental projects including the Northumberland Strait ecosystem. A mathematical model will provide AMEC with a tool for assessment of proposed indicators of ecosystem health and forecasting that can be adapted to future environmental projects. Her work is expected to provide direct and immediate benefit to AMEC through improvements to statistical models and computational methods.