Estimating Relative Trends in Cetacean Abundance from Data Collected for an Opportunistic Sightings Network

British Columbia’s coastline is home to eighteen species of cetaceans (such as whales, dolphins and porpoises) and three species of sea turtles. Nine of these species are at risk of extinction. To conserve them, it is crucial to learn more about their distribution/abundance and habitat use. The British Columbia Cetaceans Sightings Network (BCCSN) was established to gather sightings of these species from a network of mariners and coastal citizens. Since then, the BCCSN has received thousands of sightings from hundreds of observers up and down the coast.

An Evaluation of Extinction-Risk Criteria for Pacific Salmon Conservation Units

The objective of this research project is to improve the definition of extinction-risk for Pacific salmon species by determining which extinction-risk criteria best reflect the chance of quasi-extinction (extremely low abundance) for the individual conservation units (CUs), which are spatially-defined management units. Two sets of evaluation criteria will be used; those developed for Canadian biota by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and another set developed by the intern.

A Rapid Prototyping System for Games

Before any game can begin development, an idea must be conceived and elaborated sufficiently that it can be given a “green light” by the publisher/developer. A running prototype is extremely helpful in obtaining that approval. Depending on the size of the publisher, however, there may be several rounds of pitches as the idea makes its way up through the layers of management meaning the prototype is demonstrated again and again, possibly being modified to meet the needs of different stakeholders.

The Identification of Gene-Environment Interactions in Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL)is the 5th most common cancer in Canada and its incidence has been increasing steadily every year. Unfortunately, little is known about the causes of the increased incidence, although it is likely that some combinations of genetic and environmental factors are involved. This internship with the BC Cancer Agency will examine genes that may interact with ultraviolet radiation, organochlorines and other environmental and lifestyle factors. This project will provide an important step in understanding the etiology of NHL.

Optimization of Hybrid Energy Harvesting System

Wearable health monitoring devices are identified as a viable option for preventing dangerous health problems and surveillance of after-incident patients. But given the high computing needs of such battery-powered systems, a trade-off must be made between miniaturization and device lifetime. On the other hand, the human bearer is a significant source of power, both in the form of heat and movement, which can be a natural power source for wearable health monitoring devices.

Highly Sensitive Magnetometer

This internship with Photon Control, a Vancouver-based engineering design, development, and manufacturing company is the first phase of a project to design a highly sensitive magnetometer that will act as a non-invasive interface of a human brain to a machine or computer though many other commercial applications of this device are also anticipated. Electrochemical activity in the brain can be interpreted as a “signal” which in turn can be manipulated by a computer to derive information related to thoughts or intentions.

Estimating Abundance and Other Population Parameters for Harlequin Ducks

Harlequin Ducks were marked with individually numbered tags over a 12 year period. In each year, new birds were marked and some of the older birds were resighted. Based on the pattern of when these marks are seen, important parameters such as the abundance, survival rates, and migration rates of the ducks can be estimated. The study undertaken by the intern has a number of unique features (e.g.

Predicting suitable habitat for deep-sea corals in BC

Although the existence of deep-sea coral reefs has been known for centuries, it is only in the last decade that interest and understanding of these ecosystems have increased. There is a growing concern about the diversity and magnitude of anthropogenic (human) threats to these fragile habitats. Bottom trawling poses by far the largest threat. These corals are in need of protection, but a lack of basic information on the distribution and extent of deep sea corals in BC is constraining managers’ ability provide this protection.

Machine Translation for Social Gaming

This project with Koolhaus Games, an electronic game developer, aims to use state-of-the-art natural language processing technology as part of a novel and innovative social networking and social gaming engine. Social networking games are popular, particularly among children, and the team hopes to use natural language processing technology to provide a transparent, multi-lingual interface for communication between children from various countries who speak different languages.

Assessing the Feasibility of an Automated Public Bicycle System in Metro Vancouver

This project involves working with Translink - the Greater Vancouver transit authority, covering buses, skytrain, seabus, trains, and ferries - to conduct initial research to examine the viability of an automated public bicycle system similar in scale and design to systems recently initiated in Paris, Lyon and Oslo.