Bird and small mammal species composition between hardwood retention forest treatment sites in mixed stands.

Birds and small mammals are essential members in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and rely on complex habitat structure, such as a diverse mixture of trees, understory growth, or open patches. I will be identifying bird and small mammal composition in relation to forest stand complexity across various forest harvesting treatments, such as clear-cut and new partial-cut methods (partial retention/shelterwood) and compare these to mature forest (control) patches.

Broad-scaled Avian Biodiversity Assessment with Passive Acoustic Monitoring and Artificial Intelligence

Many bird species are highly vocal, and this provides opportunities to monitor avian biodiversity by acoustic surveys. In recent decades, the use of Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs) has gained popularity as a mechanism to census birds through passive acoustic monitoring. Further, automatic algorithms for identifying bird species by their vocalizations have been developed to improve the efficiency and accuracy in analyzing acoustic data. In this project, I will explore the potential applications and limitations of passive acoustic monitoring in avian research.

Bringing dinosaurs into the 2020s: considering current visitation and future virtual tourism possibilities for the Tumbler Ridge Museum and Geopark (BC)

1) Carry out research on existing and potential visitation to Tumbler Ridge with respect to current offerings and to potential Virtual Tourism Experience (VTE)s. Zhang and Meletis will work to conduct a visitor survey-based project during the summer of 2022. They will generate new demographic profiles and qualitative and quantitative data on tourist motivations, experiences, and preferences. Zhang is an international master’s student with experience in online tourism offerings and business models.

Development of a pilot-scale system to demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen production using a combined water electrolysis and wastewater treatment modular plant

This project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a novel system for an efficient and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment plant to produce clean water and hydrogen production as a clean fuel. Hydrogen, as an important energy carrier, is a part of Canada’s energy transition towards net-zero emission and an important asset in Canada’s fight against climate change.

Engineered clay as a novel phosphorus (P) sorbent

Fort Nelson & its surrounding area have been devastated economically by recent changes to their Gas Industry leaving more than 1000 well sites abandoned and not restored. Currently, the area is looking to explore other natural resources in an attempt to save their livelihoods. A previous MITACs partnership with Mindbody Networks Inc. (2018-2020) revealed several clay deposits distributed throughout the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM), are very efficient adsorbents for potential environmental application, which are believed to hold answers to the economic future of the region.

Development of novel adsorbent from foam glass for nutrient recovery from industrial and municipal wastewater effluents: steps towards commercialization.

Future scarcity of phosphorus supply, increasing cost and issues of eutrophication are potential drivers promoting nutrient recovery from wastewaters. The proposed project aims to develop cheap and environmentally friendly technology for the recovery of phosphorus and nitrogen from municipal, agricultural, dairy, food processing, petrochemicals, and biomass processing industries wastewaters. Successful completion of the project will benefit the partner organization by helping them solve the technical challenges associated with their patent-pending adsorbent.

The Discovery of Potential New Antidepressant Compounds from Mushrooms Native to British Columbia

Mental illnesses, particularly depression, is one of the leading causes of global disease burden. In addition to reducing the quality of life of patients and their relatives, it costs billions of dollars annually to the Canadian economy. Unfortunately, current antidepressant drugs are barely satisfactory and have numerous side-effects. The goal of this project is to discover potential new antidepressant drugs from wild mushrooms native to British Columbia.

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.

Assessment of soil quality and mycorrihzal communities and their relationship to the recovery of forest plant communities after wildfire in interior British Columbia

In collaboration with the Nadleh Whut’en and Stellat'en First Nations and SERNbc, researchers from the University of Northern British Columbia will look at the effects of wildfire on soil quality and mycorrhizal fungi abundance. Soil quality will be evaluated on the ability to promote plant growth by assessing available nutrients, soil texture and other physical properties. Fungal diversity will be evaluated in both the soil and the roots of established species. These ecosystem elements will be compared among low, moderate, and high severity burns, along with unburned areas.

Arsenic in soil removal and beneficial reuse

The objective of the research is to develop a method for and pilot test the remediation of 3,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide contaminated soils with concentrations up to 20,000mg/kg. Our project aims to research and develop an efficient and safe methodology of soil washing to remove the arsenic from soil, however other methods would be considered. Moreover, we would also like to find a way to treat the arsenic solution resulted from a successful soil washing. One of the possible way to reuse the arsenic solution is to convert it to gallium arsenide for the use in solar power production.

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