June 27, 2009

May/June 2009 edition

The May 2009 edition has come a bit late - time is flying by already - I made the move to Manitoba for the summer and somehow lost track of time in there!

Thanks for all of the many sCRIbes out there that took the time to put their lab's info together. Most people are busy out there in the field these days - so I am hoping that the September '09 issue is full of updates on research projects and lots and lots of great pictures to share.

- Michelle Gray

Recent Happenings - Baird Lab

North American Benthological Society Annual Meeting: May 17-21, 2009.
The Baird lab sent 4 people to the annual NABS meeting in Grand Rapids Michigan. Donald co-chaired a special session with Bernard Sweeney entitled “Environmental barcoding: Genomic Solutions for Biomonitoring” looking at the progress and challenges regarding the use of DNA barcoding in biomonitoring applications. Wendy, David, and Colin also presented their research – everyone’s talks were well received and some valuable research contacts were established.

Recent Happenings - Courtenay Lab

Marc Skinner is back working on his PhD, “Examining the influence of suspended oyster (Crassostrea virginica) aquaculture on estuarine and coastal benthic communities.”

Mike Sweezey did his MSc. proposal presentation on March 31. His project is on “The Importance of Freshwater Overwintering Habitat to the Life Cycle of the American Eel.” Mike has been doing field work with his summer student, Robert Ginson, for two weeks now, fishing eel using the smolt wheel and fyke nets on the Upper Salmon River, Alma, NB. They have PIT tagged almost 200 eel and radio tagged 3 eel.

Robert Ginson releasing an eel upstream

Simon Courtenay spoke on CAMP (Community Aquatic Monitoring Program) at Andre St-Hilaire's NSERC workshop April 23-24.

Jared Tomie
did his MSc. proposal presentation on April 27. His project is on “Substrate preference and burrowing behaviour of the American eel (Anguilla rostrata).” He is now setting up tanks to get started with eel experiments at the Mactaquac Biodiversity Centre.

Allan Debertin
did his MSc. proposal presentation on May 11. His project is on “Predator-prey interactions between planktivorous fish and their prey in the Northumberland Strait.” He is now in the lab sorting through the stomach contents of Northumberland Strait fish.

Sarah Dickison completed her first bioassay looking at the toxicity of dispersed oil for Atlantic herring embryos.

Simon Courtenay, Marie-Helene Theriault, Allison Schein, Jared Tomie, and Allan Debertin attended the Atlantic Canada Coastal and Estuarine Science Society (ACCESS) conference at UPEI in Charlottetown from May 13 – 15. They heard some interesting talks and enjoyed a delicious banquet dinner on the 13th. Allison, Jared, Allan, and Marie-Helene all gave a talk about their projects, and Allison and Jared won first and second place, respectively, for Best Student Oral Presentation. Congratulations Allison and Jared!

Allan won the 2009 Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability Scholarship, valued at $5000. The Coalition offers this scholarship to encourage students to pursue research on environmental and sustainability topics in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence region. Allan will give a talk about his work to the coalition on June 11th, at their annual general meeting in Emerald, PEI. Congratulations, Allan!

Recent Happenings - Culp Lab

On May 17th to 22nd the 57th Annual North American Benthological Society (NABS) meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan was attended by CRI members Joseph Culp, Donald Baird, Kelly Munkittrick, Amanda Valois, Colin Curry, Wendy Monk, David Arminini and Alexa Alexander. The meeting was well attended with more than 800 benthic ecologists present at the very swank Amway Hotel.

Highlights included plenary presentations by Paul Ehrlich and David Allan.

From the Culp lab, a platform presentation was made by Alexa:

Alexander, A.C. and J.M. Culp. Nature versus mixture: evaluating changes in benthic assemblages due to insecticides and nutrients.

Drs Joseph Culp (past President of NABS) and Patricia Chambers organized a well-received special session on the impacts of agriculture on stream ecosystems.

A number of AEIRD scientists and their students gave presentations, including:

Developing sediment targets to prevent excessive sedimentation in
agriculturally-dominated watersheds. Joseph M. Culp, Glenn A. Benoy, Robert Brua, Andrew Sutherland, Patricia Chambers.

• Heidi has accepted a teaching position at ABU in Moncton
• Laura G. has completed a draft of her thesis
• Alexa and Allison are gearing up for another field season
• Allison Ritcey is the recent recipient of a 2009-2010 Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research from the Canadian Northern Studies Trust. The scholarship was awarded for her research involving stream processes and food web structures in northern Labrador and the relevance of the research to northerners and northern scholarship.

Recent Happenings - Kidd Lab

Heidi Swanson (PhD student) won the Best Student Platform award at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s Annual Meeting held in Tampa, FL. Her presentation was entitled “Transients in the north: interactions of migratory fish, climate change, and contaminant accumulation in coastal Arctic lakes.” Congratulations Heidi!!!

The first week of May we started our whole pond experiments at CFB Gagetown. Twenty-four ponds have been split into two and we are treating one side with glyphosate either on its own or in combination with N and P to examine the effects of these stressors on wetland communities. Leanne Baker (PhD student) has been in the field most days sampling the aquatic invertebrates and feeding the terrestrial invertebrates!

Recent Happenings - MacLatchy Lab

Kelly Lippert Roberts (research coordinator in the MacLatchy Lab at Laurier) was married in March to Stewart Roberts. She also completed her BEd at University of Western Ontario in April.

Recent Happenings - Peake Lab

Most of the Peake research crew headed out to Pinawa, Manitoba to wrestle sturgeon for the summer field season. However, they seem to catch more weeds than fish.

Bill Tibble recently headed out to Newfoundland to acoustically tag brook trout. Mr. Nice guy wanted to feel what the fishes were feeling and tried to do surgery on himself. It required 4 stitches.

Cheryl Klassen successfully completed her PhD candidacy exam this spring and received a 2-year NSERC Post Graduate Scholarship.

Claire Hrenchuk was successful in receiving an NSERC Industrial Scholarship for her MSc project.

Recent Happenings - UPEI group

The Atlantic Coastal and Estuarine Science Society (ACCESS) Workshop: “Estuaries: A Threatened Resource” was held at UPEI in Charlottetown, PEI on May 13th-15th. The workshop was well attended by CRI folks and several CRI graduate students gave wonderful presentations and posters on their research. Thank-you to the Co-ordinator Mike van den Heuvel and the Organising Committee: Gary Bugden, Simon Courtenay, Martha Jones, Pedro Quijon, Jeff Davidson, Andy Trivett, Kevin Teather, Megan Finley, Christina Pater, Cindy Crane, Mark Hanson, Lori Edwards, and Jon Stackpool as well as the numerous volunteers that helped make this workshop a success.

Allison Schein (MSc candidate co-supervised by Mike van den Heuvel and Simon Courtenay) won 1st place in the Student Platform competition at the ACCESS Workshop for her presentation titled: Effects of agriculturally-derived nitrate and increased sea lettuce growth on the estuarine food web structure of Prince Edward Island. Congratulations Allison!

Monitoring PEI Amphibians for Disease

A collaborative research project led by Natacha Hogan and Kevin Teather (CRI Associate Fellows) and Maria Forzan (wildlife pathologist, Atlantic Veterinary College) will assess the presence and distribution of a chytrid fungus as a potential threat to the health of amphibians on PEI. This fungus and resulting disease outbreaks have been linked to the decline or extinction of up to 200 amphibian species worldwide. Results of this project will be used to foster awareness among the public and special interest groups regarding disease status of amphibians and make recommendations to appropriate authorities, offices and local groups for implementing measures to effectively impede the introduction and/or spread of the fungus. Summer fieldwork is underway and involves swabbing frogs at sites from across PEI for diagnostic testing for the fungus. This project is funded by the PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund and a UPEI Major Research Grant.

New People - Baird Lab

Jessica Orlofske – originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (M.S. Iowa State University, B.S. University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point)

Jessica is a new PhD student in the Baird Lab. She has has a combined interest in ecology and entomology and plans to investigate aquatic insect communities and their application for biomonitoring.

New People - Culp Lab

Adam Yates – originally from Southwestern Ontario (BSc Env University of Guelph, MSc and PhD University of Western Ontario).
Effects of nutrient enrichment on ecological condition in Southern Manitoba streams.
PostDoctoral Project.

New People - Kidd Lab

Katharina Fischer (BSc University of Guelph). MSc student. Effects of methylmercury on the health of yellow perch in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. (Karen Kidd)

Meredith Clayden (BSc Mount Allison). MSc student. Mercury bioaccumulation and energetics of food webs in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. (Karen Kidd)

New People - MacLatchy Lab

Tanya Nadon and Jeremy Fulton have started Honours project with Dr. MacLatchy.

New People - Peake Lab

Craig McDougall. originally from Pinawa, MB (BSc U of Manitoba). Upstream and downstream passage over hydroelectric dams of lake sturgeon. MSc project. Co-supervisors: Steve Peake/Gary Anderson.

Katy Jay
– originally from Ontario (BSc U of Guelph).
Summer technician.

Dan Stepanik – originally from Pinawa, MB (BSc U of Manitoba).
Summer technician associated with the Manitoba Science Academy.

Meagan Alexander
– originally from Winnipeg, MB (undergrad U of Winnipeg).
Summer technician associated with the Manitoba Science Academy.

Christine Lacho – originally from Winnipeg, MB (BSc U of Winnipeg).
Summer technician associated with the Manitoba Science Academy.

New People - UPEI group

Sean McNeill - originally from Summerside, PE
Undergraduate Honours Thesis.
Measurement of Gonadal Steroidogenic Enzyme Expression in Three-Spined Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
Co-supervised: Mike van den Heuvel and Natacha Hogan

Scott Roloson - originally from Montague, PE
Undergraduate Honours Thesis.
Dynamics and size structure of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) populations from north-eastern Alberta lakes.
Supervisor: Mike van den Heuvel

Laura Phalen - originally from Charlottetown, PE
Undergraduate Summer Student.
Development of molecular techniques for detection of iridovirus in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) exposed to oil sands process-affected water
Co-supervised: Mike van den Heuvel and Natacha Hogan

Ashleigh Allen - originally from Charlottetown, PE
Undergraduate Honours Thesis.
Influence of thyroid hormone on gonadal steroidogenesis and steroidogenic enzyme expression in the amphibian Xenopus tropicalis.
Supervisor: Natacha Hogan

Jenelle McKenzie
- originally from Hartsville, PE
Jenelle is a student assistant field technician working in estuaries along Prince Edward Island's North shore. She is working on assessing fish community composition in eelgrass beds in estuaries with differing eelgrass structure. All of her work is part of an on-going project to identify land-use impacts on PEI's estuarine environment.
Supervisor: Kevin Teather

Completed Students

Allison Van Slack
• BSc Honours student in the MacLatchy Lab at Laurier, Completed in April 2009
• Starting in a MSc program in Agriculture at University of Guelph

Publications/Conference proceedings/Reports

Journal article publications

Buffagni A., Armanini D.G. & Erba S. 2009. Does the lentic-lotic character of rivers affect invertebrate metrics used in the assessment of ecological quality?. Journal of Limnology 68 (1) 92-105.

Monk, W.A., P.J. Wood, D.M. Hannah and D.A. Wilson. 2008. Instream ecological response to inter-annual variability in the hydrological regime for rivers in England and Wales. River Research and Applications. 24: 988-1001.

Wartman, C.A., N.S. Hogan, L.M. Hewitt, M.E. McMaster, M.J. Landman, S. Taylor, T.G. Kovacs, and M.R. van den Heuvel. 2009. Androgenic effects of a Canadian bleached kraft pulp and paper effluent as assessed using threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Aquat. Toxicol. 92 :131-139

Book chapters

Buffagni, A., Cazzola, M., Alba-Tercedor, J., López Rodríguez, M.J. & Armanini, D.G. 2009. Distribution and Ecological Preferences of European Freshwater Organisms. Volume 4. Ephemeroptera, Schmidt-Kloiber, A. & Hering D. (eds.), Pensoft publishers, pp. 388.

Metcalfe, C., K.A. Kidd and J. Sumpter. 2009. Chemically-induced alterations to gonadal development in fish. In: Leatherland and Woo (Eds.) Fish Diseases and Disorders: Non-infectious Disorders, 2nd Edition, CABI Publ., U.K.

Reports/Non-peer reviewed articles

Baird, D.J., Peters, D.L., Monk, W.A., Horrigan, N., Curry, R.A. and Tenenbaum, D.E. (2008). Assessing the ecological effects of instream flow modifications. 2007/08 Final Report. National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative, NAESI Technical Series.

Baird, D.J., Peters, D.L., Curry, R.A., Horrigan, N., Monk, W.A. and Tenenbaum, D.E. (2008). Establishing Standards and Assessment Criteria for Instream Flow Needs in Agricultural Watersheds of Canada. A Synthesis Report prepared as part of Environment Canada’s National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative: Water Theme. 70pp.

Peters, D.L., Baird, D.J., Monk, W.A. and Tenenbaum, D.E. (2008). Towards the Development of Instream Flow Needs Standards for Agricultural Watersheds in Canada – 2007/08 Final Report. National Agri-Environmental Standards Initiative, NAESI Technical Series.

van den Heuvel, M.R. Site-Specific Guidelines for Phosphorus in Relation to the Water Quality Index Calculations for Prince Edward Island. Report for the Government of PEI.

June 26, 2009

CRI Training - current offerings

Currently we have 3 non-credit professional courses that we are offering:

Backpack Electrofishing Certificate - online course + field practicum

Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring (CABIN) Certificate program - series of online course modules + field practicum

Stream Restoration: Design and Monitoring - face-to-face week long course led by Dr. Bob Newbury to be held in Penticton BC 26-30 Oct, 2009. (Note: depending on requirement at your home institution, you may be able to request credit for this course).

Depending on the course, we have student and/or CRI rates, check out the course websites and contact Michelle Gray (m.gray@unb.ca) for more information.

June 01, 2009

CRI in the news - Muscrat Motives

This article was written and published by The Guardian on April 18th and featured the research project of Garry Gregory, an MSc candidate supervised by Mike van den Heuvel (CRI Fellow, UPEI).

Muskrat Motives - Two-year research project to take a good long look at some of the potential factors in P.E.I.’s declining muskrat population.

Depending on your freak-out factor, muskrats are either cute little animals deserving of that 1970s Muskrat Love hit by Captain and Tennille or one step away from a raunchy household rodent. But one thing is for sure, there are far less of them now in P.E.I. marshes than in recent decades past.

In response to this, a two-year research project will be taking a good long look at this semi-aquatic animal both in the lab and in its outdoor habitat to try to determine the cause of this population decline.

“It’s going to be interesting, especially the fieldwork, because it’s going to involve basically going to a marsh around dusk with night vision goggles and staying there for a period of time in the evening, just watching to see what happens,” says Garry Gregory, who is the graduate student in the masters program at Atlantic Veterinary College conducting the study.

It was the PEI Trappers Association that noticed a significant drop in the muskrat population, especially in the Eastern Kings region. “There are not really other monitoring programs in PEI for muskrat populations so they were just recording declining catches so they were a bit concerned and brought it to the attention of wildlife biologists,” says Gregory.

The study, which started in September 2008, is a project of the P.E.I. Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry, the P.E.I. Trappers Association, the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre and the UPEI departments of biology, pathology and microbiology. It is also funded in part by the Wildlife Conservation Fund. It will combine fieldwork and laboratory work to identify the cause or factors responsible for the decline and hopefully restore the muskrat populations to healthy, sustainable levels. Potential factors may include predation, disease, habitat degradation and water contamination. Trapping isn’t expected to be a factor.

“Muskrats have been very resilient to harvest. Studies (elsewhere) have shown that you have can up to harvest up to 80 per cent (and be sustainable),” Gregory says. “We have (also) data to show that there are less trapped now than there has been in the past for a variety of reasons, such as low pelt prices. And the species has been declining, despite reduced trapper effort.”

Trappers are supplying the carcasses for the first phase of the study that is concentrating on 28 marsh areas on P.E.I. There was some general research done in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the population was still relatively healthy, so there is some data for comparison’s sake. “The carcass analysis in the lab (will determine) the age and the sex of the muskrat so we’re able to determine if there’s any change in the population structure,” Gregory says.

Liver tissue will also be tested to determine if any contaminants, such as pesticides or heavy metals, are present to see if that might be playing a role in the population decline. The fieldwork will be conducted this summer.

“I think the study will give some good background data and maybe hopefully what we’ll find can be incorporated into some management decisions that will help the muskrat populations get back where they should be.”
access apply aquatic brunswick campus canadian centre committed contact continuing course cri education employment events faculty fredericton future graduate industry inquiries international issues john law map mission news office online outreach plans professionals programmes protecting research residence resources rivers saint services students study timetable training unb university water work world
created at TagCrowd.com