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Media Summaries – 2019-2020

The Nova Scotian Institute of Science proudly presents the first lecture of the 2019-2020 Public Lecture season on:


Date: Monday, April 6, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Auditorium

Speaker: Dr. Anne Dalziel
Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University

Title: Diversity in a Minnow Trap: Evolution of the Endemic Nova Scotian White Stickleback and Asexual Killifish Clones

The species of sticklebacks and killifishes living along the Nova Scotian shore have evolved great diversity in physiology and behaviour among populations and species

Studying these small fish can help biologists better understand how aquatic species can adapt to changes in their environment.

Dr. Dalziel will discuss current research on the breeding biology of an endemic Nova Scotian species of stickleback, the ‘white stickleback’, a fish that has evolved unique male breeding colors and behaviour. She will also present research on the evolution of salinity tolerance and breeding behaviour among species of killifishes, including asexual hybrids.

Date: Monday, March 2, 2020
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Auditorium

Speaker: Dr. Andrew Wright
Marine Mammal Researcher Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Title: RoboScientist: Whale Research in Collaboration with Machines

Studying whales and dolphins has always been a challenge, as they spend most of their lives below the surface. Oceanic conditions can also make observations tricky. Technological developments open up new avenues of study. We can now deploy equipment into the ocean to eavesdrop on passing animals and attach tags to track their underwater movements. Drones and remotely operated underwater vehicles have given us previously unimaginable opportunities.

Date: Monday, February 3, 2020

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Auditorium

Speaker: Dr. Maryanne Fisher
Department of Psychology,
Saint Mary’s University

Title: How do Women Compete for Mates?

Women engage in numerous covert, indirect ways to advertise themselves to potential mates, and to win against same-sex mating rivals. Some tactics relate to self-promotion of personality, appearance, or sexuality, while others relate to strategies of derogating rivals, or manipulating rivals or potential mates. Interestingly, women’s same-sex competition appears to occur across cultural groups, and among a fairly wide age range. Demographic variables – current relationship status or interest – play only a minor role in competition.

Date: [RESCHEDULED] Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Speaker: Dr. Kevin Hewitt
Professor of Physics & Chair of Senate
Dalhousie University

Title: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics success for African Nova Scotian Learners: The Imhotep’s Legacy Academy model

Operating in half of Nova Scotia’s regional school boards, the Imhotep’s Legacy Academy (ILA) is an innovative university-community partnership that mobilizes university/college students, faculty and community leaders to help improve STEM success for Grades 6-12 students of African heritage in Nova Scotia.

Now in its 16th year, ILA provides an enriching blend of real-world learning projects, skill-building and leadership development activities as well as tutoring support. Come learn how it has contributed to an eight-fold increase in African Nova Scotian enrolment in engineering, and a tripling in science enrolment at Dalhousie University.

Date: Monday, December 2nd

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Speaker: Sean R. Haughian
Curator of Botany,
Nova Scotia Museum

Title: Lichens in Nova Scotia: An overview of lichen diversity, conservation, & current research

Lichens have received increasing attention in recent years. The casual observer might wonder why lichens, of all things, seem to warrant so much attention

In this presentation, Dr. Haughian will provide a basic overview of lichen biology, ecology, and conservation. Reviewing past and current lichen research in the province, he will share specific results from his own research on the impacts of clearcut edges in forested wetlands

Join us to hear advice from Dr. Haughian on how amateur naturalists can collect useful data on lichen biodiversity in Nova Scotia.

Date: Monday, November 4th

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Speaker: Jonathan Ferrier
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology, Dalhousie University

Title: Ethnobiology of Northeastern Turtle Island Food, Medicine, & Material Security

Food, Medicine, and material culture is related. Securing access requires a respect for the natural laws of the environment.

With examples from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mi’kmaq First Nation, and global indigenous nations we can observe how indigenous peoples are natural leaders for achieving ecological balance. Indigenous spirituality and ecological ways of knowing contain solutions for climate change and local food, medicine, and material security.

With ethnobiology we awaken native linguistic knowledge and traditions in medicine, food and design laid dormant by colonization. Native languages carefully describe our holistic roles on the land while acknowledging all our relations – water, plants medicines, fish, flyers, crawlers and their importance to all.

John M. Kennedy

Date: Monday, October 7

Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

Speaker:Dr. John M. Kennedy
Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto

Title: Drawings of the Blind and Sighted

In drawings over 50,000 years old, outlines stand for the borders of surfaces, the basis for perceiving the world. For centuries, we thought that pictures are only for the sighted. We have now discovered that  blind people can draw. They too use line for the borders of surfaces. Their drawings show objects and scenes. They show dogs from the side, insects from above and people from in front. Often they are not literal, showing movement, the chimes of bells, wandering thoughts and good and evil.
This presentation is part of the 2019 Big Draw Festival and cosponsored by the NSIS, Nova Scotia Museum, Dalhousie University and the NSCAD Drawing Lab.