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For live talks, please see the Public Lectures page

Date: September 14, 2020
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Anne Dalziel,
Associate Professor,
Department of
Saint Mary’s University

Diversity in a Minnow Trap

The species of sticklebacks and killifishes living along the Nova Scotian shore show great diversity in physiology and behaviour among populations and species. Dalziel studies these small fish to better understand how aquatic species can adapt to changes in their environment. Dr. Dalziel will discuss her lab’s 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 our research on the evolution of salinity tolerance and breeding behaviour among species of killifishes, including asexual hybrids.

Date: October 5, 2020
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Erin Bertrand
Associate Professor,
Department of Biology,
Dalhousie University
Research Chair

Phytoplankton Need Their Vitamins Too:
How the foundation of ocean food webs depends on micronutrients

Phytoplankton form the base of marine food webs and play important roles in ocean carbon cycling. Dr. Bertrand shares new tools to listen in on microbial conversations. She describes how we are applying these tools in the Arctic, Atlantic and Southern Oceans, and will show how we’ve used these tools to determine how phytoplankton growth depends on the availability of often scarce vitamins and minerals. Dr. Bertrand’s work aims to understand what controls the growth of phytoplankton in the ocean, using tools that span from the molecular to the global.

Date: November 2, 2020
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Glenys Gibson
Dept of Biology,
Acadia University

Life & Times of Minas Basin Marine Invertebrates:
A tale of polychaetes, plasticity, and microplastics

Marine life in the Minas Basin is subject to some of the highest tides in the world, exposing organisms to extreme currents, high levels of suspended sediment and anthropogenic contaminants associated with living in a coastal ecosystem. Learn how benthic invertebrates in this highly dynamic ecosystem develop, recruit, and cope with rapid change in their environment. Dr. Gibson and her students study how maternal environment alters the epigenome, leading to developmental plasticity on development, tissue structure, and the microbiome of high-risk tissues (gut and gills) in blue mussels, green crabs and polychaete worms.

Date: December 7, 2020
Location: Zoom Meeting

Amy Tizzard
Nova Scotia Geological Survey,
Department of Energy

Evolution of the Oxford Sinkhole:

The Oxford Sinkhole began as a slight depression only a few 10s of centimeters wide. In a matter of days, the hole grew to over 40 meters in diameter, swallowing trees, picnic tables and anything else in its path. Aerial imagery of the region shows a distinct band of ponds and lakes that reflect an underlying sinkhole laden terrain. Mapping the characteristics of the sinkhole belt is critical to understanding the associated risks to the public and infrastructure.

Date: January 4, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Michael Parsons
Research Scientist,
Geological Survey of Canada

Metal Mining in Nova Scotia:

Our modern lives are full of gadgets, from smart phones to hybrid cars, wind turbines and medical imaging equipment. Have you ever wondered what’s inside these devices and where the materials come from? This talk will explore the chemical elements that underpin our modern standard of living and examine Canada’s current and future role as an environmentally responsible supplier of these minerals and metals. Dr. Parsons will discuss the environmental legacy of historical gold mining in Nova Scotia and how research results are being used to help clean up abandoned mines and reduce the impact of future development.

Date: February 1, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr Derek Fisher
Associate Professor,
Department of Psychology,
Mount Saint Vincent University

Seeing Through the Smoke:

Canada has the highest rates of cannabis use in the Western world, with Nova Scotia as the province with the greatest per capita use. However, there is much we do not know about cannabis use, and a significant amount of misinformation.

In this talk, Dr. Fisher will discuss how cannabis affects the brain, including the brains of adolescents, to improve understanding of how, why and who cannabis use affects.

Date: March 1, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Gordon McOuat
Director History of Science and Technology Program,
University of King’s College/Dalhousie

The Science and Culture of Beer:

Most cultures can trace their origins and their lasting sustenance to beer and brewing. Surprisingly, many of the major developments in science can be traced to beer too.

This talk will explore those key moments in the long relationship between beer, civilization, and science.

Date: April 12, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Russell Wyeth
Dept of Biology,

St. Francis Xavier University

Wayfinding Under the Waves:

Navigation behaviour is something almost every animal does, choosing where to move through their habitat. Animals use a range of cues to find their way towards prey and mates and away from predators. In aquatic habitats, vision is often much less useful: the destination cannot be seen. Instead, natural selection has led to a range of alternate strategies in aquatic animals, involving chemical, mechanical and magnetic senses for wayfind-ing. This talk will give a taste of how navigation behaviour is different for animals underwater, and how marine biologists and the ocean community are exploring these extraordinary adaptations for survival in the ocean

May 3, 2021
Location: Zoom Meeting

Dr. Sarah Wells
Associate Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering,
Dalhousie University

The strength of a mother’s heart:

The maternal cardiovascular system undergoes extraordinary changes during pregnancy. Blood volume increases nearly 50% to accommodate the placenta and the developing fetus; the maternal heart and its valves undergo remarkable adaptations. Dr Well’s research uses a “materials science” approach to understand the beneficial structural and mechanical adaptations of the maternal heart during pregnancy. Understanding these changes and the triggers that drive them, could lead to development of treatments for cardiac pathologies