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2017-2018

NSIS is pleased to provide you with a brochure of the 2017-2018 Public Lecture series. The 2017-2018 lectures are also listed below.

October 2, 2017

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Steven Locke
Director, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Title: A Proud History of the Geological Survey of Canada: On the 175th Anniversary

Join Dr. Locke in celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), the very first scientific body established by the Government of United Canada on April 14, 1842. From the initial William Logan era – including early work in NS – to today, the Survey helped grow a fledgling nation. Canada’s huge landmass and offshore, growing population, shifting national priorities and ever changing advancements in science have resulted in a constant demand to this day for GSC services.

November 6, 2017.

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dave Risk
Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, St. FX University,
Altus Group Chair, Emissions Research
Title: In Pursuit of ‘the other’ Greenhouse Gas: Mapping Methane Emissions Across the Canadian Energy Sector

Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is the major constituent of fuel natural gas. Every year Canadian oil and gas developments are thought to leak enough methane to power Montreal – our 2nd largest city. Canadian governments have pledged to cut energy-sector methane emissions 40-45%, but from where? Present baseline data is insufficient and inventories uncertain. Risk discusses the science of emissions measurement, available low-hanging fruit for methane reduction in the Canadian energy sector, success stories, and how scientists can catalyze change.

December 4, 2017 (Please note the location of this public lecture)

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Acadia University, KC Irving Centre Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Donna Crossland
Forest Ecologist, Resource Conservation Officer II
Kejimkujik National Park (Parks Canada)
Title: A “clear cut” Perspective About “science-based” Forest Management in NS

Over two decades, Nova Scotia’s forests are extensively clearcut. Is forest management really “science-based”? Does scientific guidance negate the need to reduce clearcutting by 50%? Satellite images reveal forest cover loss. Ecologically,
impacts from forest management practices are far-reaching, even severe. NS’s soil nutrient levels are among the poorest in North America and cannot sustain these practices. The result? Displaced & homeless wildlife and rare native forests. We’re surpassing ecological limits toward ecological collapse.

January 8, 2018 (This public lecture is co-hosted with the Halifax Central Library. Please note the location and starting time of the lecture)

Time: 7:00pm
Location: Halifax Central Library
Speaker: Dr. Tim Fedak
Director/Curator, Fundy Geological Museum
Title: 150 Years of Canadian Dinosaurs and Other Major Fossil Discoveries

Dinosaur research continues to offer new discoveries and surprises, as science continues to refine our understanding of these “terrible lizards”. The history of dinosaur research has many interesting twists and turns. Did you know a PEI fossil was improperly identified as Canada’s 1st dinosaur 150 years ago.Today in NS, researchers at the Fundy Geological Museum, Parrsboro, are finding the oldest dinosaur skeletons in Canada. Hear about the latest discoveries and see how new 3D digital technology is adding new insights into these amazing animals.

February 5, 2018

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Angie Birt
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Mount Saint Vincent University
Title: Stop Taking So Many Photos! How Taking Photos Can Impair Memory

The photo-taking impairment effect (PTIE) is the finding that taking photographs of objects results in poorer memory accuracy than simply observing them. Dr. Birt’s talk will provide audiences with an understanding of why taking photographs of events can affect our ability to accurately recall related information, and how modern technology may be contributing to a decrease in attention span and an increase in “cognitive offloading.”

Please note that the lecture by Dr. Angie Birt was cancelled and the February 2018 lecture was given by Dr. Graham Daborn (see the details below)

Speaker: Dr. Graham R. Daborn
Emeritus Professor
Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research/Acadia Tidal Energy Institute
Acadia University
Title: “Reflections on the Bay of Fundy: Past, Present and Future”


More than a century of research has taught us a good deal about the Bay of Fundy, its resources and its critical biophysical processes. Much of this knowledge arose as a result of tidal power proposals, which intermittently stimulated broad-scale, interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects. Those studies taught us how tightly connected are the regions of the Bay (in spite of their ecosystem differences). As time has passed since those studies, however, we have also learned that the Bay is constantly changing as a result of both natural and anthropogenic causes. The latest concepts for tidal power generation demonstrate how incomplete our current understanding of the Bay is. In the high flow passages now considered priority sites for development, we have too little knowledge of the diversity, abundance, productivity and biophysical interactions of the biota to make confident forecasts about the capacity of the system to support hydrokinetic tidal power. We need two things: 1. a coordinated, Bay-wide study to examine the present state of ecosystem processes and their changes over the last 40 years; and 2. a comprehensive management plan for the Bay (and the Gulf of Maine) to ensure that individual developments do not compromise the integrity of the system. Given the continuing research and development projects in the Bay, a broad review of the present state of our knowledge would be a good start. This is essential as we try to anticipate future changes to this extraordinary ecosystem.

March 5, 2018 

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Marcos Zentilli
Emeritus Professor , Department of Earth Sciences
Dalhousie University
Title:The Rise of Mountains & Climate Changes in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Eastern Nunavut has young mountains (~2600 m) that rose when Greenland was tectonically pushed under Ellesmere Island 49 million years ago – when the Arctic Ocean became a freshwater lake and northern redwood forests sheltered
crocodylians and turtles. Sea salt-cored mountains are actively growing at rates measurable from satellites. Close to some of them salty springs flow year round in areas where the ground is otherwise frozen to a depth of 600m. Zentilli will illustrate Arctic research and observable changes carried out through a quarter century.

April 9, 2018 (This public lecture is co-hosted with the Halifax Central Library. Please note the location and starting time of the lecture)

Time: 7:00pm
Location: Museum of Natural History, Halifax
Speaker: Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University
Title: Aquatic Invasive Species in Nova Scotia: Are they Spreading Disease to our Native Species?

Green crab to tunicates to invasive seaweed. Nova Scotia has become a hot zone for aquatic species invasions in the past decade. We could – like many – examine the ecological impact that invasive species have on our ecosystem. Dr. Stewart-Clark considers the microorganisms that travel with these species and explores how these tiny bugs might impact native species in Atlantic Canada. How can we protect our natural habitats? Discover why NS has become a receptive environment
to invasive species and the importance of detecting these species as early as possible.

May 7, 2018 (SPECIAL EVENT – presented at the NSIS Annual General Meeting & Banquet)

Time: 7:30pm
Location: Dalhousie University Club
Speaker: Dr. Anna Redden
Professor, Department of Biology, Acadia University
Director, Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research
Title:Tidal Energy Solutions: Pro-testing not Protesting

The macro-tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy have been the focus of tidal energy development proposals for more than 100 years.Recent developments of in-stream turbine designs offer alternative solutions to barrage-style tidal power operations. But can marine life co-exist with the new technology? What will be the effects of small to large developments? This talk will address a number of approaches to examine risk to fish and marine mammals at Canada’s leading tidal power test facility.