Research Spotlight



Sustainable farming in an interconnected world

June 5, 2020 —   Recently, UofG professor Kevin McCann published an article, "How we're turning local environmental problems into global issues by engineering nature", in The Conversation. In the article, McCann looks at how certain agricultural processes are causing negative externalities on a global scale, for example run-off from farms leading to ecological "dead zones" caused by algae build-up in water bodies. Ultimately,...

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Supply chains, coronavirus and the food dilemma

March 23, 2020 — Supply chains, coronavirus and the food dilemma   In the past few weeks, the rapid spread of coronavirus (covid-19) has impacted human health and simultaneously disrupted the global economy. The coronavirus started in China, before spreading to Europe and the Middle East, and has now become a full-fledged pandemic. As people take shelter in their homes, governments around the world...

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Seafood and Market Misinformation

January 24, 2020 — Seafood and Market Misinformation Not long ago, Drs. Tim Bartley and Robert Hanner were discussing the dream of producing a globally sustainable seafood market in a time when fraudulent activity and lack of market information seems rampant (i.e., both species and the geographical origin of species are obscured in the seafood market). After reading Dr. Bartley’s thesis on aquatic food web structure...

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Genetic diversity of southern Ontario fish: Research by new University of Guelph professor Dr. Elizabeth Mandeville

May 27, 2019 — Photos (clockwise from top left): Dr. Mandeville and other researchers in Dr. Catherine Wagner's lab at the University of Wyoming; North Fork Shoshone River in Shoshone National Forest; Dr. Mandeville and researcher paddling on the North Fork Shoshone River. All photos taken during Dr. Mandeville's PhD at the University of Wyoming.   The basic mechanism of hybridization, two species exchanging genes with...

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Sea lamprey 2

Sorting out sea lampreys in the Great Lakes

March 25, 2019 — by Harry Seely, BSc student Atlantic sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) are an invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes and since their introduction, have required significant management and control practices to reduce their impact on native fish communities.  Lamprey are parasitic organisms that attach to a host fish and feed on its body fluids. Sea lamprey are native to the...

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Taking biodiversity monitoring to the next level: Environmental DNA as a predictor of aquatic organism abundance

January 11, 2019 — Taking biodiversity monitoring to the next level: Environmental DNA as a predictor of aquatic organism abundance January 11, 2019 By Danielle Bourque, M.Sc. Student Left photo: For this experiment, it is important to prevent the target organism, Daphnia magna, from landing on the environmental DNA (eDNA) capture filter. Here, Limnotron water samples are vacuum filtered initially  through a 40 micron mesh to remove D. magna and their eggs from the...

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Freshwater mussels

Keeping an eye on freshwater mussels

December 3, 2018 — Spending their life either buried in the mud of river, lake, and pond beds, or as tiny young attached to fish, freshwater mussels can easily go unnoticed. Dr. Ryan Prosser and his research team at the University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences however, are hoping to draw attention to these amazing organisms and the challenges they face in Ontario...

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Whitemans Creek Research

Groundwater research and ecohydrology - Jana Levison

July 9, 2018 — Human interactions with the environment include effects on the 'water balance' which can be described as the balance between quantities of water that enter and leave a system. Dr. Jana Levison and her team in the Department of Engineering at the University of Guelph study water balances with a specific focus on groundwater dynamics and ecohydrology. A system that they...

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Two combines harvesting wheat

Dynamics of the Global Wheat Trade Network and Resilience to Shocks- Madhur Anand

August 25, 2017 — “Agri-food trade networks are increasingly vital to human well-being in a globalising world. Models can help us gain insights into trade network dynamics and predict how they might respond to future disturbances such as extreme weather events.” Madhur Anand and collaborators develop a PA network model of the global wheat trade network that they anticipate should be useful for making...

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Tanks in Limnotron Photo by Gustavo Betini

Daphnia inhibits the emergence of spatial pattern in a simple consumer-resource system - John Fryxell

July 4, 2017 — The University of Guelph houses an impressive aquatic experimental facility (The Limnotron) in the Biodiversity Institute. Modelled after giant beer vats, the facility contains six similarly-sized aquatic tanks that allow Dr. John Fryxell and collaborators to make their own thriving aquatic ecosystems. Once these replicated ecosystems are created, Fryxell’s team of researchers, including experimental post-doctoral fellow Gustavo Betini, examine how...

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Grass onfire

Diversity loss with persistent human disturbance increases vulnerability to ecosystem collapse - Andrew MacDougall

June 29, 2017 — Nature is an amazingly complex system, its baroque network of interactions working in surprisingly novel ways. Perhaps not surprisingly, human tampering has often served to unintentionally undermine this intimately connected natural machinery. In the article “Diversity loss with persistent human disturbance increases vulnerability to ecosystem collapse”, BiRN member and University of Guelph faculty Andrew MacDougall examines the impacts of fire...

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Faculty Spotlight: Evan Fraser

#foodcrisis - Evan Fraser

June 23, 2017 — A detail from #foodcrisis, Evan Fraser’s comic book on global food issues   As the world’s population grows, so does the growing global problem of food security.  Dr. Evan Fraser, a leading expert in food security and sustainability, recently played a major role in the University of Guelph’s 77 million $ “Food from Thought” initiative. This major BiRN project unites...

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Physiological tracers of environmental impacts - Nick Bernier

May 17, 2017 — Dr. Bernier looks at how environmental impacts affect fish physiology Examining the physiological aspect of creatures can provide insight into how environmental impacts affect them. Organisms are wired to respond to nature’s changing cues, and researchers like Dr. Nick Bernier use the physiological responses of fish to better understand how organisms are affected by environmental stressors. Bernier’s work effectively uses...

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Otter eating fish in winter

Smart Food Webs - Fred Laberge

April 20, 2017 —   Smart Fish, as measured by relative brain size, are found in the food web in positions that are expected to maximize the stability of ecosystems A food web is a map of species interactions describing who eats whom. The network of species interactions that comprise a food web are now known to be incredibly baroque entities that extend across...

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