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BNS November Meeting: BNS Scholars Student Research Symposium

November 21, 2016 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

The meeting this month will be presentations by three past recipients of the BNS Scholarship. Come and see some of the research that is taking place in the Biology Department at Acadia University.

Determining the presence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in two saltmarsh grass species

by Tyler D’Entremont

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) provide water and essential mineral nutrients in symbiotic relationships with over 80% of all vascular land plants. These organisms allow plants to inhabit hostile environments by acting as an extended root network to ensure the success of the species. Saltmarshes, among these hostile environments, are crucial nursery habitats for a variety of juvenile fish and invertebrate species, which form the foundation of many marine and terrestrial food chains. With saltmarshes declining worldwide, efforts to improve the success of saltmarsh restoration projects has never been more paramount. This research examines two saltmarsh grass species, Spartina alterniflora Loisel and Spartina patens Aiton, via fungal staining, nested polymerase chain reaction and rDNA sequencing to determine the AMF species present within their roots. The use of these identified mycorrhizal species, as well as their colonization rates, may be used in future restoration projects to increase the probability of successful colonization by these saltmarsh grasses.
Reintroduction of seed bank derived Geum peckii (Eastern Mountain Avens) on Long Island, Digby County, Nova Scotia

by Sarah Fancy

G. peckii is one of Canada’s most endangered plant species. In Canada it is found on Brier Island, Digby County, globally the only other population is in the mountainous regions of New Hampshire. The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources supports a seed bank population of G. peckii seeds at Acadia University. For this research project the seed bank was used to establish a population of G. peckii in tissue culture, the plants were then put back into their natural habitat to evaluate plant success. The outplanting of endangered tissue culture material is a first for Nova Scotia and it is a relatively new technique globally. To date the project shows a 100% success rate.

Modelling the behaviour of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in Minas Passage, Nova Scotia

by Kody Crowell

Tidal energy development in the Bay of Fundy has been an active area of research for the past few decades. However, the ecological impact that in-stream tidal turbines pose to the surrounding environment has sparked much controversy. As such, there has been an increased demand for monitoring and consultation. Several species, especially the striped bass (Morone saxatilis), are known to spend a significant amount of time near the berth sites, and their level of activity may be dependent on the season – recent studies involving acoustic tracking of the fish suggest that the species has a lower metabolic rate in the winter, thereby limiting its ability to detect and avoid turbine infrastructure, acting as “inert” particles. Modelling the movement of such a species using agent-based models and the Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) in the Minas Passage is one way of predicting whether an animal will pass near a turbine. Individual-Based Models were used to model fish behaviour and suggest where Striped Bass might spend a majority of their time in the winter and summer seasons. Results were in general agreement with observation, which suggests that striped bass prefer the deeper waters on Minas Passage in colder weather. Future studies will include the addition of in-stream tidal turbines for the winter model.


November 21, 2016
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Beveridge Arts Centre, Acadia University, Room BAC241