Dalhousie mixes research with breakfast

Published on January 15, 2014
Rachel Kennedy, from left, and Karen Nelson, of environmental sciences with the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus, talk with Dr. Lloyd Fraser, chair of senate for Dalhousie University, following the campus's power breakfast event on Wednesday.
Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News

BIBLE HILL - An event held Wednesday was one of a kind for the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus - it mixed research with breakfast for a Power Breakfast.

BIBLE HILL - An event held Wednesday was one of a kind for the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus - it mixed research with breakfast for a Power Breakfast.

The event, which attracted almost 100 people to Jenkins Hall, saw breakfast served before five researchers from the faculty of agriculture briefly talked about some of the work they're doing.

In the aquaculture genomics lab, Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark said researchers have been monitoring environmental water samples for target and pest DNA, so growers have the best knowledge of when invasive species are present in water.

"In this environmental water monitoring sample program, we have detected and confirmed the presence of three new invasive species in Nova Scotia that have never before been detected in Nova Scotia," said Stewart-Clark during a five-minute presentation. "This type of detection is critical because it gives industry managers and growers extra time to develop mitigation strategies to deal with these new invasions."

Along with Stewart-Clark, those at the power breakfast also heard from Dr. Chris Cutler about the work being done with insect ecotoxicology and ecology.

Researchers have been looking at pest species and beneficial species and their ecology.

"Why they're here, when they're here and what drives them," he said about the pest species, adding when it comes to beneficial species, researchers are looking at how they can increase them.

Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe, of the department of environmental sciences, brought some light to the research that the campus has been doing when it comes to fruit bioactives and bioproducts, and flavonoids.

"One of the most exciting results we've found is that flavonoids can prevent or recover from chronic disorders," he said, adding they also help reduce bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.

Dr. Kenneth Corscadden, with the engineering department, and researchers have been visiting farms to conduct energy audits, which in turn help those farm owners reduce their use and costs.

Dr. Raj Lada and researchers in the environmental services department have been busy working on creating a Supertree that retains its needles for a longer period of time, but they're also researching carrots and maple.

Dalhousie University president Richard Florizone said the event was a chance for those in attendance to gain more experience in the "cutting edge" of research that's underway at the campus.

"It's all about bringing the community together," he said. "We're trying to bring research to life and that relationship with the community is so important."


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