The Earth and Environmental Science Department offers three programs leading to degrees in Environmental Science, Geology and Environmental Geoscience at the B.Sc. level, and Geology and Applied Geomatics at the M.Sc. level. We are strongly committed to field and laboratory studies and our classes and field schools take advantage of the stunning natural setting of Nova Scotia. Small personalized classes, engaged faculty, and world class research facilities are hallmarks of our programs. Our graduates are exceptionally well positioned to take advantage of the ever increasing demand for scientists trained in Earth and Environmental disciplines.
Lisa Mundry wins Science Atlantic Prize at AUGC
Congratulations to Lisa Mundry and Mike Reid, honours students in Geology, who, along with eight other participants, represented Acadia at the Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference at St. FX University on 24-26 October. Mike prepared a poster on the petrology and geochemistry of the Stirling Belt, Cape Breton Island, and Lisa gave a talk on the comparison of the petrology, chemistry, and age of mafic sills in the Harlech Dome, Wales, and the Meguma terrane, Nova Scotia. Lisa won the Science Atlantic Prize for the best paper presented at the conference.
27 October 2013
Pat Englehardt in Alaska
Between June and August Patrick Englehardt took part in the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP). JIRP is an annual program which was started in 1948 by Maynard Miller. Every year since students have been attending this research program studying the Juneau Icefield which is located in Alaska, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. The program's main focus was the continued mass balance research which is the second longest record of its kind in the world. "Overall it was an amazing experience, whether it was the Alaskan beauty, digging 18 foot snow pits or conducting original research my summer couldn't have been better." Any questions or further information on the program can be found on the JIRP website http://juneauicefield.com/ or feel free to email me at any time at email@example.com.
22 October 2013
Elderkin Brook Clean-up
Elderkin Brook (located in Kentville) is frequently visited by the Earth and Environmental Science Department during class field trips, and has been known for its gruesome state. That is why the ESSO and Fletcher Clubs went out to this site on Saturday, October 5th to clean it up. It was evident that people have been throwing their waste in this brook for many years. Items removed included shoes, electronics, carpet, styrofoam, pipes, bottles, and plastic. A tremendous thanks to all volunteers!
8 October 2013
Fletcher Club Fundy Fall Field Trip
The Fletcher Club took advantage of a fine weekend on 21-22 September to take a field trip around the Bay of Fundy, stopping at the Triassic unconformity at Rainy Cove, the red sandstone at Burntcoat Head, the iron mines, slag piles and displays at Londonderry, the fault zone rocks of Clarke Head, the Jurassic sandstone of Five Islands, and the always impressive columnar basalt at Cape d'Or. Mornings were spent exploring beach outcrops, in afternoons they sought higher ground (high tide in mid-afternoon!), and on the second day hiked into Economy Falls. In the photograph above, the entire group, with leaders Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside are seen by the fly-wheel in the iron mining display at Londonderry.
29 September 2013
Fletcher and ESSO hike Cape Split
The ESSO and Fletcher clubs took advantage of the beautiful weather last weekend by hiking out to Cape Split. The trip was a multi-disciplinary outing, including students from Environmental Science, Geology, Environmental Studies and Biology. The hike was a success, being both scenic and refreshingly windy out on the Split.
Stopping at The Lookoff on top of North Mountain we took a group photo in front of the sunny Annapolis Valley. We hope to make this the first of many collaborative ESSO and Fletcher activities for students this year.
20 September 2013
"Water Without Borders" - book published by Alice Cohen
"Water Without Borders? - Canada, the United States, and Shared Waters" co-edited by Emma S. Norman, Alice Cohen, and Karen Bakker has been released by University of Toronto Press.
Since 1909, the waters along the Canada-US border have been governed in accordance with the Boundary Water Treaty, but much has changed in the last 100 years. This engaging volume brings together experts from both sides of the border to examine the changing relationship between Canada and the US with respect to shared waters, as well as the implications of these changes for geopolitics and the environment. Water without Borders? is a timely publication given the increased attention to shared water issues, and particularly because 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
Water without Borders? is designed to help readers develop a balanced understanding of the most pressing shared water issues between Canada and the United States. The contributors explore possible frictions between governance institutions and contemporary management issues, illustrated through analyses of five specific transboundary water “flashpoints.” The volume offers both a historical survey of transboundary governance mechanisms and a forward-looking assessment of new models of governance that will allow us to manage water wisely in the future.
- from the publisher's website
19 September 2013
National Award to Cliff Stanley
Dr. Cliff Stanley was made a Fellow of Geoscientists Canada, the national council of professional geoscience associations that regulate the profession of geoscience in each of the jurisdictions in Canada, in recognition of his volunteer service to Geoscientists Canada, and before that the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists. Cliff has been a member of the Canadian Geoscience Standards Board and a councillor for Geoscientists Nova Scotia (formerly the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Nova Scotia) since 2000, and a member of the admissions board for APGNS since 2001.
In a short ceremony at Acadia on 16 September, Jeff Parks (Acadia grad of 1987 and president of Geoscientists Nova Scotia) presented Cliff with a certificate to recognise the fellowship.
18 September 2013
Environmental Science student participates in the Sikorsky Human-Powered-Helicopter competition
Rian Mizzi, a Burlington, Ontario, based second year Environmental Science student assisted as a volunteer the University of Toronto-based team attempt to win the $250,000 Sikorsky Human-Powered-Helicopter prize...and the team pulled it off! Rian can be seen fleetingly in the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syJq10EQkog that documents the first minute-long human-powered helicopter flight to achieve 3 metres height. So enthused was he by the experience that he is now preparing to bicycle back to Acadia for the fall term - from Ontario! If you are driving east this summer, look out for an Acadia jersey going the same way.
29 July 2013
Welcome to Dr. Alice Cohen
A new face in the department this summer is that of Dr. Alice Cohen, assistant professor in Environmental Science and Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Alice has been at Acadia for a little while, providing a course in Politics (Environmental Politics - POLS 3883), which she will offer again this year, along with Legal Issues in the Environment (ENVS 3113), Introduction to Environmental Science (ENVS 1023), Sustainability Concepts and Systems (ESST 1003) and Applied Leadership in Sustainability (ESST 2003). Alice holds a PhD from UBC, and has been a post-doc in Massachusetts before coming to Acadia.
She is off to a good start this year, with the announcement of receipt of a SSHRC Institutional Grant for work on Ecosystem governance and resource development in Northern Canada. In the application for the grant, Alice wrote, "Although ecosystems are often thought of as natural spaces, the process of delineating ecosystem boundaries and designing governance mechanisms for these spaces are often highly contested and political processes. This is especially true in places where resource extraction and development form a central component of local, regional, or national economies because neither ecosystems nor resource extraction areas are spatially aligned with traditional spaces of decision-making such as municipalities, territories, or provinces. This research is a pilot project designed to explore the ways in which ecosystem spaces are articulated and implemented in response to resource extraction and development in Northern Canada."
Congratulations Alice - it sounds like you will have opportunity for interesting discussions with the geologists in E&ES - we are very familiar with issues caused by political boundaries, and the notorious map-boundary faults in mapped bedrock geology!
18 July 2013
Report from the Field - Steven Kramar
Steven is working in northern Saskatchewan this summer and was recently visited by his supervisor, Cliff Stanley who reports that Steve is now an ACE-Boater, having passed his 'boating test', and is now certified to 'skipper' pleasurecraft on any of Canada's waterways (as well as write a thesis on the geochemistry of rocks in the Trans-Hudson Orogen!)
15 July 2013
Ian Spooner takes over as Department Head
July 1 marks the start of a new academic year at Acadia, and with it a change-over in the headship of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. New at the helm is Dr. Ian Spooner, taking over from Rob Raeside, who has been head since 1995 (although with a few absences when he was acting Dean of Science). Ian has been teaching at Acadia since 1994, so is no stranger to our procedures, but no doubt it will take us all a few weeks to get used to the new office arrangements on the third floor of Huggins Science Hall.
1 July 2013
Paper by Acadia Researchers Highlighted by Journal
A recent paper by researchers in Nelson O'Driscoll's lab, including students and post-docs Tom Sizmur, João Canário, Sam Edmonds and Adam Godfrey has been selected as the featured article in the current edition of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Their paper investigated how polychaete worms increase mercury lability and methylation in sediment from the Bay of Fundy. Their paper can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/etc.2264/abstract
12 June 2013
28 Graduates in Earth and Environmental Science at May Graduation
Brilliant sunshine greeted the graduating class of 2013, where a total of 23 BSc degrees, 3 MSc degrees, and two honours conversions were recognised at the May convocation at Acadia. Pictured below are some of the happy faces at the graduation breakfast on 13 May.
[Back row, L-R: Patrick Englehardt, Ben Bagnall, Luke Melanson; front row: Victoria Postlethwaite, Emily Walker, Kat Voy, Josh Caines, Amanda Jones, Katrina Zealand, Michael Terris. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Kaycee Morrison.]
Particular honour went to Patrick Englehardt, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Geoscience; Emily Walker, winner of the University Medal in Environmental Science; Kat Voy, winner of the University Medal in Geology and Josh Caines, recipient of the Mining Society of Nova Scotia Centennial Medal.
14 May 2013
Environmental Science Field School
The ENVS field school was completed again this year between April 24 and May 4. The multidisciplinary field school emphasized practical skills in geological mapping, entomology, limnology, biogeochemistry, and environmental impact assessment. Students learned techniques and quality control in sampling and analysis within a variety of ecosystems (coastal wetland sediment, forested catchments, soil, and freshwaters) across Nova Scotia. Many thanks to this year’s instructors (Dr. Spooner, Dr. McMullin, Peter Romkey, Dr. Hillier, and Dr. O’Driscoll).
7 May 2013
An international class of 16 students just returned from Acadia’s biennial Bermuda Field Course taught by Dr. Peir K. Pufahl. Students from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Brazil learned about the modern and Pleistocene carbonate sediments of Bermuda using the world-class facilities at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. A primary aim is to understand the sedimentology and diagenesis of carbonate hydrocarbon reservoirs. The picture above shows students investigating various reef facies.
7 May 2013
Geology Field School 2013
The Geology field school enjoyed several days of fine weather as the participants learned about the techniques of geological mapping and maybe just a dash of local geology as well. Pictured above are 18 Acadia students and one professor, and 4 participants from the University of Saskatchewan who joined us for the two week exercise. Students spent the first week in the Wolfville area, honing their skills before going to Camp Geddie at Merigomish where they worked on the geology of shoreline of the Northumberland Strait and the Canso region. This picture was taken at Lumsden Dam.
6 May 2013
Shelburne-Yarmouth Field Trip
Sandra Barr led an enthusiastic group of Acadia students on the annual Shelburne-Yarmouth field trip on April 17-18. Unlike most years, the sun shone and temperatures were tolerable, adding to the enjoyment of the spectacular igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Meguma terrane. Emphasis of the trip was on stratigraphy, structure, and metamorphism, with a bit of Quaternary geology here and there. Stops on Day 1 began with the contrast between the pyritiferous Cunard and underlying manganiferous Moshers Island formation at Dublin Shore and concluded with the spectacular andalusite porphyroblasts near the wind farm at Pubnico Point. Jungle Jim’s in Yarmouth no doubt lost money on the all-you-can eat wings that night! Day 2 included visits to the lowest exposed beds of the Goldenville Group, the no-longer so enigmatic contact between the Halifax Group and White Rock Formation, the metavolcanic rocks of Cape Forchu, the Silurian fossils in the Overton section, and a quick stop at the folded sills at Bear River. All-in-all, a great 2 days – and most of us managed to avoid too many close encounters with ticks.
Part of the crew admiring the massive bedded metasandstone of the Green Harbour Formation at Green Bay.
22 April 2013
Lusby and Cameron Awards to student club presidents
At the year-end pot-luck banquet held in the Wolfville Curling Club on 5 April, the winners of the peer-elected Lusby and Cameron awards were announced. Winner of the Harcourt Cameron Prize, given to a student "who is a member of the Fletcher Geology Club, whose achievements merit praise" was Christiane Theriault. This past year Christiane was president of the Fletcher Club and responsible for ensuring things got done. The award was made by Dr. Raeside.
Winner of the Linda Lusby Award, given to "a graduating student whose support for the Environmental Science Program merits praise" was Patrick Englehardt. Pat has been president of ESSO (Environmental Science Students Organization) in 2012-13, and active in it throughout his Environmental Geoscience program studies. We were pleased that Professor Emerita Linda Lusby, was able to attend and make the award.
15 April 2013
Vincent Beresford receives GSA Award
Vincent Beresford, Geology MSc student in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, has been awarded a prestigious research grant from the Geological Society of America to support his thesis project. Vince’s thesis project, supervised by Professor Sandra Barr, is a study of field relations, chemistry, and age of plutonic rocks in the Bass River block, part of the Cobequid Highlands of northern mainland Nova Scotia. He will use his data to help interpret the geological history of the Bass River block and its relationship to the major part of the Appalachian mountain belt known as Avalonia. He will begin field work and sampling for his project in late May. Vincent is a graduate of Juniata College in Pennsylvania and began his graduate studies at Acadia in September, 2012. The reviewers of his grant application judged his project to be "well-conceived" and a "huge task for a MSc study", but "definitively worth doing." The primary role of the highly competitive GSA research grants program is to provide partial support of MSc and PhD thesis research in the geological sciences for graduate students at universities throughout North and Central America.
11 April 2013
Trinidad Field Course
From February 23rd to March 2nd, 3rd year student Christiane Theriault and graduate student Steven Kramar had the opportunity to participate on a Petroleum Geology field course in Trinidad. Led by Dr. Grant Wach, they studied sedimentary depositional systems pertaining to petroleum exploration. Fieldwork during the day was reinforced by nightly assignments, relating outcrop scale sedimentary features to larger scale features to better understand the geology.
It was a great challenge, but very rewarding. Dr. Grant Wach is a fantastic instructor, providing a wealth of knowledge. Dr. Wach guides students through a complete picture of Trinidad’s tectonics, geology, petroleum systems, ecology and culture. Thanks again Grant for allowing Acadia to attend!!!
Group shot at the Petrotrin Geological Facility. (Front: Second from left; Steven, Fourth from left; Christiane)
28 March 2013
Science Atlantic Environment Conference, 2013
Acadia University and the local organizing committee (Drs. O’Driscoll, Stokesbury, and Avery) hosted the Science Atlantic Environment Conference this year which was once again combined with the Biology and Aquaculture and Fisheries conferences. There were over 175 conference attendees and good fun was had by all. Keynote lectures were given by Dr. Mark Mallory (Arctic Research) and Dr. Fred Whoriskey (Ocean Tracking Network). Several Acadia students presented in the Environment session including Adam Godfrey, Ben Callaghan, Drake Tymstra, Erin Mann, Lauren Banks, and Patrick Englehardt). Adam Godfrey won a best oral presentation award for his work on mercury speciation with salt marsh restoration.
Adam Godfrey, Drake Tymstra, Katrina Zealand, among others, in the conference classroom.
Amanda Loder and Monica Reed discussing posters.
Patrick Englehardt looking happy about lead in the Border Marshes.
26 March 2013
Acadia Athletics celebrates 2012-13 season with Awards Night
The 2012-2013 Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to senior football player Kyle Graves (BSc GEOL student). For the second consecutive season, quarterback Kyle Graves was named as the Atlantic University Sport most outstanding player. Graves led his team to another 7-1 record and was also named an AUS All-Star and CIS All-Canadian as both quarterback and punter. Kyle, who attended the Montreal Alouettes training camp this past summer, is now sixth in all-time passing yardage with 5,433, third in Acadia school history. He wraps up his five-year career in the top ten of every career AUS passing list. He ranks fourth in career completions, fifth in attempts and his 39 career TD passes are 10th all-time.
22 March 2013
Recent communications from two of our alumni show they continue to aspire to new heights and depths.
Amy Tizzard (class of 2003) achieved a life-long goal of ascending Kilimanjaro in February. Her reports home were full of exciting snippets of her sojourn in Tanzania, encounters with wild beasts, and fantastic shots of the mountain from below, on top and above.
Gerard Eddy (class of 1993) has been involved in composing and running an education module called Gold rush 4net program, the results of which he and Warren Dobson showcased at Geomatics Atlantic 2012. This program introduces junior high school students to Gold Prospecting/Mining, Surveying, Geologist and Geomatics industries through a series of educational games, like in SIFT.
(left) Amy Tizzard on Uhuru, the summit of Kilimanjaro; (right) Gerard Eddy showing how to pan for gold at The Ovens, Lunenburg.
5 March 2013
Graduate Student, Justin Drummond, highlighted on Discovery and OurAmazingPlanet
Peir Pufahl and colleague Claudio Porto of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have teamed up with MbAC Fertilizer Corporation to help the Brazilian company find phosphorite. Phosphorite is a poorly understood chemical sediment that is the primary source of phosphorus for fertilizer. It holds important clues to understanding the ancient phosphorus cycle and the evolution of life. The collaboration with MbAC is the focus of Justin Drummond’s and Mariana de Souza Carvalho’s M.Sc. thesis research in central Brazil. Click on the links below to Discovery News and Our Amazing Planet for more information!
Justin Drummond and Mariana de Souza Carvalho, M.Sc. students of Pufahl and co-supervisor Claudio Porto, in the field looking at economic phosphorite in central Brazil.
28 February 2013
Josh Caines, completing his honours project in Geology, was invited by the Halifax International Boat Show to give a presentation on his work (or as they call it, his "detective investigations") into the erosion of the islands in Mahone Bay. Josh discussed the management and engineering strategies that focus on limiting coastal erosion, and the ecological and social impacts not only of the actual erosion but of the these strategies. He worked with the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (BCAF) last summer who have taken on this Preliminary Study of Coastal Erosion in Mahone Bay and the results of the investigation will help to understand the importance of the Mahone Bay islands and how erosion will affect communities in the area.
27 February 2013
Atlantic Geoscience Society annual colloquium
Over 20 Acadia students and most of the faculty attended the annual colloquium of the Atlantic Geoscience Society, held this year in the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth, 1-2 February. Four Acadia students presented the results of their research: Josh Caines provided a poster, co-authored with Ian Spooner and Brooke Nodding on "Influence of hydrostratigrpahy on erosion of drumlin islands in Mahone Bay, NS"; Patrick Englehardt spoke on "Lead accumulation in open water wet ecosystems in the Border Marshes region, NS-NB" with co-authors from the E&ES and Biology departments at Acadia, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and the NS Dept. of Natural Resources; Nabil Shawwa gave a paper with Rob Raeside and David McMullin on "Employing contact metamorphism to assess the conditions of pluton emplacement in southwestern Kellys Mountain, Cape Breton Island, NS"; and Jason Willson gave a paper with Cliff Stanley and John Murimboh on "Fine grained gold analysis in soil samples: a strategy to avoid the nugget effect".
Many students also participated in one of the two short courses given: The Application of Fluid Inclusions to Geology, and Oil and Gas Exploration Principles in Mature Basins. and some were able to take in the Nova Scotia gold exhibit currently on display in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. On the Saturday afternoon, those not yet exhausted were able to view the film "Switch - the Ground-Breaking Documentary" on our energy transition.
At the annual general meeting of the Society on Saturday, the usual reports were recorded, and Cliff Stanley was elected to the position of vice president, launching him on a three-year trajectory through the elevated ranks of the presidency in the next couple of years. At the closing banquet, Chris White (Acadia alumnus of 1984) was honoured with the Gesner Medal, the Society's highest honour, in recognition of his contributions to the geoscience of Atlantic Canada, most notably the recent release of over 50 map sheets of southern Nova Scotia.
10 February 2013
Geology and Environmental Science Newsletters for Alumni
The new year has begun, students are back in classes, courses are under way again. Over the break we found time to collect a few items for (and from) our alumni, and have published them in our newsletters. Click on the Newsletters above to find out what has been happening in Acadia Earth and Environmental Science in 2012.
16 January 2013
ESSO / Fletcher Club Fall Walk
From left to right, Simon Poirier, Brendan Brady, Sabrina Hiefer, Amanda Loder, Alex Squires, Victoria Postlethwaite, Kaycee Morrison, Zachary Jewkes, Kevin Rupke, Drake Tymstra.
A group photo from a Fall walk in the Kentville Ravine trails. This fun little hike/field trip was organized by ESSO and had student presenters talking about the local environment, water quality, geology, importance of vegetation and invertebrates and what not. ESSO and Fletcher Club, hope to host more student field trips next term. Some future trips might include gold panning, mine tours and winter hikes to look at the winter ecology.
29 November 2012
Acadia and Fleming College sign a transfer agreement
Graduates of the Sir Sandford Fleming College’s Earth Resources and Environmental Technician programs can now enter the third year of designated Bachelor of Science degree programs at Acadia University thanks to an articulation agreement signed between the two institutions on Nov. 16. Upon meeting all of the necessary requirements, Fleming Earth Resources Technician graduates can enter the third year of Acadia’s B.Sc. Geology degree while Environmental Technician graduates can enter year three of the B.Sc. in Environmental Science. This agreement will ensure an easy and efficient transition of qualified students from both programs to Acadia.
“This agreement formalizes a long‐standing tradition of Fleming graduates going on to complete degrees at Acadia,” says Linda Skilton, Dean of Fleming’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences. “We believe this will attract more students to Fleming with the opportunity to complete both a diploma and degree. There is also the prospect of attaining more work-related experience through Acadia’s Co‐operative Education program.”
Over 40 students have in the past come from Fleming to Acadia, starting as early as 1985. Currently about ten students from Fleming are in program at Acadia. Programs at both schools have evolved over this time, permitting the smooth transfer arrangements now in place. More details can be found on entry from Sir Sandford Fleming, and the news release can be viewed.
26 November 2012
SETAC Conference, Los Angeles
Dr. O’Driscoll’s students Adam Godfrey (BSc ENVS) and Erin Mann (PhD MUN) attended the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) annual conference in Long Beach, California. Adam presented a poster on mercury speciation in coastal sediments with wetland restoration, while Erin gave a platform presentation and poster on mercury photoreactions in Arctic snow. Dr. O’Driscoll chaired a successful full-day mercury platform session and poster session with colleagues from Portugal and Ottawa (Dr. Canario and Dr. Poulain). Highlights of the trip included keynote addresses by world experts on toxic chemicals, a visit to the Long Beach Aquarium, and running into an impromptu “Backstreet Boys” concert in Los Angeles.
21 November 2012
A large and enthusiastic group of students and faculty members Robert Raeside and Sandra Barr attended the 62nd annual Atlantic Universities Geoscience Conference (AUGC) on October 25-27 in Halifax, hosted by the Dawson Geology Club at Dalhousie University. The AUGC is a student-run conference that brings together undergraduate students from Acadia, Dalhousie, Memorial, St. Francis Xavier, Saint Mary’s, and UNB for competitions, field trips, oral and poster presentations, and social events, under the umbrella of Science Atlantic (although the conference predates Science Atlantic and its predecessor APICS by 12 years, and is one of the longest running conference events in Canada, having been initiated in 1950). The Acadia student team of Harris Ohland and Josh Caines placed second in the Challenge Bowl competition on Thursday evening, a geoscience-knowledge quiz event sponsored by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists. On Friday students participated in various of the four field trips offered.
At the formal presentations on Saturday Acadia was represented by oral presentations from honours students Josh Caines (An Investigation of factors influencing drumlin erosion in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia) and Drake Tymstra (A Paleolimnological record of anthropogenic impact on water quality in First Lake, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia), both supervised by Dr. Ian Spooner, and poster presentations by Nabil Shawwa (Employing contact metamorphism to assess the conditions of pluton emplacement in southwestern Kellys Mountain, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia - supervisor Dr. Rob Raeside) and Jason Willson (Strategies to avoid the nugget effect in soil samples from the Fifteen Mile Stream Gold Deposit, Nova Scotia - supervisor Dr. Cliff Stanley). Professor Sandra Barr was one of the speakers at the closing banquet held at Murphy’s on the Water on Saturday evening, at which a great time was had by all participants. Her theme incorporated recognition of the 50th anniversary of Science Atlantic/APICS, wherein she reflected on the 37 AUGCs she has attended, and on the good luck and bad luck she has employed to advance her studies in Geology.
25 October 2012
Fall Graduates in Earth and Environmental Science
At the October meeting of the University Senate four degrees in Geology programs were declared. Three of these were graduate students. Hilary White (above left) completed her thesis on lake sediment records from the Chignecto Isthmus area earlier in the summer; Louis Zsamboki (centre) defended his thesis on geophysical modelling of the ocean areas between Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland early in September; and Ronald Massawe (above right) finished his thesis on alteration processes associated with gold mineralization in Eritrea shortly after. In addition, a BSc degree was awarded to Dustin Menard, who left Acadia some time ago, without finishing that last Arts elective - having succeeded in a course in WW2 history, he was eligible to graduate also. We hope to see some of them back for the graduation ceremonies in May.
17 October 2012
Peir K. Pufahl joins Sedimentology editorial team
Peir Pufahl joins the editorial board of the journal Sedimentology, an international leader in its field. Sedimentology publishes ground-breaking research from across the spectrum of sedimentology, sedimentary geology, and sedimentary geochemistry. Peir’s expertise in chemical and applied sedimentology strengthens an impressive editorial team. These and his other editorial duties with Sedimentary Geology, another leader in the field of sedimentary research, will certainly keep him busy.
16 October 2012
Nelson O’Driscoll renewed as Canada Research Chair
Canada Research Chair in Environmental Biogeochemistry, Dr. Nelson O’Driscoll, has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, as announced by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). The chair is valued at $500,000 dollars over five years. "By investing in talented people through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs, our government is supporting cutting-edge research in Canadian post-secondary institutions," said Minister of State Goodyear."
The overarching theme of Dr. O’Driscoll’s work involves studying the impact of climate change on mercury contamination in freshwater ecosystems. Using one of the best-equipped mercury biogeochemistry labs in North America, Dr. O'Driscoll and his team are able to analyze the effects of temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation on mercury reactions in air, water, soils, and organisms. Other research by Dr. O’Driscoll’s team has shown that terrestrial organisms in these mercury sensitive ecosystems may also be at risk. They have published some of the first data to suggest mercury as a factor in the rusty blackbird's reduced numbers. A doctoral student in the O’Driscoll lab is studying the impact of ultra-violet radiation on the release of mercury from Arctic snow. In addition, a recent doctoral student developed methods to measure the release of mercury from soil, allowing the Acadia researchers to develop a predictive model for mercury release with climate change.
Dr. O’Driscoll’s environmental biogeochemistry lab is part of a comprehensive state-of-the-science analytical facility housed in Acadia's K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre. The Centre for Analytical Research on the Environment (CARE) brings together multidisciplinary researchers and equipment for studying environmental contaminants and processes that support health ecosystems. Researchers at the centre examine aspects of contaminant fate (e.g. mercury, trace metals, organic materials, and microbes) and how to mitigate contamination issues. The facility has enhanced collaboration at Acadia and increased partnerships with private enterprises, government, and other post-secondary institutions.
For more information read the Canada
Research Chair media release.
12 October 2012
Department trip to Cape Breton Island
Twenty members of the Earth & Environmental Science Department participated on a weekend trip to Cape Breton Island. Led by Sandra Barr and Rob Raeside, and sponsored in part by the CSPG, the group travelled across the island including a day on the Cabot Trail, a trip down a subduction zone in the Bras d'Or terrane, torrential rain and pounding surf on the Mira terrane, and rocks ranging from plutonic and volcanic to clastic and carbonate to metamorphic. Here the group was viewing the Precambrian Blair River Inlier from the MacKenzie Mountain lookoff, when it managed to pull itself together just long enough for a group shot by Deanna vanRooyen, who joined us from Cape Breton University.
17 September 2012
Oyster shells and squashed cups: recent donations to E&ES
Over the past few weeks the department has been the recipient of several interesting donations. Rock samples and fossils have been given to us by Dr. David Mossman, formerly at Mt. Allison University, and Mrs. Pearl Dodds, from the collection of Dr. Don Dodds, past Dean of Science at Acadia. Most recently, we received a collection of giant oyster shells from Shane Thomson, who acquired them from the estate of Stewart Ferguson, a former associate of the department who, after retiring from the Ontario Geological Survey, spent much of his time in the Wolfville area hunting for outcrops and clues to the geology of the area, and compiling detailed geological maps. Stewart was famous for following power company crews as they put in new power lines, to find what the augers extracted from the ground, trying to pin down exactly where the Horton contact or the Kentville slate lay. At one time he also ventured far out north of Evangeline Beach on a falling tide to distant shoals where piles of giant oyster shells were to be found. These are relict from the time when sea level was higher, following the melting of the ice sheets, but before glacial isostatic rebound reached its modern levels, probably about 3700 years ago. Below are some of the shells from the collection.
Finally, final year student Christiane Theriault has just completed a co-op term research cruise on RV Atlantis, out of Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where she was involved in the mapping of the deep ocean floor, off the continental shelf. To demonstrate the effects of water pressure at 5 km depth, she attached a normal styrofoam cup to the sonar equipment and sent it down. Above you can see the result - the normally 12 cm high cup has been reduced to about 3 cm height!
13 September 2012
Senior Field School, 2012
Six senior and graduate students enjoyed the fine weather and fair winds of Cape Breton Island at the senior field school in late August/early September. Pictured above at waterfall 5 on Goose Cove Brook (from left) are Vincent Beresford, Luke Melanson, Patrick Englehardt, Nabil Shawwa, Josh Caines, Osiris the dog with owner Maryann, and Steven Kramar. Maryann has provided us with access to her hiking trail to Goose Cove Brook, and joined us for the day to find out what we really do up in the hills.
4 September 2012
Welcome to new technician, Pam Frail
The E&ES Department is pleased to announce that Pam Frail has joined our staff as technician. Pam studied Geology at Acadia and went on to the business world, most recently setting up P J Crow Designs, an art and jewelry business. Pam is a juried member of The Designer Crafts Council of Nova Scotia and past board member of the Wolfville Farmers Market. In her earlier days at Acadia, Pam also operated the petrographic preparation centre (alias "rock room"). She looks forward to getting the equipment up and running again, after its rest over the summer.
27 August 2012
EcoCanada Environmental Professional Forum, Moncton
Four Environmental Science students from Acadia attended an Environmental Professional forum in Moncton, NB this June. The event was hosted by EcoCanada and served to connect Environmental Professionals from around the Atlantic Provinces. The morning and afternoon consisted of workshop sessions, paired with a networking luncheon. One of the two morning workshop sessions available to participants was directed by three members of a steering committee charged with drafting recommendations for responsible environmental management of oil and gas activities in New Brunswick. A brief overview of this industry in the province and the likelihood of future development was discussed, as well as some of the technical aspects of fracking in New Brunswick. Issues regarding well casing integrity and surface water contamination were included in the discussion. One of the main concerns voiced by the professionals attending the workshop was the lack of independent testing of environmental samples. The second morning workshop, directed by Don Fraser, reviewed the framework of ISO 14001, expanding on its potential to assess and control performance and risks related to issues such as social responsibility, sustainable development and climate change. The session also reviewed the audit methodology of ISO 19011 and its 2011 revisions.
The networking luncheon included a keynote speech by David Parkinson, focussing on the successful inclusion of environmental concerns in industry over the course of the past two decades. The luncheon provided an opportunity for the students to meet professionals in the industry and gain advice on how best to enter an environmental career.
In the afternoon, all students attended a roundtable covering the benefits of certification as an environmental professional and the process involved. Additionally, details of the Atlantic Chapter were discussed with volunteer leads. Ultimately, the forum provided insight into the current climate of the environmental sector in the Maritimes.
Drake Tymstra, Monica Reed, Victoria Postlethwaite and Emily Walker at the forum.
7-8 February 2014
AGS Colloquium, The Old Orchard Inn, Wolfville, NS.
2-5 March 2014
PDAC 2014, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, ON. More information
8-9 March 2014
6th Annual NORTHEAST UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SYMPOSIUM (NURDS 2014) University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, USA More information
14-16 March 2014
Science Atlantic 2014 Environment Student Conference, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS
more information will be posted
23-26 May 2014
IMPACT! Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership, Guelph, ON. Application deadline 20 October 2013