How are salmon responding to ocean change? How are people’s activities affecting coastal ecosystems? What changes are in store for coastal landscapes? What chemical reactions are involved in heavy metal poisoning? And how can web-based tools be used most effectively to enhance language learning?
These are some of the big questions driving the work of five University of Victoria researchers whose projects have been awarded new funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The grants were announced yesterday in Vancouver.
The five UVic researchers—two biologists, a geographer, a chemist and a French professor—will receive a total of $454,000 from CFI’s Leader’s Opportunity Fund, which helps universities attract and retain high-calibre researchers in areas that are essential to their institutions’ research objectives.
A $200,000 grant to biologist Francis Juanes will be used to establish a fisheries ecology and conservation laboratory to study how coastal ecosystems can—in the face of climate change and other human impacts—sustain fish and invertebrate species of commercial, recreational and ecological importance.
Geographer Ian Walker will receive an $80,000 grant to help equip a coastal erosion and dune dynamics lab research unit. Coastal erosion is a widespread problem along Canada’s low-lying and most populated coastlines, and dune systems are rare, threatened habitats. The research will help agencies and communities prepare for and adjust to the coastal impacts of climate change.
Biologist Julia Baum will use her $72,000 grant to create a marine ecology and conservation centre to better understand how human disturbances are altering the structure and stability of marine ecosystems. This is essential knowledge for Canada, which has the world’s longest coastline and fisheries worth more than $5 billion.
A $62,000 grant to chemist Neil Burford will be used to establish a synthetic inorganic chemistry lab for developing new compounds with possible applications in areas such as medicine and electronics. And his investigations of metals such as lead and mercury could lead to new treatments for heavy metal poisoning.
With her $40,000 grant, French professor Catherine Caws will set up a lab so that she and colleagues in the French department can analyze interactions between language learners and web-based learning systems. The research will allow students to expand their language skills and better prepare themselves to work in today’s knowledge economy.
Press Release, October 17, 2012