University of Northern British Columbia researchers received funding for equipment Tuesday that will further their studies on how insects and fish adapt to changing environments.
Dr. Dezene Huber, Dr. Mark Shrimpton and Dr. Brent Murray from UNBC’s Ecosystem Science and Management department were awarded $164,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). It’s among a Government of Canada investment of more than $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects at 51 universities.
The infrastructure will allow them to conduct experiments in the field in central and Northern B.C. as well as in a series of aquaria housed in the basement of UNBC’s Research Laboratory building.
The research will help them develop innovative protocols to assess biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems, including a number of studies to monitor rare species through the analysis of environmental DNA obtained by water samples.
Highly sensitive and species specific sampling and detection techniques will be developed for species such as Arctic grayling, coastal-tailed frogs, western-painted turtles and Great Basin spadefoot toads.
Development of tools for monitoring population distribution and abundance will aid in the conservation and management of threatened species.
Funding will support lab and field equipment including pumps, microcentrifuges and microscopes that are needed to process and identify a range of samples. In addition, state-of-the art DNA extraction, quantification and digital PCR equipment will enhance capabilities for molecular genetic analysis.