Innovative biomonitoring work recognized

News around Campus

Innovative biomonitoring work recognized

Published on November 15 2011

Professor Dan McCarthy of the Department of Earth Sciences has been awarded a Best in Science Grant from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The $38,800 award will allow Professor McCarthy and his students to explore the use of tree bark as a biomonitor of nutrient hypertrophication.  This work will characterize ecological stress in Ontario's urban and rural forests and establish a baseline against which air quality changes can be tracked and mapped.

This latest project is one in a series of research studies that are attempting to develop and use innovative monitoring techniques to track and quantitatively measure ecological changes in urban and rural forests. Other work underway includes the use lichens to measure and map air quality in Ontario's largest cities and measuring the impact of invasive earthworms on nutrient flow and maple tree dieback in our hardwood forests.

Over the past four years the Ontario Ministry of the Environment has generously provided over $200,000 in financial support to Prof. McCarthy's research team. This money has been used to support graduate students, purchase research equipment and give part-time work and hands-on career training to over a dozen undergraduate students.