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Ecosystem health

The field of ecosystem health focuses on:

  • Understanding the underlying mechanisms of ecosystem function and health.
  • Determining the implications of external toxicants on the health of ecosystems.
  • Discovering indicators for environmental problems.
  • Developing methods to lessen human exposure to toxicants.

In addition, researchers in the program will investigate related areas such as environmental microbiology, the pathophysiology of environmental disorders and the micro and macro environmental factors causing cancer.

Several members of the Biology group in the Faculty of Science have research interests in the area of ecosystem health, including:

  • Dr. Douglas Holdway, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Toxicology
    • Researches ecotoxicological impacts of contaminants upon aquatic organisms, populations and communities, and the development and application of biomarkers of contaminant exposure and effects in aquatic organisms.
    • Specifically interested in the impacts of exposures to chemicals such as endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals and personal care products on fish growth, reproduction and embryo/larval development.
  • Dr. Andrea Kirkwood, Associate Professor
    • Research program at UOIT aims to improve our understanding of energy, nutrient, and contaminant dynamics in a variety of aquatic ecosystems, including lakes, wetlands, and wastewater systems. Lake studies aim to assess the structure and function of microbial food webs (algae, bacteria and zooplankton), including a focus on the microbial loop as the engine of nutrient and contaminant flux.
    • Other research areas of interest include: aquatic invasive species, urban wetland function, and algal biotechnology. Please visit her website for more information on specific research projects.
  • Dr. Janice Strap, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Applied Bioscience
    • Current research areas include:
      • Investigation of the molecular basis of the ecophysiology of bacterial cellulose producing acetic acid bacteria (AAB).
      • Molecular genetic and biochemical characterization of cellulose biosynthesis in AAB.
      • Molecular characterization of microbial interactions facilitated by natural biopolymers.
      • Microbial delignification of biofuel feedstocks.

Other faculty members at UOIT have research interests in the area of ecosystem health. To review their research interests, please go to the Health Sciences website.

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