LOREX: Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Associated University: Dalhousie University
Program Dates: May 2019

About the Department of Oceanography:

With a decades-long strategic focus on ocean studies, Dalhousie University is Canada’s premier institution for ocean research and education. Located in Halifax on the Atlantic coast of the province of Nova Scotia, Dalhousie offers ready access to a variety of natural environments, from the rocky shores of the Atlantic, to the extensive tidal flats of Minas Basin, to the Bedford Basin, site of ongoing, decades-long time-series studies of an urban harbour. We have outstanding laboratory facilities on campus, including the Aquatron sea-water facility that maintains infrastructure ranging from small tanks and wet tables to a 10-m deep tower tank. Dalhousie University is a place to meet researchers from around the world, as we are host to some of Canada’s most prominent ocean research networks: the Ocean Frontier Institute, the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network, and the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN).

The Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie has 20 professors whose diverse expertise spans the major oceanographic sub-disciplines of biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography. Potential mentors and their research interests include:

Biological Oceanography

  • Chris Algar’s group is interested in how microbes mediate the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nutrients.
  • Katja Fennel’s group develops and applies coupled physical-biogeochemical models to advance understanding of marine ecosystems, and biogeochemical cycling of carbon and other essential elements.
  • Zoe Finkel is focused on understanding how environmental and climate change will alter the structure and function of marine phytoplankton communities and the ocean carbon cycle.
  • Jon Grant’s group explores the two-way interactions between aquaculture and the environment. They are active in the development of new sensors that will improve understanding of fish behavior and overall husbandry practices.
  • Hugh MacIntyre’s group is engaged broadly in investigating phytoplankton viability, including the rapid assessment of the efficacy of ultraviolet light as a treatment for ships’ ballast water.
  • Anna Metaxas’s group focusses on the factors that regulate populations of benthic marine invertebrates, particularly early in their life history.
  • Chris Taggart’s group investigates the physical, biochemical, genetic, ecological and human influences on growth, reproduction, early life history, recruitment, survival, population structure, and the distribution of marine organisms.

Chemical Oceanography

  • Bernie Boudreau’s group uses mathematical models to explore an array of chemical processes in the ocean.
  • Carly Buchwald’s group uses the abundance of stable isotopes of nitrogen and oxygen in nitrite and nitrate to interpret nitrogen biogeochemistry in the environment.
  • Helmuth Thomas’ group investigates carbon cycling and acidification in coastal and Arctic waters.
  • Doug Wallace’s group studies chemical oceanography and marine biogeochemistry with focus on the ocean carbon cycle, ocean-atmosphere exchange, and ocean observation, especially with the use of autonomous platforms and “platforms of opportunity.”

Geological Oceanography

  • Paul Hill’s group takes a multi-faceted approach to the study of fine-sediment transport and distribution in the coastal ocean.
  • Markus Kienast’s group works to describe, understand and quantify the distribution of sedimentary particles and tracers, such as specific biomarkers or isotopes.
  • Stephanie Kienast’s group unravels past ocean and climate conditions through analysis of the physical and chemical properties of marine sediments. They use this research to contribute to an advanced understanding of Earth’s climate system and its predictability in the future.

Physical Oceanography

  • David Barclay’s group specializes in acoustics, with emphasis on measurement and interpretation of deep-ocean noise and sediment acoustics.
  • Alex Hay’s group specializes in acoustics, with emphasis on characterization of turbulence and sediment transport in wave and tide-dominated environments.
  • Dan Kelley’s group works on ocean mixing and its parameterization, focusing mainly on internal waves and double-diffusive convection.
  • Eric Oliver investigates ocean and climate variability across a range of time and space scales including extreme events like marine heatwaves and storms.
  • Jinyu Sheng’s group develops and applies numerical models of coastal ocean circulation.
  • Keith Thompson’s group strives to understand the dynamics that control the changing physical state of continental shelf seas and the open ocean, and to develop realistic models to provide useful predictions.

To learn more, visit the host institute’s website: https://www.dal.ca/faculty/science/oceanography.html

This program is supported by NSF grant #1831075, 2019-2021.

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