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STEM Centre
> STEM Centre > Women in Science Week at Vanier > 2015

Vanier Celebrates Women in Science

Focus on the Environment
October 13 to October 15, 2015 - All Lectures are in the Auditorium

Tuesday, October 13

10:00 to 11:30 AM

Kiyoko Gotanda
Department of Biology, McGill University

"Adaptive traits and spatiotemporal variation in selection. Or, my adventures in science"
My research focuses on the intersection of evolution, ecology, and behaviour. Broadly, I seek to understand how variation in selective pressures affects the origins and evolution of biological diversity. More specifically, I focus on adaptation and how it is affected by spatial and temporal variation in selection. I will discuss some of my research exploring these topics, as well as share my experiences of becoming and being a scientist

2:30 to 4:00 PM

Nivatha Balendra
Department of Physiology, McGill University

"A sustainable solution to oil contamination: the power of microbes"
Having an idea and passion is all you need to make change happen. How can we all learn to think out of the box and push our limits? What are some obstacles we need to overcome in order to narrow the gender gap in science? This is a young scientist's take on a sustainable method of reducing oil contamination.

Wednesday, October 14

9:30 to 11:00 AM

Julia Freeman
McGill School of Environment, McGill University

"To Bt or not to Bt: Biotech questions in India and elsewhere"
In this presentation we will consider the controversies raised by genetically engineered (GE) agriculture in India. The country has been growing biotech cotton, known as Bt cotton, to resist certain pests since 2002. It has been widely adopted by farmers and is now used on 90% of the cotton growing area of India. However, when the government decided the next biotech crop, Bt eggplant, was ready for commercial release in 2009 political action shut the crop down and it remains suspended in moratorium today. How can we understand these different reactions and outcomes? A closer look at this case troubles straightforward conclusions about the risks and benefits of GE crops and raises important questions about the social significance of agricultural biotechnology.

11:30 AM to 12:15 PM

Parisa Ariya
Department of Chemistry and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University

"Mercury in Atmosphere and Atmospheric interfaces: Development of Novel Mercury Mass Spectrometry and Green Technology for Mercury Remediation and Recycling"
Mercury is amongst key elements known to humanity for several millennia, which has been used in numerous fields including medicine, catalysis, optics, and energy-efficient technology. Yet, mercury compounds are also known for being persistent, toxic and for being bio-accumulative pollutants of global interest. Volatile mercury species exist in the atmosphere, and undergo chemical transformation. Upon deposition, predominantly oxidized mercury species can deposit on the Earth's surface and potentially be bio accumulative in the aquatic food chains. In this talk, I will compile a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art atmospheric and interfacial mercury research and will present our newly developed mercury mass spectrometry for mercury chemical speciation in atmosphere and aquatic systems, as well as green techniques for mercury remediation. Uncertainties and directions of future research will also be discussed.

12:30 to 2:00 PM

UB Panel Discussion (Location: A-548)
Panel Members are Dalal Hanna, Nivatha Balendra, Julia Freeman, Parisa Ariya, Marianne Falardeau-Coté.

2:00 to 3:30 PM

Marianne Falardeau-Coté
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

Marianne Falardeau is a marine biologist specialized in polar ecosystems. Fascinated by Arctic seas and marine creatures, she has been attracted to polar science as soon as she entered university in 2009. Since then, she participated in four scientific expeditions in the Arctic and one expedition in Antarctica. For her MSc at Laval University, she showed that the warming of the Arctic Ocean has led to the invasion of a Pacific fish species into the Canadian Arctic, with potential impacts on the Arctic marine ecosystem. Marianne is currently doing an interdisciplinary PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. For her PhD research, she studies the functioning of the Arctic marine ecosystem in the area of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, along with patterns of mercury bioaccumulation, a harmful contaminant. Through community-participatory approaches, she is also interested in identifying the various benefits, or "ecosystem services", Inuit people get from the marine ecosystem, such as fish and marine mammals, and their importance for human well-being in Inuit communities of the Canadian Arctic. During this presentation, Marianne will talk about her path in polar research and the challenges she encountered being a women in this field of study. She will discuss the impacts of climate change on Arctic marine ecosystems and Inuit communities, and will present her current research in Nunavut.

Thursday, October 15

8:30 to 10:00 AM

Christie Rowe
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University

"The Geology of Earthquakes"
Earthquakes are felt when rocks beneath the earth's surface break and move past each other due to forces from tectonic plate motion. Scientists are making progress in understanding the earthquake cycle, which might someday lead to methods for predicting earthquakes. My specialty is to study ancient faults which have been exposed at the earth's surface by erosion, and interpret the past (pre-historic) earthquakes. Using ancient faults allows me to "get inside the machine" and try to figure out how the parts work - which is not possible on currently active faults where the earthquakes occur 10s km underground. I will explain what scientists currently know about how and why earthquakes occur, and show photos and insights from ancient fault studies across the globe.

2:30 to 4:00 PM

Christiane Rousseau
Département de mathématiques et de statistique, Université de Montréal

"The Mathematics of Planet Earth"
Summary: Earth is a complex planet inside the solar system, with dynamic movements in the mantle, an atmosphere, and oceans. It supports life and is organized by humans. More recently the future of life is threatened by climate change and overexploitation of resources. Mathematics provides tools to discover its history, explore its interior, study its climate, and understand its ecosystems. The lecture will concentrate mainly on these aspects and highlight with examples the role of mathematics in discovering and understanding our planet.

UB Panel Discussion

Dalal Hanna
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

My current research uses information on riverine ecosystem services to inform future management and conservation strategies of these important freshwater habitats. Ecosystems provide multiple ecosystem services that are essential to human well-being. As human population continues to expand, demand for provision of these services will increase. At the same time, current reports show that the provision of over 75 percent of all ecosystem services is declining. Thus, it is critical that management strategies be adapted to sustainably provide services over the long term.