Projects

furust

We have over twenty individual projects happening at any given time! Every project has multiple lab members working on it—no project is a solo project, as we aim to foster collectivity over individualism. The following projects are what we are focused on now:

  • Monitoring plastics in wild food: We collect the guts of animals caught for food from around Newfoundland, Labrador, and other northern areas to investigate the amounts, types, and trends of plastics they ingest. We are looking at cod, arctic char, seal, eider duck, and snow geese. We would like to expand the types of animals and locations we monitor in. If you would like to be involved, see our page on how to gather guts for analysis or contact Max Liboiron mliboiron@mun.ca. See our findings to date here.
  • Regional wild food survey: Eating wild-caught food is important in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are many sources of information in this, from historical surveys to stories to hunting permits. We are compiling all this information and putting it in one place. If you would like to be involved, contact John Atkinson jaatkinson@mun.ca
  • Regional plastic surveys: We monitor plastics whenever and wherever we can, in sediment (In Iqaluit), in surface waters (Nain, Holyrood, Petty Harbour, Placentia Bay, western Greenland, Sable Island), and on shorelines (Nain, Iqaluit, Black Tickle, St. John’s, Fogo Island) as well as in wild food (see above). If you want to be involved in shoreline monitoring, see our page on how to conduct a beach survey or contact France Liboiron fel480@mun.ca
  • Animal respect protocols: While university animal care protocols are important, they do not account for many forms of respect and ways to understand animals as research collaborators. We are working to articulate what respect means from a feminist and anti-colonial standpoint, and how to put these meanings to work in our protocols.
  • Citizen science fish tag mapping: Plastics move from the ocean around Newfoundland, Canada, to the coasts of Scotland and beyond. We are asking people to send in Canadian fishing tags when they find them on the shores so we can use them to chart where the plastics started from, and where they end up–please get involved! The expertise of Scottish beachcomber Martin Gray is central to this project.
  • Community peer review: When we have obtained findings about plastic in wild food webs, particularly by food consumed by humans, we hold a public meeting in the communities that samples came from. We discuss our methods and findings, and ask community members for their input, criticism, insights, and concerns. This strengthens our research findings through the contributions of local expertise, but more importantly, it is an opportunity for communities to impact how (and whether) our research circulates beyond that meeting. For more information, contact Alex Zahara ardz76@mun.ca
  • Queer Science Reading Group: What unique experiences or challenges do queer people encounter in STEM disciplines? How have ecological sciences discussed queerness in nature, or sought to write it out of nature? What might it mean for scientists to ‘queer’ research practices? These are some of the questions asked by the Queer Science Reading Group. We aim to make science a safer space for queer people, while challenging assumptions about heterosexuality embedded in scientific practices. In doing so, we aim to develop a science that promotes queer ethics. Our queer science reading list is available here. If you are interested in joining the Queer Science Listserv, please contact Alex Zahara at ardz76@mun.ca.  All genders and sexualities are welcome.

We also have other ongoing projects on: kids as citizen scientists, the role of fishing gear in plastic pollution, anti-colonial mapping processes, histories and critiques of empowerment via/in science, citational politics in science, a science cookbook, and secondary ingestion of plastics across trophic levels (levels in the food web).

The following projects have been completed:

  • Citizen science on plastic pollution for K-12: We’ve partnered with Let’s Talk Science to make guides and resources for using citizen science tools for monitoring marine plastics in classrooms.
  • Development of DIY open science surface trawls: We’ve completed designing, testing, and validating two scientific surface trawls for monitoring surface water plastics: LADI and BabyLegs.

 

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Our lab dog, Grandmother, working hard on a duck sample.