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April 13, 2015 10:51 ET

Minister Rob Moore Announces Over $3 Million Infrastructure Funding and Officially Names New Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science Facilities

Atlantic Canada's Oldest Marine Research Station Poised to Continue World-Class Research Into the Next Century

ST. ANDREWS, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - April 13, 2015) - The Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), on behalf of the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, along with John Williamson, Member of Parliament for Southwest New Brunswick, today announced over $3 million for infrastructure improvements at an official naming ceremony for the two new science facilities at the St. Andrews Biological Station.

The St. Andrews Biological Station is Atlantic Canada's first permanent marine research facility founded in 1908. Known around the world, work performed at the St. Andrews Biological Station supports the Government of Canada's mandate to protect and conserve Canada's oceans and resources.

Today's announcement will create jobs and economic growth in New Brunswick. This new funding, building upon the recent major capital investment of $65 million for the two new facilities will significantly improve the main access road and fund other building repairs to reduce operating costs and provide safe, unobstructed access to this important federal site.

One of the new facilities, the highly-specialized wet laboratory, was named after one of the Station's first female scientists, Dr. Alfreda P. Berkeley Needler, who was instrumental in red tide research in the 1930s. This facility enables live marine animal research in support of fisheries, aquaculture, biodiversity and climate change. The second facility, a state-of-the-art environmentally-friendly building which consists of offices, boardrooms and analytical laboratories, was named after Dr. David P. Penhallow who served as the Station's first Director in 1908.

This continued investment into the future underscores the Government's commitment to improving infrastructure across the country and to supporting ongoing research at the Biological Station.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has provided an unprecedented level of funding to support investments in public infrastructure across the country. Last fall, Prime Minister Harper announced an additional investment of $5.8 billion over the next two years to build and renew infrastructure across the country to support Canadian heritage, First Nations education, defence, borders, research, small craft harbours, transportation and search and rescue. As part of this funding, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard will receive a total of approximately $551 million.

Quick Facts:

  • Established in 1908, research at the St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) is focused on ecosystem science in and around the Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine, and parts of Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

  • Ecosystem science consists of aquaculture, commercial fisheries, environmental studies, species at risk, oceanography, and transboundary issues that contribute to the conservation, protection and sustainability of Canada's aquatic ecosystems.

  • SABS location in the heart of Passamaquoddy Bay provides unique and extensive opportunities for collaboration with visiting scientists, graduate students, universities, industry and other organizations for the scientific study of the marine ecosystem.


"Our Government is committed to ensuring our great country remains at the forefront of marine research and development. This infrastructure funding is building upon the recent $65 million investment for two new facilities that together will ensure the world class research continues at the St. Andrews Biological Station."

- The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

"The new facilities at the Biological Station, along with infrastructure funding announced today, provide important jobs and economic growth for southwestern New Brunswick. It is a great privilege to name the new facilities in honour of the Station's first Director, Dr. David Penhallow, and Dr. Alfreda P. Berkeley Needler, a volunteer researcher whose studies provided, among other achievements, insight into the cause of red tide in the area."

- The Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

"People of this community and the surrounding area are immensely proud of the world renowned research conducted here at the St. Andrews Biological Station. These new facilities and the additional funding announced by our Government today are supporting important scientific research and represent a major investment in our community -- an investment that's created numerous jobs and contributed to our local economy."

- John Williamson, Member of Parliament for Southwest New Brunswick

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The Fisheries and Oceans Canada St. Andrews Biological Station is Atlantic Canada's oldest marine research station, opening its doors in 1908. The Government of Canada has recently invested more than $65 million to build two new state-of-the art facilities, a wet laboratory and a science building which were officially named today.

The new 4,500 square metre science building, which houses offices, analytical laboratories, and a computer centre, was officially named the Dr. David Pearce Penhallow Building. Dr. Penhallow served as the first permanent Director of the St. Andrews Biological Station from 1908-1909. A native of Kittery Point, Maine, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts College, Boston University and Masters and Doctorate degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He was a passionate researcher whose public spirit and love of enterprise and the Atlantic coast drew him to St. Andrews. His appointment as director came to an abrupt end after taking medical leave and passing away at sea while travelling to England in 1910.

The new 2,900 square metre, secure wet lab facility allows research to be conducted on live marine animals in support of fisheries, aquaculture, biodiversity and climate change. It has officially been named the Dr. Alfreda P. Berkeley Needler Laboratory. Dr. Needler was one of the first female scientists to work at the Biological Station in 1930s and 40s. Her research covered a number of diverse disciplines from studying sex reversal in the American Atlantic oyster; the behavior of shipworm larvae that were causing damage to wooden structures such as piers, docks and ships; and the study of phytoplankton that cause "red tides" and paralytic shellfish poisoning. Her research was conducted as a volunteer as she was the spouse of the then director, Dr. Alfred Needler. At that time, spouses were not permitted to be employed at the same institute. Unfortunately, her career ended relatively early as she died from cancer at the age of 48.

Unique features of the Dr. Alfreda P. Berkeley Needler Laboratory include:

  • Eighteen individually enclosed photoperiod labs where users can manipulate photoperiod (light regimes), water, and air temperature to create customized conditions for individual projects.

  • A large hatchery with approximately 76 hatching tanks and 44 larval tanks. The capability to chill the air in this room makes it better suited to maintain constant temperature in the tanks and support the low flows of water required to raise early life stages of fish. Three spacious labs for growing live feeds (organisms that are fed to marine fish larvae) are conveniently located on the second level.

  • A flume laboratory with specialized equipment that allows researchers to look at the behaviour of marine animals in a controlled environment.

  • A quarantine or biocontainment laboratory for disease-related research in farmed fish. It is the only lab on the East Coast of Canada with reliable flow-through technology, durable finishes that support a harsh salt rich environment, and a highly technical mechanical water supply system that will provide high quality seawater and freshwater in various temperature regimes. The biocontainment labs have mechanical control systems that are separate from those in the main wet lab, to prevent mixing of contaminated air or water with non-quarantine areas. All effluent from the biocontainment labs is treated to kill pathogens (separate from the building), then neutralized before being discharged into the environment.

Custodian Departments, such as DFO, name facilities and structures according to the policies of Public Works Government Services Canada. The naming of a Government of Canada structure allows the retention of posterity of a memorial to a person (posthumously), event or an historically significant location.

Contact Information

  • Frank Stanek
    Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada

    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada