SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

March 14, 2016 12:30 ET

University of Calgary receives over $1 million in funding from CFI

Five research projects on campus awarded infrastructure funding

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - March 14, 2016) - Geography professors Scott Jasechko and Brent Else have joined forces to tackle two sides of a research coin.

Else focuses on marine waterways, while Jasechko looks at fresh inland water. Together they are building a better picture of two of the Earth's most important life-support systems -- the carbon and water cycles -- from the oil sands to the Arctic Ocean.

"We get to dabble in each other's world," says Else. "By combining our two research groups we'll get a much better understanding of two very intricately linked cycles."

Jasechko and Else are co-leads on one of five University of Calgary research projects to receive funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation's (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund -- a fund designed to help universities attract and retain the best and brightest researchers from around the world by giving them access to cutting-edge research tools.

The CFI-funded equipment will be used to study five research themes: groundwater movement in the Alberta oil sands, water vapor transport in the Arctic, carbon dioxide absorption by Arctic Seas, Arctic Ocean carbon cycling, and carbon transport via flowing groundwater.

This summer, Else will take his new instruments aboard research ships, including the icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, where he will measure how much carbon is being released to the atmosphere from the ocean and how much is being absorbed.

"By gaining a better understanding of how this works, we'll be better prepared to predict future effects of climate change," says Else.

Jasechko will conduct field work in the north testing how sections of the ocean that are now ice free for much longer periods of the year can impact high latitude water cycling. Jasechko also has a master's student, Jessica Ellis leading research work in the oil sands studying the interaction of ground water with surface stream flows to gain a better understanding of these natural flow networks. Ultimately, this will lead to work studying the implications of oil sands water use on waterways that ultimately empty into the Arctic Ocean.

"The goal for me is to gain a clearer picture of water availability and of the natural controls that impact water quality," said Jasechko. "We should be able to use the results of this research to better predict where water goes when it rains across the country."

This project will also help train about a dozen graduate students in new research techniques over five years with opportunities for undergraduates to learn as well.

"This is a great opportunity for students to both further their studies and build expertise through hands on experience," says Jasechko.

Adds Else: "Basically, there are lot of open questions and we just want to get in there and start testing and see where it takes us."

The University of Calgary Postdoctoral Program attracts the best and brightest emerging scholars with world-class professional training that prepares them to pursue rewarding careers in industry, academia, government, and non-governmental organizations. Through the unique Eyes High Postdoctoral Scholars Competition, the university has invested in more than 185 international postdocs, bringing the total number of postdoctoral scholars on campus to over 500, ranking the program among the top five in Canada.

University of Calgary CFI JELF Awardees:

  • Eduardo Cobo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, "Development of cathelicidins as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory therapeutics to enhance intestinal health in animals", $75,000
  • Philip Egberts, Schulich School of Engineering, "Controlling friction through atomic scale inquiry", $180,000
  • Scott Jasechko and Brent Else, Faculty of Arts, "Investigating carbon and water cycles from the oil sands to the arctic", $206,026
  • Ian Lewis, Faculty of Science, "Identifying the metabolic determinants of virulence by high resolution mass spectrometry", $500,000
  • Chris Morton, Robert Martinuzzi and David Wood, Schulich School of Engineering, "Towards more efficient energy harvesting from wind and water resources", $95,500

About the University of Calgary The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

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