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Risk Assessment of Invasive Species

(Prof. Brian Leung, McGill School of Environment & Department of Biology)

This project was initiated when the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) involved our McGill student research group as third party in an ongoing Atlantic Sector project concerned with the recent invasion by the tunicate Ciona intestinalis in Prince Edward Island (PEI). The presence of this introduced species has impeded the harvesting and processing of Mytilus edulis, the blue mussel, farmed in these PEI waterways. DFO is involved in the effort to diminish the impact of C. intestinalis on the local mussel industry with a specific focus on minimizing the loss of jobs and revenue in the region.

The aim of this project is to provide DFO with information and tools that will assist them with their decision making. To this end, the general objectives were to compile current knowledge and management strategies related to this invasion, locate gaps in the knowledge, and identify potential avenues for future work. Specifically, we were asked to assist in resolving the disparity between the mussel industry’s desire for immediate action, and DFO’s desire for further research.

Campus Environmental Centre

(Prof. Garry Peterson, formerly with McGill School of Environment)


Sustainable Learning

(Prof. Garry Peterson, formerly with McGill School of Environment)


EcoTourism in Uganda

(Prof. Raja Sengupta, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Geography)


Ecological Services (including greenhouse gas reduction) and Quebec Agriculture

(Prof. Raja Sengupta, McGill School of Environment & Departmetn of Geography)


Wetlands in St.-Lazare

(Prof. Elena Bennett, McGill School of Environment & Department of Natural Resource Sciences)

Located at the boundary between terrestrial and aquatic environments, wetlands are complex and diverse ecosystems playing a key role in global environmental quality. Wetlands serve to reduce erosion and flooding as their abundant vegetation and low relief regulate water flow (Ramsar 2003 (a)). Often referred to as the ‘kidneys of the Earth,’ wetlands also perform vital filtering functions which significantly improve water quality and mitigate the effects of pollution (Ramsar 2003 (a)). Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems, providing habitat for diverse plant and animal species and constitute an important contribution to global biodiversity. More recently, it has been recognized that through carbon sequestration, some wetland types could act as a buffers against global warming (Mitch and Gosselink 2000).

While their many ecosystem services make wetlands intrinsically invaluable, they are also among the most degraded ecosystems in the biosphere. They have been drained for agriculture, filled for development, dredged for navigation, harvested for peat and contaminated by excessive pollution (Mitch and Gosselink 2000). It is estimated that nearly one-half of the original wetlands of the world have been destroyed in the past two centuries (Mitch and Gosselink 2000). During the past 50 years, recognition of the many ecosystem services provided by wetlands has resulted in their protection by provincial, national, and international laws (Environment Canada; EPA 2001; WHC), however wetlands are still rapidly disappearing (Spray and McGlothlin 2004). The need persists for widespread public education, appreciation, and stewardship regarding these unique and vitally significant ecosystems. The goal of the following project fits well with this need for wetland stewardship and appreciation, as we describe a proposal for a wetland education park in the town of St-Lazare, Quebec.

Sustainable Management of Macdonald Campus for Education

(Prof. Sylvie de Blois, McGill School of Environment & Department of Plant Science)


Dry Composting Toilets and Greywater Recuperation

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)

The objective of this project was to identify, compare and evaluate nutrient recycling technologies, particularly those involving dry-composting toilets, for long-term use at the Chalet Pruche, in the Morgan Arboretum. To realize this research objective, an evaluation of toilet technologies was performed, followed by an assessment of end-product use and distribution.

To achieve the first part of this objective a Multiple Attribute Decision Making method was used. With this methodology, potential technologies were initially identified. Then, through a preliminary screening, some technologies were ruled out because they did not meet certain criteria. These criteria were previously defined as essential in order to have a properly functioning dry-composting system at the Chalet Pruche. These criteria stipulated that the system had to be able to handle a minimal number of users; it also had to be able to physically fit in the constrained area of the Chalet. In addition, the system must be able to use alternative energy sources.

Composting for Ste-Anne de Bellevue

(Mr. George McCourt, McGill School of Environment)