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John Abbott Sustainability Through Science Symposium



Come learn about how melting sea ice is impacting polar bear gut microbiomes and how to help hydroponics overcome their water waste problem!  

Held in partnership with the John Abbott College Science Department and the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative, the Sustainability Through Science Symposium will feature two Macdonald Campus graduate students giving an engaging 12-15 minute talk about how their research contributes to our understanding of how we can create a more sustainable future. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion on the students’ experience in university and the path they have chosen for their graduate studies. The event will conclude with a Q&A period.  

Join us live on ZOOM

Order of proceedings 

5:00 PM – Welcome and Introductions
5:05 PM – Student presentations
5:35 PM – Panel discussion
5:50 PM – Thanks and Q&A period with the speakers
6:00 PM – End of the event


Megan Franz, MSc student in Renewable Resources, Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University 

Why Study the Polar Bear Gut Microbiome? 

Sea ice decline is reducing access to the polar bear’s primary food source: ringed seals. Some bears are now altering their seasonal foraging behavior and being forced to increase consumption of non-traditional food sources. This shift has the potential to negatively affect the gut microbiome, known to carry out many important metabolic and immune system processes for their host organism.  Megan’s research seeks to describe the extent to which the composition and diversity of gut microbial communities of Southern Beaufort Sea and East Greenland polar bears may be affected.  

Vincent Desaulniers Brousseau, PhD candidate in Bioresource Engineering, McGill University 

Hydroponics 2.0 for Farmers of Tomorrow 

Hydroponics’ increased yields and adaptability make it attractive for everything from urban agriculture to space exploration. However, higher yields should not decrease efficient use of resources, specifically fertilizers.  Vincent’s research tests the use of Ion-Selective Electrode probes capable of calculating amounts of a given nutrient. His findings will help create more efficient and less environmentally damaging hydroponic systems that can recapture and recirculate unused fertilizer and decrease water usage.  

Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative 

Helping researchers make their science accessible by teaching them to hone their content, physical presence, visuals and voice to effectively engage a variety of audiences.

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