LT 5 - Nov 28th 2016

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Lightning Talks Introduction
Bruce Lennox, Dean - Faculty of Science

28th November 2016 - Redpath Museum, Auditorium
(click on '+' for description of individual talks)

Beyond wastewater treatment: engineering microbial communities for resource recovery
Dominic Frigon, Department of Civil Engineering. Faculty of Engineering

Will be updated soon.


Contact: dominic.frigon [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Nano and Biotechnologies for Sustainability
Nathalie Tufenkji, Department of Chemical Engineering. Faculty of Engineering

Will be updated soon.


Contact: nathalie.tufenkji [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Novel ecotoxicology partnerships and McGill's northern reaches
Hans Larsson, Department of Biology/Redpath Museum. Faculty of Science

Collaborative research between the Turfenkji and Larsson labs has developed a developing vertebrate model to test environmental toxins. Our group is using chicken eggs to assess the developmental toxicity of common commercially available substances. This assay has discovered that some approved materials and compounds have dramatic effects on normal vertebrate embryology, highlighting that embryonic processes may be more susceptible to some toxins than standard cell or adult organism testing regimes. A recently launched McGill Arctic Field Studies program brings students into direct contact with northern issues, including climate change, land use, and development. This program emphasizes sustainable arctic research and development and gives students the unique experience of high arctic logistics, research, and community engagement. Longer term goals of the program are to develop a dialogue with northern communities about sustainable arctic research, development, and education.


Contact: hans.ce.larsson [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Sustainability of water resources and diversity - a remote sensing approach
Margaret Kalacska, Department of Geography. Faculty of Science

Will be updated soon.


Contact: margaret.kalacska [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Blue Carbon increases sustainability of coastlines and our climate while helping fund ecological restoration
Gail Chmura, Department of Geography. Faculty of Science

Will be updated soon.


Contact: gail.chmura [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Large-scale river and lake modeling to screen for water contamination and other eco-hydrological risks
Bernhard Lehner, Department of Geography. Faculty of Science
Jim Nicell, Department of Civil Engineering. Faculty of Engineering

Will be updated soon.


Contact: bernhard.lehner [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)
jim.nicell [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Evolutionary rescue and the sustainability of biodiversity
Andy Gonzalez, Department of Biology. Faculty of Science

Global change is accelerating population extinction rates. Extinction may be prevented by rapid adaptation to stress, or evolutionary rescue (ER). We demonstrated that in microbes the probability of ER is governed by population size, connectivity, and stress history. Latest research focuses on complex aquatic ecosystems at the new Large Experimental Array of Ponds (LEAP) facility at McGill’s Gault Reserve.

Keywords: biodiversity, extinction, adaptation, global change, experimental evolution

Contact: andrew.gonzalez [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Rapid evolution shapes ecosystem services and sustainability
Andrew Hendry, Department of Biology/Redpath Museum. Faculty of Science

Environmental sciences tend to assume that species are mostly invariant and unchangeable. It is now known, however, that substantial evolutionary change can occur on contemporary (or “ecological”) time scales, meaning that species are both variable and evolvable. This “contemporary” (or “rapid”) evolution can shape ecological dynamics at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. These influences then reverberate to important consequences for ecosystem services and sustainability.

Keywords: evolution, eco-evolutionary dynamics, ecosystem services, sustainability, biodiversity

Contact: andrew.hendry [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Can Cities Save the Planet? The Global Politics of Local Sustainability
David Wachsmuth, Department of Urban Planning. Faculty of Engineering

The prevailing policy model of urban sustainability is too narrow. Spatially, it focuses too much on wealthy downtowns, at the expense of poorer suburbs and far-flung urban hinterlands. And socially, it overhypes “green” mayors at the expense of “grey” social movements.


Contact: david.wachsmuth [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Tim Merlis, Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. Faculty of Science

Will be updated soon.


Contact: timothy.merlis [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Leadership for Planetary Survival: Toward Earth Economics
Peter Brown, Department of Natural Resource Science/MSE. FAES

Current economics favors exponential growth. At the planetary and local levels the Earth’s life support systems are being destabilized/degraded. Earth Economics starts with how the Earth works and fits the economy to it. Advances in computer science makes it possible; the arrival of the Anthropocene makes it urgent.

Keywords: Flourishing Earth, Economics, Metabolism, Degrowth.

Contact: peter.g.brown [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

McGill as a Living Campus
Philippe St-Jean, Design Services. McGill Facilities

Existing research initiatives at McGill can be combined and leveraged to pursue grand challenges. By focusing on small and local examples of the most important environmental issues facing the world, researchers can use McGill’s campuses as living labs to subsequently scale their solutions to the national/global level.

Keywords: Experiential learning; living lab; grand challenge.

Contact: [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Creating space for sustainability literacy outside the classroom
Camille Ouellet Dallaire, Department of Geography. Faculty of Science

Sustainability literacy is more than concepts, tools and theories. It also involves a series of soft skills, such as outreach and interdisciplinary communication, that can be experienced outside the classroom. Interdisciplinarity is at the core of the sustainability literacy and requires for students to be introduced early in their career.

Keywords: Sustainability literacy, student-led initiatives, interdisciplinarity, Sustainability research symposia, sustainability pedagogy

Contact: camille.ouelletdallaire [at] (subject: Contact%20Via%20SSTI%20Lightning%20Talks%20Page)

Panel Discussion

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