Overview of Activites (since 2005)

There have been a number of renovations and upgrades to the facility, since 2005, including acquisition of new instrumentation (largely acoustic technology for the detection of marine biota).  The Centre’s director and research associates have attracted significant funding from a broad range of sources (>$3.5 Million in the last 10 years) and have engaged in numerous and diverse multi-disciplinary and collaborative activities yielding 129 contracts and 46 ACER Technical Reports.  For the most part, ACER activities span the following 5 theme areas:

Tidal Power Related Activities

  • Wide range of environmental studies (marine mammal detection, fish & lobster tracking, benthic habitat) related to tidal power development in the Minas Passage.
  • Establishment and host of the Fundy Energy Research Network (FERN) in 2009 with funding from FORCE (2010-2015) and more recently from both FORCE and NS Energy (2015-2016) for support of a FERN Coordinator.
  • ACER personnel have provided secretariat and other services to the developing Acadia Tidal Energy Institute (2001- present), and assisted with several projects funded by government and industry (http://tidaleneregy.acadiau.ca). Additional ATEI office space was sought and secured in the Rural Innovation Centre in Patterson Hall.
  • Facilitation and/host of several tidal power workshops and public forums on tidal power impacts on the environment and the community (2007, 2009, 2013, 2014).
  • ACER partnered with others in the preparation of a provincially funded Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Bay of Fundy (2008, with Stantec) and a SEA Update (2014, with AECOM).
  • Participation of ACER as a consortium member in NS Power’s successful proposal to Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) for $4.6 Million: “In-stream Tidal Energy Demonstration Project”. 
  • Development of strong research collaborations with industry (e.g. VEMCO – acoustic tracking, Ocean Sonics Ltd, SMRU Ltd, NS Power) and government (NS Energy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada).
  • ACER Director appointed as the 1st independent member (with Bay of Fundy environment expertise) on the Board of Directors of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) (2009-present); also served as past co-chair (2009-2011) and current member of the Environmental Monitoring Advisory Committee (EMAC), member of the Fundy Applied Sensor Technology (FAST) Advisory Committee, and co-chair of the recently formed Research and Environment Sub-Committee of FORCE.
  • Three MOUs developed  for collaborative activities in tidal energy research:
    • Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research (COOGER), 2009-
    • St Andrews University, Scotland (re: sea mammal research at tidal sites), 2012-
    • University of Maine, Orono, ME (re: tidal energy environmental research), 2013-

Ecology of the Minas Basin

  • Studies on the population biology and movements of significant fish species (Striped Bass, Atlantic Sturgeon, American Eel) with collaborators Mike Dadswell, Rod Bradford, and Michael Stokesbury (2008-2015).
  • Assessment of the temporal (30yr +) and spatial changes in the biodiversity of mudflat infauna.  This project was one of five “History of the Nearshore” (HNS) international projects funded under the global Census of Marine Life programme.  Synthesis workshops were held in California (Feb 2009), British Columbia (May 2009) and South Africa (Dec, 2009). Project PIs: Glenys Gibson and Anna Redden.
  • Participation in a 10 day scientific cruise (CCGS Hudson 2013-013) to the Minas Basin, Passage and Channel. Involved day/night plankton sampling and grab samples from the Video Grab for examination of animal – sediment relationships.

Initiatives with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) for a Field Research Station, projects in Salt Marsh Restoration and a DUC-Acadia 10 yr Research Grant Program

  • During 2006-2009, the Director of ACER and DUC senior staff prepared several proposals for the development of research programs and a field research station on 2000 acres of DUC/Irving owned coastal lands in Aulac, NB (located on the border of NS/NB). These initiatives led to considerable investment by Irving Oil and DUC in restoring, refurbishing and extending the existing farmhouse, which has been named the Beaubassin Field Station, and which support teaching and research related to coastal wetlands and Acadian ecosystems in general.
  • Salt marsh restoration of the extensively dyked areas at the Aulac site incorporated the research results of Acadia’s first MSc Applied Geomatics graduate, Koreen Millard (2006-2008).  ACER researchers assisted with the modelling of dyke breaching and plans for salt marsh restoration and monitoring.
  • An MOU signed in 2004 by Acadia’s President, DUC’s President and Arthur Irving was further advanced in 2008 by a second MOU and a commitment by DUC for long term funding (10 years; up to $1 Million) to support wetland research conducted by students and their research supervisors.  ACER’s Director was involved in the early discussions and preparation of the 2008 MOU and co-Chaired (with DUC) the Research Grant Management Committee.  She also co-drafted the Terms of Reference and Research Grant Guidelines for this program.  The first round of grants was awarded to Acadia researchers in early 2009.
  • To further support the research efforts at Beaubassin and other coastal wetland sites, the ACER Director prepared a successful proposal for establishing a CRC Tier II in “Coastal Wetland Ecosystems” at Acadia (held by Dr Mark Mallory since 2011). 

Invasive Alien Species

  • Projects include studies with Honours students on invasive tunicates in Halifax Harbour (with John Murimboh, Mike Dadswell and Trevor Avery).
  • Report on potential for introducing invasive species in harbours (with Dr Alexandra Curtis).
  • ACER managed and hosted the office of the Invasive Species Alliance of Nova Scotia (ISANS) from 2008-2012; successfully applied for 3 years of operational funding from the Invasive Alien Species Partnership Program under Environment Canada.  The Alliance operates as an enabling network to coordinate existing IAS activities and research in the province, raise awareness about IAS, and inform policy. ISANS is now led by Dr Katherine Martha Jones at Cape Breton University.

Watershed – Waterway Health

  • ACER formed partnerships with the Dept of Natural Resources and the Dept of Environment to conduct watershed / water quality studies in the Upper Cornwallis River under the Greencover Canada program. 
  • ACER worked with NS Community College – Applied Geomatics Research Centre on an ACOA-AIF funded project to address remotely detected dissolved organic matter in lakes and rivers of NS and PEI.
  • ACER personnel (Dr Mike Brylinsky) created a regional water quality database and nutrient guidelines for water bodies in the Maritimes.
  • Water quality surveys were conducted in the Carleton Lakes to address potential impacts of  mink farming on the “health” of local lakes (Dr. Mike Brylinsky) 
  • Ecological surveys of several lakes in NB with a focus on investigations of factors influencing biological diversity and productivity (Dr Mike Brylinsky).

Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP)

  • The Secretariat (official administrative office) of the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP) was located at ACER from 1995-2013.  The facility housed all publications, communications and other documents of BoFEP and provided administrative services to the organisation to support the activities of the Partnership.  Redden and Brylinsky both served on the Management /Steering Committees of BoFEP (2005-2010) and as Chair of the Minas Basin Working Group.
  • In May 2009, ACER hosted the 8th BoFEP Science Workshop, a 3.5 day conference for 184 delegates.

NABS Taxonomic Certification Program (Society for Freshwater Science)

  • ACER has been home to the Taxonomic Certification Program (NABSTCP) of the North American Benthological Society (now called the Society for Freshwater Science), since 2004.  It was established by Dr Trefor Reynoldson and is currently managed by Dr Murray Colbo, with technical assistance from Gail Corkum. 
  • To date, there have been >400 Genus level and >130 Family level certifications across North America.

Visitors hosted by ACER (since 2005)

  • Lori Pansch (U Wisconsin) – graduate student 2005-06
  • Nita Rukminasari (U Newcastle, Australia) – PhD candidate; October-December, 2006
  • Dr Dave Dolan (U Wisconsin) – Professor (statistics) on sabbatical,  2007-2008
  • Professor Pilar Rodriguez, Universidad del País Vasco, Spain, March, 2007
  • Dr Brian Williams (U Newcastle, Australia) – environmental engineer; November, 2007
  • Dr Lee Bowling (NSW Department of Water and Energy,  Australia) – Limnologist / State Algal Coordinator, October, 2009
  • Dr Gayle Zydlewski (U Maine) – Associate Professor, Dept of Marine Science; marine ecologist / tidal energy environmental effects August, 2015