Connect with us

Technology

Scientists eye DNA in water as way to save rare fish

Published

on

[ad_1]

Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press


Published Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:02AM EST

PORTLAND, Maine — Scientists in Maine are using DNA to try to preserve the remaining populations of a fish that lives in 14 lakes and ponds in the state and nowhere else in the continental United States.

The scientists are turning their eye to the Arctic charr, which is a species of landlocked fish in Maine that has lived in the state for millennia and is prized by anglers. The charr face threats such as invasive predators and a warming climate. They are also notoriously elusive, making them difficult for researchers to track.

Michael Kinnison, a professor of evolutionary applications at University of Maine, and other scientists are working with the state to make sure the fish keep surviving. Kinnison is working on a project to collect “environmental DNA” from the water bodies where the fish live.

The project involves collecting water samples from the lakes and ponds where the fish are known to live, and studying DNA that they and other organisms shed, Kinnison said. It’ll provide vital information scientists can use to keep charr populations stable, he said.

It’s also a much less invasive and time-consuming way than older methods, such as using nets, Kinnison said.

“If your only tool to count a species is a gillnet, and there’s not many, do you make the tough choice to risk killing the individuals to find them?” he said. “It’s a way to get an idea of where organisms are located and do it in a way that presents really no harm.”

Arctic charr live at the top of the world, including in northern Canada and Alaska. They’re known to seafood lovers because they’re farmed for use as food. But to find one in the lower 48 states, an angler can only go to one of a group of remote, rural ponds and lakes in Maine, some of which are barely accessible to humans.

The project to collect their DNA in Maine launched in 2017, and is expected to continue through this summer, said Brad Erdman, a University of Maine ecology graduate student who is working on it. A local chapter of Trout Unlimited, an environmental non-profit, is working on the project using grant money provided by the organization’s Embrace-A-Stream fund.

One of the biggest threats to the charr is the presence of invasive rainbow smelt, a species of small fish that competes with charr for food and are suspected of eating charr’s young. The charr were the subject of a yearslong project to eradicate the smelt from Big Reed Pond in northern Piscataquis County to save the charr’s population there. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife confirmed in June 2017 that the charr are spawning in the pond again.

Using environmental DNA can help make sure the smelt don’t gain a foothold in other bodies of water where the charr live, said Francis Brautigam, the director of fisheries for the state wildlife department. The smelt have been illegally introduced in Bald Mountain Pond in northeast Somerset County, where charr populations have dropped, he said, and controlling the situation is a priority.

“Our agency has been pretty responsive to ensuring those populations remain on our landscape,” Brautigam said.

Igor Sikorsky, a northern Maine camp owner and air taxi bush pilot, worked with the state on efforts to save the charr population on Big Reed Pond. He said the move toward using advanced tools such as environmental DNA is a smart one, because the fish are a unique part of the state’s natural landscape and are jeopardized by climate change. The fish like cold water, and they’re at the very southern end of their range in Maine.

“Who knows if this is the end, or if we are able to stabilize it,” Sikorsky said. “So far, so good is the best you can say.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Technology

More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

Published

on

By

OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

Continue Reading

Technology

VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

Published

on

By

Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

Continue Reading

Technology

Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

Published

on

By

While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending