ISSUE 06, 2011 Events Family Science Show Research Stock Migrations Major Challenge for Fisheries | Warming, Predation Could Accelerate Biodiversity Loss Shop Buy Science Swag Online Class Connections From Ballet to International Health
UBC Science Connect
Photo taken by camera on JASON2. Photo: M. Garcia and J.M. Rhodes).

Lava Fingerprints Reveal Differences Between Hawaii's Twin Peaks

Hawaii's main volcano chains--the Loa and Kea trends--have distinct sources of magma and unique plumbing systems connecting them to the Earth’s deep mantle, according to UBC research published in this month's issue of Nature Geoscience. The study is the first to conclusively relate geochemical differences in surface lava rocks from both chains to differences in their deep mantle sources.

"We now know that by studying oceanic island lavas we can approach the composition of the Earth's mantle, which represents 80 per cent of the Earth's volume," says UBC geoscientist and CRC Chair Dominique Weis. "It also implies that mantle plumes indeed bring material from the deep mantle to the surface and are a crucial means of heat and material transport to the surface."

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The UBC Faraday Family Science Show

A fun look at the physical and chemical forces behind explosions, the gravitation pull of planets, and nuclear power!
» December 11, 2011

The Social Life of Zebras
How computational power can help answer major questions in population biology.
» December 13, 2011

EOS Alumni Reception at Roundup 2012
Reconnect and toast the New Year with fellow EOS delegates. Currents Restaurant at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver.
» January 24, 2012

Science Undergrad Society 51st Anniversary Reunion
If you've ever volunteered with SUS--on exec, on a committee, during Science Week or on the 432--we want you at this event!
» January 25, 2012

The Power of LEAN Startups
Computer Science alumnus and SAP engineer Lawell Kiing looks at LEAN as a mechanism for innovation. UBC Robson square.
» January 26, 2012

UBC Science Alumnus Named Canadian Innovator of the Year

Photo: Christopher Harley, UBC.

Physics and Astronomy alumnus Geordie Rose, co-founder of the quantum computing start-up D-Wave Systems, has been named Innovator of the Year by the Canadian Innovation Exchange.

The inaugural title, given in recognition of the most compelling business or technology created by a Canadian, was awarded this November. Rose earned his PHD from UBC in theoretical physics in 2000.

The Burnaby-BC-based D-Wave, where Rose serves as chief technology officer, sold one of the world's first functional quantum computing systems to Lockheed Martin for approximately $10-million earlier this year.

"The difference in capability is such a vast chasm that we don’t have words in the English language that properly describe how powerful these things will be," Rose said in a recent interview with the Financial Post.

Stock Migrations Signal Major Challenges for Fisheries

UBC's Rashid Sumaila discusses new results in the journal Nature that paint a bleak future for the fishing industry. Sumaila and co-authors found some fish species are relocating to temperate waters like those on Canada's coasts, while species currently here move north to even cooler waters. "Climate change is only going to complicate our problems,” Sumaila told CBC Radio. "There is overfishing. It's fundamental that we deal with that."

Combination of Warming, Predation Could Accelerate Marine Biodiversity Loss

The biodiversity loss caused by climate change will result from a combination of rising temperatures and predation--and may be more severe than predicted, according to a new study by UBC zoologist Christopher Harley.

Harley surveyed the upper and lower temperature limits of barnacles and mussels from the cool west coast of Vancouver Island to the warm shores of the San Juan Islands, where water temperature rose from the relatively cool years of the 1950s to the much warmer years of 2009 and 2010.

"Rocky intertidal communities are ideal test-beds for studying the effects of climatic warming," says the associate professor of zoology at UBC and author of the study, published this November in Science.

"Many intertidal organisms, like mussels, already live very close to their thermal tolerance limits, so the impacts can be easily studied." At cooler sites, mussels and barnacles were able to live high on the shore, well beyond the range of their predators. However, as temperatures rose, the were forced to live at lower shore levels, placing them at the same level as predatory sea stars.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Buy Science Swag Online

Light blue women's. Dark blue men's. Water bottle. Light blue men's.
Photo credit: Rebecca Gordon

From Ballet to International Health

Four years ago Rebecca Gordon (BSc, Microbiology and Immunology, 2011) had set her sights on a career in contemporary ballet. Little did she know that four years later she would have a very different passion—international public health.

As part of her degree, Gordon worked with a small, student-run non-profit, Global Initiative for Village Empowerment in Kenya, on their HIV/AIDS education and prevention project.

Gordon taught life skills workshops to children in grades six through eight on topics such as condom use, HIV and voluntary counselling and testing, with the goal of increasing awareness, demolishing misconceptions and eliminating stigma.

"I came home from Kenya with a new appreciation for the severity of the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and the logistical and cultural barriers to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV/ AIDS," says Gordon. "I'm now the co-team leader of the GIVE HIV/AIDS Education Team and, together with new volunteers, am continuing to expand our projects in the Ojola School Zone. We're very excited about the expansions of the project that are now underway, including an after-school Girl’s Club Project."

Now back from Kenya, Gordon is working as a research assistant with UBC PRE-EMPT, an international maternal health research project. The work allows her to learn the logistics involved in planning, coordinating and executing an international public health research project. She plans to continue her education with a master’s degree in international public health as well as medical school.

UBC Microbiologist Wins UK Society Medal

Julian Davies, professor emeritus with Microbiology and Immunology, has been awarded the Society for General Microbiology Prize Medal. The honour recognizes a microbiologist of international standing whose work has had a far-reaching impact beyond microbiology. Early in his career, Davies and colleagues identified how major classes of antibiotics kill bacteria. His more recent work has focused on isolating antibiotics from natural sources, understanding the functions of antibiotics in nature, and studying antibiotic resistance.

Botany, Zoology Researchers Named to Royal Society
Patrick Keeling and Wayne Maddison were among seven UBC researchers elected Fellows by the Royal Society of Canada this November. Maddison, Canada Research Chair in Biodiversity, was cited for contributing to the conceptual and analytical framework for extracting insights about evolution from life's genetic history. Keeling's work combines exploration of natural diversity with molecular biology and genomics to understand metabolism, symbiosis and gene exchange.

Math Rising Star Recognized
UBC mathematician Young-Heon Kim has been awarded the 2012 André-Aisenstadt Prize by the Centre de recherches mathématiques. The prize, which recognizes outstanding young Canadian researchers in pure or applied math, consists of $3,000 and a medal.

Chemistry Head Earns Killam for Graduate Mentorship
Michael Fryzuk, head of the Department of Chemistry, has received UBC's premier mentoring award. Students praise his sensitivity and commitment to fostering their creativity, scholarly rigour, scientific integrity and professional growth. One referred to his time in Fryzuk’s group as 'life-altering'.

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Jumping Spider
Named After Dr. Seuss Character

After a national contest that generated over 800 entries, a jumping spider discovered in Eucador by Beaty Biodiversity Museum scientific director Wayne Maddison has been named Lapsias lorax. "It's perfect," says Maddison. "Dr. Seuss’s Lorax character has a prominent yellow mustache just like the spider, and the Lorax advocated for the preservation of trees, reflecting the Museum’s focus on biodiversity." Lapsias is the genus classification given to all spiders.

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