Four re­search projects worth know­ing about

From baby eels to meth­ane leaks in old mines, here are some of the areas of study be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by Hal­i­fax’s aca­demic all-stars.


Univer­sity who was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing Hal­i­fax’s first univer­sity-based hon­ey­bee hive to the Mount.

“Set­ting up a bee­hive to go along­side the [univer­sity’s com­mu­nity] gar­den’s work­shops seemed like a per­fect sup­ple­ment to the en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives tak­ing place on cam­pus,” she says.

The hive is cur­rently be­ing used as a com­mu­nity en­gage­ment piece, but Ruhl says it is avail­able to fac­ulty of all de­part­ments for re­search go­ing for­ward.

“I will be us­ing the bee­hive for lab classes, such as one called Eco­log­i­cal Per­spec­tives of Food, [and] there are def­i­nitely other learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­ol­ogy classes, too,” she says.

A work­shop on Bee Democ­racy should also be of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est for busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion stu­dents, as it al­lows them to ob­serve the bees’ or­ga­ni­za­tional be­hav­iour as a func­tion­ing colony, tak­ing notes on their demo­cratic or­der.

While Ruhl is look­ing for­ward to in­te­grat­ing the bees into her lab classes in the fall, she is most ex­cited about giv­ing more peo­ple the chance to in­ter­act with and study the bees in their hive. She main­tains that the com­mu­nity bee­hive is a means of “show­ing the public that honey bees are docile crea­tures and truly noth­ing to be afraid about!” Try­ing to dis­cover new an­tibi­otics from nat­u­ral sources to help com­bat an­tibi­otic-re­sis­tant bac­te­ria, viruses and other mi­cro-or­gan­isms

One of the world’s most ur­gent prob­lems threat­en­ing the fu­ture face of hu­man health is the fact that peo­ple are be­com­ing re­sis­tant to an­tibi­otics and con­tract­ing un­treat­able “su­per­bugs.”

“We’re su­per-in­ter­ested in look­ing for new ways to treat these in­fec­tions, and new an­tibi­otics to tar­get these re­sist­ing bac­te­ria,”

Clarissa Sit, chem­i­cal bi­ol­o­gist, Saint Mary’s Univer­sity

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