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School of Science and the Environment

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Bringing graduate and undergraduate students and researchers together from the natural and social sciences, the School of Science & the Environment offers programs in environmental policy, boreal ecosystems and agricultural sciences, computational mathematics, environmental science, general science, physics, environmental studies, and sustainable resource management.

The Newfoundland Gray-cheeked Thrush is a songbird found breeding across the island, part of the broader breeding range of the Gray-cheeked Thrush which extends across North America along the northern fringes of the boreal forest, and even into Siberia. These island birds have a large range which stretches from Gros Morne National Park all the way to Sierra de Perijá National Park in Venezuela, where some spend the winter near the border with Columbia. In the 1980's thrush numbers began to decline on the island – unlike their mainland cousins who seem to be doing okay. Dr. Ian Warkentin, a Grenfell Campus environmental scientist, is working with collaborators, such as Gros Morne National Park's Dr. Darroch Whitaker, to try and find out why their numbers have dropped. In their 10-year-collaborative study, Dr. Warkentin and Dr. Whitaker have found some factors that may be having an impact in the decline in the thrush population, including change of vegetation for agricultural purposes in Gray-cheeked Thrush's wintering grounds in South America and the introduction of the red squirrel in Newfoundland in the 1960's, which coincides with the decrease of this species.


Fueled by the proliferation and popularity of various intelligent devices, the tremendous growth of bandwidth-intensive multimedia services, and the rapid increase in the number of base stations, the mobile wireless communication has experienced an unprecedented growth in data traffic in recent years. Although the currently deploying 4G network may accommodate the current data traffic surge, it will not be able to support the explosive growth in data traffic demands and huge number of devices in 2020 and beyond. Dr. Telex Magloire N. Ngatched is working on an NSERC funding research grant, and his research aims to fix issues with visible light communications (VLC) that can be used to launch 5G networks. The idea behind this research is the benefit of using light as a means of illumination and communication, which would result in more reliable connections and a price tag reduction for new technology networks.


Dr. Jianghua Wu, along with several research partners, including Dr. Junwei Luan who made an equal contribution to the research, studied whether soil nitrogen would determine northern peatland greenhouse gas emissions under concurrent warming and vegetation shifting. Dr.  After collecting a year's worth of data, the team found that elevated nitrogen deposition will mitigate the effects of global warming on methane emissions, but global warming would enhance the effects of elevated nitrogen deposition on nitrous oxide emissions, which have a global warming potential hundreds of times greater than carbon dioxide. The study was based on a manipulative field experiment, where air was manually warmed to simulate global warming; nitrogen fertilizer was used to simulate increased nitrogen deposition and selected vegetation removed to simulate the shift in vegetation composition. While the results are encouraging, Dr. Wu cautions that the outcomes are based on solely one year's data, but the study will continue to see if the findings will last long term.


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Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: FC4020-4027
Phone: (709) 637-7193
Email: research@grenfell.mun.ca

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