The Aldric Interdisciplinary Conference is held every year at Memorial University and is supported by the Graduate Students' Union and the School of Graduate Studies. There are three prizes awarded to presenters for teaching and learning, engagement and research. Vincent Lecours' presentation won the award for the best research paper.
Vincent's research involves the use of geospatial technologies to study deep-sea habitats. While oceans are estimated to constitute about 90% of the inhabitable area for life on Earth, knowledge on the habitats they shelter is still scarce. Since the seafloor is increasingly impacted by human activities, such as fishing and hydrocarbon drilling, research on near-bottom environments and their associated fauna is essential.
Vincent uses acoustic remote sensing approaches to map deep-sea habitats. Topographic and environmental variables have been found useful in understanding the spatial ecology and habitat structure of the ocean's seafloor. Based on that, Vincent is studying the influence of three categories of variables on the distribution of cold-water coral and sponge species in Canada: terrain morphology, oceanography, and surficial geology. Since perception of this influence may vary with the scale of observation, Vincent is looking at the relationships between these environmental and biological variables at multiple spatial scales.
The knowledge gained from Vincent's research will allow the prediction of cold-water coral and sponge distribution in unsampled areas of Canadian waters. His research is conducted in the Marine Geomatics Research Lab (www.marinegis.com) with the Marine Habitat Mapping Research Group (www.mun.ca/geog/research/mhmrg.php), in the Department of Geography.