Faculty of Science News

Honey bee foraging in red maple flowers.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of a few places on Earth still unaffected by many of the diseases and other problems affecting honey bee populations elsewhere.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association (NLBKA) has identified several research priorities concerning honey bees and wild pollinator species in Newfoundland and Labrador and is interested in working with researchers at Memorial University to fill in knowledge gaps and help address current apicuture challenges.



Red-breasted grosbeak

A new paper co-written by Memorial University researchers argues that some migratory birds are failing to keep pace with a rapidly changing climate.

Dr. Stephen Mayor completed a master’s in biology at Memorial and is currently with the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

As a post-doctoral fellow at Memorial, he worked with Dr. David Schneider, Department of Ocean Sciences, on a study that looked at 48 common bird species and their ability to adjust the timing of their migration to match the changing start of spring.

“What we’re seeing is that climate change is causing the timing of spring green-up — that’s when the leaves come out on the trees — to shift,” he explained.

“It’s also become less variable and less predictable from year-to-year. We looked at how birds were responding to that shift and found nine species of songbirds are having trouble keeping up with the change and lagging behind when they should be arriving to North America.”



Three images connected to Memorial are shortlisted for a national contest.

Science Exposed, organized by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, highlights top images featuring scientific research in all fields of study.

A total of 20 images have made the final cut. 


Brad de Young and Paul Snelgrove

This spring, Memorial researchers and alumni are participating in an educational series to explore the exciting world of ocean science and technology with students from across the province.

Group photo

The provincial and federal governments announced an investment of more than $1 million in projects for Memorial University’s Bonne Bay Marine Station and Grenfell Campus May 13.

Funding announcement

A team of Memorial researchers and a Genesis Centre client have received combined federal-provincial support of more than $4.9 million.

The funding will allow for the development of new technologies to test water for contaminants and for creating holographic displays.

Student researcher

Researchers looking for funding opportunities have a new tool at their disposal.

Research Grant and Contract Services (RGCS), a unit within the Vice-President (Research) portfolio, has launched a new searchable database, which allows researchers to easily find details on internal and external funding opportunities.


Daniel Rees

A bachelor of arts (honours) student completing a major in archaeology, a minor in biology, and a diploma in applied ethics from the Department of Philosophy has been awarded the 2017 Memorial University Award for Outstanding Self-directed Learning.

The award was presented to Daniel Rees at a ceremony on the St. John’s campus.

Dr. Chris Parrish

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has approved the use of mechanically-extracted camelina oil as a feed ingredient for farmed salmon and trout.

The decision follows a recently completed large-scale study of camelina oil managed by Genome Atlantic. Dr. Chris Parrish, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, was one of the study’s principal researchers.


Chemistry demo

Science Rendezvous, an all-ages and free public event, will allow participants to do fun and safe hands-on science activities on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.

Visitors will get to watch a chemistry magic show, explore a travelling touch tank, discover glow-in-the-dark crystals, take part in interactive physics demos, and much more on Saturday, May 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free parking will be available in lot 15B.

Dr. Janna Rosales

A number of graduate and undergraduate students took part in a 10-week workplace mindfulness course this semester.

The course, which included a 90-minute session per week and a two-hour capstone session at the end, was offered to students engaged in co-op work terms, internships or field placements for their respective programs in the School of Social Work, the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Science’s Department of Psychology.

Artist rendering of new facility


Memorial University has awarded the main construction contract for the Core Science Facility to Marco Services Limited.

The contract, known as CP-3R, is for the remaining work on the building. Construction will resume on the project this spring. It is slated to open for the fall semester in 2020.


Galway team

A team of scientists from six countries — with a unique Memorial University connection — will depart from St. John’s, N.L., on April 27 on a trans-Atlantic voyage that’s studying the impact of climate change on the ocean.

The research being conducted on-board the Celtic Explorer is a Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) survey, being led by the Marine Institute of Galway, Ireland.


Dr. Vardy

This weekend’s episode of the long-running hit British television show, Doctor Who, will have a special connection to one Memorial University researcher.

The season’s second episode will see “The Doctor” visiting the colony world of Gliese 581 D, a bright, sunny world tended to by a swarm of tiny bird-like robots called Vardies. The Vardies, it just so happens, are named for Dr. Andrew Vardy, a professor jointly appointed with the faculties of Science and Engineering and Applied Science.

Psychology winners

The Department of Psychology celebrated their best and brightest on April 6, as the unit held their eighth annual research day.

The event showcased research conducted by master’s and honours students, with seven second-year master’s students holding talks in the morning followed by an afternoon poster session representing the work of 48 honours students.

Original biochemistry staff.

On July 1, 2017, Memorial University will mark a special milestone.

On that date, the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, which first opened on July 1, 1967, will turn 50 years old. To commemorate, the department is hosting a reunion weekend Sept. 8-10 and hopes to reconnect with many former students, staff and faculty.


Students at convocation

Along with the newest cohort of spring graduates crossing the stage, Memorial University is presenting seven extraordinary people with degrees honoris causa at spring convocation ceremonies.

Honorary degrees will be awarded to Calvin White, a Mi’kmaw elder; Dr. Frank Hayden, founder of the Special Olympics; Moya Greene, president and CEO of the Royal Mail; Bob McDonald, popular host of the national science radio program, Quirks and Quarks; gardener Ross Traverse; businessperson and philanthropist Donald Lawson; and Marilyn Churley, environmentalist and politician.

Storytellers logo

A pair of Memorial master’s students are among 25 finalists from across Canada taking part in a prestigious annual research competition.

Laura Fallon and Meagan McCardle — both graduate students in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science — were selected from nearly 200 entries for the 2017 Storytellers Challenge sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SHHRC).


Computer Science students

The discipline of computer science is a rapidly expanding frontier, and Memorial’s Department of Computer Science is evolving right along with it.

Following an academic program review and consultation, the department has decided to provide the option of more specialized majors in its undergraduate program, starting with the introduction of two new majors this fall.