Dr. Baiyu (Helen) Zhang
Research involves: Coastal environmental engineering with a focus on oil pollution control.
Research relevance: Development of new methodologies and biotechnologies for studying and mitigating oil pollution in coastal soil, beaches and seawater under cold and harsh conditions.
Controlling oil pollution
Coastal oil pollution problems caused by releases of petroleum hydrocarbons into the seawater near shore and shoreline land due to human activities or natural disasters can lead to major ecological and economic damage.
Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and nearly 6.5 million Canadians live near marine coasts. Canadian coastal environment is usually featured with low temperature, strong winds, rough waves, low visibility, and sea-ice coverage, thus poses unique and significant challenges for coastal oil pollution control. The cumulative impact of these limiting factors has raised worldwide consciousness of the needs and importance of improved coastal oil pollution research. This is especially true for Atlantic and Northern Canada where offshore petroleum and shipping operations are continuously growing.
As Canada Research Chair in Coastal Environmental Engineering, Dr. Baiyu Zhang is interested in addressing these pressing needs by developing bio-based solutions. Through integration of microbiology and environmental engineering, new methodologies and biotechnologies will be obtained to study and mitigate oil pollution in coastal soil, beaches and seawater under cold and harsh conditions.
Dr. Zhang’s research will help explore a new dimension of coastal oil pollution research to achieve a shift towards improved microbial engineering knowledge, eco-friendly technologies, and novel bio-products so as to protect human health and the environment.