The Science of Canada’s Symbol, the Beaver

The beaver, Castor canadensis, is an official symbol of Canada, somehow representing our sovereignty. Each time we pick up a 5 cent-coin, the so-called nickel, which except for special collectors' editions is about 95% steel and only 2% nickel, we see an illustration of a beaver. But how much do we know about the natural history... Continue Reading →

The Science and Spirituality of Trees

At the risk of sounding like a nineteenth century Romantic painter or poet, I feel that trees echo a part of the human spirit that otherwise remains silent in our day to day urban lives. Although their leaves exist to provide more surface area than what green branches alone would provide, trees assume a wide variety of hues in variable sunlight. Their... Continue Reading →

Symbiosis and Biodiversity’s Roles in Pine Beetle Epidemic

There have been suggestions that climate change has played a role in the epidemic outbreak of mountain pine beetle in Western Canada.  University of Alberta's Justine Karst 's research on symbiotic fungi sheds light on another factor which makes lodgepole pines more vulnerable. It also serves as another reminder of the importance of biodiversity. What follows is a "transcript" from last week's interview with Karst by... Continue Reading →

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