Research opportunities

Professors in Dal's Biology Department lead international teams to produce ground-breaking research. Their research activities, supported by several millions of dollars in grants, encompass the following areas:

  • the world's oceans
  • plants and soil ecology
  • the genetics of fishes and marine organisms
  • whale behaviour
  • forest tree genetics
  • bone development
  • the very basis of life itself—the cell

As well, adjunct professors supervise research by Dalhousie students at other institutions such as the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) and the National Research Council (NRC).

With so many research projects happening, you can be sure that what's discussed in the classroom is current. These projects also provide summer and part-time job opportunities for upper-level undergraduate students, as well as high-level research projects for students in the Biology honours program.

Student research opportunities

As an undergrad in the Biology Department, you could take part in any one of dozens of amazing research projects. Here are just a few examples:

  • Peek into little-known ecosystems two-and-a-half kilometres below the ocean’s surface, as you work offshore on an expedition to extend our knowledge of biodiversity.
  • Discover how fasting grey seal females allocate their fatty acid stores when producing milk for their pups.
  • Investigate the diet of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Sargasso Sea and the Caribbean.
  • Study population genetics of the Blanding's turtle, and endangered species in Nova Scotia, using mitochondrial DNA sequences.
  • Participate in the live cell imaging of programmed cell death (PCD) in the lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis).
  • Investigate starch degradation in the colorless alga Polytomella under starvation conditions.
  • Determine the reproductive biology of the red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa).
  • Compare seedling diversity in clear-cut areas that are regenerating, in Kejimkujik Park, and in unharvested forest.
  • Study the feasibility of carbon storage in urban habitats.
  • Investigate the population genetics of Trinidadian guppies.
  • Analyze the causal pathways of natural selection in the lab and in the field.
  • Explore aspects involved in the genetic conservation of endangered Atlantic salmon populations.

Biology professors' projects

Our Biology professors are involved in projects related to a broad range of subject areas:

  • behaviour
  • biochemistry
  • cell biology
  • development
  • ecology
  • evolution
  • genetics
  • genomics and bioinformatics
  • microbiology
  • plant biology
  • marine biology
  • physiology

For detailed information on our research activities, visit the Department of Biology website.