Advertised Honours Projects for 2024‑25

Lists of Honours Projects:

Dr. Cindy Staicer and Dr. Boris Worm

We are interested in recruiting one or two students to conduct an honours project next year. The student(s) will need to spend the summer in Halifax in order to conduct field work at a nearby conservation area, near Williams Lake. The project will focus on the Common Nighthawk, a species at risk, and its insect prey. The student(s) will conduct their research between mid-May and late-August 2024, supervised by Drs. Cindy Staicer and Boris Worm in collaboration with a local conservation organization, the Backlands Coalition Due to the location and the need for extensive field work, access to a vehicle would be useful.

The student(s) should be in their third or fourth year and meet the GPA and course requirements for acceptance into the Biology honours program for 2024-2025. The successful student(s) will be encouraged to apply for a Summer Research Award early in the new year

Interested students should send a copy of their CV, academic transcripts and a short cover letter explaining why they are interested Cindy Staicer


Dr. Amanda Babin 

Blue whales are the largest animal to ever have lived and are found in all of the world’s oceans, but in very low numbers. The Northwest Atlantic population of blue whales are found in the waters off Nova Scotia and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) monitors the population acoustically by recording their underwater vocalizations. Blue whales make low-frequency (infrasonic) calls including songs that are produced by the males for reproductive purposes, as well as slightly higher frequency (audible) calls that are produced by both males and females for feeding and social purposes. Automated detectors exist for the infrasonic calls, and DFO has recently developed a detector for audible calls. Being able to detect audible calls may allow scientists and managers to better understand when and where blue whales are using the waters off Nova Scotia.

Dr. Amanda Babin is looking for an honours student to start in the spring of 2024 to analyze part of the large acoustic dataset that DFO has collected in the Maritimes Region, focusing on blue whale audible calls. This student will help to answer research questions on blue whale spatiotemporal presence, variability within audible call types, and comparisons between audible and infrasonic calls.

This project does not include fieldwork, but the student will need to work out of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) one day a week (Monday-Friday) analyzing blue whale calls using specialized software to ‘see’ the sounds they make using spectrograms. The student will have a Volunteer Agreement with DFO including a reliability status/security clearance.They must be organized and detailoriented, have familiarity with Word, Excel, and R, and have a strong interest in bioacoustics!

If interested, please email with your CV/resume, transcript, and a writing sample by January 15th, 2024.


Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Research Centre – National Research Council 

Joerg Behnke – Research Officer, PhD

We are seeking a highly motivated honours student who is interested in working at a government lab located here in Halifax, adjacent to Dal's Life Sciences Center on Oxford Street. My research focus lays on synthetic biology in microalgae. This research field is relatively new and the interest in carbon neutral technologies is putting phototrophic microalgae in the focus for a wide variety of applications, ranging from using microalgae as a whole for fish or human feed, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, or growing microalgae as a production platform for recombinant proteins, antibodies or other compounds of interest.  Most of my work is done with Phaeodactylum tricornutum (Pt), a costal diatom that has been studied for several decades now. 

The honours student will learn how to grow and maintain Pt, genetically modify Pt and analyse cell lysates through PCR, western blotting, and mass spectroscopy. The project will likely involve primer design, plasmid construction, Sanger sequencing, biolistic transformation, microscopy and flow cytometry. The student will gain a detailed understanding of the principles used in synthetic biology in microalgae. 

Overall, this is a general outline of the project and the project will designed together with the student to incorporate their ideas and interests.  

If this sounds interesting, please email me at and add a short resume/cv.