Herbarium Projects Available

Dr. Lada Malek, Emeritus Professor, Department of Biology, is willing to supervise students interested in projects that will benefit our Claude Garton Herbarium (LKHD) and provide you with experiential learning opportunities.

As a component of all projects below, students will participate (20-40% of time) in plant database and imaging projects related to herbarium collections. However, overall focus will be to enhance herbarium availability and participation by local citizen groups, organizations and students. All projects to include a search for existing programs and tools, in order to avoid duplication of effort.

Project 1

Google Earth (GE) mapping of LKHD historic collections. In order to understand changes in plant distribution in the Thunder Bay District, develop GE tags for collections preceding the availability of computers. Investigate the possibility of achieving this goal in other pre-existing programs such as iNaturalist. Initial focus on threatened or charismatic plant families.

 Project 2

Develop skills in the use of iNaturalist program and app, with the objective to achieve curatorial status. Develop iNaturalist instructional tools for (1) elementary school students, (2) high school students and (3) adults. Deliver one or two public presentation on the use and utility of iNaturalist. This could be based not only on LKHD plant collections (vascular, moss, lichen) but on any other group of organisms currently supported by iNaturalist.


Project 3

Develop an instructional module on nature photography (macro for plants and insects, telephoto for wildlife and birds). Develop “mini-manuals” for the use of imaging equipment available through the herbarium. Compare the utility of basic cell phone technology with sophisticated specialized digital imaging systems. Deliver one or two presentations to target community audiences.


Project 4

Start developing a database of local vascular plants with “difficult” taxonomy, outlining specific features of each species used for taxonomic differentiation. Select one group and develop a model for imaging these organisms, showing their differences. Develop a presentation outlining to citizen groups or students the way in which different disciplines define “species”. Evaluate critically the use of biological, geographic and morphological criteria in defining and naming of species.

 Project 5

Focusing on “disjunct” populations of plants, and those at the edges of their normal distribution, primarily prairie or parkland species (less importantly Carolinian or Arctic species), develop a database of plants potentially requiring local protection. Investigate COSEWIC criteria for identifying rare and threatened species. Investigate and list NW Ontario Conservation Reserves protected by OMNRF from logging (list specific “values” being protected). Investigate strategies for funding to protect additional land in NW Ontario (https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2018/06/canada-nature-fund-special-ministerial-representative-and-national-advisory-committee.html). Prepare a public presentation (to TBFN?) on a strategy to be used locally to identify important additional localities in TB District worthy of protection.


Project 6

Collate information on old forests in NW Ontario, with focus on the Greenwood Lake Conservation Reserve. In collaboration with NRM faculty and TBFN digitize species lists and other unique features of the reserve, develop a list of potential research projects investigating the biology of this unique old growth forest. Develop contacts and possible collaboration with “Ancientforests.org”, local hiking club and OMNRF (current owners of the reserve). Give presentation on findings.



For more information about the Herbarium, visit http://www.lkhdherbarium.ca/

December 2018 - January 2019 Holiday Office Closure

Please be advised that Lakehead University’s 2018 holiday closure period will be as follows:

University offices will be closed beginning on Monday, December 24, 2018, re-opening on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

Regular office hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

2019 NSERC USRA Program: Internal Departmental Deadline: Friday, January 18, 2019

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Undergraduate Student Research Awards Program (USRA)

WHAT ARE THESE AWARDS? “The Undergraduate Student Research Awards are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. If you would like to gain research experience in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply to this program."


• The 2019 NSERC USRA application package is currently available at lakeheadu.ca/nserc

• The Department of Biology’s internal deadline for both Applied Life Sciences (APLS) and Biology undergraduate student applicants is: Friday, January 18, 2019, at 23:59 PM

• The APLS award representative is Dr. Heidi Schraft, APLS Program Coordinator & Academic Advisor. Please email your questions to Dr. Schraft at hschraft@lakeheadu.ca.

• The Biology award representative is Dr. Azim Mallik, Professor. Please email your questions to Dr. Mallik at amallik@lakeheadu.ca.

• Click here to download a list of potential NSERC USRA researchers for APLS applicants.

• Click here to download a list of potential NSERC USRA researchers for Biology applicants.




Health and Safety Training for New Employees!

Just a reminder to faculty and staff that any new graduate students and employees must undergo Lakehead's New Employee Health and Safety training.

Dates are posted HERE!

TEACHING ASSISTANT (TA) Postions Available for 2018-2019!

Are you a 3rd or 4th year Biology student interested in being a teaching assistant?  Are you a recent graduate of Biology or related program?  Did you receive at least a B average posted biology courses?  Are you looking at providing 1st and 2nd year students with exciting and informative field/laboratory experiences?  If you answered yes then you should consider applying for one of our Teaching Assistant (TA) positions on the Thunder Bay campus.

Positions are available until filled.  Incomplete packages are not considered.  Available positions are updated daily.  New TAs should be available for our Biology TA training session September 7th (3:30 pm CB3013).

See complete package requirement and details on our Employment Page!


Biology Technicians and Contract Lecturers Attend Inaugural Teaching Commons Summer Institute

Technicians/Contract Lecturers Micheal Moore and Susanne Walford, along with Contract Lecturer Nancy Serediak, attended the first ever Summer Institute hosted by Lakehead University's Teaching Commons.  Over the course of three days, participants partook in conversation, activities, and reflections to enhance and diversify their approaches to student based learning.  Meeting a myriad of faculty, staff, and lecturers from across campus was a great opportunity to share strategies and struggles in the classroom and beyond.  Topics ranging from active learning, inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, incorporating Indigenous content, incorporating high and low tech, setting the tone in the classroom, and contemplative pedagogy were covered by knowledgeable people from the Teaching Commons and experienced invited guests.  

Thanks to the enthusiasm and breadth of knowledge provided by instructors during this event, our heads are overflowing with ideas and resources which will enhance the learner-centered student experience this fall.  Also, many thanks to the Dean's who provided both breakfast AND lunch over the three days.   Faculty and staff from the department are encouraged to peruse the myriad of resources available on the Teaching Commons web site and partake in any number of workshops they offer throughout the year.

Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) stops by the Department of Biology for Water Quality Assessment Activities

On the morning of August 2nd, Indigenous youth participating in the Mink Lake/Sandbar Outland Program stopped by the Department of Biology to learn some common techniques for assessing water quality.  Lead by the department's newest technician, Kristi Dysievick, youth measured water clarity and temperature before collecting water and benthic samples from Lake Tamblyn and the McIntyre River.

Youth brought their samples back to the lab where they identified invertebrates found in the sediment, some of which were determined to be invasive to our river system.  For water quality, students used probes and colourimetric kits to measure pH, colour, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen.

Biology Technicians Daniel Brazeau and Susanne Walford provided additional assistance.  Special thanks to Aquatic Ecologist/Benthic Taxonomist Nancy Serediak (Streamline Consulting) for volunteering her expertise and assistance with this activity.


Registration is now open for the SES Biotechnology and Allied Sciences Symposium taking place on October 17-19, 2018.

https://www.lakeheadu.ca/academics/programs/biotechnology/annual-symposium and https://sesbass.weebly.com/
August 7, 2018
Please submit your abstract to phd.ses@lakeheadu.ca using this template.

Registration is available here https://ec.lakeheadu.ca/sesbass/home

Register before August 31, 2018 to receive the early-bird discount:

  • Faculty/Other $100 CAD
  • Students/Postdocs $50 CAD

 After August 31:

  • Faculty/Other $120 CAD,
  • Students/Postdocs $60 CAD

Department of Biology and Aboriginal Mentorship Program Team Up for Experiential Learning

The Department of Biology and Aboriginal Mentorship Program hosted Mrs. Dampier's class from Westmount Public School for an afternoon laboratory activity.  First students learned the biology of northern wild rice (Zizania palustris L.) from M.Sc. Biology candidate Kristi Dysievick (supervisor Dr. Peter Lee).  Kristi also discussed her research addressing the threats to native wild rice stands by invasive cattail species (Typha angustifolia and hybrid T. glauca (T. latifolia X T. angustifolia).  Biology technicians Susanne Walford and Christina Richard guided students through the micropropagation techniques of wild rice, which entails working aseptically, scarifying the seeds to expose the embryos, and planting seeds in a nutrient agar medium.   Original methodology was developed in LUEL, a member of LUCAS.  Elder Gerry Martin and Mark Kmill assisted with this activity, as coordinated by Lisa Harris. 

Department of Biology Hosts Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Discovery Day

Dr. Heidi Schraft (Associate Professor and Applied Life Sciences program coordinator) along with support from the biology technicians welcomed high school students from Thunder Bay and Ignace for Discovery Days in Health Sciences.  Students worked as epidemiologists to discover the cause of a foodborne disease outbreak.  Working in groups, they meticulously followed the same steps the Public Health Agency of Canada takes when an outbreak occurs.  Students reviewed interview information from patients, statistically analyzed those data, hypothesized potential food sources from a restaurant, identified potential pathogens isolated from patient and food samples as cultured on different media, and confirmed the pathogen by preparing and running a DNA gel (DNA bacterial fingerprinting).  Students discovered that solving an outbreak is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle and epidemiology would be a very interesting health sciences career.