CFI Grants Boost Research of Two Young Profs

Two recently recruited UVic faculty members have been awarded start-up research funding totalling almost $400,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The grants will support the purchase of equipment for advanced new research programs on the ecology of bacteria and on the remote sensing of water quality.

Biologist Dr. Réal Roy will use his $234,575 grant to set up a microbial ecology laboratory for studying the ecology of bacteria in terrestrial and aquatic environments, in natural and disturbed ecosystems. The lab, with its specialized instruments to do field work and intensive research on soil and sediment microbiology, will be unique in Canada and one of only a handful in the world.

Roy, who joined UVic’s biology department in July 2001, holds the junior research chair in terrestrial ecosystem ecology. The chair is part of a larger research program on the environmental management of watersheds.

“Bacteria are the driving force behind several major biogeochemical cycles that control the productivity of ecosystems,” explains Roy. “They play a critical role in understanding and solving environmental problems such as ozone depletion and greenhouse gases, nutrient contamination, degradation of organic contaminants, and outbreaks of waterborne pathogens.”

Geographer Dr. Maycira Costa, who became an assistant professor at UVic in January, 2001, will use her $164,303 grant to implement a state-of-the-art spectroradiometry facility for investigating the spectral characteristics of Earth surface materials in lab and natural field conditions.

Spectroradiometry is used as a tool for understanding the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with the Earth’s surface—essential knowledge for interpreting remotely sensed images acquired by airborne and satellite sensors.

The new lab—which will be the first of its kind in western Canada—will focus on the interaction of optical radiation with organic and inorganic matter in water, and apply this knowledge to the remote sensing of water quality in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters.

“This research will allow a more effective use of remotely sensed imagery for monitoring water quality,” says Costa. “Ultimately, it will improve our understanding of the impacts of forestry, agriculture, aquaculture and urban development in Canadian inland and coastal waters.”

The CFI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation established by the federal government to support innovation in Canadian universities and research institutions. Funding for these two grants comes from CFI’s new opportunities fund for new and talented faculty members.

-- 30 --

Media contacts

al Roy (biology) at (250)

Valerie Shore (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7641 or

In this story

Keywords: cfi, grants, boost, research, young, profs

Related stories