When the Government of Canada announced its 2019, $275 million commitment to Canada Research Chair (CRC) funding on June 14, Acadia Biology Professor Dr. Mark Mallory was included with those researchers who, as part of the announcement, were elevated from Tier II to Tier I Chairs. This makes Mallory only the third ever Tier I CRC at Acadia and the $1.4 million in funding from the government will see his lab undertake an increased focus on Atlantic Canadian contamination of wildlife and coastal habitat issues in addition to his well-known research in Canada’s Arctic.
Mallory, joined Acadia as a Tier II CRC in July of 2011, expanding his research program in Atlantic Canada mainly built on his previous and ongoing research in Arctic Canada on issues related to contamination of wildlife, tracking the local and annual movements of Arctic marine birds, and using at-sea surveys and telemetry to identify biological hotspots in the Arctic Ocean enabling identification of marine areas worthy of some level of protection. A big part of his program has been involved with identifying ingestion of plastics by wildlife in Arctic and Atlantic Canada, as well as gathering baseline levels of plastic pollution in coastal environments. This work that has received widespread coverage in media and academic publications.
With his Tier I CRC in Coastal Ecosystem Resilience and Connectivity, anchoring coastal science at Acadia, Mallory will work more on aspects of the connections between land and sea by wildlife (moving nutrients and contaminants) and connections of local people to these areas through various cultural and economic activities. He has benefitted from the high level of collaboration on Acadia’s campus among its researchers and research centres focused on coastal science which he expects will only increase and build upon Acadia’s long tradition of research in coastal environments, which support some of the most important and threatened habitats in the world.
“I’m very honoured with the advancement to a Tier 1 position, which I take as recognition of the tremendous collaborative team we’ve assembled at Acadia,” said Mallory “We link undergraduate and graduate students with other Acadia researchers, and with my close colleagues in the provincial (NS Lands & Forestry) and federal (Environment & Climate Change Canada) governments, as well as private organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada and Bird Studies Canada.”
Prior to coming to Acadia, Mallory was a biologist with Environment Canada for 20 years, working on environmental issues like acid rain, climate change, Arctic seabird populations, and environmental contamination. He has expanded this work since joining academia in 2011, supporting more than 40 students and working from Ellesmere Island to Portugal to Florida, and many points in between. In 2014, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and in 2018 he was awarded a Fulbright Chair at University of Washington.
“Acadia is delighted with the Tier 1 CRC award to Dr. Mallory, who has been making, and will continue to make, outstanding and highly impactful contributions to coastal ecosystem research and the training of the next generation of young scientists and champions for the environment in this increasingly urgent field of study,” said Dr. Anna Redden, Acadia’s Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.
Mallory collaborates extensively within the university, as well as nationally and internationally, and this broad engagement has provided new opportunities for his students, and collectively has allowed him and his lab to publish approximately 270 peer-reviewed papers.
“Collectively, this additional Tier 1 support will allow us to tackle bigger and broader questions about the relationship between peoples’ activities and the health of coastal environments from the Maritimes to the Arctic,” Mallory added. “A particularly exciting part for me is that we will expand beyond principally bird-related work to look at other biota, including fish which I know will be a surprise to my colleagues!”
To learn more about Acadia’s biology program and its faculty members, follow this link.