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Summer sojourners

June 24, 2010

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It’s summertime and the learning is easier off campus for many SFU students, staff and faculty members doing field research this semester. Over the next few issues, SFU News will take a peek at what some of them are doing.

Relaxing on a sandy beach isn’t high on the summer to-do list for many SFU historians. They’d rather poke their noses into dusty tomes in libraries, museums and archives around the world:



Grad student Christi Garneau-Scott will travel to the National Sporting Library in Middleburg, Virginia to research the history of dog breeding in the U.S. She wants to know how the relationship evolved between breeders and purebred hunting dogs such as beagles, Basset Hounds and American Foxhounds once hunting became less important between 1884–1940. She’ll search the library’s archives for sources such as pedigrees, trade magazines, personal correspondence, photographs, veterinary records and kennel club files. "I’ll focus on issues such as animal welfare, the development of veterinary medicine, social trends relating to purebred dogs and the formation of kennel clubs," says Garneau-Scott, who has experience as a dog breeder, owner and handler.
History grad student Christi Garneau-Scott is summering in Virgina, chronicling changes in U.S. dog breeding after the importance of hunting declined, between 1884-1940.
Ilya Vinkovetsky, an assistant professor of Russian history, is in his native St. Petersburg this summer, where he is excited to be spending time in the Russian state historical archive. Closed for about a decade, the archive is considered the world’s greatest storehouse of Russian imperial history. Vinkovetsky wants to find out more about how Russian imperial officials responded to, learned from and incorporated the colonial practices of their neighbours and competitors.
Russian historian Ilya Vinkovetsky is in his native St. Petersburg this summer, sifting through state historical archives for evidence on how imperial bureaucrats dealt with the country's neighbours and competitors.
Assistant professor Jennifer Spear will spend six weeks at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. She’ll be researching transformation of indigenous marriage and kinship practices in Spanish missions in California between 1769-1822 and its affect on the formation of post-mission political identities in Mexican California to 1848. The project is funded with a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council standard research grant.
Assistant professor Luke Clossey will travel to Japan, Sicily, and the Balkans this summer on a quest to develop a global history of differing philosophical interpretations of Jesus Christ, from the 14th-century Egyptian historian Kamal Al-Din Al-Damiri to U.S. president Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809). Luke Clossey
Historian Luke Clossey, seen here in the Republic of Georgia last winter, is developing a global record of philosophical interpretations of Jesus Christ.
Graduate student Ryan Cloutier will kick back in the waters around the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, where he’ll be scuba diving to collect data on fish, invertebrates and habitat in rockfish conservation areas. He’s investigating whether or not rockfish are recovering in these protected areas and how the species interacts with others. It’s the first project to examine the effectiveness of the eight-year-old rockfish conservation areas.
Ryan Cloutier
Biology grad student Ryan Cloutier prepares for a dive in the Gulf Islands for his research into rockfish conservation.
Graduate student Brett Favaro will be the first to capture 24-hour video recordings of how rockfish end up in 100-meter-deep prawn traps in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. "If we can learn how the prawn traps attract rockfish and other animals in the wild, we can then design new technology to keep the prawns in and the rockfish and other species out," says Favaro. He’ll use a special deep-water camera for his research.
Brett Favaro
Biology grad student Brett Favaro will use a deep-water video camera to document how rockfish get caught in prawn traps.
SFU biologist Wendy Palen is continuing her long-term amphibian research in the high alpine of Olympic National Park in Washington. She’s assessing the threatened population status of the Cascades frog and several other amphibian species. She recently concluded that Pacific Northwest amphibian species are far less vulnerable to UV radiation than first thought.
Wendy Palen
For a number of SFU scientists such as biologist Wendy Palen, Pacific Northwest regional and national parks aren't just for camping and hiking--they're often important research sites.
Archaeologist Dana Lepofsky continues with a major dig in Desolation Sound Provincial Park to uncover the story of the Tla’amin people. She’s working there with SFU anthropologist and social archaeologist, John Welch, and the Tla’amin First Nation as part of a multi-year collaborative heritage program. A major component of their research involves documenting traditional resource-management strategies with archaeological evidence, oral historical knowledge and modern ecological evidence.
Dana Lepofsky
Archaeologist Dana Lepofsky shows artifacts to interested onlookers in Powell River, B.C.
Biologist/paleontologist Rolf Mathewes, earth sciences professor John Clague and graduate student Matt Huntley are heading to Naikoon Provincial Park in Haida Gwaii. They’ll be helping colleague Olav Lian of the University of the Fraser Valley use a new method to date early glaciation in the area. Mathewes and Huntly will also core a peat bog outside Naikoon Park. It’s part of an international climate-change study with the University of Heidelberg that uses pollen and the aerial deposition of metals and other elements. "We’re hoping to detect poorly known, long-term trends in climate," says Mathewes.
Rolf Mathewes
Biologist/paleontologist Rolf Mathewes cores into peat bog in Haida Gwaii to find out more about long-term climate trends.

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