Biology

News Stories

Kimberley Barrett wears a white lab coat and stands in a research lab.

Vancouver Island Marmot Breeding Program is Preserving the Genetic Diversity of the Species

February 24, 2022

VIU alum Kimberley Barrett publishes a research paper in an esteemed international journal that promotes conservation of biodiversity.The Vancouver Island marmot is one of Canada’s most endangered mammals and a captive breeding program was started in the late 1990s to help prevent extinction. With such a small population, however, conservationists were concerned about the genetic diversity of the... Read more


Kevin Gourlay hikes through the backcountry.

Alum of the Month: Kevin Gourlay

December 20, 2021

On the last day of a week-long survey this summer in Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island University (VIU) alum Kevin Gourlay made a remarkable discovery – a new Vancouver Island marmot colony.The Vancouver Island marmot is Canada’s most endangered mammal. According to the Marmot Recovery Foundation, in 2004 there were fewer than 30 marmots remaining in the wild. Recovery... Read more


Sara Guzman stands in front of a building, wearing an orange sweater.

Alum of the Month: Sara Guzman

September 15, 2021

Sara Guzman has always been fascinated by tiny things you can’t see with the naked eye, from microbes to chemical reactions in cells. It’s the reason Guzman knew she wanted a science career.Her parents encouraged her to pursue higher education. Guzman, originally from Bogota, Colombia, decided to attend university abroad and selected Vancouver Island University (VIU). She graduated from VIU in... Read more


Genevieve van der Voort examines insect samples with a microscope.

VIU Undergraduate Student Publishes Research Paper in Peer-Reviewed Journal

June 9, 2021

Genevieve van der Voort was the lead author of the published research – a rare accomplishment for an undergraduate student.Genevieve van der Voort is graduating from Vancouver Island University (VIU) with a significant accomplishment under her belt – she is lead author on a research paper published in The Canadian Entomologist.“I still haven’t quite got my head wrapped around it,” says the... Read more


A wolverine stands on a pale grey rock in the wilderness.

Scholarly Article Sheds Light on Whether Island Wolverines are a Distinct Subspecies

February 4, 2021

Through DNA analysis, VIU researchers determined that Vancouver Island wolverines are not a distinct subspecies from those found on the mainland in North America.Scientists and conservationists have been questioning for decades whether wolverines on Vancouver Island are a distinct subspecies from those found on the mainland in North America.The answer to this question is critical because... Read more


A Canada Lynx in the forest

VIU Researchers Examining Genetics of Canada Lynx

December 14, 2020

Data could help governments and wildlife conservation groups understand how climate change might impact the life cycles of the Canada lynx and other species in the boreal forest.The lynx-hare predator-prey cycle that has existed for thousands of years in North America is increasingly under threat from climate change.“The lynx are specialist predators that rely almost exclusively on snowshoe hare... Read more


:  From left, Scott Britney, Dr. Mercedes Hernandez, Nicolen Johnson and Andre Gauvin have been conducting antibiotic-resistant gene research to determine how common they are in urban environments. (Please note that this photo was taken prior to the COVID

Biology Professor Investigating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Genes in Nanaimo Region

September 1, 2020

VIU’s Dr. Mercedes Hernandez is researching how common antibiotic-resistant genes are among bacteria from urban environments. Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a worldwide problem and where previously these bacteria were more commonly found in hospitals, now they can be found in everything from the food we consume to the soil beneath our feet, says Dr. Mercedes Hernandez, a Vancouver... Read more


Dr. Jasmine Janes, a VIU Biology Professor, is researching bog orchids and trying to determine how and why they are hybridizing in the wild.

VIU Researcher Investigates Eco-Evolutionary Process of Bog Orchids

August 11, 2020

VIU Biology Professor Jasmine Janes has received a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to help her research bog orchid hybridization.Bog orchids are hybridizing naturally in the wild even though there are multiple barriers that should prevent this process from occurring, says Jasmine Janes, a Vancouver Island University (VIU) Biology Professor, who... Read more


Dr. Jasmine Janes, a VIU Biology Professor, examines some of the insect specimens at the VIU Museum of Natural History.

VIU Biology Professor Pens Paper About Insect Apocalypse Myth

January 9, 2020

Scientific paper sheds light on the damage sensationalist language can have on public opinion and conservation efforts of insect populations.Insectageddon. The insect apocalypse. A global crisis of insect extinction. These sensationalist words and phrases used in media coverage can lead to public apathy and hinder conservation efforts and research about insect populations worldwide, says Dr.... Read more


Larissa Richards

Women of STEM

September 18, 2019

The white lab coat and plastic eye protection glasses may not have changed in the past two or three decades, but who is wearing them has. The number of women entering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers has increased in recent years, but not enough. What needs to be done to ensure the increasing number of women accessing STEM education translates into more gender... Read more