Research News

Understanding connectivity during an animal disease outbreak

Amanda Perri (seated) and Terri O’Sullivan have improved our understanding of the porcine epidemic diarrhea outbreak of 2015. Photo: Enise Decaluwe-Tulk

Researchers revisit the Canadian 2014 porcine epidemic diarrhea outbreak using network analysis to examine connections

By Samantha McReavy

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is a contagious virus that affects pigs.  While pigs of any age are affected, nursing pigs are most susceptible to the infection.  Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) emerged in Canada in 2014. And, according to recent publications and research using network analysis by University of Guelph researchers, the outbreak can be linked to a single feed supplier.

Research conducted by...

Read more: Understanding connectivity during an animal disease outbreak

Foreign worker program fills labour gap in agriculture

Eleven SAWP workers harvest in a field of celery.  One man in a beige ball cap, blue shirt and suspenders, wearing blue gloves, sorts celery on a conveyor belt with a woman wearing a red tshirt and black ball cap.  Two workers in yellow rain pants carry celery to the conveyor belt. The remaining workers are also in yellow rain pants harvesting celery.

Workers in the SAWP program harvest celery.
Photo: Glenn Lowson for The Grower

 

By Samantha McReavy

The Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) fills a significant labour shortage in Ontario’s agri-food system and is a critical part of production here, says a University of Guelph researcher.  

Prof. Sara Mann, Dept. of Management, at the University of Guelph, says the program has a significant social and economic impact on Canadian farmers, on the workers’ home countries and on Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sectors.

“To maintain the viability of SAWP, it is vital to fully understand its impact,” she says...

Read more: Foreign worker program fills labour gap in agriculture

Nudging students towards eating their vegetables

Hospitality Services' server Kendal West (right) delivers a wrap with added spinach to student Amia Khosla at the University Centre deli sandwich station. A sign beside Amia says "Did you know you can add spinach for no extra charge? Try it today!"

Hospitality Services' server Kendal West (right) delivers a wrap with added spinach to student Amia Khosla at the University Centre deli sandwich station.
Photo: Sydney Pearce

By Sydney Pearce

Many students eat out regularly instead of cooking at home, so University of Guelph researchers are testing out a new way to subtly promote healthy choices – vegetables, specifically -- when ordering food.

The technique is called nudging – that is, modifying the environment people make decisions in so that preferable or healthy decisions are easier to make. Prof. Sunghwan Yi from the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies is leading a team that is working with Guelph students to see if nudging can promote healthier...

Read more: Nudging students towards eating their vegetables

Creating mental health resources tailored for Canadian farmers

Andria Jones-Bitton and Briana Hagan stand beside each other talking

Andria Jones-Bitton (left) and Briana Hagen are promoting mental health literacy. 
Photo:  Samantha McReavy

 

By Samantha McReavy

To promote mental health literacy, a course – tailored specifically for the Canadian agriculture community – called “In The Know” is being piloted this fall by University of Guelph researchers.

The pilot is set to be complete in spring of 2019 and researchers will then start preparing content for the online version of the course.

PhD candidate Briana Hagen and Prof. Andria Jones-Bitton of the Department of Population Medicine are working on this project to better inform farmers on mental health, how to cope with the...

Read more: Creating mental health resources tailored for Canadian farmers

A major platform for the beef sector

Technician Tim Caldwell and Prof. Katie Wood stand with three cattle who have green tags on their ears.  Prof. Wood is holding a notebook, which she is looking at.

Technician Tim Caldwell and Prof. Katie Wood.  Photo: Gillian Beatson, SPARK

By Gillian Beatson

A huge $15.5-million facelift is underway at the Elora Research Station, with the construction of a new cow-calf research centre, a facility owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and managed by the University of Guelph under the OMAFRA-U of G Agreement. A separate project will repurpose 200 acres of land to create pasture at the station and almost double the capacity for livestock on site.

This initiative will improve research on beef cattle health and welfare, and is the largest update to the facility since it was...

Read more: A major platform for the beef sector

Researchers scale the Rockies to predict climate change's effects

Prof. Gedalof stands in a forest beside a temporary weather station - a solar panel and wiring, mounted on a metal tripod

Prof. Gedalof with one of the temporary weather stations he is using to research tree lines. Photo:  Ze'ev Gedalof
 

By Samantha McReavy 

On a remote tree line in the Rocky Mountains, University of Guelph researchers are setting up temporary weather stations to better understand how forest and non-forest areas will interact as the climate changes.

Inspired by the remarkable mountain landscapes there, Geography Prof. Ze'ev Gedalof and PhD student Emma Davis say their research is designed to increase understanding of factors in the environment that contribute to tree line dynamics, and the role climate change will play in future species distribution.

...

Read more: Researchers scale the Rockies to predict climate change's effects

Cheers to research to help Ontario grapevines over winter

Close of up green grapes and green leaves

Photo:  Dr. Alireza Rahemi

By Gillian Beatson 

Summer is hitting us with a sweltering heat wave – but ironically, this is also the time researchers are immersed in field tests to help plants get strong for the inevitable winter deep freeze that will be here before we know.

For example, University of Guelph researchers at the Simcoe Research Station are field testing enhanced common wine-quality grape rootstocks in preparation for winter to determine if even more viticulture development can take place across Ontario. 

Prof. Adam Dale, Department of Plant Agriculture, and...

Read more: Cheers to research to help Ontario grapevines over winter

It’s Canada Day weekend – for ticks, too

Finn, a mixed breed, long haired dog, sits on a rock, panting

Finn looks forward to holiday weekend hikes with his owner, Ashleigh Martyn
Photo: Ashleigh Martyn

 

By Sydney Pearce

This holiday weekend, as you finalize your plans, make sure to prepare yourself for the insects that accompany the great outdoors – like ticks.

Ticks can transmit pathogens that cause disease. In Ontario, the blacklegged tick poses the greatest risk; it can transmit several pathogens including the bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes Lyme disease in humans, dogs and horses.

“We aren’t trying to scare people away from nature – enjoying the outdoors is crucial for health and wellbeing,” says Katie Clow, a...

Read more: It’s Canada Day weekend – for ticks, too

Gaining virtual insights into the molecular structure of the brain

George Harauz stands beside equipment in his lab.

Prof. George Harauz in his lab.  Photo: Sydney Pearce

 

By Sandra Clark

Using an advanced computing network to visualize interactions between two key proteins has brought researchers in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology one step closer to understanding the molecular structure of the white matter of the brain – findings that could also lead to important insights regarding the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS).

A team led by Prof. George Harauz used the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) facility at the University of Guelph to better understand how...

Read more: Gaining virtual insights into the molecular structure of the brain

Genetics help power Atlantic salmon restoration

Photo of young salmon showing variation in parr marks

Young salmon showing variations in parr marks (Photo: S. Pedersen)

By Louis Gasparini

Wild Atlantic salmon populations have declined drastically in recent decades, but new findings by Integrative Biology researchers could help with restoration efforts for this important aquatic species.

Prof. Elizabeth Boulding and her research group made several important discoveries about Atlantic salmon genes that influence the appearance and growth of the fish, and which could have important implications for their potential restoration.

“If salmon go extinct in a stream, we now have the technology to re-introduce...

Read more: Genetics help power Atlantic salmon restoration