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Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Fertilizer applied to fields today will pollute water for decades

Runoff in an agricultural setting.

by Victoria Van Cappellen.

A new University of Waterloo study shows that fertilizer applied today will continue to pollute water for decades, creating health risks like “blue baby syndrome” and environmental dead zones in rivers and oceans.

The study, published this week in a special issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters by Waterloo Professor Nandita Basu and doctoral student Kim Van Meter, presents the first direct evidence of a large-scale nitrogen legacy across the United States’ Mississippi River Basin.

Professor Nandita Basu.“A large portion of the nitrogen applied as fertilizer has remained unaccounted for the last several decades,” said Basu, a professor jointly appointed to the Faculties of Science and Engineering. “The fact that nitrogen is being stored in the soil means it can still be a source of elevated nitrate levels long after fertilizers are no longer being applied.”

Similar to phosphorus, nitrogen is a nutrient for plants and when applied as fertilizer helps increase crop yields. But to maximize these yields, an excess of fertilizer is often applied, leaving large amounts of nitrogen remaining in soil. 

Since the 1970s, farmers and policymakers alike have worked hard to reduce the amount of fertilizer leaching from agricultural fields to groundwater and nearby lakes and streams. Yet in some rural areas, nitrate levels in groundwater have been found to be more than ten times the drinking water standard.

Basu and her group analyzed long-term data from over two thousand soil samples throughout the Mississippi River Basin and found a systematic accumulation of nitrogen 25 to 100 centimetres beneath the soil surface. They calculated this accumulation accounts for as much as 50 per cent of net nitrogen inputs. 

“We hypothesize that this accumulation occurred not only because of the increased use of fertilizers, but also increases in soybean cultivation and changes in tillage practices over the past 80 years,” says Van Meter.

Their modeling results suggest that this nitrogen legacy could still be leaching into waterways more than three decades after nitrogen is no longer being applied to fields.

“The presence of this legacy nitrogen means it will take even longer for best management practices to have a measurable benefit,” says Basu, also a member of the Water Institute. “If we’re going to set policy goals, it’s critical we quantify nitrogen legacies and time lags in human impacted landscapes.”

Basu and other researchers at the University of Waterloo are currently exploring nitrogen legacies in the Grand River Watershed in Southern Ontario, as well as across North America and at a global scale.

#AskAPharmacist: Managing fevers and colds

This is the latest in a series of posts from the School of Pharmacy celebrating Pharmacist Awareness Month.

Fevers can be unpleasant, especially for parents of young children. Pharmacist Nardine Nahkla shares some guidelines for fever management.

Does vitamin C really help you fight colds? Dr. Kelly Grindrod answers at the #AskAPharmacist playlist.

More pharmacy questions and answers are coming next Thursday.

Gender Equity Dialogue event set for Thursday

Dialogue XChange banner image.

This Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in St. Paul's University College's Alumni Hall a community-powered forum will meet to discuss key issues around gender equity.

According to organizers, the Gender Equity Dialogue is the first event as part of The Dialogue Xchange in the spirit of tackling the lack of engaged dialogue in the region. 

The event brings together Waterloo thought leaders, change-makers, pioneers, students, professors and community members among many others (a diverse demographic of participants!) to discuss all things Gender Equity in the community; from LGBTQ perspectives, rape culture, equity in the workplace and in media to equity across cultures, parenting and family.

The event is being held in support of the HeforShe movement at the University of Waterloo, as part as the HeforShe 10x10x10 initiative.

Attendees can register online.

Velocity Foundry changes and other notes

The Velocity Foundry, empty.

The Velocity Foundry, an incubation space opened in 2014, is gone, but its spirit will live on, according to a recent Velocity blog post:

"The emergence of Velocity hardware companies like Pebble, MappedIn and BufferBox was part of the driving force behind the opening of the Foundry, just down the street from the existing Velocity Garage," says the Velocity announcement. "It housed a number of successful companies like TritonWear, Smarter Alloys, and Avidbots, amongst others. When Google moved out of the Tannery, we recognized an opportunity to build a better community by expanding the Velocity Garage, and closing the Foundry. Over the last few weeks, Foundry companies made the block-long migration to their new desks, within the 36,711 square feet of space that makes up the expanded Velocity Garage, North America’s largest free startup incubator. In addition to a new wet lab, assembly space, fitness room, and gym, there will be room for up to 120 startups to work."

Read more on the Velocity website.

Researchers from the Faculty of Arts will participate in a panel discussion tonight that will cover Canada’s history of refugee reception, refugees in limbo abroad, and local settlement challenges and opportunities.

Speaking will be:

  • Marlene Epp, professor of history and peace & conflict studies
  • Suzan Ilcan, professor of sociology and global governance
  • Lamees Al Ethari, professor of English

The Government of Canada recently reached its initial goal to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to this country, and have just announced a target of 55,800 refugees in Canada by the end of 2016. This panel will offer insight and understanding of the humanitarian and personal issues associated with these commitments.

Moderating the discussion will be Douglas Peers, dean of the Faculty of Arts.

The event takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the Kitchener Public Library Auditorium.

The Velocity Fund 5K qualifier events take place this week, as students with innovative ideas make their pitches to qualify for the the Velocity Fund Finals on March 31. The pitch competitions take place Wednesday and Thursday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in QNC 0101.

Here's today's Nutrition Month "Myth vs. Fact" supplied by Health Services Nutritionist Sandra Ace:

Myth: Some sugars are better for you than others.

Fact:  All sugars contain similar amounts of energy, about 50 to 60 calories per tablespoon/15mL. While natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup may be tastier and more aesthetically pleasing, the small amounts allowed as part of healthy diet recommendations don’t make a significant nutrient contribution. Since excess added sugar is linked to many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, cancer and tooth decay, limit your intake regardless of the sweetener you choose.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends limiting added sugars from any source to no more than 10 per cent of your total caloric intake. For a 2000 calorie diet, this would be a limit of 12 teaspoons of sugar or other sweetener per day. The World Health Organization takes this a step further and recommends that limiting added sugar to less than 5 per cent of daily total calories may have additional health benefits. This would be 6 teaspoons based on a 2000 calorie intake. If you are checking a label for sugar, 4 grams is equal to about one teaspoon.

Creative Services’ Online Requisition system has been offline

If you have filled out an online requisition with Creative Services in the last few days and haven’t received a confirmation e-mail, it’s likely the requisition has not gone through due to technical difficulties, reports Creative Services. A temporary requisition has been made available but for those jobs that didn’t go through or if you have any questions please contact Jennifer Halcrow or Julie Grant directly.

Check the Creative Services website for more details.

Link of the day

World Consumer's Rights Day

When and where

HeForShe Arts Week, Tuesday, March 8 to Tuesday, March 15.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 11 - Design, Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.

Code Squad Conference, Monday, March 14 to Friday, March 18.

CV tips, Tuesday, March 15, 12:00 p.m., TC 1112.

KI-X 2016, Tuesday, March 15 to Friday, March 18, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., EV1 250.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Emeritus Andrew Wong, Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, “Discovering Deep Knowledge from Biosequence Data”, Tuesday, March 15, 3:30 p.m., C2-361.

TheGROOVE, Tuesday, March 15, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

Author event featuring Robert J. Sawyer, Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Public Lecture: Understanding the refugee crisis - historical, local and global perspectives, Tuesday, March 15, 7:00 p.m., Kitchener Public Library Auditorium.

Blood Donor Clinics, Wednesday, March 16 to Friday, March 18, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, Student Life Centre Multipurpose Room.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 16, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

UpStart Festival of Innovative Theatre, Wednesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 19, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Velocity Fund $5K Qualifier - Night 1, Wednesday, March 16, 7:00 p.m., Quantum-Nano Centre Room 0101.

Velocity Fund $5k Qualifier - Night 2, Thursday, March 17, 7:00 p.m., Quantum-Nano Centre 0101.

Philosophy Graduate Student Association (PGSA) 23rd annual conference, Friday March 18 and Saturday, March 19.

Noon Hour Concert: Haydn String Quartet, Friday, March 18, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Knowledge Integration seminar: “Education by Design: The KI Story”, featuring Professor Ed Jernigan, Friday, March 18, 2:30 p.m., AL 113.

UW A Cappella Club End of Term Concerts, Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

March Break Open House, Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m.

KI-X 2016, Saturday, March 19, 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., EV1 250.

World Water Day Celebration, Tuesday, March 22, 10:30 a.m., EIT Atrium.

World Water Day Keynote Lecture by Linda Gowman, Trojan Technologies, “Reflections on water and jobs,” Tuesday, March 22, 11:30 a.m., EIT 1015.

World Water Day 2016 graduate student poster exhibition, Tuesday, March 22, 1:00 p.m., EIT Atrium.

World Water Day 2016 Panel Presentation on Water and Jobs, Tuesday, March 22, 4:00 p.m., EIT 1015.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, March 22, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 23, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

Noon Hour Concert: Immortal Beloved featuring Colin Ainsworth, tenor and William Aide, piano. Wednesday, March 23, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Communicating Blackness, Performing Race: Racializing the Visual in Contemporary Gaming Culture, Wednesday, March 23, 3:30 p.m., AL 113.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Peter Mollinga, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, “On Publishing in Water Alternatives,” Thursday, March 24, 11:00 a.m., EV2-2002.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Peter Mollinga, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, “Downstream of the dam: Farmers, pipelines and capitalist development in the Sardar Sarovar project,” Thursday, March 24, 2:30 p.m., EV2-2002.

Good Friday holiday, Friday, March 25, most University services and buildings closed.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Bejoy Thoma, Ashoka Trust for Reseach in Ecology and Environment, India, “Resilience, vulnerability and environmental change: Insights from the rapidly urbanizing Arkavathy sub-basin,” Monday, March 28, 10:00 a.m., EV3-4408.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, March 29, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

TheGROOVE, Wednesday, March 30, 12:10 p.m., CPH-3607. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

HeForShe Advocate Event featuring Jennifer Berdahl, PhD, Montalbano Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business, “From fixing the women to liberating the men: Gender in Organizations,” Wednesday, March 30, 4:00 p.m., STJ 3014.

WaterTalk Lecture by Prabhakar Clement, Auburn University, “Worthiness of complex groundwater models for decision making-when should we say enough is enough?“ Thursday, March 31, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Research Talks event featuring Canada Research Chair Jennifer Clapp"Trade: opportunity or threat for global food security?" Friday, April 1, 12:00 p.m., DC 1302. Please register – seating is limited.

Water Institute Seminar featuring Prabhakar Clement, Auburn University, “Authorship and author rank: Misuses, misunderstanding and a meaningful solution,” Friday, April 1, 12:30 p.m., RCH 211.

CrySP Speaker Series featuring Seda Gürses, Princeton University, “PET Sematary: Privacy's return from the dead and the rise of Privacy Engineering,” Friday, April 1, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents the University of Waterloo Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, Friday, April 1, 7:30 p.m. 

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents “Reaching Out: University Choir,” Saturday, April 2, 7:30 p.m., First United Church, 16 William St. W. Waterloo.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents UW Jazz Ensemble, Sunday, April 3, 2:00 p.m. Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents Chiaroscuro: Chamber Choir, Sunday, April 3, 7:30 p.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener.

University of Waterloo Department of Music presents Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Monday, April 4, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

FAUW Workshop for Tenured Faculty, “Faculty Applying for Promotion to Full Professor Workshop,” Tuesday, April 5, 10:00 a.m., DC 1304.

FAUW workshop for tenure-track faculty, “Faculty Recently Hired to their First Probationary Term Workshop,” Tuesday, April 5, 12:00 p.m., DC 1304.

theGROOVE, Tuesday, April 5, 5:00 p.m., CPH-3067. Contact Cindy Howe for more information.

FAUW workshop for tenure-track faculty, “Faculty Applying for Probationary Contract Renewal Workshop,” Wednesday, April 6, 10:00 a.m., DC 1304.

Gender and Equity Scholarship Series featuring Dr. Andrea Collins, School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability, “Gender, Land, and Global Governance: Governing Global Land Deals?” Wednesday, April 6, 11:30 a.m., MC 5501.

FAUW workshop for tenure-track faculty, “Faculty Applying for Tenure Workshop,” Wednesday, April 6, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Ed Jernigan Thank You Event, Wednesday, April 6, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., University Club. Register now.