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UVic researchers among presenters at global science conference

Can superheroes teach us about neuroscience? How does melting permafrost impact the citizens of northern Canada and Russia? Why does global warming cause energy use to spike and threaten Canada's water supply?

University of Victoria researchers will answer those and many other questions through presentations at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting at the Vancouver Conference Centre Feb. 16 to 20 in Vancouver, BC. All times are Eastern Standard Time.

AAAS requests that any coverage of conference presenters be embargoed until the start of the presentation sessions.

Among the UVic presenters are:

Dr. Tom Pedersen, Executive Director, UVic-led Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
Panel Participant, "Water Security in Canada"
Feb. 17, 10:30 to midnight, room 109, Conference Centre West Building

Global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions is driving not just rising temperatures but changes in the distribution of precipitation on the planet. Impacts in North America include diminished agricultural production in regions that are becoming drier and increasing demand for electricity to support air conditioning. British Columbia is not immune to such effects. Projected lower water flows in the Columbia Basin in summer coincident with rising demand for air conditioning have significant implications for future electricity supply.
Cell: 250-217-3641 or

Dr. E. Paul Zehr, Director, UVic's Centre for Biomedical Research
Panel Participant, "Using Pop-Culture Icons to Slip Science into the Mainstream"
Feb. 18, 4 p.m., room 110, Conference Centre West Building

What can superheroes teach us about neuroscience? Quite a bit, says UVic professor and martial arts enthusiast Dr. E. Paul Zehr. His books, Becoming Batman (2008) and Inventing Iron Man (2011), explore the science behind the superheroes in a way that engages a lay reader. Zehr's discussion topic "Can Batman and Iron Man Teach Neuroscience?" is sure to interest both the science and Comic-Con enthusiast.

Chris Avis, UVic PhD candidate, climate studies
Poster session participant, "Evolution of Northern Wetlands in Response to Permafrost Thaw"
Feb. 18, 4 to 8 p.m., Exhibit Hall A-B1, Conference Centre West Building

Climate change in the Arctic is causing significant changes in ecosystems in the North, from habitat change to the migration of people, wildlife and vegetation. UVic researcher Chris Avis and his advisors Andrew Weaver and Katrin Meissner will present the results of a model that shows rapid permafrost melting and its impact on geography and the environment in Russia and Canada. This modeling shows that, as permafrost degrades, there is the potential for large-scale loss of high-latitude wetlands as surface water drains away.


Contact: Patty Pitts
University of Victoria

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