Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment and Design (CTED) has launched its Wildlife Analytics Lab (WAL), a new research initiative offering fee-for-service cementum analysis of wildlife teeth.
Cementum analysis is a technique that involves examining the layers of cementum (a hard tissue covering the roots of teeth) to determine the age, reproductive history, and even migratory patterns of wildlife species. Tens of thousands of teeth are collected from wild animals in Canada every year to estimate their age.
The Alberta Professional Outfitters Society (APOS) played an instrumental role in establishing the lab by providing more than $145,000 in funding and gifts from its Wildlife Management Fund (WMF). The funding allowed the WAL to purchase new analytical equipment from Leica and to hire a dedicated lab technician.
“We are excited to have support from APOS as we work toward improving wildlife conservation and management in Canada,” says Dr. Everett Hanna, School of Environmental Sciences instructor and WAL scientific lead. “We also look forward to the opportunities the WAL will create for students and employees at Lethbridge College, growing our presence on the national and international research stages.”
APOS President, Corey Jarvis, says the society is proud to help support the lab, for the benefit of all who use and appreciate wildlife in Alberta.
“Strong and reliable data needs to be the foundation for wildlife management in our province,” Jarvis says. “The lab provides an innovative and affordable ‘made-in-Alberta' solution to data procurement that meaningfully engages stakeholders.”
Joining Dr. Hanna on the WAL team are Rhys Hakstol, chemical manager, Jonathan Friesen, logistics manager, and Kelsey Gourlie, lab technician. The group completed a preliminary comparative analysis for Alberta Environment and Protected Areas, and is receiving tooth analysis contracts from agencies and researchers across the country to improve wildlife management decisions and conservation efforts.
“In addition to providing a unique service, this lab will also create training, research and employment opportunities for current students,” says CTED Dean Dr. Terry Kowalchuk. “It’s an innovative way to satisfy the work-integrated-learning focus of post-secondary institutions and we are very thankful to APOS for supporting us in this endeavour.”
Collaborative research opportunities associated with the lab will also be available to other college employees. Anyone interested in learning more about the Wildlife Analytics Lab can visit the WAL website or email email@example.com.
Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment and Design offers more than a dozen certificate, diploma and degree programs in the areas of agriculture, environmental sciences, engineering, media and design.