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CFUR Presents: The Abstract

CFUR Presents: The Abstract

By The Abstract
Kristen Kieta and Jeremy Morris host a show about life within the spheres of research and community at the University of Northern British Columbia. We’re graduate students interested in learning more about the goings on at UNBC, so we’re broadcasting out curiosity on the airwaves. Ever wonder what field and lab research really looks like? Want to find out more about what life is like for a student, research assistant or professor? Come with us as we interview members from the UNBC community and beyond about who they are, what they do, and to learn fun facts!
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Episode 5: Learning to Teach with Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband

CFUR Presents: The Abstract

Episode 23 - Forest Carbon with Dr. Michelle Venter
Dr. Michelle Venter has studied forests across the globe but now turns her focus to British Columbia as part of the Conservation Solutions Lab at UNBC. We talked about what makes forests so important in the fight against climate change and how and where they store and capture carbon (hint, it's not just the trees!) Michelle also talked about forest practices that we see across northern BC as well as her incredible field work in the super remote and rugged forests of Papua New Guinea. If you care about forests and you care about climate change, this is the episode for you!
May 25, 2021
Episode 22 - Bridge pier scouring and life in Northern BC with Rahim Jafari
On this episode we spoke to PhD candidate Rahim Jafari about his research on how to reduce scouring around bridge piers, a problem that can lead to bridge collapse! Rahim also talked about other work he has done in water resources in Iran and the differences between water scarce Iran and water rich Canada. Finally, we got to hear some fun stories about living at a remote research station and what it was like to move to northern BC from a large city in Iran. 
March 17, 2021
Episode 21 - White sturgeon, otters and a tribute to Dan Larson with Cale Babey
This week we talk with our friend Cale Babey who is completing a masters thesis at UNBC. Cale's research investigates the predation of juvenile endangered white sturgeon by river otters in the Nechako watershed. His research aims to support the efforts of the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative ( by improving the understanding of predation of hatchery fish upon release and investigating preventative measures. Cale's work has been showcased on CBC and CKPG news and his mastery of the subject shines in each interview.  On a somber note, we also pay respects to our friend Dan Larson who passed away this last year. Cale shares a classic Dan story from when they lived together and talks about ongoing tributes to a great character. CBC Article: Otter dung reveals secrets of missing sturgeon in B.C. river CKPG Article: Otters munching on sturgeon released for conservation purposes, says study led by UNBC grad
March 03, 2021
Episode 20 - Bears, caribou and conservation with Dr. Karine Pigeon
In our first episode of the second season, we speak to Dr. Karine Pigeon. Dr. Pigeon is a post-doc working with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and UNBC. Her current work focuses on the intersection of environmental factors and wildlife behaviour, while trying to help humans and wildlife coexist. She is also a bear expert who has worked on caribou recovery projects in Alberta and thus, we talked about all things hibernation, conservation, and her ski-bum life prior to joining the research world!
February 14, 2021
Special Episode - Inspiring Women Among Us
Tune in for discussions with three inspiring female members of the UNBC Community to gain a deeper understanding of microaggressions and unrealistic beauty standards, and the effect these have on women and visible minorities. This episode is being released as part of IWAU 2020 virtual event series. More on IWAU, including upcoming events, can be found at
November 20, 2020
Episode 18 - MOSH pits with Dr. Joseph Shea
For our final episode of this season, we speak to Dr. Joseph Shea. Dr. Shea is a professor at UNBC using remote sensing data to get a better understanding of BC's snowpack and the impact of the snowpack on water resources. We talked about his past work across the globe, the work his new Mountain Snow Hydrology Lab (MOSH) will be doing at UNBC, and the importance of creating music in keeping a balanced life. All of the music on today's show comes from his band Trundled's new album High Water, which you can find on bandcamp. (
June 29, 2020
Episode 17 - Bats! With Dr. Erin Baerwald
Dr. Erin Baerwald joined UNBC in January of 2020 to bring her knowledge of ecology and bats to the research community. Tune in to learn a wide range of facts about bats and the struggles that these incredible creatures face across the Canadian Prairies as wind energy projects are increasingly being adopted as much needed low carbon energy resources. We also learned about how her research is shifting to fit the landscape and industries of her new home in British Columbia. 
June 23, 2020
Episode 16 - Using zeolites to fight microcystin and the importance of research with Ann Duong
Ann Duong is a recent graduate and soon to be master's student at UNBC who has a wide range of research experience. We chatted about her work using zeolites, which occur naturally, to fight toxic microcystins associated with blue-green algae. We also talked a lot about why Ann is so passionate about research and how she got involved in so many different projects throughout her undergraduate degree. Ann is a UNBC Research Ambassador and talked about what this program is designed to do, what her cohort of ambassadors accomplished over the past year, and how students can get involved both in research at UNBC and the ambassador program itself.
June 15, 2020
Episode 15 - Environmental Planning with Dr. Mark Groulx
Dr. Mark Groulx is an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Planning who does research in topics ranging from food security to smart growth, all within the context of northern cities. In this episode, we talked to him about some of the tenets of urban planning, a project focused in Prince George that he is undertaking with Dr. Ben Bryce that blends historical research and planning research, and why he is so passionate about our unique university in Northern BC. 
May 31, 2020
Episode 14 - Pacific marten ecology on Haida Gwaii with David Breault
This week we speak to David Breault, a recent graduate of the NRES program who currently works as a wildlife research analyst. Tune in to learn about diving surveys of seabed invertebrates off the coast of Haida Gwaii, terrestrial wildlife surveys, using nitrogen isotopes to determine an animal's diet using samples of fur, and a discussion of science communication and education. 
May 17, 2020
Episode 13: Experiential Learning in the Nechako Watershed with Ella Parker
MSc student Ella Parker is exploring the opportunity for policy-influencing citizen science project through hands on watershed monitoring projects at the high school level. Ella walks us through her research project and the experiences in leadership education that have brought her to her current work.
May 10, 2020
Episode 12: Mapping and Interpreting Pathways from First Peoples with Karen Church
PhD student Karen Church has had a long career in archaeology, spending decades on Haida Gwaii and immersing herself in the language and culture of the Haida people.  Tune in to hear about her Master's research, which used culturally modified trees to map remnant pathways left by Haida peoples up to 1600 years ago, and how her PhD is taking form on a much broader continental scale. Track List: Beirut - Scenic World Saltwater Hank - Old Hazelton Peter Gabriel - San Jacinto
May 03, 2020
Episode 11: Systematic Conservation Planning with Chris Morgan
Balancing the need to maintain biodiversity while also providing for communities can be difficult, but the work of MNRES candidate Chris Morgan aims to use systematic conservation planning to achieve just that. We talked to Chris about his research being undertaken with the Tsay Keh Dene Nation in their territory in northern BC. Chris explains how he is using a wide range of GIS data to determine priority areas for conservation in this territory, and how his work might help influence land-use decisions in the future. Track List: Bon Iver - Woods The Decemberists - Down By the Water Riit - qaumajuapik Caribou - Jacknuggeted alt-J - Hunger of the Pine
April 25, 2020
Episode 10: Just Transitions with Megan Gordon
In the face of shifting global markets and the imperative to move to a low-carbon economy due to climate change, many communities across Canada are experiencing the loss of their primary industries. Megan Gordon, a Master's student in Natural Resources & Environmental Studies, is researching the social impacts on communities forced to adapt to changes in forestry-based economies. Tune in to learn what a "Just Transition" looks like, and how academics and governments research the effects of such transitions on community members. Track list: John Prine -Angel from Montgomery Sarah Harmer - The Lookout Merle Haggard - Working Man Blues Motion City Soundtrack -The Future Freaks Me Out
April 18, 2020
Episode 9: Tree Swallows, Bugs and Climate with Jeannine Randall
PhD candidate Jeannine Randall explains how she is crafting a project investigating the effects of climate forcings and food supplies (flying bugs) on tree swallow populations. Tune in to learn about catching bugs, study design, and the lives of tree swallows (and their researchers)!
April 11, 2020
Episode 8: Chinook salmon monitoring and stream restoration with Thomas Balfour
Thomas Balfour is a Master's student in the Freshwater Fish Ecology Lab at UNBC and a Project Manager at Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS). In this episode, Tom talks to Jeremy & Kristen his developing research project monitoring Chinook salmon in a lake-headed watershed on the wet westcoast of Vancouver Island, and working on stream restoration with a non-profit organisation. If you're interested in hearing more about CWFS, check out and their instagram.
April 04, 2020
Episode 7: Hydrology and climate change with Alex Bevington
Alex Bevington is a Research Hydrologist with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) and also a PhD student at UNBC. His research interests include remote sensing of the mountain cryosphere, climate change, and watershed management. Alex has undertaken field work all over Canada and has done extensive adventuring around the world.
March 26, 2020
Episode 6: The Abstract, Explained (Plus Radiothon!)
On today's episode we dive into who we are, why we are hosting a radio show (now podcast!) and hype the CFUR Radiothon. It's odd times across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but at a proper social distance, the show will carry on! Track list: The Tallest Man on Earth - Troubles Will Be Gone Andy Shauf - Dust Kids Blitzen Trapper - Furr
March 20, 2020
Episode 5: Learning to Teach with Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband
Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband has been an Assistant Professor in UNBC's School of Education since 2018, during which time she has participated in redesigning the B.Ed. and M.Ed. programs at the university to focus more on the experience of students in rural, remote and indigenous contexts. Christine has been a member of the teaching community of BC for the last 26 years, during which time she has taught countless students and future teachers. Tune in to learn how education in BC is shifting the onus of learning back to the teacher, and how she has found herself in ever expanding roles in the North. 
March 14, 2020
Episode 4: Lichens, moss, and forests with Ivy Evergreen
Ivy Evergreen recently completed her honours undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Darwyn Coxson, looking at the ability for lichen transplanted from the BC coast to the interior wetbelt to survive under different environmental conditions. She also talks at about all of the different field and research opportunities she has had during her time at UNBC and how it may inform her career path moving forward. Finally, she tells us some epic tales  from her time at UNBC! Track list: Wolf Parade - Forest Green Dan Mangan - Leaves, Tree, Forest WALLA - Nature Sudan Archives - Iceland Moss Wintersleep - Forest Fire
March 10, 2020
Episode 3: Coho Salmon with Luc Turcotte
MSc Candidate Luc Turcotte speaks to us about his work in environmental consulting, and his research into the oxygen and temperature conditions within coho salmon redds. Electrofishing, groundwater research, otiliths and lab work, its all here. Track list: Gordon Lightfoot - Ringneck Loon The Pucks - Fishin' or Something Black Spruce Bog - You Could Be a Salmon Leon Bridges - River Metric - Breathing Underwater Dessa - Fighting Fish
March 10, 2020
Episode 2: Human - Environment Interactions with Dr. Zoë Meletis
Dr. Zoë Meletis, Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies, speaks on The Abstract about her research in human geography, and her outreach work with Inspiring Women Among Us (IWAU). How do humans view themselves in the environment? How do they interact with the environment? Check it out here. Track list: Sturgill Simpson - Turtles All the Way Down Canailles - Backflips Amy Blanding - Windsong The Feminists - Modern Working Girl Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings - Inspirational Information The Be Good Tanyas - Ship Out on the Sea
March 10, 2020
Episode 1: Glaciers with Ben Pelto
Ben Pelto is a Ph.D. student at the University of Northern British Columbia who studies glacial change in the Columbia River Basin. In this episode, Ben walks us through what glaciers are, how and why they change over time, and the impacts of climate change on glaciers. His research uses airborne laser scanning, ground penetrating radar and mass balance stakes to measure glacier change, producing datasets that inform policy makers in the basin on water resources. He also shares fun stories from the field and experiences he has had as a PhD student as he nears the completion of his dissertation.  We also share songs that follow the theme of snow, ice, glaciers, and avalanches! Track list:  Willhorse - Tempered Hearts Younglood Hawke - Glacier The New Pornographers - Avalanche Alley Middle Kids - Call Me Snowflake Islands - Abominable Snow
March 05, 2020