Research

Staff and Research Associates in the Natural Sciences Department are involved in a wide variety of research programs and field work in the areas of botany, palaeontology and zoology. A brief description of research interests is included below. A database of Natural Science Department publications is provided through this web site.

The New Brunswick Museum is the repository for natural science specimens collected in New Brunswick. We encourage researchers working in the province to deposit voucher and type specimens in the NBM collections. The NBM has guidelines for the development of collections in our Collections Policy and for loaning specimens for research and exhibition in our Loans Policy. For information concerning depositing or borrowing specimens, contact the curator of the collection or the Head, Natural Sciences Department.

Botany

From their beginnings in the mid 1800s, the botanical collections of the New Brunswick Museum (NBM) have supported research on the provincial and regional floras. By the end of the 19th century, specimen-based inventories of vascular plants were already sufficiently detailed to enable the recognition of patterns of geographical distribution. This led naturally to the elaboration of hypotheses about the climatic, geological, and historical factors underlying those patterns.

Despite a century and a half of exploration, much remains to be learned about the botanical diversity of New Brunswick. Even in relatively well-known groups such as the flowering plants or ferns, species or noteworthy populations continue to be found each year which had not been detected previously in the province. The rate of discovery of species new to the flora is higher in the bryophytes, and much higher still among sparsely collected groups like the lichens and allied fungi. Other highly diverse groups, including the freshwater algae and non-lichen-forming microfungi, remain very poorly documented.

Current research in the NBM Botany section focuses on: inventories of the lichens and allied fungi of New Brunswick and other areas of eastern Canada; biogeography, systematics, and development of lichens; conservation biology of northeastern North American lichens and vascular plants; history of botanical exploration in New Brunswick.

Geology and Palaeontology

The Natural History Society of New Brunswick developed from a local interest in natural science, in particular from a few enthusiastic students of the relatively new science of geology. George Frederic Matthew and Charles Frederic Hartt were two of those young geologists who had already formed the Steinhammer Club, an organization devoted to the study of the local rock formations. Today the Steinhammer Palaeontology Laboratory maintains an interest in the palaeontology of New Brunswick by studying specimens in our collection, developing new research programs, and by supporting ongoing research of others through specimen loans and grants.

Specific projects currently being undertaken by the Steinhammer Palaeontology Laboratory include; studies of Late-glacial paleoecology and paleoclimate of the Maritimes using Coleoptera fossils, vertebrate and other invertebrates, the study of early Devonian sharks and eurypterids, studies of Carboniferous vertebrates and invertebrates, and the history of geoscience investigation in New Brunswick.

Zoology

The Zoology Section of the Natural Sciences Department maintains significant collections of invertebrates, freshwater fish, amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals. More than a century and half of collecting has provided a core of collections that are used to enhance understanding of the biological diversity of the Atlantic region of eastern Canada. The Section supports continuing investigations on the fauna of the region by studying specimen material already in the collections, by acquiring new specimen material, developing new research programs, and by supporting the research of others through specimen loans and grants.

Specific projects of the Section at this time include; studies on the freshwater mussels, leeches and crayfish of the New Brunswick, taxonomic and biodiversity studies of amphibian parasites, investigations of the incidence of limb malformations in New Brunswick frogs, and general investigation of the biogeography of eastern Canadian amphibians and reptiles.

Research Associates

From time to time the NBM does appoint Research Associates in the natural sciences. Guidelines for application to become a Research Associate are available by contacting the Head, Natural Sciences Department.

Botany

• Dr. Adrian Carter
• Bruce A. Bagnell
• Dr. David Malloch
• Gart Bishop

Geology / Palaeontology

• Matthew Stimson

Zoology

• Dr. Constance L. Browne
• David Christie
• Dwayne L. Sabine
• Dr. Haseeb Randhawa
• Howard M. Huynh
• Dr. John W. Reynolds
• Karen J. Vanderwolf
• Paul M. Brunelle
• Dr. Reginald P. Webster
• Robert G. Forsyth
• Dr. Stuart R. Gelder