In the news

Highlights of UBC media coverage in October 2012

West African seahorse video

National Geographic, the Daily Express, Orange News, and CBC News Now posted the first-ever footage of the West African seahorse.

The video of the seahorse, taken off the coast of Senegal, comes courtesy of Project Seahorse and a joint research investigation between UBC, Imperial College London, and the Zoological Society of London.

“Our fieldwork — the first ever study of this species — is revealing the fishing and trade pressures they face, and how populations can be sustained,” said Amanda Vincent, the co-founder and director of Project Seahorse and associate professor at UBC.

Fish getting smaller as the oceans warm

Climate change could lead to smaller fish in the future according to new research on the world’s oceans by fisheries scientists at UBC.

The study, featured in The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, and the Toronto Star, used computer models to study more than 600 species of fish. Researchers found that the body weight of fish could decline by 14–20 per cent between the years 2000 and 2050.

“The unexpectedly big effect that climate change could have on body size suggests that we may be missing a big piece of the puzzle of understanding climate change effects,” said the study’s lead author William Cheung.

Maternal depression affects language development in babies

A UBC study found that infants’ language development was altered for babies born to mothers with depression, and for babies born to mothers treated with antidepressant drugs, reported CNN, LA Times, South China Morning Post, Fox News, Globe and Mail and many others.

Psychology professor Janet Werker found that babies of mothers who took a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy, show signs of early language development. Babies of mothers who were not treated showed signs of delayed language development.

Iron fertilization project

UBC experts commented on a controversial project to revive salmon populations by dumping 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean to boost nutrient levels and plankton. Maite Maldonado, a biological oceanographer who specializes in the impact of trace minerals on ocean life, Timothy Parsons, a professor emeritus in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Villy Christensen, a professor at the Fisheries Centre, discussed the project with NBC, Globe and Mail, CBC, Huffington PostTimes Colonist and others.


Jennifer Shapka, Shelley Hymel, Elizabeth Saewyc, and Martin Guhn provided expert commentary to United Press International, Global National, Toronto Star, CTV, Vancouver Sun and others, about bullying, cyberbullying and what can be done to prevent it.

“To blame suicide on bullying is, I think, overly simplistic, because there’s usually a lot of factors that contribute so that a child gets to the point where…they just feel totally helpless,” said Hymel, a professor in the Faculty of Education, to CBC The National.

Beef recall

Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, Global, CBC, the National Post and others wrote about a massive nationwide recall of beef that was contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.

Kevin Allen, an expert on food microbiology, spoke about food safety, foodborne illness, and food processing. Microbiologist Brett Finlay talked about an E. coli vaccine for cattle that could prevent massive beef recalls.

Jim Vercammen, a professor of food and resource economics, discussed issues around regulations for safer food.