• UVic’s Centre for Forest Biology is a graduate
program integrated into the departments of biology
and biochemistry & microbiology, emphasizing forest
regeneration and forest biotechnology. Graduate
students in these programs have the opportunity to
Vol. 1, No. 19 work closely with federal and provincial research
laboratories and industry. More information: http://
web.uvic.ca/ ~ forbiol/
• Further information on Dr. Barbara Hawkins, her
Nutrition research projects, and recent publications is available
at http://web.uvic.ca/ ~forbiol/hawkins.html
• The B.C. Ministry of Forests Web site is a rich
secrets of the vegetation and differing
source of information on the province’s forests,
forest policies, and even includes electronic versions
of Forest Service recreation maps. http://www.gov.
At intervals, the trees bc.ca/for/
from both inside and outside
sites must be harvested and
measured to get a true
assessment of their growth.
When it comes to scientific
By Yvonne Lund and Monique Jacobs research, though, measuring PUBLIC EVENTS AT UVIC
the growth of these seed-
Town Hall Meetings on UVic’s Future
ver wonder why trees go to all the lings is not as easy as leaning The university invites public input on UVic’s
trouble of growing leaves only to lose them up against a yardstick plans and priorities for the future
them every autumn? As it turns out, all or plopping them on a scale. March 27, 7:30 p.m.
the work they do to grow those leaves Instead, Hawkins and her Langford Municipal Hall, 2805 Carlow Road
doesn’t really go to waste. assistants must painstak- Registration/information: 472-5046
In summer, when trees are actively grow- ingly dissect the trees, March 29, 7:30 p.m.
ing through the process of photosynthesis, carefully removing and Victoria City Hall Council Chambers,
1 Centennial Sq.
they are also accumulating nutrients such as separating branches, leaves,
nitrogen in their leaves. In autumn, before buds and roots, and sorting
deciduous trees drop their leaves, the trees these components into first-, UVic Community Festival
move the nitrogen back into the trunk and second- and third-year Join us to celebrate spring with music, words
branches, where it’s kept until needed to growth. Then the compo- and ideas at this year’s community festival.
make new growth in the spring. nents are dried in an oven This year’s festival features:
• Concerts by the UVic Chorus & Orchestra and the
This process — the transfer of nutrients to before being weighed,
UVic Big Band, joined by local secondary school
different locations in the tree —is called ground up and chemically musicians
retranslocation; it’s part of a fascinating analyzed. In this way, • Readings by noted UVic authors
puzzle that affects the way trees grow. Hawkins can determine • President’s Distinguished lecture, “Canada’s Role on
“Some people — like me — want to find out where the trees are storing the World Stage,” by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy
exactly how and why trees do this,” says tree their nutrients. • Alumni Garden Adventure at the crystal Garden
physiologist Barbara Hawkins of UVic’s The work of Hawkins and Conservation Centre
• A full day of events celebrating the tenth
Centre for Forest Biology. her assistants seeks to
anniversary of UVic’s award-winning Faculty of
Evergreen trees, such as conifers, also explain how these processes Business.
move nutrients when they lose their leaves or of nutrient uptake, transport For details, see the full-page ad in today’s Times
needles. They seem to have developed and utilization help conifers Colonist or call 721-UVIC.
mechanisms to control when and where survive the nutrient-poor and
nutrients are sent. Nitrogen in older leaves, Hawkins harsh environment in which
Yvonne Lund and Monique Jacobs wrote
for example, can be mobilized and used for many of them have evolved. this as participants in the SPARK program
new growth. River, they have been tracking the growth of By helping to unlock the secrets of their (Students Promoting Awareness of
In the case of conifers, however, leaf drop naturally regenerated amabilis fir seedlings growth, her work will aid in the choice of Research Knowledge), funded jointly by
is not restricted to one particular time of since 1996, measuring their responses to the appropriate tree species and populations for UVic and the Natural Sciences and
year. In fact, it can take years before some interactive effects of light, competing reforestation sites across British Columbia. Engineering Research Council of Canada.
varieties of conifers drop their leaves.
Hawkins’ current research, funded by the
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council, focuses on the nutritional character-
istics of conifers.
What’s a phytotron?
She conducts some of her nutritional trials It’s a high-tech green-house facility, and one being built at UVic this larger rooms will feature a nutrient mixing system, an overhead
on conifer seedlings in the university’s summer will greatly expand the research capabilities of the universi- running boom irrigation system and black-out curtains.
greenhouse. The tiny trees — up to 700 per ty’s Centre for Forest Biology. “This phytotron will open up a whole new horizon of research
study — are fed carefully balanced doses of The facility will provide six computerized, climate-controlled green- possibilities,” says Dr. Barbara Hawkins, whose research in seedling
fertilizers to try to determine the optimum houses to run research experiments focusing on forest regeneration care and forest regeneration will benefit from the use of these
combination of nutrients for each species. processes from seed production through to early stand development. advanced growth environments.
But it’s not just trees grown in green- With the phytotron (pronounced FITE-o-tron), researchers will be Funding for the phytotron is being provided by the Canada Founda-
houses that interest Hawkins and her stu- able to manipulate a wide range of environmental variables, including tion for Innovation, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, UVic and
dents. At a large outdoor site near Campbell light, temperature, carbon dioxide, humidity and ventilation. T wo the private sector.