by Susan MacVittie
Photo credit: John Gardner, Timothy Foulkes
When residents in St. Andrews, New Brunswick heard that the federal government was going to close the St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) Library, discontinue the Contaminants and Toxicology (CT) program, and reduce the Habitat program as part of its cost cutting measures, they formed Save Ocean Science (SOS) to raise awareness about the impact of lost jobs and lost science.
Since 1908, the SABS Library has provided resources to scientists and researchers who often travel to access the world’s largest collection of Northwest Atlantic material. The library is staffed by dedicated information science and management professionals, critical to the research enterprise. DFO claims that much of the library collection will be digitized but Dr. Peter Wells says, “Libraries cannot simply be replaced by digitized collections of monographs, journals and grey literature (e.g., technical reports), much of which is not yet nor may ever be available in such a format.” SOS explains that aside, from the cost of digitizing a massive volume of data, copyright issues would prevent electronically storing some of the research. Moving or abandoning collections of archival materials, important both regionally and nationally, may lead to irreparable loss of documents and information of scientific and historical importance.
The CT section studies chemical and physical pollution and its effects on the aquatic environment. The CT pioneered the research on the occurrence of organochlorine (DDT, PCBs) residues in biota from Canadian waters, determined the efficacy and environmental effect of chemicals used to disperse oil from spills, and responded to fish kills caused by oil spills in Chedabucto Bay, NS and recently, Gulf of Alaska and Gulf of Mexico. Who will respond if the CT no longer exists?
Letters to New Brunswick MP’s are needed. FMI please visit the SOS website: www.saveoceanscience.ca