Current research projects
2015-2020. The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES)
Role: member of the project science team.
NAAMES is an interdisciplinary investigation resolving key processes controlling marine ecosystems and aerosols that are essential to our understanding of Earth system function and future change. NAAMES is funded by the NASA Earth Venture Suborbital Program and is the first EV-S mission focused on studying the coupled ocean ecosystem and atmosphere.

Plankton ecosystems of the global ocean profoundly affect climate and life on Earth. NASA's ocean color satellite record tells us that these invaluable ecosystems are highly responsive to climate variability, with changes in ocean production impacting food production, uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and emission of climate-regulating aerosols. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) simulations suggest that surface ocean temperatures will warm by +1.3 to +2.8 degrees C globally over the 21st century, with major consequences on physical properties of the surface ocean where plankton populations thrive. The pressing question is, how will these changes alter plankton production, species composition, and aerosol emissions? Today, even the sign of these potential changes remains unresolved. Our ability to predict Earth System consequences of a warming ocean and develop realistic mitigation and adaption strategies depends on resolving conflicting hypotheses regarding the factors controlling plankton ecosystems and biogenic aerosol emissions.

NAAMES consists of four, combined ship and aircraft field campaigns that are each aligned to a specific event in the annual plankton lifecycle. Ship-based measurements provide detailed characterization of plankton stocks, rate processes, and community composition. Ship measurements also characterize sea water volatile organic compounds, their processing by ocean ecosystems, and the concentrations and properties of gases and particles in the overlying atmosphere. These diverse data are extended over broader spatial scales through parallel airborne remote sensing measurements and in situ aerosol sampling that target ocean properties as well as the aerosols and clouds above. The airborne data crucially link local-scale processes and properties to the much larger scale continuous satellite record. Integrating the NAAMES observations with state-of-the-art climate and ecosystems models enables the creation of a process-based foundation for resolving plankton dynamics in other ocean regions, accurately interpreting historical satellite records, and improving predictions of future change and their societal impacts.

The ocean-atmosphere research being conducted on Sable Island by Dr. Mark Gibson and Dr. Susanne Craig will be used to augment the NAAMES study.

2015-2020. An evaluation of alternate fuels for cement kilns. Funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant program ($125,000).
The primary long-term objectives of my Discovery Grant research program are to investigate the industrial application and air emission impacts on the environmental and community exposure from utilizing non-recyclable waste plastic alternative fuel in rotary cement kilns in Canada. This will be achieved by focusing on (1) the most appropriate waste plastic derived fuel preparation and handling methods prior to kiln delivery (2) optimise the waste plastic kiln delivering system (3) quantify changes in in-stack combustion products after waste plastic are used as an alternative fuel in rotary cement kilns (4) quantify the temporal and spatial variation in downwind surface air quality and to assess the environmental and community exposure impacts. Recovering value from non-recyclable plastic waste destined for landfills, improves the responsible life cycle management of this material. Reducing the reliance on fossil fuel used in cement kilns will also greatly reduce the carbon footprint of these industries as well as potentially generating less emissions of harmful air pollutants such as PM2.5, NOx, SO2, dioxins and furans.

2012 - ongoing. NSERC funded Surface PARTiculate mAtter Network (SPARTAN). The SPARTAN network organizing committee includes Dr. Randall Martin (lead), Dr. Aaron Cohen (Health Effects Institute) Dr. Michael Brauer (University of British Columbia), Dr. Yang Liu (Emory University) and Dr. Mark Gibson (Dalhousie University).

2014-2017. Environmental concentration and human exposure to short-lived climatic pollutants, Londrina, Brazil. Funded by the CNPq-Brazil ($202,561).
Principal Investigator: Dr. Admir Croesus Targino, Air Pollution and Atmospheric Processes Group , Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná (UTFPR).
Co-investigators: Dr. Patricia Krecl, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; Dr. Marcelo de Paula Correa, Universidade de São Paulo; Dr. Mark Gibson, Dalhousie University; Dr. Jorge Alberto Martins UTFPR; Dra. Leila D. Martins UTFPR; Dr. Luiz Felipe Silva, Universidade Federal de Itajubá (UNIFEI); Dr. Maurício Moreira dos Santos (UTFPR); Dr. Ricardo Moreton Godoi, Universidade Federal do Paraná and Dr. Woodroe Pattinson, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. (Project Summary)

Population exposure to climate relevant particulate and gaseous air pollutants will be tracked using GPS as participants move across the city scape on mobile sampling platforms (adapted bicycles). The instruments and metrics measured onboard the mobile sampling platforms are shown below.

Research began on March 9 2015. Dr. Mark Gibson and Dr. Marcelo de Paula Correa (Federal University of Itajubá) visited the Air Pollution and Atmospheric Processes Group and provided technical and scientific support to students and researchers. The activity was coordinated by Drs Admir Croesus Targino and Patricia Krecl.


Air Pollution and Atmospheric Processes Group, UTFPR, Londrina, Brazil

2012-2017 Source apportionment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and size-resolved particulate matter on Sable Island.
Dr. Mark Gibson (lead principal investigator) and Dr. Susanne Craig (co-principal investigator - Research Associate, Oceanography, Dalhousie/ Research Scientist Bedford Institute of Oceanography). Funded by the Environmental Studies Research Fund ($840,000) (project details)

Recently completed research projects

2012-2014. Environmental health survey (including woodsmoke exposure) of Kenyan Farm Women in collaboration with Drs' Kevin Teather and Kim Kritchley funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) ($60,000).

2012-2015. CIHR funded ($445,000) project to conduct an Environmental Health survey of Pictou Landing First Nations.
Project lead Dr. Heather Castleden, Dr. Mark Gibson (CI), Dr. Rob Jamieson (CI), Dr. Daniel Rainham (CI), Dr. Ron Russell (CI)

2011-2013. 12-month study of Ship Emissions in Halifax funded ($266,000) by Health Canada. Gibson (Co-PI and nominated lead) and Rainham (Co-PI).

2012-2013. 12-month project to validate the Air Quality Health Index forecast model in Northern New Brunswick funded ($15,000) by Environment Canada. King Co-PI and Gibson (Co-PI nominated lead).

2012-2013. Health Canada funded ($25,000) project to conduct chemical mass balance receptor modelling of Children's VOC exposure data from a chort study in Montreal. Gibson (PI).

2011 - 2012. Kenyan Farm Women’s VOC Personal Exposure Sample Analysis. Funded by UPEI ($4,000).

2011. UK NERC funded International project to Quantify the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants over the Atlantic using Aircraft and Satellites (BORTAS) led by the University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences. Professor Paul Plamer (lead). Dr. Mark Gibson (CI). AFRG received $3,000 for sample consumables.

Health Canada funded ($9,996) study to conduct positive matrix factorization receptor modelling of Children's VOC exposure data from a chort study in Montreal (2012). Gibson (PI).

Park's Canada funded ($4,300) study to investigate the spatial and temporal variation of NO2 and SO2 in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada (2012). Gibson (PI).