David G. PatriquinProfessor of Biology (retired)
I went to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1973 as a marine biologist with interests in nitrogen cycling in coastal systems. My discovery of a novel nitrogen-fixing bacterium associated with saltmarsh cord grass led to an invitation to collaborate with Dr. Johanna Dobereiner at EMBRAPA in Brazil on research into similar associations in tropical grasses including sugarcane. The work of this group stimulated my interest in the potential of organic farming in temperate regions for nitrogen self sufficiency. (In the 1970s, organic farming was generally viewed as suitable for subsistence farming but not for mainstream farming in North America & Europe.) I collaborated with individual farmers and groups of farmers to investigate this topic and in the 1980s became involved in the development of standards for certification of organic farms. In that connection, I acted as a 3rd party certification agent for several organic farming organizations, inspecting farms in the three Maritime provinces and Maine. I also conducted assignments related to organic farming for IDRC (International Development Research Center) in southeast Asia and Africa and collaborated with the CIPAV group in Colombia. In the 1990s, I worked with a local landscaping company in their development of an organic approach, introducing use of white clover as a key lawncare practice. Undergraduate Honors and Graduate students were involved in these activities.
In the late 1990s I began to develop web applications for teaching. In the 2000s, I headed a team that developed and delivered two fully online introductory biology classes, the goal being to facilitate more convenient access to a major introductory level class.
Circa 2004, I began to study the natural history within my bioregion which I arbitrarily defined as the region within 50 km driving distance from downtown Halifax. I retired in 2008. Since then, I have been active in and served on the boards of several natural history and environmental organizations. I am webmaster and writer for nswildflora.ca, halifaxfieldnaturalists.ca, backlandscoalition.ca, and the Wildland Writers .
In the winters of 2015 and 2016 I went to Barbados and Carriacou respectively to resurvey seagrass beds I had surveyed in 1969 as part of my PhD research. I am currently writing those up with my Dal colleague Bob Scheibling as a co-author. (Bob had also conducted PhD research in the Caribbean in days gone by.)
I feel very fortunate. From my youth, my dream was to live in Nova Scotia where my family roots lie. Now I have lived most of my life here and our "kids" and grandkids are still sharing the experience. It is also a place I am still just getting to know.
McGill University - Macdonald Campus (1972-1973)
Outdoor/experiential education in natural history, wilderness protection, photography, writing & admin for websites.
I was given the Colin Stewart Conservation Award for 2016 by the
Some Recent Presentations
Life on a rocky shore
Updated 9 May 2015