Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

StFX announces prestigious James Chair appointees for 2017-19

January 9th, 2017
L-r, 2017-19 James Chair appointees Dr. David Garbary and Dr. Ricardo Scrosati

Dr. David Garbary and Dr. Ricardo Scrosati, both of StFX’s Department of Biology, have been named as the university’s 2017-19 appointees to the prestigious Dr. W.F. James Research Chair in the Pure and Applied Sciences, StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley has announced.

“The Dr. W.F. James Chair promotes scholarly activity in the pure and applied sciences,” Dr. Wamsley says. “The purpose of the Research Chairs is twofold: first, it honours the outstanding research work being conducted by our scientists at StFX; second, it provides a teaching release to support a more extensive time commitment for cutting edge research. During my time at StFX, we have supported the outstanding work of Professors Alan Anderson and Peter Poole, and, this year, the work of Professors David Garbary and Ricardo Scrosati.”  

Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice-President, Research & Graduate Studies, says the key objective of Dr. Scrosati’s research during his tenure as James Chair is to improve the scientific understanding of rocky intertidal species distribution, abundance, and biodiversity along the full Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.

Dr. Garbary’s research as James Chair, he says, will be focusing on the physiology and ecology of seaweeds. Dr. Garbary will be expanding his research work in these areas through an extensive research collaboration with Dr. Kwang Young Kim, a university research collaborator from South Korea. 


Dr. Scrosati’s research program will be the first in Canada to comprehensively examine the concept of benthic-pelagic coupling (BPC) along marine rocky shores at a regional scale. BPC theory, which explores how pelagic conditions in coastal waters influences benthic intertidal species recruitment and interactions, has improved the scientific understanding of how life on marine rocky shores is influenced by the nearshore ocean environment. 

His proposed research will fill a gap in BPC theory, which will have global implications as predictions need to be made for unstudied systems. By identifying the variables needed to best predict coastal marine biogeographic structure, this research will help improve the understanding of what variables should be monitored to predict future biotic responses to global environmental change, and thereby help to generate more robust conservation policies.

“The James Research Chair will be fundamental because it will allow me to focus my time on the supervision of graduate and undergraduate students and on the publication of the research results in leading journals in our discipline, aiming to maximize our impact on science,” Dr. Scrosati says.


For over 30 years, Dr. Garbary has been conducting research on the biology of the economically important seaweed species Ascophyllum nodosum. As part of his James Chair work, he plans to produce a major volume on the biology and economic uses of this species. 

In his new research going forward, Dr. Garbary plans to pursue aspects of Ascophyllum symbiotic community at a more fundamental evolutionary and biogeographic levels. It is an excellent model system for studying the way in which symbiotic systems become integrated over time and space.

“This James Chair represents an important milestone in my career that will allow me to expand my expertise through collaboration both within and outside the biology department,” he says.


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