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Dalal Hanna

of Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University

bennettlab.weebly.com/dalal.html

Since as far as I can remember I've spent my time outside attempting to understand and connect with the natural world that surrounds us. Naturally, this lead me toward research in ecology and conservation, topics that are of fundamental importance to me. I completed a Bachelors degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Ottawa in 2011, during which I studied the effects anthropogenic traffic noise on birdsong; discovering the impacts human activity has on even the most unexpected aspects of animal life! I then completed a cross-Canada canoe journey in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society & the Ottawa Riverkeeper Alliance raising funds and awareness for watershed conservation. Between 2012 & 2014 I studied mercury contamination in African freshwater fish as part of a Masters degree in Biology at McGill University. (The stories in this blog series are from my field work in Uganda!) Following this, I spent time developing Science Faction, a podcast all about unbelievable discoveries and creating an urban beekeeping collective in Montreal, Canada, with which we teach locals about beekeeping and pollinator gardens. Today, I'm working on a PhD in the department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University, during which I will explore questions related to riverine ecosystem service conservation.

Mputa and Mercury in East Africa (Episode 10: Fishy Ugandan Tales)

Over the past few months I have been conducting field work in the Lake Victoria basin, in Uganda, for my Masters research, which explores the topic of mercury contamination in Africa. In this series of blog posts I’ve shared pictures and discoveries about some of the most interesting wildlife and encounters I came across while…

The Wildlife of the Rwenzoris (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 9)

Hidden on the western side of Uganda lies an unexpected surprise. Home to the third highest summit in Africa (Mount Stanley), a number of diverse ecosystems, and interesting wildlife, the Rwenzoris are a fascinating mountain range.  Although I am here in Uganda studying mercury contamination in fish, a number of other species of this area…

Kibale’s Divergent Selection (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 8)

I recently visited Kibale National Park, in Uganda, where some of the other researchers in my lab conducted field work this summer. Kibale is famous for its primate diversity and density, which are amongst the highest in Africa. Thirteen different types of primates can be found in this park.     Black and white colobus,…

Top 10 Bird Photographs (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 7)

Hidden under the vegetation found in most wetlands is an incredibly diverse world of aquatic organisms. On most of the mornings I’ve been here at Lake Nabugabo, in Uganda, I’ve made my way to the wetlands surrounding the lake searching for fish, as I’m currently interested in the effects of habitat-use on mercury contamination in…

Electric Fishing (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 6)

When I hear ‘electric fish’ I think about a species that has the capacity to sting others using an electric current. But not all electric fish emit a current that is dangerous. In fact, there are also weakly electric fish that do not use their electricity for defence, but rather, to communicate, navigate, and locate…

The Great Water Wall: Murchison Falls (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 5)

I have been at Lake Nabugabo in Uganda for over a month now spending most of my time looking for Nile perch, east Africa’s most important fishery.  This fish, locally known as ‘Mputa’, has only been around here since the 50’s, when it in was introduced to the Lake Victoria basin for sport fishing and…

Monkeying around! (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 4)

I came to Lake Nabugabo, Uganda, this summer to study mercury contamination in fish, but I was happy to discover that monkeys would also be a regular part of my life here. Meet the Vervets! This individual stopped and looked at me intently for a solid 5 minutes the first time I came face to…

Musenze: the local net mender of Lake Nabugabo (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 3)

Currently, I’m living at Lake Nabugabo, in Uganda, where I’m trying to figure out how and why mercury finds its way into fish. To be able to successfully do this, one thing I can’t go without is nets.  When we first arrived here and I found several of our nets with holes in them I…

Blue lips and beautiful fish (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 2)

Here in Uganda, fishing isn’t done exactly how I learnt to do so as a kid. Back then, I always used a rod and hook, but here, we use nets. Thankfully, the nets often leave fish unharmed, so we can take a look at our catches, get a few useful measurements, and return the little…

Oli Otya, Lake Nabugabo! (Fishy Ugandan Tales: Episode 1)

Arriving to Uganda, my research team and I headed towards the capitol, Kampala, where we spent an evening resting from our long journey to the African continent. We woke up early the next day to head straight to our first study site: Lake Nabubago. This lake is a small satellite lake of Lake Victoria, where hundreds of fishers come…