A Timeline of Acadia Universities Biological Research in Tidal Power

1915- The Beginning 

Acadia University first began looking at tidal power in the Minas Basin in 1915 when Ralph Clarkson drew up planes of a tidal generating station. His idea sparked the interest of tidal power in the area but was not followed through until years later.

1981-After the Gap

Acadia did not start fully revisiting tidal power until 1981 when Dr. Graham R. Daborn and Anna M. Redden appeared on the scene. They were interested in doing biological research on the possible effects of tidal power generators in the Minas Basin. Their first published paper was titled Ecological Studies of the Annapolis Estuary that was also written by Robert S. Gregory. The report looked at the operational effects of a tidal power generating station and found that with the added turbulence in the water column salinity in certain areas would increase, a decrease in phytoplankton and zoo-plankton, and that the main focus was water column mixing. This mixing would effect the organisms listed above. After this report was done they felt that more focus was need to fully determine larger effects on marine life.

Map Of Minas Basin

Figure 1: Map Of Minas Basin

1982-Daborns Work

In the following year Dr. Daborn published a piece in Energy Options For Atlantic Canada titled Environmental Implications of Fundy Tidal Power. Daborn begins the report off with a brief history of tidal power to explain why in almost any tidal power development there will be environmental impacts. However he states that you cannot give the same diagnosis to every patient, in other words tidal power is site specific so it is important to look at each proposal with an open mind and start from the beginning. The report looks at the B9 site which it located at the mouth of the Cobequid Bay. There was not much known at the time about the environmental conditions of the area, this is where Daborns research is presented in two parts; the physical and biological effects of seaward and landward effects. Daborn discusses the possible impacts of sediment build up in the headpond but better mathematical research had to be done. An interesting fact in this section was that there may be an increase in fog in the surrounding area due to ice build up in the bay from a change in stratification and an increase in temperature range. Daborn concluded in his report that there may be large scale and long distance impacts on the surrounding area of the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine.

1985-Daborns Work Continued

Dr. Daborn rights again on the topic in a report titled Tidal Power From The Bay Of Fundy where he discusses the potential to export power to the United states and how much electricity could be generated from the possible sites ( 4,000-5,300 Megawatts at the B9 site and 1,000 MW at A8 in the Cumberland Basin.)


Acadia University continues with their biological research with Dr. Graham Daborn as a large contributor and Dr. Anna Redden as the head of the Acadia Estuarine Centre for Research (founded in 1985).  Acadia is also partnered with the Fundy Energy Research Network and they have recently opened the Acadia Tidal Institution.

More Information

If you would like more information on the subjects of Acadia’s partnerships or more history on tidal power in the Minas Basin I recommend looking through other pages from the Canadian History Workshop or the Acadia Library website for first hand articles.

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