Detailed Presentation Abstract Schedule

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Author / Presenter: Chi Hoang
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

A significant amount of excess soil is generated annually during excavation from construction sites across Ontario. As soil is a valuable resource, it is essential that excess soil is managed in a manner that promotes a sustainable reuse while being protective of human and ecological health. As part of the provincial excess soil management policy framework, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is developing effects-based numeric standards to support the beneficial reuse of excess soils in Ontario. These standards are derived through the consideration of a number of component values that are developed to provide sensitive human or ecological receptors with acceptable levels of protection from contaminants via different exposure pathways. This presentation will provide an overview of the standard derivation process and highlight some key fate and transport processes of contaminants in soils and exposure pathways, which include (1) movement of contaminants from soil to groundwater (2) inhalation of vapours from soil to indoor air, and (3) direct soil contact and ingestion by human and ecological receptors.

Author / Presenter: Agnès Renoux
Affiliation: SANEXEN Services Environnementaux Inc.
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

After many years of experience using the ecotoxicological risk assessment (ERA), it is becoming obvious that this approach is less and less appealing for the management of contaminated soils. Site managers are complaining about the fact that, whatever the site or jurisdiction (federal or provincial, at least in Quebec), the conclusion of an ERA (using exposure modelling and toxicological benchmarks) is always the existence of risk with respect to the components of the ecosystem. On top of that, toxicity testing or field studies are hardly considered in the ERA process, because they are either expensive, too long or uncertain. This leads almost systematically to the excavation and disposal of the soils based on generic criteria, with all the ensuing environmental costs associated for this type of site management, thus avoiding the time and money consuming steps of the ERA. Using some examples, the objective of this presentation is to provide a different perspective regarding the failures of the ERA and the challenges we face as scientists from government, industry or academia.

Author / Presenter: Rick Scroggins
Affiliation: Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health Division
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Canada has committed to the assessment of environmental and human health risks for priority chemical substances as part of Canada?s Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). The assessments are usually based on available experimental data and predictive modeling tools, with focused research conducted to fill data gaps where feasible. Gaps exist for the soil compartment, particularly for chemical substances known to partition to soil, for which the persistence, bioaccumulation and inherent eco-toxicity potential are uncertain. As a result, research efforts have focused on filling some of these information gaps for various substances (e.g., inorganic and organic-containing metals). A few case studies will be presented to demonstrate how standard soil test methodologies and a suite of soil microbial health tests are used to provide effect estimates and confirm model predictions for the risk assessment of chemical substances in the environment.. The studies will focus on metal-containing inorganic and organic substances, where in some instances it is uncertain whether the metal ion, the parent molecule or the organic moiety has the greatest toxicological significance. As a result, the evaluation of a group of priority substances sharing a common metal moiety (e.g., Zn and Cu) will be discussed. The results of these studies demonstrate the importance of research for the development and confirmation of tools applicable to better understanding and predicting the impacts of chemicals in the environment.

Author / Presenter: Jenna Zee
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Limiting the growth of tall trees under power lines is essential for preventing power outages and wildfires caused by contact with the lines. Managing vegetation along power line rights-of-way (ROW) is particularly challenging in remote boreal forests across northern Canada. Integrated vegetation management (IVM) has the potential to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of ROW maintenance, reduce associated environmental impacts, and meet other ecological and socioeconomic objectives. However the use of herbicides, an integral aspect of many IVM plans, is raising concerns from local stakeholders and Indigenous communities, especially where traditional land use activities may occur along power lines. These concerns are resulting in i) a need to better determine the efficacy, persistence and toxicity of herbicides used on ROWs in northern boreal ecosystems and ii) improved community engagement for environmental decision-making that can support co-management of ROW vegetation. We are examining the impact, translocation and dissipation of triclopyr under boreal conditions. Translocation of triclopyr applied via basal bark (Garlon RTU) and dissipation of triclopyr in foliage when applied by both basal bark and low volume foliar (Garlon XRT) will be determined under field conditions. From previous work in the boreal forest of the Yukon Territory the DT50 (dissipation time until 50% of the initial concentration remains) for triclopyr in soils was as low as 1 day and dissipation in Salix glauca foliage was estimated at 11.5 days. Impacts of triclopyr on litter decomposition and soil dwelling invertebrates (Collembola) will be determined using northern soil and plant materials under laboratory conditions. Soil invertebrates (Enchtreaus crypticus, Folsomia candida and Oppia nitens) in northern boreal soils appear to be relatively insensitive to triclopyr, however, little is known regarding the sensitivity of these invertebrates to herbicide contaminated leaf litter. The information from these studies will be used to directly support decision-making processes regarding herbicide use on the I3P line (Island Falls to Key Lake, Saskatchewan). Given a lack of locally relevant scientific information, community concerns about herbicide-use, and challenges associated with early engagement, there are strained relationships between industry, government and Indigenous communities. Working in partnership with SaskPower and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band Lands and Resources Management Board, we are examining barriers to, and the principles of good-practice engagement. In addition, we have implemented an education program in four local schools, to promote questioning and learning through observation of nature using both local Indigenous and scientific knowledge, and to teach the concepts and practice of IVM. By simultaneously working to provide relevant toxicological data and to improve engagement practices, our project aims to provide both the information and good-practice framework to support a collaborative decision-making process.

Author / Presenter: Amanda Pellegrino
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: Yes

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Rare earth elements (REEs), or rare earth metals, are 17 elements including the lanthanide series, yttrium and scandium, that occur naturally together in mineral deposits and have similar properties. Use of REEs has increased in recent years, and as such mining of them has increased as well. Establishment of REE mining in Canada is being considered, which would lead to increased prevalence of REEs in the Canadian environment. While there is little phytotoxicity information currently available for these elements, it has been proposed that plant response to them via soil exposure would follow a hormetic dose response, whereby at low concentrations REEs would be stimulatory and at high concentrations toxic. In OECD soil, EC25 values for Ce and Nd were 310 and 540 mg/kg respectively. In order to determine the effects of several REEs to plants, 14 day toxicity tests were completed. Radish was grown in cerium (Ce), europium (Eu) and neodymium (Nd) amended soils at a range of concentrations including those expected at very contaminated sites, and based on values from previous studies. At the end of the study, plant root and shoot lengths, biomass, and REE concentrations in soils and plant tissues were determined. Clear dose responses were seen for each of the REEs tested, with potential for hormesis to be identified. A similar study using both radish and durum wheat will be undertaken in order to test more concentrations of each metal, and also to determine the effect of REEs in mixtures. Research is currently ongoing and further results will be presented.

Author / Presenter: Pierre Yves Robidoux
Affiliation: AGAT Laboratories
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Bismuth (Bi) is used increasingly to replace lead in several industrial applications including the production of alloys and munitions formulations. However, little information is available on the environmental fate and ecological effects of Bi. This paper summarizes the acute toxicity (LC50=416 mg Bi/kg dry soil) and biaccessibility of Bi, and describes bioavailability and chronic effects of bismuth on the earthworm Eisenia andrei. The bioaccessible fraction of Bi in soil was determined using KNO3 soil extraction. In reproduction tests, adult earthworms were exposed to natural sandy soil spiked with Bi citrate. The tested soil concentrations were based on the previous acute toxicity study and the measured concentration of Bi ranged from average 75 to 289 mg/kg. Results indicate that Bi significantly decreased reproduction parameters at concentrations ? 116 mg/kg. The number of hatched cocoons and juveniles were sensitive endpoints. Bismuth did not affect E. andrei growth and survival at the tested concentration, and had little effect on phagocytic efficiency of coelomocytes. The low immunotoxicity effect might be explained by other mechanisms i.e. Bi sequestered by metal-binding compounds as metallothioneins. Indeed, after 28 days of exposure Bi concentrations in earthworm tissue increased with increasing Bi concentrations in soil, and reaching a stationary state at 21.37 mg Bi/kg dry tissue for 243 mg Bi/kg dry soil. Data also indicate that after 56 days of exposure, the average fractions of Bi available in soil without earthworms varies from 0.0051 to 0.0229 mg/kg, while in presence of earthworms. Bi concentration ranged between 0.310 to 1.347 mg/kg dry soil. This increase in metal bioaccesssibility could be explained by the mucus and chelating agents produced by earthworms and the microorganisms in the soil or/and earthworm gut as well as the dermal and ingestion routes of uptake.

Author / Presenter: James Longstaffe
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: No

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Soil organic matter(SOM) plays a key role in the retention, transport, and availability of many organic contaminants in the environment. For hydrophobic compounds, the role of SOM is rationalized as that of a hydrophobic partitioning domain. While this approach is useful to develop easily applied metrics for use in risk assessment models, there is a general consensus that the underlying mechanisms responsible for these interactions are more complex than simple partitioning. This is especially true for hydrophilic contaminants. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is emerging as a powerful tool to help elucidate the molecular-level nature of the interactions that occur between organic contaminants and SOM. By focusing on the use of organofluorine compounds as model hydrophilic compounds, multinuclear 1H/19F NMR experiments are useful for probing many attributes of the intermolecular associations between these hydrophilic compounds and both colloidal humic materials, and whole organic soils, including: the presence of preferred binding sites, the orientation of the hydrophilic compounds during their interaction, and the dynamics of these interactions. This presentation will discuss the use of these NMR experiments to explore the role that the physical and chemical structure of soil organic matter may play in the interactions with these small hydrophilic compounds, and, that may in turn, play a role in governing the overall fate band behaviour of these compounds in the environment.

Author / Presenter: Rebekah Hamp
Affiliation: Wilfrid Laurier University
Student: Yes

Session: Assessment and Management of Contaminated Soils: Ecotoxicological Assessment and Remediation
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:50 – 15:10
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

The mining industry has played a large role in Canada?s economy since the beginning of the twentieth century and is expected to play a larger role in the future. As the industry grows so do the impacts; economic, social, and environmental. This study will focus on some of the environmental impacts of mining and potential techniques to mitigate them. Bioremediation, the use of living organisms to remediate pollutants, has been gaining attention as it is a less invasive method of remediation and has greater public acceptance than other methods. The living organisms that will be used in this study are northern plants and mycorrhizae collected from Colomac Mine, a study site in the Northwest Territories. The objectives of this study will be to: (1) evaluate the mycorrhizal and plant communities at the study site to assess whether there have been negative effects on them due to historic contamination, (2) quantify the effects of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination on northern plants and associated mycorrhiza and (3) assess the capacity of northern plants and associated mycorrhiza to remediate petroleum hydrocarbon impacted soils. The results of the field study combined with our controlled studies will increase our understanding of how these communities are affected by petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and provide new insight in the area of bioremediation.

Author / Presenter: Pan Hongmei
Affiliation: Kunming Medical University
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Breast cancer is the most abundant and threatening carcinomas in women. Genistein is one of the main protective factors of soybean isoflavone family, and as an estrogen receptor agonist. Epidemiological studies and in vitro research have showed that genistein had a dual effect on the breast cancer, if women began to eat soy products since puberty, genistein could inhibit the occurrence of breast cancer, and soy isoflavone intake and risk of breast cancer is negatively correlated before menopause. After menopause, genistein may stimulate the growth of breast cancer, so it may be that endogenous estrogen level could influence the actions of genistein. In this study, MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells were used to study the effects of genistein and estradiol. The influence of genistein on the proliferation MDA – MB – 231 was detected by MTT assay and the apoptosis and the cell cycle of the cell were analysed by flow cytometry. A genome-wide expression microarray was used for transcritpme profiling, followed by gene ontology (GO) and pathway analysis. The differentially expressed genes brca2, cdkn1a, abat, fas, tp53tg3, and sdcbp were randomly tested by RT-qPCR to verify the results of microarray. When the dose of the estradiol was 80 pmol/l, 20?mol/l genistein could effectively inhibit the proliferation of MDA-MB- 231 (ERbeta) cells, and when it was 800 pmol/l, 10?mol/l genistein significantly inhibited the proliferation of the cell. In the flow cytometry test, compared with blank group, the apoptosis rate of MDA-MB-231 cell was all distinctly increased by the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 80 pmol/l estradiol, the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 800 pmol/l estradiol and the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein; and the cell cycle was arrested in G0 / G1 phase and S phase by them, and the effects of the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 800 pmol/l estradiol on the cell were the most obviously among the three groups, and the effects of the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 80 pmol/l estradiol was more distinctly than that of the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein. In microarray analysis, according to the selection criteria (P <0.001, FC (Fold Change) ?2(gene up-regulated) or FC <0.5 (gene down-regulated)), compared with blank group ,the GO analysis showed that in the group of 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 80 pmol/l estradiol, there were 151 genes (57 up-regualted and 94 down-regulated) significantly changed in the MDA-MB-231cells; and in group of the 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 800 pmol/l estradiol, there were 56 genes(29 up-regulated and 27 down-regulated) significantly changed, and in group of the 20 ?mol/l genistein, there were 172 genes (112 up-regualted and 60 down-regulated) significantly changed, and the differentially expressed genes were mailny related to the biological process and the cell components of the cell. Pathway results showed that in the 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 80 pmol/l estradiol group, 129 signaling pathways were influenced by the differentially expressed genes, and 29 of them were closely related to tumors; in the 20 ?mol/l genistein plus 800 pmol/l estradiol group, 124 signaling pathways were influenced by the differentially expressed genes, and 25 of them were closely rlated to tumors; in the 20 ?mol/l genistein group, 138 signaling pathways were influenced by the differentially expressed genes, and 30 of them were closely rlated to tumors; 8 signaling pathways (Notch, PI3K-Akt, P53, TGF-beta, ErbB, Jak-STAT, HIF-1 and TNF) were commonly impacted by the three groups. Among the 8 signaling pathways, anti-oncogenes kat2b and creb3l3 were up-regulated in the three groups. And in 20?mol/l genistein plus 80 pmol/l estradiol group, the anti-oncogene bmp6 was up-regulated and oncogene hes5 was down-regulated, and in 20?mol/l genistein plus 800 pmol/l estradiol group, the anti-oncogenes cdkn1a and igfbp3 were up-regulated and the oncogene hes5 was also down-regulated, and in 20?mol/l genistein group, the anti-oncogene fas was up-regulated. And 10 signaling pathways (Notch, PI3K-Akt, P53, TGF-beta, Hippo, Wnt , ErbB, Jak-STAT, HIF-1 and TNF ) were impacted by the two genistein plus estradiol groups. The RT-qPCR results showed that the expression of the tested genes were consistent with that of the microarray. The effects of genistein on cell proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis differentially expressed genes spectrum in MDA-MB- 231 cells may be related with the concentration of estradiol, and the high level of estradiol may be through the ER beta to activated more anti-oncogenes to enhance the protection of genistein to breast cells. Genistein and estradiol may protect the breast cell by 10 tumor-related signaling pathways, and the kat2b, creb3l3, cdkn1a, igfbp3, bmp6 and hes5 may be their potential target genes.

Author / Presenter: Vance Trudeau
Affiliation: University of Ottawa
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Embryonic and larval development of amphibians to tadpole through the various metamorphic stages fascinate all who have encountered frogs in the wild. For endocrinologists, amphibian embryos represent exquisitely sensitive systems in which to determine mechanisms of development. Embryonic models allow toxicologists to understand how development can be disrupted by environmental contaminants. Assessment of the full expression profile (the transcriptome) of early embryos gives insight into organogenesis, the role of hormones and liganded transcription factors, and subsequent developmental and metabolic processes. Nevertheless, application of such data to ecotoxicology remains challenging. Two cases and approaches will be presented. One example will illustrate the complexity of responses in an early embryo up to the first four days of development, revealing both the elegance and limitations of the approach. These data will include the transcriptomic response of Silurana tropicalis embryos to a naphthenic acid extract. The second example will be a targeted gene expression analysis by qPCR with an a priori hypothesis that naphthenic acids disrupt thyroid hormone-dependent gene expression (receptors, deiodinases) in S. triopicals. While easier to interpret on first analysis because there are less data, the dominant (true) response may go undetected using targeted qPCR for a limited number of genes. Moreover, critically missing with whole embryo analysis is the site of expression within the developing organism. As ecotoxicologists, we need to follow the lead of developmental biologists and take steps toward more precise expression analysis at the cell and tissue levels (i.e., in situ hybridization, laser microdissection coupled to expression analysis). This will increase the interpretive value of gene expression within the adverse outcome framework, and more directly contribute to risk assessments. Supported by NSERC and the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology.

Author / Presenter: Caren Helbing
Affiliation: University of Victoria
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Ranids are the largest family of frogs in the world. Common examples include the wood frog, Northern leopard frog, and the North American bullfrog. Amphibians are regarded as sensitive sentinels of the environment. However there is a paucity of genomics resources available for the application to determining bioindicators linked to adverse outcome pathways. We have developed several new genomics tools including the first true frog genome from the North American bullfrog, de novo assembly transcriptome pipelines, and RNA-seq analysis pipelines that we have applied to identify potential thyroid hormone (TH) endocrine disruption in bullfrog tadpoles. We examine the responsiveness of multiple tissues to the thyroid hormones, thyroxine and 3,3′,5-triiodothyronine, and relate these responses to disruptions in development, behavior, and chemosensation. Novel bioindicators were then applied to evaluate the efficacy of removing TH-disrupting activity in municipal wastewater treated with secondary treatment. These studies demonstrate the utility of systems-level analysis for the linkage of molecular bioindicators to adverse outcomes. Acknowledgements: Supported by: NSERC Canada, Compute Canada, and Genome British Columbia

Author / Presenter: Jan Mennigen
Affiliation: University of Ottawa
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Polychlorinated bisphenyls (PCBs) are organic compounds and known endocrine disrupting chemicals. The PCB mixture A1221 disrupts neuroendocrine pathways involved in reproduction and behavior, linked, at least partially to an estrogenic mode of action at the gene expression level. The current study investigates the hypothesis that prenatal A1221 exposure not only disrupts hypothalamic gene expression profiles within an individual’s lifespan, but results in alterations of these parameters in subsequent generations (F1-F3), which have been exposed to A1221 directly as fetus (F1), indirectly via exposure of F1 germ cell development (F2) or never (F3). Given the estrogenic mode of action of A1221, we employed a study design containing exposure of pregnant female founder rats (F0) to A1221, a positive estrogenic control (EB), and a negative control (DMSO). The expression of targeted (n=48) genes involved in the neuroendocrine control of reproduction were quantified using TLDA cards in two hypothalamic nuclei, the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV), known to respond to organizing effects of estrogen and A1221 in SD rats. Given the sexually dimorphic roles of both nuclei in the neuroendocrine regulation of the reproductive axis, gene expression profiles of the selected genes were analyzed in both sexes and within maternal and paternal lineages. Under the experimental design used, we found prenatal A1221 treatment in F0 females to affect AVPV gene expression more profoundly compared to the ARC, with generally larger number of differentially expressed genes in F1 and F2 generations, respectively. Specifically, prenatal A1221 exposure decreased hormone (Avp, Gal) and hormone receptor transcripts (Ar, Esr1, Esr2, Mcr3) and increased expression of the arylhydorcarbon receptor (Ahr) in the AVPV of F1 males, an effect largely mimicked by EB treatment. Conversely, prenatal A1221 exposure resulted in increases in the expression several transcripts (Dnmt3a, Arntl, Esr1, Gria2, Tac2) in F2 males within the paternal lineage, an effect not mimicked by EB treatment. Prenatal exposure to A1221 and EB increased expression of Tgfa in F3 generation males within the maternal linage. In the ARC, prenatal A1221 treatment resulted in gene expression changes in the F3 generation only: Maternal lineage females and males exhibited increased expression of Crhr1 and decreased expression of Oxtr, respectively, both mimicked by EB treatment. Our study also identified estrogen-dependent changes in gene expressions across generations: In the arcuate nucleus, EB treatment significantly decreased expression of genes involved in stress and growth axis in F1 males (Avp, Pomc, Ghrh, Igf1) and increased expression of several genes coding for hormones and hormone receptors (Avp, Oxt, Pdyn, Ar), neuropeptides (Crh2), glutamate neurotransmission related transcripts (Grin1, Grin2d) and circadian rhythm (Clock, Per1, Dbp) in paternal lineage F3 generation males. In the AVPV of F3 males within the maternal lineage, EB treatment increased expression of transcripts (Dnmt3a, Srd5a1, Tgfb, Thra, Thrb) and decreased expression of glutamate receptor component Grin2d. Together, the results show that prenatal A1221 exposure differentially regulates the expression of several neuroendocrine genes across generations via both estrogen-dependent and independent mechanisms, and that male offspring appears to be more vulnerable to both A1221 and estrogenic effects on neuroendocrine gene expression across generations and lineages.

Author / Presenter: L. McCarty
Affiliation: L.S. McCarty Scientific Research & Consulting
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:00 – 17:20
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Formulating regulatory exposures limits for environmental media on a chemical-by-chemical basis, although unsophisticated, has been successful for decades. Changes in regulatory policy emphasis – including reducing test animal usage, addressing huge numbers of chemicals, and considering multiple media and species – requires a efficient regulatory paradigm and much more testing data. In vitro testing, plus linking changes in biochemical processes through levels of biological organization (LBO) to whole organism adverse apical effects (Adverse Outcome Pathways), is a major thrust of 21st Century new policy initiatives. However, such advanced approaches must address a myriad of issues, both new ones related to the novel 21st Century approaches, and old ones remaining from 20th Century policy paradigms and associated scientific methods. Aspects of the science and policy challenges are compared and contrasted in four areas. 1. Dose-response. Although acknowledged as important, the influences of many toxicity modifying factors are poorly understood; e.g., bioavailability. It is an important confounding influence, affecting the dose surrogate chain from external exposure through whole organism then organism subcompartments to the subcellular site(s) of toxic action. Additionally, solvents used in most in vitro testing protocols have a substantial, unquantified bioavailability-based toxicity modifying influence. 2. Mode/mechanism of toxic action. There are many schemes but no single, phylogenically-relevant (plants and bacteria through fish to birds and mammals), broadly applicable, widely accepted scheme for identification, classification, and relative potency estimation for either modes/mechanisms of toxic action or adverse outcome pathways (AOP). 3. Levels of Biological Organization. In this concept new emergent properties that emerge from translevel integration of lower level properties are not necessarily predicable. Thus, it is difficult to establish single, direct, deterministic causal links through multiple LBO levels. Effects observable at upper LBO levels may be induced by multiple unrelated initiating events occurring at lower LBO levels. Also, in vivo toxicology is a “middle-out” approach with an inordinate focus on tests whose outcomes are for narrowly defined statistical populations poorly linked to higher LBO. 4. Data Quality/Validity/Relevance. The largely neglected issue of primary validity and task-specific relevance for both in vivo and in vitro toxicity testing data. Use of accepted testing methods is not a guarantee of validity or relevance and weight-of-evidence (WOE) schemes rarely address either adequately.

Author / Presenter: Doug Bright
Affiliation: Hemmera
Student: No

Session: Systems Biology for Ecotoxicology – From Gene to Ecosystem
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:20 – 17:40
Location: Flanders

Abstract:

Marine benthic or pelagic ecologists, freshwater ecologists – with a varied focus on wetland, lotic or lentic systems, vegetation ecologists, and microbial ecologists have each sought to understand the normal or ?healthy? state or function as well abnormal characteristics of biological communities within their respective domain. An environmental toxicologist with a marine benthic focus will likely understand and make interpretations based on an implicit or explicit understanding of K-dominance curves, trophic guilds, or Pearson and Rosenberg?s model describing peak of opportunists. A scientist with a long-standing interest in contaminant or stressor responses of stream invertebrates will have a good understanding the scientific knowledge that supports metrics such as the Ephemeroptera Plecoptera Trichoptera (EPT) Index, or the Karr et al. Index of Biological Integrity (IBI). A forest ecologist will be familiar with the pros and cons of forest health interpretations based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NVDI) based on satellite imagery. The recent published literature in ecology or environmental toxicology, however, contains remarkably few examples of cross-over theories and observations that seek to understand community level effects from a broader and unified theory. This presentation provides a quick (and very incomplete) survey of some the interpretative models for community responses to contaminants and stressors that have become popularized among environmental toxicologists in the different ecological domains. The overarching similarities in contemporary ecotoxicological theories are then explored, with some parallels drawn to Selye?s model of stress and health impairment in humans. Some of the overarching conceptual frameworks discussed include species sensitivity distributions (SSDs), bioenergetics, and system cybernetics.

Author / Presenter: Sherry Du
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: Yes

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Municipal wastewater effluent is a major worldwide source of aquatic pollution. We sought to determine the metabolic consequences of exposure to wastewater effluent on fish and whether physiological adjustments help fish cope in effluent-dominated water. We caged bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus) at two sites downstream of discharge from a tertiary wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and at an uncontaminated reference site for three weeks. Survival was reduced in fish caged near the outfall of the WWTP (< 50 m away) and a short distance (830 m) downstream, when compared to the negligible mortality in fish from the reference site. Fish at both wastewater-contaminated sites were exposed to elevated levels of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, as reflected by measurements of a suite of target compounds in the water and by the accumulation of synthetic musks (e.g., Galaxolide® and Tonalide®) in the gills and livers of fish by the end of the exposure period. Resting rates of oxygen consumption increased by 30-36% in fish at contaminated sites, reflecting a metabolic cost of wastewater exposure. Exposed fish expanded the gill surface area available for gas exchange by reducing the interlamellar cell mass and thus exposing more lamellar surface to the water. Blood-O2 affinity also decreased in exposed fish, facilitating O2 unloading at respiring tissues. Exposure also improved the quality of isolated liver mitochondria by increasing respiratory capacities for oxidative phosphorylation (assessed using single and multiple inputs to the electron transport system) and succinate dehydrogenase (but not citrate synthase) activity, while decreasing the emission of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We conclude that exposure to wastewater effluent invokes a metabolic cost that leads to compensatory respiratory improvements in O2 uptake, delivery, and utilization.

Author / Presenter: Chanel Yeung
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Naphthalene (NAP) and pyrene (PYR), important petrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are not as well studied as benzo-a-pyrene (BaP). We hypothesized acute exposure (48h) to NAP and PYR will cause sublethal cardiorespiratory impairment similar to acute BaP exposure in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). To investigate this hypothesis, adult zebrafish were aqueously exposed to PAHs (NAP, 37, 370, and 3700µg/L; PYR, 0.25, 2.5 and 25µg/L) using static renewal (24h) and compared to dimethysulfoxide controls. At 48h, fish were subjected to high frequency cardiac ultrasound (n=16 fish/group) or swim tunnel analysis (n=12 fish/group). Zebrafish from the 370µg NAP/L group increased stroke volume (SV) without alterations in end-systolic volume (ESV), heart rate or cardiac output (CO). The paradoxical lack of response at 3700µg NAP/L may be related to the whole-body edema observed upon dissection. PYR changes in cardiac function were only observed at 25µg PYR/L; decreased ESV, increased ejection fraction, and decreased heart rate without alterations in SV or CO. NAP showed a U-shape response to increased standard metabolic rate (SMR), but not PYR. With increasing PYR, active metabolic rate (AMR) decreases, resulting in a similarly decreasing factorial aerobic scope (FAS). This was associated with minimal changes in swimming endurance with either NAP or PYR. In conclusion, acute aqueous NAP and PYR exposure cardiac effects do not resemble BaP, while effects on respiration, metabolism and swimming do resemble BaP. High concentrations of NAP have additional cardiorespiratory toxic effects, making it a greater concern for acute sublethal toxicity in adult fish.

Author / Presenter: Feng Lin
Affiliation: Simon Fraser University
Student: Yes

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

The effects of diluted bitumen on the growth, burst swimming performance, and hepatic detoxification status of juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) Feng Lin1, Lucie Baillon2, Valérie Langlois2,3, Christopher Kennedy1 1 Simon Fraser University 2 Royal Military College of Canada 3 Institut national de la recherche scientifique – Eau Terre Environnement (INRS-ETE) Recent expansions in the transportation of diluted bitumen (dilbit) products via pipeline, railway, and marine terminals in coastal regions of British Columbia potentially increase the risks of exposure to populations of Pacific salmon at various life stages. Juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) inhabit estuarine/marine environments and are constantly challenged by a variety of natural stressors that including dynamic temperature and salinity regimes. The combined effects of a dilbit exposure under varying environmental conditions have the potential to alter the success of these fish as measured by alterations in survival, physiology (e.g. growth/swim performance), biochemistry, and gene expression. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential toxicity of dilbit under different salinity and temperature conditions in early life stage pink salmon. Juvenile pink salmon (5 months) were subchronically exposed to dilutions (100, 50, 25, 0%) of water accommodated fractions (WAFs) of the Cold Lake blend (CLB) dilbit in seawater at 3 salinity levels (7.5, 15, and 30 ppt [temperature 12.5°C]) or temperatures (8.5, 12.5, and 16.5°C [salinity of 30 ppt]) for 3 months. Fish were monitored for survival, growth, and burst swimming ability (Uburst). Several biochemical measurements associated with swimming performance were also measured: white muscle [protein], [glucose], [lactate], and [glycogen]. Gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity was also measured to evaluate potential effects on osmoregulatory ability. The expression of genes associated with phase I and II xenobiotic biotransformation, oxidative stress, energy metabolism, mitochondrial activity, temperature stress, salinity regulation, and inflammation were measured in liver. Fish exposed to WAFs of dilbit in every treatment group were found to have increased liver somatic ratios compared to controls. Exposed individuals exhibited reduced tolerance to the two temperature extremes (8.5 and 16.5°C) at the highest salinity (30 ppt). The survival and growth of fish exposed to the highest WAFs at these two temperature and salinity conditions were significantly lower than in controls. At 30 ppt, Uburst was decreased in fish exposed to the highest WAFs (100%) at all three temperatures (8.5, 12.5, and 16.5°C). Level of genes associated with phase I, energy metabolism, mitochondrial activity and inflammation showed significant increases with dilbit exposure and temperature stress. These results suggest that the combined effects of dilbit exposure and environmental stressors can cause adverse alterations in the growth, swimming performance, and alters hepatic biochemistry and gene expression in juvenile pink salmon.

Author / Presenter: Laura Tessier
Affiliation: Wilfrid Laurier University
Student: Yes

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

The lampricide TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol) is a pesticide that is used to control invasive sea lamprey populations (Petromyzon marinus), by specifically targeting the larval stage in the Great Lakes tributaries. Although TFM has minimal non-target effects, its toxicity is highly influenced by water chemistry, such as pH and alkalinity. Decreases in water pH and alkalinity lead to a greater proportion of the lampricide being in its un-ionized (phenol) form, which increases its uptake rates, therefore making it more toxic to aquatic organisms. Although water chemistry is carefully monitored and the rates of TFM release are adjusted accordingly, TFM applications in the field may affect non-target organisms, due to sudden changes in pH or due to alterations in the gill microenvironment. Therefore, this study will focus on how changes in the pH of the gill microenvironment affect TFM speciation and toxicity in two non-target fishes: the TFM sensitive juvenile lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and the TFM tolerant rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). We hypothesize that discrepancies in pH between the gill and bulk water may explain how TFM is still being taken up even in alkaline waters, where almost no TFM is present in its un-ionized form. To test this, fish were fitted with a latex mask and placed into a divided chamber, with a surgically implanted opercular catheter (PE50) to measure pH of the water at the gill, under different bulk water chemistries: pH 6.5, 7.8 and 9.0, with alkalinity of 50, 150, and 250 mg L-1 CaCO3. Radiolabeled TFM (14C-TFM) was used to track rates of TFM uptake and clearance, which were then modeled to reflect the proportions of TFM in its un-ionized form in the waters of varying chemistries. These experiments will be repeated in sturgeon with the mouth occluded, to mimic their naturally feeding behavior as a bottom-dwelling fish. We hypothesize that when the mouth is occluded, the fish change their gill ventilation strategy from tidal to quasi-tidal, making them less effective at removing CO2, which leads to a decrease in water pH at the gill. Lower pH affects the speciation of TFM, where a higher proportion of it is in its unionized form, therefore increasing its uptake rates and its toxicity. We predict that differences between ventilation strategies, which alter the buffering capacity of the gills, can explain the higher sensitivity of lake sturgeon to TFM.

Author / Presenter: Paul Helm
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Microplastic particles (MPPs), plastic particles less than 5 mm in size, present in Great Lakes waters became a widely publicized issue in 2012 and contributed to the movement to remove plastic microbeads from personal care products. However, sampling in the Great Lakes has shown that there are numerous sources contributing microplastics to the lakes. Most studies classify MPPs in broad categories such as fragments, film, foam, fibers, and pellets/beads. Such classification can be subjective, and the defined categories may not be helpful for directing management actions and measuring the success of such actions. This presentation will highlight some of the morphological characteristics of microplastics that can be used to expand the categorization of MPPs to support management. For example, rigid plastic particles resembling shavings, cuttings, and trimmings clearly generated by mechanical means, normally categorized as “fragments”, are indicative of commercial and building activities. Such material could comprise an additional category such as “commercial fragments”, and management of such a source type would be very different from MPPs due to fragmentation of post-consumer plastic debris. Our sampling for microplastics in nearshore Great Lakes waters, wastewater effluents, streams and urban runoff indicate that in some areas the contributions due to commercial fragments can dominate over other types of particles. For example, in 2015 manta trawl surface water samples from Humber Bay off Toronto, an area which has been found to have the greatest abundance of microplastics measured in sediments and waters of the Great Lakes to date, the commercial fragments category contributed >50% to the total of all MPPs found. Given the MPP morphologies observed in lake water, laboratory tests were undertaken with three species of freshwater fish (fathead minnow, rainbow trout, and white sucker) to examine whether MPPs of a particular morphology were more likely to accumulate in fish when ingested. Ingested particles tended to pass through the digestive tracts of the fish and no definitive differences among particle types and shape on tendency to accumulate were observed. Our sampling demonstrates that manageable sources beyond microbeads from personal care products are present in and entering Great Lakes waters, indicating that multiple management strategies will be needed to reduce the occurrence of MPPs in the Great Lakes.

Author / Presenter: Britt Hall
Affiliation: University of Regina
Student: No

Session: Toxic Effects in Aquatic Species: Integrating Biochemical, Physiological, and Ecological Responses
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Recent studies have shown that wherever we look, microplastics are ubiquitous. Microplastics can be defined as any plastic that has a diameter of 5mm or less and the contamination of environments, as well as ingestion by freshwater organisms, is a growing concern. Problems associated with these plastics such as contamination of both marine and freshwater environments and ingestion by aquatic organisms may be problematic. Our study confirms the presence of microplastics in a prairie creek and lake downstream of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Water samples and five species of fish were collected from sample sites upstream and downstream of a waste water treatment plant (WWTP) discharging into the creek in the summers of 2015 and 2016. Sediment samples were also collected from Pasqua Lake, a eutrophic lake downstream from the urban areas of Regina and Moose Jaw and which receives wastewater from those centres. Material in water was sampled using fine mesh net set in the creek for 5 mins. Fish were collected using gill and seine nets. A gravity corer was used to obtain a 60 cm long core from the deepest point in the lake that was sectioned at 0.5 cm intervals. Lead-210 dating confirmed the ages of the sediment intervals. Water and sediment samples were digested in a Fe(II)/H2O2 solution, whereas a NaClO solution was used to digest the fish stomachs. Digested samples were dried and observed under a microscope where plastics present were enumerated by colour and type. At least one microplastic was detected in 74% of fish gastrointestinal tracts, 96% of water samples, and in a number of sections of the core. The vast majority of plastics observed were fibers. There was no evidence of differences upstream and downstream of the WWTP and our study provides baseline conditions on the presence of plastics in the creek prior to a major upgrade of the WWTP completed in late 2016.

Author / Presenter: Joanne Parrott
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Chronic Testing in Aquatic Toxicology: Assessing Cumulative Sub-lethal Effects to Biota
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Fathead minnow lifecycle exposures have been conducted in our lab for several pharmaceutical compounds (ethinylestradiol, propranolol, venlafaxine) and their mixtures. We have also assessed complex effluents from pulp mills, municipal wastewaters, and oil sands sediments containing mixed PAHs and alkylated PAHs. The lifecycle exposures encompass all ?sensitive windows? of a fish lifecycle, from hatching and larval growth, to sexual development and maturation, and breeding and reproduction. They also can detect delayed effects which are especially important for endocrine disrupting substances (EDS). These delayed effects occur when the EDS affects one life stage (e.g. gonadal differentiation in larval-juvenile fish) but the effects are manifest later on (as an altered sex ratio, or as decreased breeding in mature adults). Although these lifecycle tests are difficult and costly, they provide a complete picture of long term effects, especially if exposures include concentrations that are environmentally relevant.

Author / Presenter: Dayna Schultz
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Chronic Testing in Aquatic Toxicology: Assessing Cumulative Sub-lethal Effects to Biota
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

In recent years, emerging contaminants have gained notoriety due to their ubiquity in the aquatic environment as well as the lack of data available regarding their toxicity to wildlife and humans. Emerging chemicals (ECs) of concern such as flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, and nanoparticles primarily enter the aquatic environment as mixtures through municipal wastewater effluent (MWWE). MWWE is a complex mixture of industrial and domestic wastes that may be released into receiving waters with minimal treatment, which is not uncommon in rural Canada. Most data to date has been garnered using standard laboratory species, which may not be particularly relevant to Northern species considering the potential role of life history, trophic level, physiology, and climate on the species-specific toxicity of chemicals. Consequently, inaccurate extrapolation from standard laboratory species to species native to northern ecosystems is a cause for concern and represents a significant uncertainty factor in ecological risk assessment. In this study, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Salvelinus namaycush, and Esox lucius gametes were exposed to six waterborne concentrations of 17?-ethynylestradiol (EE2), Fluoxetine (FLX), silver nanoparticles (AgNP) and two concentrations of MWWE. Lowest doses were selected based on environmental relevance and increased incrementally thereafter. Exposures were continuous flow-through and subsamples were collected at critical developmental stages to assess acute and sub-chronic toxicity of all test chemicals. Initial findings suggest that these three species vary significantly in their sensitivities towards the aforementioned ECs. Ongoing work aims to fully elucidate biochemical and histological anomalies associated with exposures to the six ECs and focuses on characterizing the effects of these ECs on native fish species in comparison to one another as well as standard laboratory fish models. Overall, this work will aid in the development of more appropriate environmental risk assessment strategies for native fishes to EC of concern.

Author / Presenter: Trudy Watson-Leung
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
Student: No

Session: Chronic Testing in Aquatic Toxicology: Assessing Cumulative Sub-lethal Effects to Biota
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Recently Watson-Leung et al. (2015) published a letter to the editor extolling the virtues and value of using Hexagenia spp., an ecologically important burrowing mayfly, in sediment toxicity assessments. Hexagenia spp. have been routinely incorporated into Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) sediment quality assessments in the province of Ontario, Canada for almost 25 years. In addition, Hexagenia spp. is incorporated into Environment Canada?s (EC) BEAST (BEnthic Assessment of SedimenT) protocol and has been in use for over 20 years. There is a significant difference between these two methodologies however. The EC test protocol requires that the organisms be fed over the duration of the test while the MOECC method does not. In general Hexagenia spp. has been shown to be intermediate in sensitivity, between the common sediment toxicity test species Chironomus dilutus (least sensitive) and Hyalella azteca (most sensitive). However, of 36 field collected contaminated sediments in which all three species were tested in our laboratory, where significant impairment was seen in at least one species, Hexagenia spp. was ranked as the most sensitive species in 28% of the sediments. While studies have shown that Hexagenia spp. nymphs have to increase their feeding rate effort in low organic carbon (OC) sediments to meet their dietary needs, in our studies with field collected sediments there was high variability in the relationship between OC in control and reference sediments and Hexagenia spp. wet weight at test termination (R2 = 0.14, n = 43) however the relationship was significant (paired t-test p = 0.0005). To assess the impact of feeding on the survival and growth of Hexagenia spp. in the 21-day sediment toxicity test, Hexagenia spp. were exposed to four sediments with varying OC levels. Half of the test replicates were fed weekly, and half were unfed. Feeding the Hexagenia spp. significantly affected the growth of the organisms while survival rates were less impacted. The OC content of the sediments also influenced the survival and growth rates of the organisms, but not to the same extent as feeding. The implications of this methodology change will be discussed.

Author / Presenter: Rebecca Osborne
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: Yes

Session: Chronic Testing in Aquatic Toxicology: Assessing Cumulative Sub-lethal Effects to Biota
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Osborne RK 1, Bowes D 2, Gillis PL 3, and Prosser RS 2 1 University of Waterloo, Department of Biology, Waterloo, ON, Canada 2 University of Guelph, School of Environmental Sciences, Guelph, ON 3 Environment and Climate Change Canada, Aquatic Contaminants Research Division, Burlington, ON Abstract: Traditional toxicological testing can be limited to assessing the risk posed to an organism at only one life stage or portion of its life cycle, and tend to only assess the immediate, observable effects caused during exposure. This can be due to the time and resources required to maintain an exposure through a full life cycle, especially for larger or long-lived organisms. In order to better understand whether these partial-life span tests are representative of long term and population scale effects of chronic contaminant exposure, we used the freshwater snail Planorbella pilsbryi to conduct a two-generation study on the effects of copper in a pulse exposure scenario. The test involved an initial seven day exposure of the parent generation to sub-lethal Cu concentrations. The exposed parents were transferred to clean water to lay eggs and the eggs were allowed to hatch and develop. The resulting juvenile snails were then exposed to Cu for 72 hours and LC50s were determined for each parent treatment group. By comparing the LC50s, we determined that the level of parental Cu exposure influenced the Cu sensitivity of naïve first-generation juveniles. The Cu LC50 of naïve juveniles laid by non-exposed parents, 29.25 ug Cu /L (95% CI 22.17-36.32 ug/L), was significantly higher than the LC50 of naïve juveniles born to parents who were exposed to copper, 11.57 ug Cu/L (95% CI 3.71-19.43 ug/L). In addition to copper sensitivity, several other sub-lethal endpoints were monitored (such as egg mass production, egg viability, and time to hatching) but none were significantly influenced by parental exposure to copper. These results suggest that despite minimal difference in parent reproduction and first-generation development, parental exposure caused increased sensitivity of the first naïve generation and supports the continual investigation of multi-generational toxicity studies with snails for use in risk assessment.

Author / Presenter: Lisa Kennedy
Affiliation: Ontario Ministry of the Environment
Student: No

Session: Chronic Testing in Aquatic Toxicology: Assessing Cumulative Sub-lethal Effects to Biota
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:50 – 15:10
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

In Ontario, contaminated sediments present a major impediment to the restoration of degraded aquatic conditions. Conventional short term sediment toxicity exposures can help to identify high levels of contamination, but may not be as effective at assessing the long-term impacts of more marginally contaminated sediments. Chronic and life-cycle standard laboratory assays are thus useful in estimation of potential chronic toxicity not always captured in conventional acute exposures. In this study, we assess the performance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chironomus dilutus life-cycle test and 42-day test for survival, growth and reproduction in Hyalella azteca, as well as the draft 42-day Hyalella azteca method being developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada for six different contaminants of concern. Each method will be performed on field collected sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), arsenic, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs or pesticides, and the uncertainty and resource requirements of each method will be compared. There is a need within the province of Ontario for standardized laboratory assays enabling estimation of sublethal endpoints and these experiments will inform decisions over which methods meet the needs of our laboratory.

Author / Presenter: Shane de Solla
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Amphibians often are exposed to pesticides while breeding in agricultural landscapes, and the timing of breeding may affect their exposure. The phenology of amphibian lifestage varies among frog species, as does their calling and breeding behaviours. Our objective was to identify the role that breeding phenology alters the exposure to pesticides to breeding adults, o rto their egg or tadpole lifstages post-breeding. Using frog calling intensities from intensive acoustic surveys for eight frog species across Ontario, we estimated the behavioural phenologies and onset of breeding for each species. Data from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s surveys of pesticides in surface water throughout Ontario were used to quantify temporal changes in concentrations of pesticides in surface waters. Seasonal changes in pesticides were characterized by both individual pesticides as well as mixtures. For earlier breeders, such as leopard frogs and spring peepers but particularly wood frogs and chorus frogs, the pesticide concentrations in surface waters generally were higher post breeding. Consequently, although estimated only semi-quantitatively, exposure would generally be highest during egg or tadpole lifestages for earlier breeders. Conversely pesticide exposure was similar for exposure of adults compared to eggs or tadpoles for late breeders. Data relating pesticide exposure with amphibian lifestage and breeding behaviour is important for assessing risk, and for designing appropriate exposure regimes for toxicological studies.

Author / Presenter: Mary Gamberg
Affiliation: Gamberg Consulting
Student: No

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Caribou and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus spp.) are an important food resource around the Arctic and are an integral part of traditional culture for many northern peoples. Meanwhile, there is growing concern for Arctic food security. As part of Canada’s Northern Contaminants Program, we analyzed kidney, liver and muscle of animals from 27 caribou herds (9 Barren-ground, 1 Peary, 15 Northern Mountain Woodland, the George River and the Dolphin and Union) from northern and Arctic Canada for a range of elements. These data were compared with data from two Barren-ground caribou herds in Greenland, two reindeer herds in Sweden and one reindeer herd in the Russian Federation. We used principal components analysis and cluster analysis to investigate covariation among elements and multivariate element patterns across the herds. These assessments revealed no consistent patterns, therefore we applied a more targeted modeling approach to evaluate the relative influence of different predictors (herd, year, season, age, sex) of variability for each element within an information-theoretic framework. Preliminary results show strong annual and inter-herd variation in all elements, with specific patterns varying across elements. Environmental (season) and biological (age, sex) drivers also vary in the extent to which they influence element concentrations. These results highlight the complex patterns in contaminant profiles for a key Arctic species and represent a critical first step in understanding the implications of changing environmental conditions for individuals and populations of this species and other northern wildlife.

Author / Presenter: Katelyn Luff
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Mercury is disproportionately deposited in the Arctic ecosystem through long-distance atmospheric transport, and can accumulate in wetlands during spring thaw. In addition, Arctic ecosystems are rapidly changing and exhibiting earlier spring onset in response to climatic variability. Some studies have indicated Arctic shorebirds may be responding to earlier spring conditions by shifting their nesting phenology, but whether earlier nest initiation will influence contaminant levels in these species is unknown. The purpose of this research is to determine how climate and life history strategies interact to influence contaminant levels found in select Arctic shorebird species. Sample collection will occur at three sites in the central Canadian Arctic, utilizing the most locally abundant nesting shorebird species at each site. We will test predictions related to the hypothesis that early nesters are exposed to higher contaminant levels than later nesting cohorts, due to temporal overlap during nest initiation and mercury deposition events in early spring. Preliminary results collected during the 2016 field season will be discussed. This research will contribute to baseline contaminant monitoring in arctic biota and to an improved understanding of interactions between life history strategies and environmental variables in Arctic-breeding species.

Author / Presenter: Stacey Robinson
Affiliation: Environment Canada
Student: No

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Invasive aquatic plants are an increasing threat to the health of aquatic ecosystems. As Canadian aquatic ecosystems face the stressors of invasive aquatic plants, there is likely to be an increased demand for chemical control options to manage aquatic invasive plants. Currently, data on the effects of chronic, ecologically relevant concentrations of current-use aquatic herbicides on non-target biota are limited. The objective of our research was to examine the impacts of the direct application of herbicides to water to control aquatic invasive plants. The research focused on the active ingredient diquat, the only currently registered herbicide in Canada approved for control of submerged plant species. We used a commercial formulation according to label directions to represent an ecologically realistic application of the herbicide. We integrated different experimental designs that represent increasing environmental relevance: greenhouse and laboratory exposures and outdoor mesocosm exposures. This tiered approach provided toxicity information for single species exposures under controlled environmental conditions and the mesocosm exposures provided more realistic ecosystem-related toxicity information but with lower variability and increased replication compared to field studies. We focused on biota that are representative of and important to Canadian aquatic ecosystems. Several species were added to the mesocosms, including invasive and native plants, an amphipod species, an amphibian species and algal communities obtained from nearby waterbodies. The mesocosms were maintained for six weeks to measure chronic, lethal and non-lethal endpoints (e.g., life-history traits and physiological biomarkers (i.e., oxidative stress)). Our single species controlled exposures were conducted separately on the aquatic plant and amphibian species assessed in the mesocosms. The combined use of controlled greenhouse/laboratory and semi-natural mesocosm measurements allowed us to compare results between study systems to better understand variability in exposure and effects of diquat to non-target biota. Overall, we had good agreement in our results from the different study systems and we used subsequent greenhouse exposures to establish the minimal effective dose for some plant species (i.e., ? 0.4% of the label rate (4.7 µg/L)). Results from our combined approach suggests a lower label rate, at least in waterbodies with low turbidity, would provide control of target species while reducing effects on non-target biota.

Author / Presenter: Esteban Gongora
Affiliation: McGill University
Student: Yes

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:00 – 17:20
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Mercury (Hg) biotransformation and biomagnification are processes that affect both the environment and humans in the Arctic. Seabirds are often used to monitor levels of Hg in the ocean because they integrate exposure/signals over large areas and bring that signal back to a central location (colony) where it can be easily sampled. To interpret variation in Hg in seabirds, it is important to understand how Hg biomagnifies through the food web. Stable isotope ratios have been widely used to explain Hg accumulation in organisms. Due to the central role of sulfate-reducing bacteria in the production of methylmercury (MeHg), the most toxic form of Hg, ?34S has been used to understand variation in Hg concentrations among otherwise similar organisms. In this study, we evaluate the use of ?34S, along with that of two commonly used stable isotope signatures (?15N and ?13C), for the determination of possible sources of Hg in various Arctic organisms. Hg and the three isotope ratios were measured for 55 individuals of 15 species of fish and invertebrates that are common prey for Thick-billed Murres, an Arctic seabird widely studied as a monitor species for contaminants. Multiple regressions showed that Hg is correlated with ?34S when data where grouped by species (R² = 0.72) and with a combination of ?15N and ?34S when data where not grouped (R² = 0.82; mixed model, with species as a random effect). Our results demonstrate the usefulness of ?34S to account for variation in Hg among marine animals and to study the possible underlying effects that MeHg production may have on Hg pathways in Arctic ecosystems.

Author / Presenter: Kirsty Gurney
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Environmental Drivers of Contaminant Variability in Wildlife
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:20 – 17:40
Location: McCrae

Abstract:

Environmental contaminants, including trace elements and organic compounds that are transported to Canada?s Arctic across long distances, pose a risk to the northern environment, and some migratory birds that breed in the Arctic have contaminant burdens that exceed established thresholds for biological effects. Contaminant profiles, however, vary across species for reasons that are not entirely clear. Further, because avian fauna are highly mobile and use multiple habitats throughout the year, contaminants identified in Arctic-breeding birds may be a consequence of exposure outside of the Arctic, but sources of contaminant exposure for these birds are not well understood. We aim to evaluate factors ? such as dietary preference, migration strategy, and wintering ground provenance ? that might influence contaminant concentration in Arctic avifauna, by measuring contaminants in the eggs of migratory birds with a range of annual distributions and life history strategies. Preliminary results suggest that contaminants measured in eggs are linked to local food webs, and our ongoing studies in a low-Arctic site will provide new insights about variation in contaminant exposure for Arctic wildlife and will help inform policies and conservation initiatives to protect wildlife and ecosystem health in Canada?s North.

Author / Presenter: Bruce Kilgour
Affiliation: Kilgour & Associates Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:30
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The chemistry, and acute and chronic toxicity of groundwaters associated with Shell Canada’s Albian Sands operations in northern Alberta were characterized as part of an effort to develop a burden of evidence that the release of groundwaters would pose a negligible and understandable risk to a receiving aquatic environment. Concentrations of conventional chemicals such as nutrients and metals were generally below concentrations considered to pose a negligible risk of harm in long-term exposures. Concentrations of naphthenic acids were variable, due in part to the analytical method employed, but routinely in excess of 1 mg/L. Groundwaters rarely caused lethality to fish and invertebrates in acute toxicity tests. The oil sands groundwaters caused similar or less sublethal toxicity as has historically been recently produced by effluents regulated by the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations or the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. These groundwaters have somewhat high oxygen demand associated with nutrients and organic substances, and therefore have the potential to enrich receiving surface water environments if untreated and depending on ratios of mixing with a receiving environment.

Author / Presenter: Yamini Gopalapillai
Affiliation: Environment and Climate Change Canada
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Atmospheric deposition of metals in snowpacks and their release into freshwaters during spring snowmelt has been a concern in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta. This study was designed to evaluate the loadings and distribution of metals in springtime snowpack and how they vary over time. We examine consecutive years of metal loadings data (2011-2016) collected through a rigorous federal monitoring program, the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM). Snowpack samples were collected in late winters (1st week of March) from 2011- 2016 at varying distances from the main developments. For vanadium (V) and aluminum (Al), we also included 1978 (January sampling) and 1981 (February sampling) data from a study published by the Alberta government. To be comparable, the calculated loadings for all the years were corrected for the number of snow days prior to sampling by standardizing to the same number of snow days. This was determined to be 120 days based on the average number of snow days for JOSM from 2012-2016. Temporal trends were divided into sites less than 8 km from a major industrial site (AR6), 8-50 km from AR6, and >50 km from AR6. Results indicate that deposition of V decreased over time, as did Al, but to a smaller degree.

Author / Presenter: Esteban GILLIO MEINA
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

In the recent years, Alberta’s oil sands coke generation has surpassed 10 million tonnes. This coke has been proposed as a sorbent to reduce concentrations of organic chemicals in oil sands process water (OSPW). However, coke contains up to 5 % vanadium (V) by weight and during the treatment process V is released from the coke, reaching levels up to 7mg/L in “treated” OSPW. Little information is available on how common water quality variables influence the toxicity of V to aquatic organisms. Here those relationships are quantified to better understand how site-specific surface water characteristics representative of the Alberta oil sands region affects the adverse effect of V to Daphnia pulex and Oncorhynchus mykiss. Results to date indicate that when D. pulex was exposed for 48-h to an increase in pH, a threshold relationship was found where toxicity increased between pH 6 and 7, and then leveled off. When alkalinity (70 to 600 mg/L CaCO3) increased, the toxicity of V decreased. Also, when sulphate increased from 30 to 380 mg/L, the LC50 to D. pulex slightly increased from 0.95 to 1.31 mg/L of V. When the exposures were extended to 21-d, only sulphate resulted in a slight increase in chronic V toxicity to D. pulex, an opposite trend to that seen in the acute study. In addition, testing of two environmentally representative mixtures of sodium and sulphate for 48 h, and alkalinity and sulphate, on V toxicity to D. pulex showed that only increasing alkalinity and sulphate decreased V toxicity to D. pulex. Finally, when O. mykiss fry where exposed to similar ranges of alkalinity and sulphate as tested with D. pulex, similar relationships were observed between alkalinity and V, and sulphate and V, as those found for D. pulex.

Author / Presenter: Vance Trudeau
Affiliation: University of Ottawa
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Due to their dual aquatic and terrestrial life, amphibians are amenable models for understanding the potential aquatic toxicity of process waters produced by bitumen extraction. Naphthenic acids (NAs) are known to be to be toxic constituents of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) stored tailing ponds. Our lab studies have revealed effects of NAs from Merrichem (a commercial source) and those extracted from raw OSPW, on wood frog development and metamorphosis. Toxicity estimates (LC50s based on nominal concentrations) for early larval exposures (Gosner Stage 8-10) were 9.9 mg L-1 for Merrichem NAs. This contrasts a lower toxicity of 81 mg L-1 for Merrichem and 52 mg L-1 for OSPW NAs when tadpoles were exposed at the hatchling stage (Gosner Stage 20-21) of development. Analysis of developmental abnormalities and growth parameters indicates that embryonic wood frogs exposed to 8-12 mg L-1 (EC50) of Merichem NAs were significantly smaller in size and showed compromised structural integrity of the gut. Hatchlings exposed to the same NA concentrations exhibited few alterations until higher NA concentrations (48 mg L-1), thus suggesting a critical window of exposure for this species. To determine if the final stage of tadpole development is also sensitive to NAs, a novel metamorphic emergence assays was developed. At metamorphic climax, (Gosner Stage 42) tadpoles were exposed to Merrichem NAs (0.3-3 mg L-1) and allowed to complete tail resorption and emerge onto land. While the rate of tail resorption was only marginally decreased at 3 mg L-1, 50% of animals in the 1 and 3 mg L-1 treatment died before completing metamorphosis. A field-based experiment was also conducted in which eggs of wild wood frogs were first exposed to a gradient of NA concentrations (1-50 mg L-1 OSPW-NAs), and then transferred to floating cages in a natural wetland in Ontario. Exposure to NAs resulted in a significant decrease in body size of hatchlings and larvae, but not metamorphs. Survival of tadpoles in the wetland cages decreased in relation to the NA concentration when they were exposed to as eggs. Altogether, our data indicate that multiple amphibian life-history stages are sensitive to NAs. Efforts are underway to find the causative agent(s) in the very complex mixture of NAs and to understand whether or not effects observed in the laboratory would occur with exposures in the wild. It will be essential to incorporate data from amphibians into a species sensitivity distribution so that appropriate treatment targets can be developed. Acknowledgements: NSERC Strategic Program (VLT, JB), Banting and Liber Ero Fellowships (DO), and University of Ottawa Research Chair (VLT). The help and encouragement of Bruce MacLean and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (Fort Chipewyan, AB) is appreciated.

Author / Presenter: Kate Rundle
Affiliation: University of Prince Edward Island
Student: Yes

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The extraction of bitumen from the Alberta oil sands via surface mining produces large volumes of wastewater. Naphthenic acids (NAs), a complex mixture of carboxylic acids, are a dominant group of compounds present in this oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). Naphthenic acids have been found to be lethal to fish larvae at concentrations of less than 9 mg/L and cause a variety of sublethal effects, including: endocrine disruption, developmental abnormalities, growth inhibition, and induction of markers of oxidative stress. However, no over-arching mechanism of action for these acids has been found. It was hypothesized that naphthenic acids would act as respiratory inhibitors due to their carboxylic acid moiety with resin acids, and based on observation of resin acids disrupting cellular energetics. It was predicted that naphthenic acids would inhibit the electron transport chain (ETC), uncouple oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), and that these effects are mediated by oxidative stress. It was also hypothesized that commercially available adamantine carboxylic acid might be model compounds for future work. To test this hypothesis, naphthenic acids were extracted from 17-year-old tailings from Syncrude Canada using acid precipitation followed by DEAE cellulose cleanup, DCM liquid-liquid extraction, and subsequent acid precipitation. The precipitate was washed and freeze dried to generate a solid material. Naphthenic acids were characterized using HRMS and were greater than 95% pure based on negative ion spectra. Mitochondria were isolated from rainbow trout hepatocytes using differential centrifugation. Respiration parameters were tested using the Oroboros respirometry system. Mitochondrial redox state and membrane potential were evaluated using real-time flow cytometry and fluorescent dyes. Results have indicated that OSPW-derived NAs are capable of uncoupling OXPHOS, inhibiting the ETC, and causing an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). The observed increase in ROS alone may be enough to induce mild oxidative stress as changes in mitochondrial redox state were observed with flow cytometry. However, no changes in mitochondrial antioxidant enzymes were observed after exposure. Results from adamantane carboxylic acids were generally similar, indicating they may act as appropriate model compounds for future work. Overall, this data suggests that NAs can disrupt cellular energetics and that this may be a possible mechanism of toxic action.

Author / Presenter: Yuhe He
Affiliation: University of Alberta
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The potential environmental impacts of horizontal drilling with high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HF) have drawn significant public concern, especially on the HF flowback and produced water (HF-FPW), which is a complex mixture of wastewater containing large amounts of salts, metals, natural organics, fracturing fluid additives, and potential secondary byproducts from downhole reaction. In 2015 alone, there were more than 113 spills of HF-FPW fluids into the environment documented in Alberta, Canada. The consequent salts, metals, and organics pollutants detected in HF-FPW often greatly exceeded the maximum contamination levels for water quality guidelines. However, the knowledge about the potential hazards of this wastewater on the health of aquatic ecosystem is still very limited. Previous studies indicated HF-FPW can significantly disrupt biotransformation and endocrine gene expression. Our most recent study focuses on the disruptive effects of HF-FPW organic extracts on receptor-mediated signaling using reporter gene assays. Generally, 12 organic fractions were extracted from HF-FPW samples collected from 2 different sites with 6 timepoints. PAH contents and total organic profiles were analyzed by GC-MS and HPLC-Orbitrap. The agonism/antagonism activities of different extracts on aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), androgen receptor (AR) and estrogen receptor (ER) were also screened using H4IIE-luc, MDA-kb2, and MVLN-luc cell lines, respectively. The results demonstrated complex profile of receptor signaling mediated effects, especially on AhR activation, based on the extracts from different locations and timepoints. This study also provided novel information on the endocrine disruptive potentials of various HF-FPW samples on different temporal and spatial scales, and suggest that remediation of HF-FPW spills may need different strategies based on the properties of spills regarding to various geological and physiochemical information.

Author / Presenter: Jeff Roberts
Affiliation: SiREM
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 13:30 – 13:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene (BTEX) and other aromatic hydrocarbons typically degrade faster under aerobic conditions than under anaerobic conditions. When hydrocarbon contaminated aquifers become anaerobic, aerobic bioremediation is not always feasible and anaerobic bioremediation approaches become favorable. To address this need, anaerobic cultures capable of complete degradation of BTX have been developed at the University of Toronto (UofT). The cultures have been characterized and key organisms have been identified. SiREM, UofT and Federated Cooperatives Limited are currently engaged in a three-year project to advance anaerobic benzene degradation from the lab to the field, funded in part by Genome Canada and the Province of Ontario. The objectives of the project include scale-up of an anaerobic benzene culture to field volumes, demonstrating its effectiveness for bioaugmentation in treatability studies and in field tests. The culture is currently being assessed using microcosms constructed with materials from hydrocarbon contaminated sites. Information generated will include inoculum density requirements, degradation rates and the range of geochemical conditions required for optimal performance of the culture, and will be used to design field trials. Molecular genetic tools to quantify and track key microbes and functional genes involved in benzene degradation are also being developed. These tools will allow assessment and monitoring of enhanced bioremediation applications.

Author / Presenter: Berthod Camille
Affiliation: Université du Québec à Rimouski
Student: Yes

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Canada possesses large reserves of non-conventional oil associated with bituminous sands. Despite the lack of knowledge of its toxicity on the marine wildlife, Canada hopes to increase its export before 2030. Nevertheless, its transport, under the shape of diluted bitumen (dilbit), involves significant risks of spillages in marine environment. In this case, Transport Canada could allow the use of chemical dispersant as an intervention measure, with the aim of quickly decreasing the concentration of hydrocarbons in an impacted environment. The low toxicity of the dispersing agents was demonstrated for numerous aquatic species, but the combination of dispersants and crude oil may represent a greater toxicity. Actually, our tests on the blue mussel show of strong mortality in summer conditions after 48 hours of exposure (> 60 % scattering only and > scattering 70 % dispersants and diluted bitumen), the destabilisation of the lysosomal membrane and critical effects on the DNA. By comparing the chemical and physical dispersal, with conventional and non-conventional oils, our results show that the dilbit scattered chemically is more toxic than the conventional oil that it is scattered chemically or physically.

Author / Presenter: Anthony Schmutz
Affiliation: ISMER-UQAR
Student: Yes

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

With the potential development of the TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline project, the St. Lawrence River is foreseen as an optimal exit gate to reach international markets with unconventional Canadian oil in its diluted form (dilbit). However, the St. Lawrence system undergoes harsh environmental conditions with very low temperatures and an important ice cover during winter. The St Lawrence Estuary is also known as a highly diverse ecosystem providing great incomes for commercial fisheries and aquaculture. No research has yet been conducted on possible disastrous environmental consequences of a dilbit spill in the marine environment with a winter ice cover, making our capacity for tackling such an event highly deficient. To our knowledge, a long-term ecotoxicological monitoring of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), and of their offspring, following an acute exposition to unconventional oil has not yet been conducted in field or in laboratory. To evaluate the effects of a winter spillage on blue mussels, a small-scale oil spill was simulated in an outdoor 3,500-liter mesocosm filled with sea water from the St. Lawrence Estuary. Mussels (n = 288) were exposed to one conventional crude oil sample (Heidrun from Norway) and two dilbits (Cold Lake Blend and Access Western Blend from Alberta, Canada) for seven days under a persistent layer of ice and then kept alive for several months until the spawning season. During the post-exposure period in winter, oxygen, ingestion and assimilation rates were monitored in concert with the measurement of cellular stress and gametogenesis development. At the end of winter, adults were maintained in a controlled environment reproducing spring conditions (gradual increase of temperature and appearance of an algal bloom) one month before spawning stimulation. The growth and survival of mussel larvae were monitored for nine days, corresponding to their dependent period on energy reserves accumulated in the eggs (mother effect). Bioaccumulation of dissolved hydrocarbons in adult mussels was detected after only three days of exposure and after seven days, cellular and physiological responses were monitored. Despite an obvious depuration period of adults, significant negative effects were noted on the survival and development of larvae produced by genitors exposed to crude oil and dilbits a few months earlier. Both conventional and unconventional oil samples triggered a slower larval development when compared with the control treatment. At the end of the 9-day sampling period, the larvae produced by the exposed parents expressed an important delayed growth (5 days below control). A significantly higher larval mortality of mussels exposed to dilbit was observed at every sampling event. Overall, both immediate physiological effects and a delayed transgenerational toxicity were observed. Results also showed higher toxicity of the two diluted bitumen when compared to the third conventional crude oil.

Author / Presenter: Warren Zubot
Affiliation: Syncrude Canada, Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The oil sands industry, located in northern Alberta, Canada, makes a significant contribution to Canada’s economy. The deposits contain an estimated 1.7 trillion barrels of oil, of which 300 billion barrels are recoverable using current technology. Depending on the depth of the deposit, raw bitumen is produced either by in-situ well technology or mining. After mining, bitumen is recovered from the oil sand using a warm water extraction process, generating a tailings material composed of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), sand, silt, clay and some unrecovered bitumen. The oil sands industry is very efficient at recycling water, which minimizes the amount of freshwater drawn from the Athabasca River. OSPW is stored on site for reuse in large settling basins, also known as tailings ponds. Since commercial bitumen production from the oil sands began in the 1960s, there has been no approved release of OSPW to the environment from the mineable oil sands region. Efficient water reuse must be balanced with water quality. With perpetual recycling, dissolved constituents present in the oil sands ore (including sodium, chloride, and sulfate, and organic compounds such as naphthenic acids) become concentrated in the OSPW. This presentation will review how Syncrude Canada Ltd. uses the available water resources, and will present OSPW quality relative to regulatory guidelines for the protection of human health and aquatic life. Two technologies to further improve OSPW quality to ensure safe release in compliance with government regulations will be outlined. The oil sands industry is required by law to return all affected lands and waters to state of equivalent capability, including the safe and responsible return of water to the environment.

Author / Presenter: Carla Wytrykush
Affiliation: Syncrude Canada Ltd.
Student: No

Session: Canadian Oil and Gas Industries: Advancing Towards a Sustainable Future
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:50 – 15:10
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

An oil sands pit lake is an area where overburden and oil sand has been removed for mining and, subsequently, filled with tailings materials to allow development into an acceptable closure feature within the reclamation landscape. These lakes may contain any combination of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW; from the bitumen extraction process), freshwater, fine fluid tailings, treated fluid tailings and other solids (for example, coarse tailings sand or overburden). The Base Mine Lake (BML) is the first commercial-scale demonstration of a pit lake in the mineable oil sands industry. It is located in the former original mine at Syncrude?s Mildred Lake site. Following mining, the pit was filled with FFT (silt, clay, process-affected water and residual bitumen). Today, the FFT underlies a water layer composed of a mixture of OSPW and fresh water. The configuration of FFT overlain by a water cap in BML is defined as water capped tailings technology. Based on twenty-five years of previous research and modelling, the prediction is that with time, the water quality will improve and the FFT will remain sequestered, and ultimately, the lake will be a component of the closure landscape. Since lake commissioning in 2013, water quality in BML has improved, as demonstrated by the decreased concentrations of a number of key variables (e.g., major ions, nutrients, TSS/turbidity, PAHs and toxicity). Although early in the lake?s development, most water quality parameters are already present at concentrations less than provincial and federal guidelines for the protection of freshwater aquatic life. Based on standard acute bioassays evidence to date indicates the lake the surface water is no longer acutely toxic. The BML Surface Water Quality program is one component in a comprehensive research and monitoring program designed to further our understanding of trends in lake performance and the processes and mechanisms responsible for those trends. Knowledge gained from this program is valuable for the design, operation, and eventual certification of oil sands pit lakes across the region.

Author / Presenter: Ebrahim Lari
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: Yes

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), a byproduct of the extraction of bitumen in the surface-mining oil sands industry, is currently stored in on-site tailings ponds. This study explored the effects of OSPW on feeding behaviour of Daphnia magna. To determine the mechanisms of effect on feeding rate the present study also investigated the role of OSPW’s principal components, dissolved component (DC) and suspended particulate matter (SPM). Feeding rates of one-week-old D. magna were assessed following 24-h of exposure to each OSPW at 20, 10, 5, 2.5, and 1.25% concentration. Based on the regression inhibitory curve, IC50 and IC75 of OSPW on feeding rate of D. magna was calculated at 5.3 and 10.1% OSPW. To establish mechanisms of effect, three groups of D. magna were exposed to DC, SPM and total components of 10% OSPW for 24 h. Digestive enzyme activity, beating of thoracic limbs, mandible rolling or post-abdominal rejections, peristaltic activity and hind gut content of exposed daphniids was investigated. There was no change in digestive enzymes trypsin or amylase except for the daphniids exposed to total OSPW, which showed reduced trypsin activity. Mandible rolling or post-abdominal rejections, which are indicators of feeding rate and food palatability, were not affected by any treatment. Beating of thoracic limbs, which provides water flow toward the feeding groove, was reduced in SPM and total OSPW treatments. Peristaltic activity was reduced in DC treatment resulting in reduced digestion time. All treatments showed an increase in the number of intact algae cells in the hindgut and excreted material of D. magna. These results suggest that both DC and SPM inhibit feeding behaviour of D. magna by impairing the actions of the digestive system but not by reducing the ingestion rate.

Author / Presenter: Sigal Balshine
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: No

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

When the treated effluent from a wastewater treatment plants is returned to the environment it often alters water quality and is a source of anthropogenic pollutants. To better understand the impacts of wastewater effluent on aquatic organisms, we caged two different fish species (native bluegill sunfish and invasive round goby) for three weeks at different distances from wastewater effluent outflow. We also characterized the fish community composition along this wastewater effluent exposure gradient. Fish (of both species) caged close to the outfall had lower survival compared to fish caged far away. However, regardless of how close to effluent they were caged, the survivors performed similarly in aggression, startle-response, and dispersal behavioural tests. The distance to the wastewater treatment effluent outflow did not influence any physiological measure in the invasive round goby; in contrast, native bluegill sunfish caged near the outflow showed an increase in oxygen consumption and metabolism, an expansion of gill surface, and a decrease in blood-O2 affinity. These results suggest that there is a metabolic cost of living near effluent discharge. The distance from effluent outflow appeared to influence the wild fish community. Despite having low oxygen and high contaminant levels, many fish inhabited areas within the effluent plume and appeared to use it as a thermal refuge. The sites of intermediate distance from effluent outflow contained the highest diversity and abundance of native species. Our results highlight the importance of assessing animal responses to real-world complex contaminant mixtures found in municipal wastewater effluent and doing so at multiple levels of biological organization.

Author / Presenter: Phil Anderson
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: Yes

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Selenium and C-starts: The impacts on and potential recovery of Fathead Minnow escape behaviours Anderson, Philip J. (1), Ferrari, Maud C.O (2) & Chivers, Douglas P.(1) (1) Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan; (2) Veterinarian Biomedical Sciences, University of Saskatchewan. This study investigated the effects of dietary selenium on the escape behaviours of the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas). Minnows rely on a fast-start escape response to evade the strike of a perceived threat. C-starts, the typical flight response for minnows, are a reflex where the fish bends its body into a “C” shape, allowing it to burst away from a potential predator. When selenium-rich effluent is released into a body of water from a mine or other anthropogenic development, serious impacts on fish health and community structure can be observed. Selenium exposure in minnows has been shown to alter their motor and cognitive function. A fish’s ability to survive in the wild depends on an appropriate response to a predator. Minnows were administered either a control or one of two selenomethionine spiked diets (15mg/kg or 30mg/kg nominal) for 35 or 70 days. Individual fish were placed in an arena where their response to a weight drop was recorded by high-speed camera. Velocity, acceleration, distance travelled, latency to respond, escape angle and body bend angle was calculated for each fish. These response variables were also tracked weekly for a period of 35 days post-exposure to determine if the impacts of a selenium spiked diet were reversible. The impacts on the visual and chemosensory based responses to predation threats were also carried out to achieve a holistic understanding of the impacts of dietary selenium on the antipredator behaviours of small freshwater fish. Altered escape performance in prey can influence established predator-prey equilibrium, and ultimately lead to a shift in the community dynamics of the system.

Author / Presenter: Parastoo Razmara
Affiliation: University of Lethbridge
Student: Yes

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:40 – 17:00
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

Fish rely on olfaction for their survival, growth, and reproduction. Metal contaminants (e.g. copper) can impair fish olfaction. Although the copper ion (Cu2+) has drawn the most attention in olfactory toxicology, the impact of copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) on fish olfactory systems has not been well determined. The objective of this study was to investigate time-dependent effects of CuNPs and Cu2+ on olfactory acuity and olfactory-mediated behaviours of rainbow trout. To establish CuNPs or Cu2+ induced olfactory-impairment thresholds, inhibitory concentration (IC) curves were determined. Fish were exposed to a geometric dilution series of CuNPs or Cu2+ for 24 hours, and fish olfactory acuity was measured using electro-olfactography (EOG). Afterwards, fish were exposed to CuNPs or Cu2+ at concentrations known to impair olfaction by 50% (322 and 6.8 µg/L for CuNPs and Cu2+ respectively) for a 24 h or 96 h exposure period. The response of fish to a social cue (taurocholic acid) was studied using EOG and choice maze. Results of EOG revealed that while a 96 h exposure to CuNPs caused a significantly greater impairment of fish olfactory function relative to 24 h, fish olfactory acuity partially recovered after 96 h under continuous Cu2+ exposure. Behavioural responses of rainbow trout to alarm cue supported the results of neurophysiological experiments. Although fish exposed to control water or Cu2+ for 96 h had an avoidance response to alarm cue, those exposed to the CuNPs did not respond to the alarm cue. Over the same exposure periods, CuNPs caused progressive deterioration of olfactory acuity, whereas at least a partial olfactory recovery was documented for continuous Cu2+ exposure. The present study strongly suggests the mechanism of toxicity caused by CuNPs is distinct from that of Cu2+.

Author / Presenter: Matt Vijayan
Affiliation: University of Calgary
Student: No

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:00 – 17:20
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The rise of antidepressant prescriptions worldwide has resulted in an increased release of neuroactive compounds into the aquatic environment. Venlafaxine is one of the most highly prescribed antidepressants worldwide, resulting in levels of the drug in the µg/L range in our waterways. As antidepressants are often designed to function at low doses, there is growing concern over how these drugs will affect non-target species that often share conserved pathways with humans. Venlafaxine acts as a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor in humans, suggesting that neuroamine-mediated pathways may be impacted during neural development in non-target animals. We assessed developmental changes in zebrafish (Danio rerio) in response to venlafaxine exposure during embryogenesis. Zebrafish embryos were microinjected with venlafaxine at the 1-4 cell stage, and assessed for disruptions in neural development and larval behavior. Embryo exposure to this drug causes developmental defects, disrupts neurogenesis, and alters the behavioral response. The possibility of developing high throughput behavioral assays as a rapid screening tool for neurotoxicity will be discussed. Overall, exposure to environmental levels of venlafaxine disrupts early development and escape behavior in zebrafish. This study was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery and Strategic Grants to MMV. WAT was the recipient of the Eyes high PhD fellowship from the University of Calgary.

Author / Presenter: Shamaila Fraz
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: Yes

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:20 – 17:40
Location: Gryphon/Danby

Abstract:

The application of behaviour as an ecologically important indicator of sublethal toxicity has significantly grown in the last decade. Behavioural endpoints provide the advantages of non-invasiveness, high sensitivity and integrated outcome of underlying physiological and biochemical changes. We examined changes in parental male zebrafish courtship and aggressive behaviour and related those behavioural changes to levels of 11-ketotestosterone, after chronic treatment with 10 µg/L carbamazepine (CBZ). CBZ is a frequently detected neuroactive pharmaceutical compound and possible anti-androgen. Offspring were reared in clean water and assessments of both behaviours and hormone levels continued in the F1-F3 offspring. CBZ exposure significantly altered male courtship, lowered aggression, and reduced 11-ketotestosterone levels in plasma, whole body and testes of the parents. The same effects were observed in the unexposed offspring up to the F3 generation. Interestingly, paternal exposure of carbamazepine was most important for offspring effects. Our research supports the employment of behaviour as a useful tool to study endocrine disruption and transgenerational effects and that complex behaviours can be altered by parental exposures to pharmaceuticals.

Author / Presenter: William Dew
Affiliation: Trent University
Student: No

Session: Behavioural Toxicology
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:40 – 18:00
Location:

Abstract:

Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker primarily used for the treatment of angina and hypertension. The concentration of diltiazem in a waterway can be in excess of 100 ng/L due to release via wastewater treatment plants. As diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker, it is possible that it will affect calcium channel function in a wide variety of tissues. One such tissue is the olfactory epithelium, which is in constant contact with the external environment and relies on calcium channels to function. Olfaction mediates a wide variety of essential behaviours including finding food and detecting predation/predators. Therefore, fish in environments containing diltiazem may have impairment of olfactory-related behaviours due to impairment of calcium channels in the olfactory epithelium. To test if olfactory-related behaviours could be affected by diltiazem, we exposed fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) to 0, 2, or 20 ng/L nominal treatment levels of diltiazem for 10 min or 96 hr and measured the response of fathead minnows to olfactory cues. The results demonstrate that at either time point 2 ng/L diltiazem has no effect on antipredator response in fathead minnows, however, exposure to 20 ng/L diltiazem completely blocks any response to antipredator cues. This study demonstrates that diltiazem at or below concentrations found in waterways receiving effluent from wastewater treatment plants can have a profound effect on olfactory-mediated behaviours in fish. Future studies are needed to understand the relationships among environmental exposure, internal dose, and olfactory function and behaviour in various fish species.

Author / Presenter: Teresita Porter
Affiliation: Natural Resources Canada
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:10 – 12:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

DNA-based tools can potentially enrich traditional environmental assessment and monitoring programs by adding another layer of information that can be used to detect target species, bioindicator assemblages, and whole communities. As technological and bioinformatics methods have improved, the capacity (number of field samples that can be processed), throughput (amount of sequence data that can be produced from these samples), and resolution (ability to detect individuals through to whole community assemblages) have also improved. Here we review some of the most commonly used DNA-based tools used for biodiversity analysis, their typical resolution, and how these can be used to answer ecological questions. After a review of the literature, we focus on amplicon sequencing, also called DNA metabarcoding, as a tool that can be readily incorporated into traditional environmental assessment and monitoring programs. We talk about the DNA markers that can be used to target particular taxonomic groups, review some of the most popular analysis tools and databases. We also present the results of our leave-one-out testing of a new CO1 training set that can be used with the naïve Bayesian classifier available from the Ribosomal Database Project to make rapid and accurate taxonomic assignments of arthropods and chordates while also providing a measure of confidence for assignments at each rank. We show how technological improvements are driving advances in bioinformatics and how studies can be scaled-up by adopting standardized methods, using automation, and multiplexing. We also specifically demonstrate the advantage of using a purpose-built taxonomic assignment tool over using the more general, but still widely used, top BLAST hit method to facilitate high throughput taxonomic assignments in a reasonable time frame and to reduce rates of false positive assignments.

Author / Presenter: Jordan Roszell
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: Yes

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:30 – 10:50
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Environmental risk assessment of phytoplankton has often been limited to time consuming destructive methodologies. The advent of DNA sequencing, such as DNA barcoding, increases the potential accuracy and speed with which community composition can be screened, but is likewise destructive and relies on the limited existing phytoplankton sequences/isolates to accurately anchor and resolve reconstructions of this multi-phyletic group. We have developed a reliable and novel Single-cell High-throughput Assessment of Phytoplankton from the Environment (SHAPE) microscopy technique that allows for the simultaneous analysis of phytoplankton community structure, individual and community growth rate, as well as the isolation of large numbers of unialgal isolates for further study. The creation of unialgal isolates identified by microscopy will greatly accelerate the generation of finer resolution genetic maps for use with genomics-based reconstructions, thus increasing the sensitivity of these techniques to changes in local populations, while at the same time creating a unialgal library for further biotechnological and research analysis.

Author / Presenter: Ian King
Affiliation: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 10:50 – 11:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Ian King and Guillaume Bilodeau Canadian Food Inspection Agency EcoBiomics is a Canadian federal government Genomics Research & Development Initiative (GRDI) project. The Project focuses on using next-generation sequencing (NGS) to address the urgent need to better understand the extent and significance of ongoing changes to microbial and invertebrate biodiversity in the soil and aquatic ecosystems that sustain the essential ecosystem services upon which Canadians and our economy depend. One of the project’s overarching objectives is to develop standardized methods for soil, water, and invertebrate sample collection and DNA extraction. In addition, this project promotes the development of a bioinformatics analysis pipeline for NGS and metadata processing that would be harmonized across federal government departments. Of the six themes in the EcoBiomics project, the Sampling and Nucleic Acid Preparation theme is evaluating sampling, nucleic acid extraction, and library preparation methods to establish recommended protocols to improve standardization of NGS. The theme also includes projects on the development of a microfluidic chip for extraction of DNA material from soil samples and methods for NGS library preparation automation. Optimized protocols will be transferred for use in the other themes (soil microbiome, water microbiome, invertebrate zoobiome). The main goal of this theme is to measure the DNA extraction efficiency by a comparison of the results of NGS via the Illumina MiSeq platform to ensure that optimal extraction and sample preparation methods are used in downstream applications for this project. DNA from a total of 611 samples from the other themes (from a variety of subtypes, locations, and including mock communities) has been extracted using an assortment of commercial nucleic acid extraction kits with modifications to sample preparation (eg. homogenization methods). Although the NGS results will provide us with the most important information about the methods assessed, the material extracted and used to prepare libraries was already used to evaluate extraction efficiency and output via Qubit fluorometry quantification, QIAxcel®, agarose gel, and qPCR. So far, preliminary results showed that the highest DNA yield was obtained from the water samples using the MoBio PowerWater® extraction kit, while the MoBio PowerSoil® kit proved to be best at recovering DNA from soil and environmental benthic invertebrate samples. For insect species samples, the Macherey-Nagel NucleoSpin® Tissue kit gave the highest DNA yields. The DNA has been PCR amplified for 16S, 18S, ITS, and COI markers. Issues with ITS amplification allowed for a comparison of different polymerases and evaluation of total DNA by agarose gels and QIAxcel®.

Author / Presenter: Alex Bush
Affiliation: Canadian Rivers Institute
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:10 – 11:30
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Despite a strong bias to the use of chemistry-based approaches, pollution is essentially a biological phenomenon, and it is has been standard practice for many years to combine chemical assessment with observation of biological components in freshwater monitoring. However, processing constraints mean the number of biological samples are typically constrained, as well as limited to subsets of the overall community, usually macroinvertebrates, at a variably coarse taxonomic resolution. The advent of high-throughput sequencing approaches such as DNA metabarcoding provide an opportunity to overcome such bottlenecks, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, in collaboration with other federal departments, has initiated targeted studies across Canada to accelerate the incorporation of DNA metabarcoding methods for ecosystem monitoring. These include a comparison of metabarcoding with existing CABIN surveys in Atlantic Canada, comparison with standard monitoring in a southern Ontario watershed to evaluate potential disturbance from agricultural practices, and a tool to study oil sands impacts on wetlands in northern Alberta. We demonstrate how such monitoring systems can be optimised to (i) identify the magnitude of impairment at a location, and (ii) inform users about the most likely causes. Nonetheless, implementing a monitoring program based on DNA metabarcoding still face several challenges, and we discuss how these may be overcome. Finally, with the capacity to evaluate diverse biological communities at large spatial scales, we can bridge the historic divide between small scale experimental biology and large-scale ecosystem observation. We describe how inferences based on observations of compositional change in biological communities could be compared and validated with ecotoxicological experiments to support the development of diagnostic biomonitoring tools for use in ecological risk assessment.

Author / Presenter: Caroline Emilson
Affiliation: Natural Resources Canada
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:30 – 11:50
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Cost-effective, ecologically relevant, sensitive, and standardized indicators are requisites of biomonitoring. DNA metabarcoding of macroinvertebrate communities is a potentially transformative biomonitoring technique that can reduce cost and time constraints while providing information-rich, high resolution taxonomic data for the assessment of watershed condition. Here we assess the utility of DNA metabarcoding to provide aquatic indicator data for evaluation of forested watershed condition across Canadian eastern boreal watersheds, subject to natural variation and low-intensity harvest management. We do this by comparing the similarity of DNA metabarcoding and morphologically derived macroinvertebrate metrics (i.e. richness, % Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, % Chironomid), and the ability of DNA metabarcoding and morphological metrics to detect key gradients in stream condition linked to forested watershed features. Our results show consistency between methods, where common DNA metabarcoding and morphological macroinvertebrate metrics are positively correlated and indicate the same key gradients in stream condition (i.e. dissolved oxygen, and dissolved organic carbon, total nitrogen and conductivity) linked to watershed size and shifts in forest composition across watersheds. Our study demonstrates the usefulness of macroinvertebrate DNA metabarcoding to future application in broad-scale biomonitoring of watershed condition across environmental gradients.

Author / Presenter: Jenna Zee
Affiliation: University of Saskatchewan
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 11:50 – 12:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), native to Europe and introduced to the North American Great Lakes, have been fundamentally altering Canadian aquatic ecosystems. Zebra mussels cost Ontario $75-91 million/year to clear from infrastructure such as docks and submerged pipes and to run inspection stations and invasive species education programs. These mussels drastically alter ecosystems through high filtration rates and mat like colonies that outcompete native species and increase water clarity, allowing light to reach greater depths and increasing vegetative growth. Following introduction in Ontario they have been steadily moving west, mainly via pleasure boats and other water craft transferred from lake to lake. As of 2013 they have become established in Lake Winnipeg, and most recently veligers have been found in Cedar Lake, MB and the state of Montana near the Saskatchewan and Alberta borders. Current detection methods include plankton netting for veligers or physical sighting of adult mussels. It is likely that colonies will be established before they are physically encountered, especially in large lakes, hindering eradication efforts. Environmental DNA techniques may prove to be a more sensitive detection method. Since DNA floats freely throughout a water body it is possible to detect the presence of zebra mussels with a water sample from shore. This technique could drastically decrease monitoring costs and increase effectiveness. Using sites of known infestation in Lake Winnipeg, we are validating the use of eDNA as a monitoring tool by coupling quantitative PCR (qPCR), gel electrophoresis and sequencing. This has proven the reproducibility and repeatability of the technique, but seasonal timing of sampling may affect levels of ambient eDNA because of differences in animal life stage and activity. At 9 sites in Lake Winnipeg , mean total eDNA extracted was 30.3 ng/uL (range 12.8-77.8) in summer samples (August 2016), while in the fall (October 2016) average eDNA extracted at the same sites was 8.3 ng/uL (range 2.1-24.6), which declined further in the winter (January 2017) to 6.1 ng/uL. Despite these seasonal differences in eDNA concentration, qPCR for summer and fall sampling produced similar results, with positive detections at 8 of 9 sites in the summer and 7 of 9 sites in the fall. The eDNA approach is being incorporated into Saskatchewan?s Aquatic Invasive Species Strategy.

Author / Presenter: Mario Thomas
Affiliation: University of Guelph
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 13:50 – 14:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

The PCR-based detection of free and intracellular genetic material in the aqueous environment, with no obvious biological source, has greatly increased our capacity to detect, monitor and manage vulnerable aquatic taxa and ecosystems. By processing water samples alone, practitioners are able to infer presence and occupancy of specific taxa, metacommunity structure, and increase the spatial and temporal scope of ecosystem studies with increased cost-effectiveness and minimal disturbance to sensitive habitats and species of interest. However, the current workflow paradigm to conduct eDNA surveys is susceptible to various sources of systematic error due to the spatial and temporal separation of individual pipeline stages, decreasing the accuracy of acquired data and lessening confidence in their interpretation. We present a point of need platform that unifies all previously separate stages of contemporaneous eDNA surveys, mitigating their sources of error, with the added benefits of a) reducing data acquisition time from potentially weeks to just a couple of hours; and b) possessing the functionality to disseminate data, via the cloud, to geographically distant personnel for immediate analysis and enactment. We propose our system will greatly benefit those who wish to expedite environmental protection rapid response plans to protect species-at-risk, keystone ecological health indicator species, and fragile aquatic ecosystems themselves.

Author / Presenter: Cathryn Abbott
Affiliation: Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:10 – 14:30
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Aquaculture production of marine finfish has been increasing rapidly in past decades and plays an important role in the Canadian economy and human food supply. The sustainable development of finfish aquaculture requires effective monitoring methods to assess potential impacts on the benthic environment. To date, traditional benthic monitoring methods typically include biochemical (pore-water sulfide, dissolved oxygen, and organic content) and biological attributes (macrofaunal diversity). Traditional measurement of benthic species diversity using morpho-taxonomic methods requires highly specialized expertise and is cost- and time-intensive, hence is not practicable for routine industry monitoring. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is a novel, cost-effective, and rapid method of assessing biodiversity in environmental samples, and thus has high potential to assist in the assessment of benthic impacts of fish farms. Here we present results from 84 sediment samples collected along organic enrichment gradients (based on porewater sulfide and organic content) in the dominant current direction at two fish farms in British Columbia, Canada. We employed an eDNA metabarcoding approach using three genetic markers targeting foraminifera, meiofauna, and eukaryotes, respectively, to identify eDNA-based bioindicators of benthic organic enrichment. To do this, we characterized benthic biodiversity using traditional morpho-taxonomy of benthic macrofauna and measured a variety of physico-chemical parameters of sediments for comparison with eDNA data. Results presented here are findings to date within a larger study that will analyze 252 sediment samples at six farms with different sediment types and organic contents in British Columbia to firmly establish relationships in this geographic region between eDNA data and more traditional morpho-taxonomic and physico-chemical methods. The goal is to evaluate the performance of eDNA metabarcoding for routine benthic monitoring at soft-bottomed finfish aquaculture sites. Findings will be used to inform the national standard for regulatory monitoring of benthic impacts in Canada.

Author / Presenter: Pam Reece
Affiliation: Stantec
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:30 – 14:50
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Rapid and accurate assessment of biota present in aquatic habitats is a core activity of Stantec?s Environmental Services. Traditional survey methods are labour intensive, can be expensive, can take a long time for results to be obtained, and are subject to uncertainty especially when species are rare, their distribution is poorly understood or unknown, or they have cryptic life stages. Environmental DNA (eDNA) can help us to confirm the presence of species and their identity in the habitat where they live ? using water or sediment samples? without having to collect the target species The purpose of the White Sturgeon eDNA research project is to develop and refine freshwater eDNA field sampling and laboratory methods using White Sturgeon as the test species. The methods developed will be used to collect information on the distribution of White Sturgeon in BC (populations of which are listed as threatened and endangered). The project is addressing research questions around applying eDNA to commercial projects such as the sensitivity of the lab protocols for concentration and amplification of eDNA and the persistence of eDNA in water through time. The results of this work will be presented.

Author / Presenter: Denina Simmons
Affiliation: McMaster University
Student: No

Session: Genomic Approaches in Environmental Assessment and Monitoring: From Individual Species to Whole Ecosystems
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 14:50 – 15:10
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Jackfish Bay is located on the northern shore of Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada. Jackfish Bay was identified as an Area of Concern (AOC) by the International Joint Commission in 1987 under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the United States. Pulp and paper effluents, from the pulp and paper mill in Terrace Bay, were identified as one of the major contributors to poor water quality, contamination of sediment, and fish and fish habitat destruction, along with impairment of populations of sediment-dwelling organisms in Jackfish Bay on Lake Superior. In May 2011, all remediation projects in Jackfish Bay were complete, and the bay was re-designated as an Area in Recovery. Since that time, long-term monitoring programs have been implemented to determine if remediation efforts were successful in restoring the pre-existing beneficial use impairments. To provide proof-of-concept, a retrospective study was undertaken to determine if plasma proteome analyses could inform and assist in the remediation and monitoring efforts at other AOCs in the Great Lakes. Plasma samples collected from 20 male and 20 females white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) on seven separate occasions from Jackfish Bay and a reference site (Mountain Bay) between 2000-2013 were located from storage at minus 80?C. Non-targeted proteome analysis was conducted on all samples using reverse phase liquid chromatography coupled to a Quadrupole-Time-of-Flight mass spectrometer. In total, over 6500 proteins were identified in both sexes from each sample site across all of the years. We then performed functional biological analysis using Qiagen’s Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software on all detected proteins. Based upon the functional categorizations, it was apparent that both male and females at Jackfish Bay had decreased stress responses over time, which was supported by protein expression related to acute phase response, xenobiotic metabolism, and Aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling. The results demonstrate that use of plasma proteomic profiling in environmental effects monitoring could benefit in the identification of areas in recovery and de-listing areas of concern within the Great Lakes.

Author / Presenter: Lise Parent
Affiliation: Université TÉLUQ
Student: No

Session: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Molecular Modes of Action to Physiological Consequences
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 15:40 – 16:00
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Exposure to synthetic and natural chemicals is almost inevitable in our daily lives. Some of them raise concerns about the health effects of endocrine disruptor (ED). Our project aims to identify the data of the last 10 years on exposure to PE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), alkylphenols, bisphenol A (BPA), parabens, phthalates, perfluorinated compounds) in order to assess the validity of the presumptive effect of published data on the effects of these EDs on the reproductive health of aquatic organisms: changes in sex ratio, congenital malformations, sperm quality disruption, sexual inversion, alteration of plasma levels vitellogenin as well as anomalies of gonad development. Thus, after identifying and evaluating the quality of the 378 papers, these were subdivided according to the PE, the organism tested, the exposure window and the measured effect. When sufficient data were available, a meta-analysis was performed to compare the effects measured with exposure. The presentation will show how this systematic synthesis of knowledge sheds light on the methodological biases that sometimes lead to important differences in the results obtained.

Author / Presenter: Zacharias Pandelides
Affiliation: UOIT
Student: Yes

Session: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Molecular Modes of Action to Physiological Consequences
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:00 – 16:20
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Inadequate swim bladder inflation, can have serious long term effects on fish populations. Many environmental contaminants can inhibit swim bladder inflation of larval fish. Previous studies in our laboratory have determined that embryonic exposure to pharmaceuticals including 17?-ethinylestradiol, levonorgestrel, and diclofenac, both alone and in mixtures, can impair swim bladder inflation of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). This study, established that embryonic exposure to 1µM IWR-1, a wnt signalling inhibitor, as well as 5µM cyclopamine a Hedgehog (Hh) signaling inhibitor, resulted in >95% inhibition of swim bladder inflation of Japanese medaka larvae. The effects of these inhibitors on the expression of medaka genes related to the Hedgehog (Hh) and wnt pathways, as well as genes involved in the formation of the three cell layers that make up the swim bladder (epithelial, mesenchyme, and outer mesothelium) were determined at 80, 96, 101, 144, 180 and 216 hours post fertilization. Following this experiment, the expression of these key genes were measured following exposure to 17?-ethinylestradiol, levonorgestrel, and diclofenac. We established that these pharmaceutical compounds significantly inhibited the expression of genes related to the formation of the three layers of the swim bladder, with levonorgestrel causing the most significant effects. Two of the pharmaceutical compounds 17?-ethinylestradiol and diclofenac, were also found to disrupt pbx1b, a gene involved in surfactant production.

Author / Presenter: Heather Ikert
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: Yes

Session: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Molecular Modes of Action to Physiological Consequences
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 16:20 – 16:40
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

As the human population continues to grow, increased anthropogenic stress is placed on the aquatic environment. Pharmaceuticals, such as venlafaxine (VFX), a heavily prescribed and readily detectable antidepressant, are found downstream of wastewater treatment plants. As a result of climate change, increased surface water temperatures and decreased dissolved oxygen levels have been observed. In this study, a multi-stressor approach was used to determine the cumulative, sublethal effects of the aforementioned stressors on microRNA (miRNA) in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). MiRNA are small, conserved, non-coding RNA which act by decreasing mRNA translation. This impacts the functional responses of downstream targets and is a method of environmental and epigenetic regulation of phenotypic response. Adult zebrafish were exposed to control (27°C, 100% dissolved oxygen, 0 ?g/L VFX) or stressed (32°C, 50% dissolved oxygen, 1.0 ?g/L VFX) conditions for 24 hours or 21 days. RNA was extracted from liver, gonad, and muscle tissue and RT-qPCR was performed on specific miRNA related to proteins that respond to hypoxia, heat stress, or contaminants. This comparison between lengths of exposure showed differences between initial and acclimated responses. Due to the conserved nature of miRNA, this will improve our understanding of the effects that environmental stressors have on epigenetic regulation.

Author / Presenter: Erin Ussery
Affiliation: Univerity of Ontario Institute of Technology
Student: Yes

Session: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Molecular Modes of Action to Physiological Consequences
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:00 – 17:20
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Human pharmaceutical wastes threaten many natural processes of non-target aquatic organisms, through the introduction of such contaminants into the environment. One of the most prevalent contaminants is the type 2 diabetic drug metformin. Metformin has been measured in surface waters and wastewater effluents in the ng-µg/L concentration range. Our recent research shows that Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of metformin from embryo through 28 days post hatch have a significant decrease in length (mm) and weight (mg) of both males and females when compared to control fish. We demonstrated using radio labelled metformin that about 1% of the waterborne concentration of metformin is found inside both embryo and larval medaka after exposure windows ranging from 24 hours to 7 days. As >90% of metformin is metabolized into guanylurea during the waste water treatment process, its metabolite guanylurea is also a major concern. Guanylurea is found in the environment in higher concentrations than metformin, usually in the µg/L concentration range in surface waters. Metabolomics is emerging as an efficient method for understanding sub-lethal effects on organisms by assisting in determining the biochemical mode of action in response to exposure to a particular contaminant. This study compares the effects of metformin and its metabolite guanylurea to fish early-life stages, in Japanese medaka, including length, weight, and changes to the fish?s metabolome.

Author / Presenter: Paul Craig
Affiliation: University of Waterloo
Student: No

Session: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: From Molecular Modes of Action to Physiological Consequences
Date: Monday 02 October 2017
Time: 17:20 – 17:40
Location: Ballroom

Abstract:

Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon formed by the incomplete combustion of organic material found ubiquitously in the aquatic environment, is an established carcinogen and has been linked to multigenerational effects through alterations in DNA methylation patterns. The initial objective of this study was to examine the regulation of DNA methylation following acute (24 h) and prolonged (14 d) exposure to low (1 ng/L) and high (10 ng/L) B[a]P in rainbow trout. However, with the recent release of the rainbow trout genome, we were able to conduct a more detailed analysis regarding the regulation of the enzymes involved in DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). Specifically, we obtained the 3′ untranslated region (3’UTR) of DNMT1 and DNMT3a, which are regulators of maintenance and de novo DNA methylation, respectively. Bioinformatic approaches were used to identify candidate microRNA (miRNA) that potentially bind to the DNMT1 and 3a 3’UTR, and would likely inhibit the transcript abundance. Results indicated a significant decrease in the level of global methylation in both liver and muscle, with an associated decrease in total DNA methyltransferase activity and DNMT3a transcript abundance. Further, there was a significant increase in one specific candidate miRNA (miR29a) in both liver and muscle that was predicted to bind to DNMT3a. Moreover, we have also demonstrated that miR29a is also found in circulation following a stressful event, which was additionally detected in the plasma of these fish. Taken together, this research establishes that miRNA act as an essential mediator between the environment and DNA methylation patterns via DNMTs, which is further confirmed by a genomic regulatory mechanism that has been deeply conserved throughout evolution.